Speaker Spotlight – Amy Purdy on Living Beyond Limits

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Last quarter, we tackled the surprisingly infinite possibilities of “Why” we do the things we do, with Simon Sinek. This quarter, we meet a snowboarder and actress (and TED.com speaker) named Amy Purdy who teaches us that tragedies and obstacles are not disablers, but rather launching points that force us to be creative in ways we never would have dreamed otherwise.

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“If your life was a book and you were the author, how would you want your story to go?” —Amy Purdy

Amy shares her story of turning adversity and hopelessness into triumph and freedom. At the age of 19, Amy was diagnosed with Bacterial Meningitis and lost both her legs below the knees. Following the amputation of her legs, she was devastated at the thought that she would never again snowboard or do the things she loved.

“I knew that if I was ever going to snowboard again… I had to let go of the old Amy and embrace the new Amy.”

From that moment, Amy forced herself to get imaginative and take back ownership of her life. She partnered with a prosthetics maker and designed legs and feet custom made for the life she wanted to live. In 2005, she co-founded “Adaptive Action Sports,” a non-profit organization that encourages and helps individuals with physical challenges to take up adventure sports. And, in 2011, Amy became a back-to-back World Cup gold medalist in snowboarding.

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Consider the Possibilities

When asked if she would change her situation, Amy says no.

“I would never want to change anything about my life because I was forced to become creative and believe in the possibilities.”

Amy’s story compels us to take a creative look at writing our own stories when faced with seemingly insurmountable odds. In terms of business and adversity, how can we become innovators and break through barriers?

Amy’s TED Talk, Living Beyond Limits, can be found and at her website, AmyPurdy.com.