AS Seen On

By: Stephan Spencer

Introduction

Amberly Lago
“Resilience isn’t about bouncing back. It is the ability to move forward, choose to have a life of joy, and thrive even when things don’t go as planned.”
Amberly Lago

Gratitude is alchemy. It changes what you can’t do into what you can do, and what you don’t have into what you do have. Everything we are doing — our thoughts, habits, and choices — is either moving us closer or further away from our goal.

These are wise words from my guest today, who has lived through incredible, seemingly insurmountable challenges (which I’m not going to spill the beans on until we get into the actual interview). Amberly Lago is a Peak Performance Coach, TEDx Speaker, Podcaster, and a leading expert in the field of resilience and transformation. She is the best-selling author of True Grit and Grace and the founder of UNSTOPPABLE Life Mastermind. Amberly was featured on NBC’s The Today Show to talk about her incredible journey and how she has relied on a resilient mindset as the key asset to thriving, despite all the obstacles life has thrown her way. In today’s episode, Amberly shares some of her experiences and we talk about how to find the gifts, find the lessons, and embrace life — imperfections and all — in order to appreciate every step of the journey. This is an incredibly powerful and insightful episode that I know you’re going to find so inspiring. So now, without further ado, on with the show!/p>


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Amberly, it’s so great to have you on the show.

Thank you, Stephan. It’s so great to be here, be connected with you, and get to share with your audience. Thank you for having me.

You bet. I’d love to hear your take on resilience and how that is such a key aspect of your life and potentially our listeners.

We need to strengthen ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually and build our resilience before we actually need it.

Oh, boy. I feel like we all need that extra resilience about now, with what we’ve been going through over the last couple of years. I think we need to strengthen and build our resilience before we actually need it, if that makes sense. To work on what will strengthen us mentally, physically, and spiritually in every way, so when something doesn’t go as planned, or we get derailed, we can get back up and make an action step to move forward. 

I used to be caught up on resilience as you got to bounce back, you got to go back. I learned the hard way that resilience isn’t really about bouncing back. If you’re listening right now and thinking, “Well, I can’t wait till things go back to normal,” things may never go back to normal. We need to realize that we can move forward and choose to have a life of joy and thrive even when things don’t go as planned.

I was diagnosed with this nerve disease 12 years ago called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome. I was told my life would never be the same, that I would be permanently disabled, and that I would never work again. One doctor even told me I’d never walk again. That was like being kicked in the gut. I feel like many people may have been kicked around or even kicked in the gut lately.

I had to decide that, yes, I’ve been diagnosed with this nerve disease, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t do things that I love, that I’m not going to be able to thrive. Yes, I may have some pain, but I can also choose to build upon the joy and find joy in the journey. And we can all do that.

I may have some pain, but I can also choose to build upon the joy and find joy in the journey. And we can all do that.

Beautifully said. The thing about not bouncing back but instead, it’s almost like preemptive resilience, toughening the skin in preparation for whatever life throws at us because we are entering some tumultuous times. It’s not just based on the past—especially the last couple of years—but it’s really what we’re heading into. It’s a beautiful storm we’re heading into, I feel. And this preemptive resilience will serve us greatly. 

When other people are crumbling with the challenges thrown at us, you can be ready for anything with your preemptive resilience. Not that you’re inviting it by showing up with a bulletproof vest on, saying, “bring it to me, universe, because I need to use this brand new vest,” but you’re being more street smart, savvier about how to live in this world that has its ups and downs. I’m curious to hear what chords were struck when I was talking about this stuff.

It starts with working on our mindset. I remember I did this interview on The Doctors TV almost three years ago. When you do an interview on national TV, they sometimes cut it down into a small section. I had people coming out of the woodwork who were upset with me because they cut out the part of the interview where I said, “I tried everything.”

I was trying everything to get out of the pain. I did a spinal cord stimulator, spinal blocks, and ketamine infusions. I had $2.9 million in medical expenses after going through 34 surgeries. Unfortunately, they left in part about we can get through pain with our mindset. 

People were like, “you can’t cure pain with your mind.” I didn’t say we could cure it. I’m not saying that we can get rid of all of our problems with our mindset, but I’m saying right now that there are people out there that are going to get stuck in the fear and the doubt, and the angst of everything, or you can choose to go, you know what? I am going to work on my mindset. I am going to focus on what I can do. 

Let me tell you, gratitude may seem so simple, but gratitude will literally change the way you feel about your situation. It works for me every single time. Anytime I have felt depressed or sad, or I get caught up in the comparison trap when scrolling on social media, or I’m upset that I can’t walk the way that I would like to walk—I have a limp on some days—I always go back to gratitude. Gratitude is alchemy. It really changes what you can’t do and do what you can and what you don’t have into what you do have. 

I was in denial about a lot of stuff. I was in denial that I had this nerve disease. I hated the way that I looked. I’m all scarred up from the hip down. Going from being a professional athlete fitness trainer sponsored by Nike to now, I have this deformed leg and foot made of metal. It was hard to wrap my mind around. It takes radical acceptance of where you are on your journey. 

True Grit and Grace by Amberly Lago

We all have to take the blinders off. We have to really look at where we are in our life. Everything we’re doing either moves us closer to our goal or further away. I mean everything we do, from the choices that we make every day, from our thoughts to our habits. It can be hard to be motivated at a time when you feel like you’re just getting knocked down again and again and over and over. But you have to start where you are, use what you have, and do what you can.

I remember being in the hospital. I was hit by an SUV. I woke up from a coma and learned I had a 1% chance of saving my leg from amputation. Now I could have easily thought 99% chance that I would not be able to save my leg. But, I chose to focus on the 1% of chance, and I need to find a doctor who’s willing to take that chance with me.

It took 34 surgeries to save it. Between every surgery, I worked on everything that I could do to get stronger and prepare for the next surgery. I focused on my mind. What was I thinking the minute I would look down at my leg and see it held together with rods and getting this pity party of “Oh, tomorrow might be the day they’re going to amputate it.” I would think I’m alive. I still have breath. I have my daughter. I’ve got my husband. I’ve got friends and family that are coming to see me. I have an amazing team of doctors that are helping me through this.

Whenever I was discouraged, I thought, “Well, what can I do?” I had a friend bring me three-pound dumbbells, and I would work out even though I was stuck in bed. I couldn’t even stand up to use the bathroom on my own. So I grabbed the three-pound dumbbells, and I was doing bicep curls, shoulder presses, lateral raises, anything I could do to keep my upper body strength, but it’s what it did for my mindset. It made me feel like I was moving in the right direction.

I did everything I could do spiritually, I prayed, and I still do. I get on my knees. I start my day. It’s so important to do things that really keep you grounded. You have to figure out what keeps you grounded—for me, staying grounded means praying every morning. Last night, we went for a walk. Actually, my daughter and I ran a little bit. I can’t run the way I used to, but I can still run a little.

We live in this neighborhood now. We just moved to Texas, and our neighborhood has a golf course. Last night, we got barefoot, ran through the golf course, and just being in nature and got our feet planted on the earth. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s just something that takes and lifts the stress and anxiety away from you. In these times when it’s really hard, and if it may feel overwhelming, you have to figure out what grounds you.

Gratitude may seem like a simple practice, but it will change how you feel about your situation. Click To Tweet

For me, it’s praying and asking God to come in, help me through the day, walk beside me, and speak through me. It has a gratitude practice. When I say practice, I practice it, and I practice it with other people. I have a group of ladies. We call our group the God Squad. We text each other daily 10 things we’re grateful for.

I get out in nature. Also, it’s important never to get too lonely, too hungry, or too tired because that’s when you make bad choices. That’s when I want to think about doing things that aren’t as healthy.

Yes, motivation is the spark, but discipline is the fire. So you must develop that discipline and grit to keep moving forward. It’s something you can strengthen every day, from the smallest thing to the moment you wake up.

Look, this morning, my alarm went off at five. I didn’t want to get up at five. In fact, I was so tired my alarm was going off. I didn’t even hear it at first. My husband was like, “Your alarm’s going off. Can you turn that off?” And I was like, “I got to get up, I got to get up.” I was like, “I want to go back to sleep.”

If you can do something as simple as keeping the promise to yourself, it builds confidence that you can do more things.

I thought about why I wanted to get up. I wanted to get up because I’m on a mission. I’m on a mission to make an impact for people never to give up, to have that hope, to have that resilience. So when I think about things other than myself, like “I’m tired. I’m achy. I’m sore.” I think about why I want to do it. It activates the energy. It activates the human spirit. The human spirit is powerful beyond measure.

Yes, it is. 

That was a long answer, wasn’t it? Sorry.

Nothing to apologize for. I got so many different little nuggets from that, and I want to explore some of those. One thing that showed up for me while you were speaking, while you’re talking specifically about the alarm clock going off this morning, is Mel Robbins has this The 5 Second Rule. It’s like a blast off of a rocket. You’re counting down five, four, three, two, one. By the count of one, you’re up.

You’re “Okay, I really don’t want to hear the alarm. I don’t want to go up. I’m so tired. I didn’t sleep well,” all the excuses. But you’ve already started the clock. You’ve already started the five-four-three-two-one countdown, so you know that you’re going to get on your feet by the count of one. So you do it because that’s what you do. It works. How you do one thing is how you do everything. So if that’s how you get up in the morning, imagine how the rest of your day goes because you didn’t hit the snooze.

Every time you make that promise to yourself and keep it, it builds your confidence. It creates the trust that you have in yourself. If you can do something as simple as keeping the promise to yourself and getting up when you tell yourself the night before, I prepare for the day ahead. You’re setting a tiny goal for yourself when you set your alarm. 

When you do that one thing, it does build the confidence that you can do more things. When you tell yourself, okay, you get up like I still have my workout clothes on. I have my workout clothes on because it is so important. It’s a non-negotiable for me to move my body because I know that moving your body moves your mood.

I have learned to talk to myself instead of just listening to myself. Speaking to myself builds more confidence and ends excuses.

I remembered years ago, when I got out of the hospital, I went to every doctor, and they’re like, “You’re going to need to be on antidepressants. Your life is basically screwed.” And I’m like, “Okay, well, the antidepressants weren’t working for me. They made me really sick.” I said, “If I can move my body, I’ll be okay as long as I can move my body.” They’re like, “What do you mean?” I’m like, “It makes me feel better mentally.” It’s scientifically proven that it releases endorphins that combat pain and reduces anxiety, and working out builds your confidence. 

I used to go to the gym to work out because I wanted to look good. Now, I go to the gym and work out because I know it will make me feel good. A bonus is, I hope I look better than I did before. Do you know what I mean? I don’t know if you work out, but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve actually driven to the gym, been in the parking lot, and started scrolling through social media. I have to talk with myself and go, “What are you doing? Just get in there.”

I have learned to talk to myself instead of listening to myself. I mean that if I listen to myself, I can make excuses. I can make up excuses for why I shouldn’t work out. Maybe I’m too tired. I don’t feel great. I’m having a rough day. I don’t have time. Or I can talk to myself and tell myself to go in there and work out because you’re not going to regret it. You’re going to get stronger. It’s going to allow you to chase after your daughter. It’s going to build your confidence. It’s going to reduce your pain, all the things it will do.

So it’s important to remember our why throughout the day, no matter what we’re doing. We won’t always be motivated, but if we remember our why and we have that discipline, we’re going to be able to do the next goal and the next goal and accomplish the next thing and the next thing and achieve success.

Yeah, remember your why. Are you familiar with the TED talk about Start With Why? It’s in the book.

No, I’ve got a watch that.

Yeah, so Simon Sinek. It’s one of the most-watched TED Talks.

Oh, I love him. I can’t believe I haven’t seen that TED Talk.

Yeah, so he actually has a book, Start with Why

I’m writing it down.

Start with Why by Simon Sinek

Okay, so I want to get back to your gratitude practice. I love what you were saying about the God Squad that shares 10 things you’re grateful for daily with each other. Are you including things that you didn’t want in your gratitude list? Like things that weren’t necessarily on your wish list? Things that may be challenges or something you’re struggling with?

That’s such a great question. I think that a lot of times, especially when we are having a hard time, it’s a dark place. It feels hard to be grateful for things. I can tell you that if I can be stuck in a hospital, it was the first time I was ever away from my two-year-old after a coma. I was separated from her, had never been away from her, then I was in ICU, and they wouldn’t allow children in.

I was stuck in bed, not knowing what tomorrow would bring. There was so much uncertainty. I was fighting every day to keep my leg, to fight any infection and thinking about things like, “Is my husband going to love me? Am I going to be able to work? Am I going to be able to walk? Am I going to be able to chase after my kids?” With all these things, I was spiraling down into depression.

If I can find things to be grateful for at that moment. I know you can find something to be grateful for no matter what you go through. But sometimes, when we’re in these situations, and I’m guilty, I think, “Why me? Why is this happening to me? This can’t be my life. Why was I diagnosed with this disease? How can I have this lien on my house? How am I going to pay all this debt off? What am I going to do?” I don’t have my job anymore. I was the main breadwinner, and I was just like, “What will I do? How am I going to get through this?” But, again, I was asking the wrong questions because one time, I was at home and in the hospital bed downstairs. I couldn’t go up and down the stairs yet. 

I was sick from pain and throwing up, which sucked when you had to throw up in a porta potty next to you. Not to get too graphic, but it was one of those days that was really hard. I remember asking myself, “I don’t know how I’m going to get through this.” 

Then I heard my daughter’s voice from upstairs, and she said, “Mama.” And I knew at that moment I was asking the wrong questions. I had to remember why I was going to get through it. I was going to get through it, so I could show her what a resilient mom looked like. 

I wouldn’t change anything that has happened because it made me into the person I am today and strengthened my daughters’ compassion, empathy, and gratitude. It’s a ripple effect.

Gratitude helped me get the right mindset around that. It’s going through all of these challenges. It has taught me that even though there are times when we think that there can’t be anything possibly good that could come out of this situation.

I’ve had people ask me, “Would you change the fact that you were hit by this SUV on your motorcycle?” And no, I wouldn’t change anything because it’s made me into the person I am today. It’s made my daughters, and everything is a ripple effect. It’s changed their life in the best way possible.

I’m so grateful for my oldest daughter. She’s studying medicine. She decided to go into medicine. I asked, “Why did you want to attend medical school?” She said, “Mom, it was because of you. Seeing you go through all those surgeries and having this incurable nerve disease. I want to learn more. I want to make a difference.”

My youngest daughter got an award at school. They give out awards like best school attendance and most talented, and she got an award for most empathy, which made my heart sing because she has seen me for as long as she can remember. I’ve had to learn to have compassion for myself. But she’s learned compassion, empathy, and gratitude, so I wouldn’t change those things.

Yes, now, I am grateful for challenges because I learned the best lessons from those challenges. Let me tell you, they suck at the moment. They’re awful at the moment. I’m talking about anything from when we first moved here to Dalla. The Internet was horrible. I was freaking out. What am I going to do? The only reason we moved here is that my work is usually online. I have no internet, and I was freaking out, and boy, did I learn.

Again, sometimes we learn these lessons. Focus on what you can control and let go of the rest. Surrender and let it flow. You can take action steps to make a situation better. But if there are things you cannot change, you have to figure something else out. 

Being grateful is important because every situation has a lesson or a blessing.

Luckily, I did figure it out. I’m glad I’m here with you today. I think it’s important to be grateful for those situations and look for the lessons it teaches us. I can be so annoyed with the pace here, how much slower it is, and I’m like, well, it’s teaching me patience. I’m grateful it’s teaching me patience. I’m grateful it’s teaching me to slow down a little bit. There’s always a lesson or a blessing.

Or both. 

Or both. Yeah.

I just recently learned this from a rabbi. I was at his house for Friday night Shabbat dinner with my wife and son, our two-year-old. One of the things he said on the way to taking us out after dinner was that blessings are essentially ever-present like everything is a blessing. It’s just a question of whether the blessing has been revealed. 

If you want more obvious blessings that we would equate as blessings, then pray for revealed blessings. Because all the unrevealed blessings we think of as hardships and challenges. But what if our soul chose those before we even incarnated? And, like, “Okay, I’m in for that one. Yup, give me that one too. Though, that’s going to be a tough one at the time. But yeah, I’ll take that one as well.”

It was like a smorgasbord of amazing blessings that looked like SH** sandwich at the time. It’s hard to see it sometimes when you’re going through it, as you said, but changing it after the fact after you see even a glimpse of what it’s made you and how it’s shaped you. It’s not even a question like, no, I’m not going to change that.

The 5 Second Rule by Mel Robbins

I love that. I love learning lessons from wise people. I just got back from Denver. I was speaking at this eI love that. I love learning lessons from wise people. I just got back from Denver. I was speaking at this event, and I got to the airport. You go through TSA. I’m zipping up my boots, and this monk is standing right in front of my face. He’s probably 85 years old, and he’s smiling at me. He says, can you help me? And I said, yeah, sure. How can I help you?

It was six o’clock in the morning. I’d already dropped off my rental car. They told me my flight was canceled, so I knew it would be a long day. They scheduled me for another flight that was like 12 hours away. I look at this monk, and he’s like, “I can’t find my flight.” He shows me the picture on his phone. I said, “That was the flight I was on to Dallas, and that flight’s been canceled. You’re going to have to get another flight.”

He said, “Can you help me find some?” I said, “Yeah. It’s early.” I walked with him all through the airport. We could not find an American Airlines agent to help us. There was no one. It was at the counter for American Airlines. No one was there. 

I’m walking through the airport back and forth. I looked at the monk and said, “I am so sorry. I’m walking you through the airport, and we can’t find anyone.” He goes, “Oh, no, it’s okay. I walk one hour every day, and I didn’t get to walk this morning. So this is a nice walk with you.” 

He just had this attitude of flipping it all, like what was good out of that situation. We got to walk together. Then we’re walking some more. He’s talking to me about meditation, being in the moment and finding the good. We finally found someone at TSA who walked him downstairs and got him another flight.

Everything you're doing is either moving you closer to or further away from your goals. Click To Tweet

The point of the story is, if you had thought about it, you would have thought I was helping this monk find another flight. Instead, he helped me remember that I could have been upset, angry and frustrated that my flight was canceled. I was stuck at the airport. Instead, it got me focused on having a nice walk. I can be in the moment instead of looking down at my phone.

I looked up, and I was looking around me. I find this door. It was a new opening sign, but it wasn’t a sign of a restaurant or anything. I was like, “What does that door lead to?” Because I was open, present, and in a good place, I opened the door. 

It was a brand-new lounge. Beautiful. I walk into the lounge. How do I get to be in here? She was, “You need an American Express business platinum card.” I just got my business platinum card the week before. I said, “Well, I happen to have that card. She goes, “Then you can hang out here all day.”

The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho

I got to be in a lounge. I set up shop. I created all the content for 12 newsletters and a new landing page. I was just so happy. I could have taken that moment and been bitter and upset that my flight was canceled. Instead, I met a monk, went for a walk, got to be in a lounge, and got a lot of work done. We can shift our perspective so quickly if we hunt for the good, look for the blessing, and focus on what we’re grateful for.

Wouldn’t it be amazing if your interaction with the monk was predestined? It was meant to be. But, as they say in Islam, it is written. Maktub is the Arabic word for that. I learned this from the book, The Alchemist, which sold 150 million copies.

Do you know I have that book? I haven’t read it yet. I’ve got to read it. So I’m writing that down.

This is a sign from the universe.

Yeah.

Nothing is a coincidence.

I believe in those signs, and I believe in those God winks. I have to tell you something that happened yesterday. I had just interviewed Erin King. Do you know Erin King? She’s an amazing speaker. I love her. We’ve become really good friends. She’s got a book called You’re Kind of a Big Deal. And she’s a big deal. She’s awesome. She’s just so amazing.

I was interviewing her for my podcast, and she kept repeating this phrase: “Find joy for the journey.” I stopped her and said, “Erin, you keep saying something.” I was like, “I have a sticky note, it’s right here, and it says, ‘find joy for the journey.’ It’s been a book idea of mine for about a year, and it’s something I’ve wanted to do.”

She goes, “I never have even said that before. I just got goosebumps. I think it’s a sign that you need to write that book, Find Joy for the Journey.” So I was like, “Okay, it’s a sign, it’s a sign.”

By the way, I just got goosebumps, too.

Did you? Oh, my goodness. Oh, my gosh. Thank you for sharing that with me.

You can shift your perspective quickly if you hunt for the good, look for the blessing, and focus on gratitude. Click To Tweet

By the way, they’re not goosebumps. They’re angel bumps. The angels are sending us a message.

I love that. I’m going to start calling them angel bumps now. Yesterday, my daughter and I went to Petco, and this brand new store is open next to it. I said, “I wonder what that is. Let’s go in there.” We go into the store, and it’s the cutest store. It’s like a 99¢ store on steroids. It’s got better stuff than the discount store, but it’s really cute stuff.

We’re looking around, I see some stationery and stuff, and I was like, gosh, there was one last thing I needed to get for my mastermind, starting up, and they have gift bags. And the last thing I needed to get for them was journals and a notepad. I couldn’t find them anywhere, but it looked like they had art supplies and stuff.

I walked up to the lady and said, “Hey, I just wondered if you have any journals.” She goes, “Oh, yeah, we’ve got a lot. They’re right over here.” I walked around the corner to look. The first thing I see is this beautiful blue journal that says, ‘Find Joy for the Journey.’ They had exactly 15 of those journals, and there were 15 people in the group. I was like, what? What are the coincidences? That is crazy.

What are the odds? Yes.

What are the odds?

We have guardian angels, and mine usually works overtime.

Here’s the thing. There are no odds because this is a game rigged in your favor. It’s a real-time movie edited by God and your angels. So if you needed 16, there would be 16 there.

I told my daughter, “Go get a shopping cart. I’m getting all of these.” She goes, “Mom, how many do you need?” I was counting them. One, two, and they’re beautiful. What are the odds of that? But yes, I do believe in guardian angels. Thank you for mine. They usually work overtime. Thank you, angels.

It was amazing. I love that God winks like that. The story of the monk in the airport was pretty wild to be in this airport. I bent over and looked up. He was smiling right in front of me. He’s got the whole orange robe and everything.

You can imagine the look we got when we finally finished walking. We couldn’t find anybody. We walked to the TSA, and the guy looked at us like, what are you two doing together? We looked like an odd couple together.

That’s perfect. How amazing is that? You never know when these people that show up in our lives are actually angels. An angel has shown up in physical form because that’s possible. There are plenty of occasions where people have been tested. You’re going to either go out of your way to help this beggar or not. That was a test you either failed or passed.

The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

You know what? Thank you for saying that because I just made a video. I’m new to TikTok. I don’t know how to work TikTok very well, but I’m like, “Okay, I’ll put a video up. We’ll see.” I’m on TikTok because my daughter said, “Mom, don’t get on TikTok. You’re too old for TikTok.” So I was like, “I’m definitely getting on TikTok.”

Just make sure you use the #OkBoomer.

I’ve got to do that. Yes, I’ve got to do that. I made a video and wrote, “Pease help me find this man,” because I feel like a guardian angel. When I had my motorcycle accident, my femoral artery was severed, and I could have bled out on the street. People were scared to come up to me because it looked pretty gruesome. It looked bad.

There was a man, and I still don’t know who he is to this day. He ran over to me, took his belt off, and made a tourniquet on my leg. He basically saved my life. I don’t know who he is, so I just made a TikTok video, “Help me find the man who saved my life.”

Who knows? Maybe someday, he’d be like, that was me on the street on Ventura Boulevard when you got taken out by an SUV. It would be awesome to tell him, “thank you.” I was busy screaming at that moment and didn’t even realize he had made a tourniquet on my leg.

Yeah, but you can. That’s the beautiful thing about this. There’s the physical reality, and then there’s the true reality. The unseen world is more real than the seen world. You can express your gratitude to that person, or it could have been an angel, the angel’s soul, by just doing a message through a prayer. The Archangel Gabriel is good with messages. You can ask him to deliver the message, for example.

I love that.

This amazing either human or angel that showed up at exactly the right time wasn’t a coincidence, either, because you weren’t meant to go. It wasn’t your time. You were meant to live through this and thrive in it.

Thank you. It was pretty miraculous how everything happened. I think he was an angel. The paramedics happened to be right down the street at the coffee bean. They were running to me before they even got the call from 911 and were there that fast. How everything worked out was just really miraculous.

Be grateful for challenges in your life because they teach you the best lessons.

The last thing I remember before they put me in an induced coma was this beautiful nurse. Her name’s Shaniqua. She leaned over me, and she had this beautiful long hair. She said, “We’re going to give you something to make you feel all better now.” She just comforted me, and I felt like she was an angel, and she just gave me that peace before I didn’t know if I would wake up.

But as my husband says, “I’m here.” This might sound bad, but we’ve learned to laugh through some hard things. He’s like, “Oh, no, you won’t die. You know what? It’s just not your time. God keeps spitting you back out.”

I’ve actually been hit by a car three times, once on my bicycle, once on my motorcycle, and then last year, my youngest daughter and I were on our scooters and got hit head-on on our scooters, taken to the hospital, both in the back of the ambulance together, and then we shared a hospital bed because Covid was pretty crazy in LA at that time, so they let us share a hospital bed for a while. 

That’s why my husband says, “It’s not your time. God keeps spitting you out.” I’m like, “Well, thank goodness, because I’m not ready to go. I want to help some people while I’m here.”

The Everyday Hero Manifesto by Robin Sharma

Amazing. You know what? I learned from Kabbalah that a miracle isn’t defined as when the impossible becomes possible. It’s when the illusionary veils don’t allow us to see the light, and every experience and moment is revealed.

That’s beautiful.

When those veils are removed, you see those unrevealed blessings.

I love that you have so much knowledge about so many different things. I could talk to you all day because you have so much wisdom. I’m sure that’s why people love your show so much because you’re so knowledgeable on so many things, from self-development to spirituality, to different cultures, to just all these different things. I could just listen to you talk all day.

That’s very sweet of you. I see this as a collaboration between the Creator and me. The things that pop for me are what I’m meant to take into my consciousness. Out of an entire lecture or something that will be an hour, those are the few words I see. I know, oh, that’s for me.

It’s like picking up gold coins on the beach, not even needing the metal detector because I am the metal detector. It’s like, there’s one, and there’s one, and there’s another. We’re all meant to do this. It’s our birthright. It’s our innate ability.

When we embrace that, it’s not that we’re any more special than anyone else. We’re all special, and we’re all equally important. We’re all this incredible miracle. Then you can keep your ego in check because you realize that I wouldn’t even be taking my next breath if it weren’t for the Creator.

Everything happens through him. I’m just along for the ride. I’m letting the river carry me, but I will also be an active participant in this. So, yeah, but thank you.

You know what? It’s so important to put your ego in check. I’m reminded a lot. I’ve got to put my ego in check and get out of my way. One thing that’s helped me with that is being sober. I got sober in 2016. Then a year ago, I started getting away from the things that were my non-negotiables.

Focus on what you can control and let go of the rest. Then, you can take actionable steps to improve your situation. When you cannot change situations, make a way around them. Click To Tweet

I started not praying enough and not going to recovery meetings enough. I slipped for one day, so I lost it. In certain recovery programs, you have to start over with your time. I knew that, ooh, this is not good. I have to be honest, call my sponsor, and tell her I messed up.

It was a blessing that taught me that I have to, every morning, start my day as much as I want to grab my phone and look at it. I have to start with quiet time, prayer, with gratitude. Notice the things, notice the birds outside. I’ve put a little bird feeder outside my window. Notice the sunrise coming up. Notice the birds outside. Go outside.

By the way, when you said that—notice the birds outside—I have a direct view of the backyard and a lake juxtaposed to it. There was an ibis in flight right in my view while you were saying that. Again, one of those beautiful coincidences.

Wow. I love that. What a view. That’s so nice.

The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari by Robin Sharma

Yeah, it’s called Enchanted Lake. That’s pretty magical.

That is magical. I actually put a bird feeder in front of my window, and it took a while for them to find it. I kept thinking, oh, I put this beautiful little bird feeder, and they aren’t coming. And sure enough, they finally found it. So I see these birds, reminding me to be in the moment. To go outside and be in nature. Or even if I’m inside, to look out and notice the beauty around me. But more than anything, to be connected to God.

Some say universe or spirit, but I call my higher power God. I feel like, honestly, I couldn’t do all the things. I couldn’t stay sober. I tried. Believe me, I tried. But I couldn’t do it without a higher power.

What you said about you calling him God reminds me of something that is one of those little gold coins I’ve picked up. This was in an interview with Kim White on this podcast. He said, don’t pray to the universe or ask the universe for assistance because that’s the duality, light and dark, good and bad. You’re going to get a mix. Whereas if you pray to God and ask God directly, that’s all good. It’s all benevolence.

Amen. I’m all for that. When I moved to Texas—I lived in LA for 31 years—I knew I needed to make sure I had a core group of people. Before moving here, I had planned to go to a church. The church is non-denominational, but it’s amazing to meet faith-filled people.

The message of the pastor, I love. It’s all about faith, family, fitness, and finances. It’s like I live there and have gone to a self-development conference that’s faith-filled and free. It’s amazing. It’s really important to surround yourself with people with whom you share some common things that (for me, anyway) is important to be around people who are loving and light and have good energy.

I’ll tell you one thing, a distinction I got, though. It was very important, and it’s a pretty recent one. Spirituality isn’t about personal development. There’s some overlap, for sure. Spirituality is about your desire to get closer to the Creator. It’s about being close to God.

I do self-development work to ensure that I stay faith-filled, resilient, and sober so I get to have all of these blessings in my life.

It’s becoming more godlike in your thoughts, words, and deeds, and with that burning desire to be close to him. Certainly, as you’re doing that, you’re going to be a better person. But if you’re doing spirituality as a form of personal development, you’ve missed the point. It’s almost like a false idol.

My sponsor recently told me something. She’s like, “I think of self-development as a mindset, whereas I think of spirituality as when I get closer to God, I’m connected with my higher power.” But my sponsor also told me, she’s like, “Did you make it to your meeting?” I’m like, “No, but I went to church.” And she said, “Don’t confuse the two.” I was like, “Oh, okay.”

It might seem like a lot of work to do the self-development, to go to church on Sunday morning, and to go to recovery meetings. But that’s what I do so I get to have the life that I have, that I get to have the relationships that I have, that I get to have all of these blessings in my life, is because I do the work to make sure that I am staying faith-filled, resilient, and sober.

It was such an important thing for you to share that you slipped. So that’s a reminder for our listeners that we all slip. But we all get back on the wagon. We all get back on the horse because that’s what you’re here to do.

Don’t beat yourself up. Instead, love yourself as you would your closest friend or family member. You wouldn’t say berating things to that person, so don’t say it to yourself. Just get back on that horse.

I beat myself up pretty badly. I was not very nice. Do you know what that was? It was my ego. My ego said, oh, you had 5½ years of sobriety, and you slipped for one day. Then I had to talk to myself and say no. At least I had enough recovery and was honest, so I could get right back up. It’s not how many times you fall or mess up. It’s that you get back up and keep moving forward.

It’s not how many times you fall or mess up. It’s how you get back up and keep moving forward.

Again, you look at the lesson you learned from it. Why did I slip? It was because I wasn’t taking care of myself. It’s so important. I was really busy. I was work, work, work. I was letting the workouts slip by. I wasn’t going to as many meetings. I wasn’t connecting with God enough.

Lo and behold, that alcoholic that lives over here was doing push-ups. It’s over there just doing push-ups, ready to take me anytime I let my guard down, and that’s the thing. That’s why I talk about how we must build resilience before needing it. We have to build it up when we’re having a bad day. 

If you’re like me and you’re sober, or you want to get sober, if you’re working on strengthening your resilience and your faith-filled, that when you’re having a bad day, and you walk down the aisle at the market that has ice cold beer or a beautiful bottle of wine, you’re not going to be tempted to buy it and drink it.

There’s an important little piece here. It’s worth adding to this. It’s something beyond resilience. I learned about it from a book called Antifragile. It’s the same author who wrote the book The Black Swan.

I’m taking notes while you’re talking, by the way, Stephan.

It’s Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Antifragile is another level. What I picture in my mind is a windblown tree that’s just solid. It got its roots firmly planted in the ground, so it’s not going anywhere. Antifragility is where the system grows, strengthens, and evolves because of the stressors. An immune system that isn’t stressed is not a good immune system.

Economies, human groups, and just our humaneness, immune system, and ability to adapt are all antifragile. It thrives through the chaos. It needs chaos. It’s food for the system.

Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Nicholas Taleb

I would maybe reflect a bit on that. How this opportunity where you slipped is a new level of antifragility. I don’t know how this quote relates, but it came to me, so that I will share it. “History doesn’t repeat itself, but sometimes it rhymes.”

Wait, history doesn’t repeat itself, so what?

But sometimes, it rhymes.

Oh, I like that.

That’s Mark Twain. When you see something that feels a little bit like that’s just history repeating itself, it’s not. There’s an echo, or there’s a reminder there. You’re in a new place. You’re a new you. You are more antifragile than the previous you that went through that previous experience.

Thank you for that. I think everything that we go through, like things that I went through as a child, was difficult. I was talking about this with my dad on the phone the other day. Thankfully, my brother and I have a good relationship now. Not super, super close, but okay. He used to beat the crap out of me when I was a kid. I mean, it wasn’t normal.

It wasn’t brother and sister pushing around. He punched me in the face as a kid and would pick me up, throw me against the wall, and hold me under the swimming pool till I thought I would drown. I was scared for my life. It was not normal.

I was talking to my dad, and I was telling him if something like that happened nowadays, that kid would be put in juvie. He’d be locked up or something. So I said to my dad, “But you know? It taught me to take care of myself and fight back.” That’s why I got into Krav Maga. I started doing kickboxing and Muay Thai.

In every situation, we have that choice to be the victor of our life.

I was like, I will never be pushed around, punched around, or anything. I took it on to strengthen myself, to get stronger. It’s one reason it also really pushed me more into athleticism. In every situation, we have that choice to be the victor of our life.

Certainly, that was a gift. As my wife, Orion, said, “sometimes the bow is on the bottom.” That was a gift. It did give you that resiliency and that strength to have that preemptive resilience to go back to what we were talking about at the beginning of the episode. You’re going to be thrown some curveballs later on in your life.

A couple of things about this: one is we have soul contracts with the people in our lives that we agreed upon, and they agreed as well prior to us incarnating. Our life partner, our parents, siblings, of course as well, our kids, we all agreed to do this thing together. Your brother agreeing to be this nemesis in your childhood was ultimately for your highest and best good. He agreed to do that, and you agreed to be the recipient.

That’s what soul contracts are about. I didn’t know about this until just the more recent spiritual awakening I had in January 2021. So I encourage you to look this up, soul contracts, to give you some more perspective around it, not that you need it, but it’ll be helpful.

That’s interesting. 

There’s also an episode where I interviewed the first really good article I found on soul contracts. It was on myspiritualshenanigans.blog. Vasundhra Gupta was the author of that article, and I had her on the podcast. That was a great episode.

That’s cool. I like that.

You might want to listen to that episode.

My spiritual shenanigans.

Dot-blog. That’s where the article is, and there’s the episode on Vasundhra Gupta. That’s the first thing.

Who Will Cry When You Die? by Robin Sharma

The second thing is I read this in a book about reincarnation. What happens is that, let’s say, these warring factions and the two leaders of those warring factions. Of course, they need to make peace, so in their next incarnation, what happens? They’re brothers. They have to work things out over cornflakes in the morning.

Wow. That is so interesting to look at it in that way. I have taken notes. You should see it. I have an envelope here, and I’ve been taking notes from a TED talk and reminding me to read The Alchemist and-

And Antifragile.

Antifragile, I wrote that down, too. I like that. And I need to put a big star by finding joy for the journey because you got goosebumps when I said that.

Yes, the angel bumps.

Angel bumps.

Awesome. This was really uplifting and inspiring. You’re an inspiring, beautiful soul. It’s amazing what you’re up to in the world and that you have taken the reins to your life and have that ripple effect. You mentioned earlier the ripple effect, right? It is huge. It is as huge as you could possibly imagine. It spans universes.

Oh, you are so sweet. Thank you so much. I adore you and your wife. I hope to meet you all in person sometime. Where do you all live?

We’re in Miami.

Oh, my gosh. I will see you because my husband’s family is there in Miami. I was just telling him, when will we go to Miami? We haven’t been in two years. We usually go at least once a year. So when we go, I will reach out to you all. I would love to get together in person with you.

That would be amazing. We would love that.

You’re amazing. Thank you so much for having me on your show. I could see why people love you and your show. I’m so grateful to be here with you and have this time. Thank you for this amazing conversation and for all the notes that I have. I got a lot of reading, and a TED talk to watch.

You could listen to the audiobook of The Alchemist. That’s what I did. It was on my reading list for at least a decade. I’m in a book club. It was on our list, and it was the next book. It’s like, all right, now I’m going to listen to it. The audiobook is amazing, too. Listen to Jeremy Irons narrating if you want to do that while out in nature. It’s fabulous.

“History doesn’t repeat itself, but sometimes it rhymes.” – Mark Twain

Okay, I may do that. One of the several reasons I love doing my podcast is it forces me to read because if I’m having a guest on, I read their book. I love Audible. I didn’t like recording my book. That was a lot to record, an audible book. I’m like, how hard can it be?

You’re in a booth for hours at a time. I would burst out of that booth and do pushups and be like, I just got to breathe, and then run back in the booth like, okay, I can do this. But I love listening to books, and it has been a lifesaver when I’m interviewing people because I sometimes listen at double speed. Do you ever do that?

Yup, I do that sometimes. It takes away from its magic, so I didn’t do that with The Alchemist. But if I’m trying to absorb information, I usually put it at 1½–1¾ speed. Two-X is just too much for me.

It depends on the narrator. Sometimes, I’ve done books, and you need to speed up. Other times I’m listening to books, I’m like, “Oh, I got to go back. I got to listen to it even slower. To really absorb it.” Do you know who Robin Sharma is?

I’ve heard the name, but I do not know him.

Oh, my gosh. I love this man. I was at a conference. I spoke at a conference: I, Mel Robbins, Jay Shetty, Lewis Howes, and Ed Mylett. There were a lot of amazing speakers. I just got blessed to be able to be there. It was one of my first big talks.

You’re Kind of a Big Deal by Erin King

My book signing table was set up right next to Robin Sharma’s table, and I’d never heard of him. He was so nice. He’s like, let’s exchange books. We exchanged books. He came out with a new book called The Everyday Hero Manifesto. It was one of the best books.

After I read that book, and I read it, and I had it on Audible, too, I messaged him and said, “Oh, my goodness, I loved your book.” He’s like, “Thank you so much. Let me send you an autographed one of this.” He sent me an autographed copy all the way from Canada. I was like, oh, my gosh. That’s a good one to read.

I’ve heard of his book, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari. That one’s pretty famous.

That was his first one.

Yeah, I think so too.

It was his first one. He’s got like three.

And then there’s one called, Who Will Cry When You Die? Wow, what a title.

I haven’t read that one. There are so many books, so many good books. It’s heaven to me to listen to books or amazing podcasts like yours. I could do that all day.

It’s a lot, though. Rather than feel overwhelmed, know that you’re being guided and will get the right information at the right time. There are 700 hours of Stephan’s podcast you could listen to, literally, 700 hours between my two shows. So know that you’re being guided to the right one.

That’s amazing.

It’s a lot. This was amazing. You’re amazing. Also, thank you for the mention here towards the end of Robin Sharma and his book, The Everyday Hero Manifesto. Wow, what gold nuggets we have for our listeners or viewer today. That’s amazing, so thank you so much.

Thank you, and I hope to see you all soon. Please say hello to your lovely wife. I hope I get to meet your two-year-old as well.

That would be amazing. Your website and your socials. Where should we send our listeners to follow you, learn from you, and get inspired by you even more?

You can check out my book called True Grit and Grace, and my podcast is called True Grit and Grace. My Mastermind is Your Unstoppable Life Mastermind. It’s for women to build their impact influence, have that ripple effect and share their message.

You can find all that at amberlylago.com, or you can always go to truegritandgrace.com. But Amberly Lago Motivation is where you see all the behind-the-scenes shenanigans.

Okay, fabulous. Thank you so much, Amberly. Have a blessed rest of your week. Listener, get out there and reveal some light in the world. We’ll catch you in the next episode. I’m your host, Stephan Spencer.

Thank you so much. Thank you.

Thank you.

Important Links

Checklist of Actionable Takeaways


?Work on strengthening my mindset. The way I perceive my experiences plays a critical role in coping with life’s challenges.


?When life feels shaky, try to find gratitude. Gratitude is alchemy. It changes the way I feel about any situation.


?Reflect on where I am in life. Everything I do will either move me closer or further away from my goals.


?Start my day in quiet reflection and prayer. This opens up the channel of communication with God or the Higher Source that guides me throughout my day.


?Spend more time in nature. The serene environment connects me with my inner thoughts and consciousness.


?Honor the promises I make to myself as a phenomenal example of self-love. For example, I promise to wake up early and exercise every morning; I must exercise for my mental and physical well-being.


?Remember my “why” in every situation or circumstance I face. This will build up my discipline to grow and achieve success.


?Put my ego in check. Be willing to look closely at my mistakes and failures, listen to people who disagree with me, and allow the best thinking and ideas to rise to the top.


?Surround myself with people who have good energy. When people around me exude love and light, I can stay focused on my end goals and feel better about myself.


?Practice self-love. Practicing self-kindness lowers anxiety and stress and helps build self-esteem and resilience. In addition, having a good relationship with myself will help me avoid bad habits like people-pleasing and perfectionism.


?Visit Amberly Lago’s website to learn more about her and download her free gratitude journal. Also, check out and read her book, True Grit and Grace, and listen to her True Grit and Grace podcast.

About Amberly Lago

Amberly Lago is a Peak Performance Coach, TEDx Speaker, Podcaster, and a leading expert in the field of resilience and transformation. She is the best-selling author of “True Grit and Grace” and the founder of “UNSTOPPABLE Life Mastermind.”.

Through her book, coaching methods, and masterminds she has curated unique tools to teach others how to tap into their superpower of resilience and elevate their lives and businesses.

Amberly has most recently been featured on NBC’s The Today Show, The Doctors, Hallmark, and featured in magazines such as Shape, Fit Pregnancy, Yahoo, Forbes, USA Today, LA Style, Health Magazine, Keynote Speaker Magazine and Disability Magazine.

Disclaimer: The medical, fitness, psychological, mindset, lifestyle, and nutritional information provided on this website and through any materials, downloads, videos, webinars, podcasts, or emails is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical/fitness/nutritional advice, diagnoses, or treatment. Always seek the help of your physician, psychologist, psychiatrist, therapist, certified trainer, or dietitian with any questions regarding starting any new programs or treatments, or stopping any current programs or treatments. This website is for information purposes only, and the creators and editors, including Stephan Spencer, accept no liability for any injury or illness arising out of the use of the material contained herein, and make no warranty, express or implied, with respect to the contents of this website and affiliated materials.

 

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