by Suzanne Andrews
Overcoming Death Defying Odds: A True Story
This is a fairly personal blog. But I hope it inspires you to keep going, to never give up on your dreams.
You might know me from my DVDs like 30 Day Bladder Fix or from my PBS TV series, Functional Fitness with Suzanne Andrews®.
But today I'd like to share something that you might not know about me...
Twenty years ago, I left a safe great paying job to start this crazy dream of producing a fitness show. I wanted to inspire people and help them improve their lives. I didn't really know how, but as I always say 'A journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.' Even if that first step has some pretty big bumps that included:
- A car accident that injured my neck and back (that’s where the Back and Neck DVD came from).
Surgery complications that resulted in eerily similar circumstances like the late Joan Rivers surgery gone wrong- a lady I had worked with while at CBS studios in New York City. (died on the operating table)!
A work accident while treating a patient that made my left shoulder totally useless – I couldn’t lift it one inch! (the patient lost control of her power wheelchair and the force from holding back her chair so she wouldn’t get crushed tore up my shoulder). It took me a year to regain function of my left shoulder and just one week later, my right shoulder tore while working with another patient. Another year that included surgery and lots of therapy. The most painful recovery you could ever go through. Worse than child birth.
At that time, no one knew me. TV studios turned down three of my proposals, hordes of potential sponsors didn’t return phone calls. Many were kind. Some were cold. None believed. Imagine the frustration of everyone telling you NO. For some reason, I just didn't let their opinions dictate my potential.
My first DVD, Beginners Dynamic Yoga was a DVD about releasing stress and accomplishing your goal and I knew I would accomplish my goal to help women over 40 regain their health with programs that were not like anything you see anywhere else. While Beginners Dynamic Yoga was the first yoga video that you didn’t have to be a contortionist or require you to get on the floor, I still wanted to add another dimension to my workouts.
At that time, there weren’t other programs that offered two to three fitness levels for specific health conditions. And degreed medical professionals showing exercises in both sitting and standing was simply unheard of! Other fitness programs didn’t have doctors giving health tips and again I was the first. Being the first is not all it’s cracked up to be because you have to convince the powers that be that there is a strong need for your idea. People who sit in offices and despise exercise.
Yet I knew there was a need for a corrective exercise program that helped people overcome health challenges like overactive bladder, arthritis and osteoporosis in the comfort of their home and so I persevered.
Finally an executive saw the wisdom in my proposal. But it didn’t come easy: I volunteered numerous hours working 7 days a week and risked my finances to achieve my dream. The show became a success with PBS, and broadcast on 159 stations.
The reality is it's okay that those professionals doubted me. My past didn't reveal anything about me becoming a #1 Best Selling DVD producer with 30 Day Bladder Fix DVD, COPD DVD and the award winning Arthritis DVD. (I've designed from conception to completion 35 shows with 10 more not yet released).
Nothing about my circumstances back then would indicate my series would reach an area of 49 million on Public Television. No one imagined my DVDs would be on Collage Video, my favorite fitness DVD site.
I simply BELIEVED that if my intention was to serve and I demanded the best of myself every day then things would turn out well.
Luckily, they did. And so I say this to you my friend... Never let rejection, ridicule or doubt from others slow you down. Wake up each day and follow your heart and dream. When you're starting out - they'll reject you. When you're successful, they'll reject you. So what's going to keep you going? When you find the answer to that question – don’t let go of your dream. BELIEVE in YOURSELF. I believe in you!
Suzanne Andrews founded Functional Fitness in 2008, the most popular fitness series for boomers and seniors broadcasting on over 159 Public Television stations throughout the US and Canada. Read Suzanne’s inspiring comeback story of how she survived a near fatal accident, From Deaths Door to Producing a National Fitness Series. Feel free to send Suzanne a message here.