Have you ever heard of Alison Wright? If not, here’s a link to her website. At the Women in Cable Telecommunications Leadership Conference, I was fortunate enough to hear her remarkable story in person. I could hardly believe she had endured years of physical therapy to walk again when she seemed so full of life.

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Her book, Learning to Breathe, tells the story of the grueling hours she spent traveling in the bed of a truck on the way to medical help and how she used that experience to catapult herself forward. She manages to overcome one of the biggest obstacles you could ever imagine and literally make it out on top by hiking Mt. Kilamanjaro. The best part about it? Alison is just like all of us. As you read the book, she seems like someone you’d love to grab a beer with (after all, she did work in what was considered the most dangerous pub in the world. sorry, spoiler!). We all have dreams and chances we wish we would take. With all the poor role models nowadays, Alison is an inspiration for all of us to be more adventurous, loving, and grateful contributors to the world.

Here’s a few things I learned from my read:

  • It’s never too late. After rounds of different doctors, terrifying travel experiences, and close-calls, Alison could have given up. She uses each challenge to motivate herself ultimately achieving her goal of hiking Mt. Kilamanjaro. It’s a subtle reminder that if we don’t hit our mark within our expectations doesn’t mean it’s all for nothing. Sometimes, we have to give ourselves a second chance.
  • Adventure is good for the soul. As I read through the book, I couldn’t help but think that Alison wouldn’t be able to offer the perspective she does without her experiences. Her global travels have led her to appreciate life in a different way than those of us that haven’t seen the hardships or beauties of the rest of the world. It’s a good reminder that new experiences and environments are good for the soul.
  • Community goes a long way. In all her stories abroad or domestically, Alison has a support system around her that she’s created. This community provides her with help when she needs it, but her ability to foster these relationships with individuals from all different cultures is something we should all admire and aspire to. You never know when you’ll need a helping hand.
  • Gratitude never has a negative outcome. Most importantly, Alison takes time throughout the novel to express gratitude for the community that supported her so well. This even includes traveling back across the world to visit those that played a role in her recovery. We could all take a page out of that lesson book.

You can purchase your own copy of Learning to Breathe HERE.

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