The Miracle At Walgreens

A day that saved my life.

When I got out of the television news business 12 + years ago, I was not my typical happy-go-lucky self. I had put on weight and wasn’t eating healthy. In other words, I had taken myself off my to-do list. I wasn’t my priority. I let myself go. 

I remember being at a Walgreens and noticed they were offering free blood pressure screenings. I thought, “What the heck, I may as well get my blood pressure checked.” The nurse strapped on the pump and checked my levels. The look on her face told me that something was wrong. She took my blood pressure again. Silence set in before she spoke to me. She clasped my hands, leaned in, and said something that changed my life. “Your numbers are 220/115. You’re at a critical stroke alert and need to see a doctor right away.” Being in my thirties, I thought I was much too young for a health issue, but you can imagine the fear I felt that dark day as self-awareness set in.

I quickly got on some blood pressure medications and started to eat whole foods instead of processed foods. I re-engaged with Mother Nature. I gave up alcohol and eventually lost weight. Months turned into a few years and I eventually lost 50 pounds. Today, I no longer take any medications and feel on top of the world. I’m not perfect (who is?) but I am making progress.

Perhaps it was divine guidance that somehow I made it to Walgreens that day, but whatever it was, it was a great gift. It gave me the strength to act.

Faith without works is dead. I’ve always been a faithful person, but faith will only get me so far. Without “works," I was not going to change. I know this to be true.

In our personal or professional journeys, we often hit road blocks or discover things that are not going our way. Well, here’s a little something I learned: nothing changes if nothing changes.

The miracle at Walgreens helped me make these big changes. 

I stopped saying it was meant to be. That was an excuse to be lazy. With a dose of self-awareness, I began taking responsibility. I was overweight and at a critical stroke alert because of the unhealthy choices I was making, NOT because it was meant to be. When I was at that stroke alert, it happened because of what I was doing to myself. Period.

Create a vision board. I have all kinds of uplifting quotes and books around my home that motivate me. I read them daily to feed my soul. Whatever you feed gets stronger and it opens doors to greatness.  

A friend and colleague of mine by the name of John Larson was a former Dateline correspondent for NBC News. One of his goals was to win a duPont Columbia Silver Baton Award for investigative journalism. The award is considered the Pulitzer Prize for broadcast news. He literally cut out a picture of the award and placed it in his closet so each morning when he got up he saw the picture of the award. He manifested his vision and the story that he was producing won that prestigious award.

I took an inventory of my life and asked myself, “who’s in my boat?” Who I surround myself with defines me. I wanted to surround myself with more winners and attract smarter people into my network. It’s simple, the more winners you have in your boat leads you through the rough chops. I had to let go of some of the friends who brought dark energy into my life. I remind myself to let go or be dragged down.

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I got out of my comfort zone and dared to get uncomfortable. With a little humility, I reached out to a few friends who guided me along. They became my mentors, people whom I admire and trust. It’s all about reaching out. Get involved with social media. Embrace technology. Join LinkedIn and Facebook groups. Write blogs. Ask questions. Engage. Be curious. Be bold!

Action was my ticket to freedom that is baseline reality.

Whatever it is that you desire, clarify it. Visualize it. Own it. I put myself back on the to-do list and now make myself a priority. When I am not a priority, everything around me will suffer including not only my work life, but my family life as well.

A recent family trip to Italy.

A recent family trip to Italy.

Today, I am living my dream. First off as a dad and husband and I count my blessings for my family.

I’m also Chief Storyteller and CEO of Creative Soul Video, my video production and marketing business and I feel like I am thriving. 

12 years ago I experienced a miracle at Walgreens. Without it, I am not sure I’d be here to tell the story.


Mark Anderson is the Chief Storyteller and CEO of Creative Soul Video, an award-winning marketing communications company specializing in visual storytelling / video production. Mark has won over 20 Emmys for his work as a visual storyteller.

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