From “rather be dead than paralysed” to paralympic champion – Karen Darke | EP62 recap
“Ability is a state of mind, not a state of body”
This week on the show we have the pleasure of being joined by Karen Darke, MBE, MA, PhD.
Karen’s purpose is to support people in transforming a challenge into an opportunity. With a deep understanding and lived experience of how trauma and life events can create stress, fear, and dis-ease, Karen has a passion for helping people move beyond perceived limitations towards expansive possibility.
A climbing accident that resulted in paraplegia led her away from studying gold as a ‘rock-doctor’ into becoming a ‘mind miner’, exploring experientially how we can learn to be our own alchemist and transform the ‘mud’ of life to discover ‘inner gold’.
Exploring the boundaries of what is possible is something Karen has personally embraced. Her curiosity for what it takes to overcome self-doubt, face fear, and step-up performance has led her to her own experiments in high-performance sport and also in pushing the boundaries of adaptive adventure exploration. She became a Paralympic hand-cycling champion (Rio 2016), World Champion in Paratriathlon, a silver medalist in her first Paralympic games (London 2012), and is the Guinness World Record holder for land speed by arm power, each time requiring deep engagement with her intrinsic motivational stack. She has also sit-skied across Greenland, sea kayaked at extreme latitudes of the planet, and handcycle across the world’s big mountain ranges and with coastlines and rivers of all the continents. These experiences combined with unique studies of the mind, resilience, and performance have led to helping people view life as an adventure, and to embrace all its’ experiences as opportunities to learn and grow.
Whilst hand-cycling and adventurous journeys are Karen’s primary flow activities, coaching and expanding possibilities for others is her second. She is fascinated with the power of the mind and language to positively impact emotions; improving presence, performance, and possibility.
What you’ll find in this episode:
(06:15) – the moment Karen became a paraplegic
(27:00) – this mechanism will get you curious in fearful situations
(38:39) – avoid these because they’re giving you limiting beliefs
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