Talking ‘Finding Your Why’ with David Smith, MBE.

David was born with club foot and spent the early years of his life undergoing multiple surgeries and learning to walk in special boots and plaster casts. After pursuing able bodied sports at international level, including karate, bobsleigh and athletics, he found himself on the UK paralympic rowing squad. In 2010, after some hiccups in training, he underwent routine tests including an MRI scan of his spine, that ultimately led to the discovery of a tumour which was crushing his spinal cord and required emergency, life threatening spinal surgery.. Less than 2 years after his first surgery he won gold in the mixed coxed four in the paralympic games. He then moved onto the GB para-cycling programme, with the aspiration of racing in Rio. However, in 2014, his tumour came back and since then he has undergone a further 5 enormous operations. His operation in 2016 left him paralysed. David is someone who has to live both with a spinal cord injury and the fear of his tumour progressing yet he is someone who LIVES in the true sense of the word.

In this episode we discuss:

  • The importance of finding your why and understanding your purpose
  • Not simply climbing to the top of a ladder simply because it’s there
  • Taking the time to discover your true identity
  • Learning to move from ‘human doing’ mode to ‘human being’ mode
  • The challenges of living with a spinal cord injury
  • Transitioning from being an elite athlete to an athlete who exercises for wellbeing
  • Strategies to bounce back from rock bottom
  • Using sports psychology as a patient

David epitomises resilience, and encapsulates the remarkable ability we all have as humans, even if we don’t yet realise it, to always bounce back. This conversation has something for everybody regardless of cancer and it might just trigger you to take the time to really ‘find your why’. Enjoy!

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