Building Momentum Through Adversity: Lessons from Amy Purdy's Life

Jul 7, 2024



Amy Purdy shares insights on overcoming adversity, reframing challenges and building success. Learn how to stretch your comfort zone & embrace a growth mindset.

✍️ Episode Overview

In this engaging episode of the Five Core Live podcast, host Will Moore interviews Amy Purdy, a Paralympic champion, motivational speaker, and author. The conversation delves into Amy's remarkable journey of overcoming adversity and her insights on building a successful mindset.

Amy shares her experiences of losing both legs at 19 due to meningitis and how this life-altering event became a catalyst for personal growth and achievement. She discusses her transition from a devastating diagnosis to becoming a world-class athlete and sought-after speaker.

The discussion explores several key themes:

  1. The importance of reframing challenges as opportunities for growth

  2. Building confidence through small, incremental steps

  3. The role of curiosity and passion in pursuing goals

  4. Adapting to change, as exemplified by the shift to virtual speaking engagements during the COVID-19 pandemic

Amy emphasizes the power of perspective in overcoming obstacles and maintaining a positive outlook. She shares her habit of consciously reframing situations to find empathy and opportunity, even in difficult circumstances.

Will and Amy also touch on the nature of happiness and success, agreeing that it often lies in the journey and problem-solving process rather than reaching a specific end goal. They discuss the concept of "stretching your comfort zone" as a means of personal growth and achievement.

The episode concludes with Amy highlighting the importance of mindset in navigating life's challenges and achieving success. Her insights offer listeners valuable strategies for building resilience, pursuing passions, and maintaining a growth-oriented perspective in the face of adversity.

🔑 Key Takeaways

  1. Reframing Challenges: Amy Purdy emphasizes the importance of reframing challenges as opportunities for growth. By shifting perspective, what initially seems like a setback can become a catalyst for personal development and success. This mindset allowed Amy to transform the loss of her legs into a driving force behind her achievements in sports and public speaking.

  2. The Success Loop: Will Moore introduces the concept of the "success loop," where small actions lead to positive results, boosting confidence and motivation to take further action. This cycle creates momentum for continued growth and achievement, contrasting with the "failure loop" of complacency and inaction.

  3. Stretching Your Comfort Zone: Rather than abruptly jumping out of one's comfort zone, Amy advocates for gradually stretching it. This approach allows for steady progress and growth, making seemingly daunting tasks more approachable over time. It's particularly relevant in sports and personal development, where consistent small improvements lead to significant achievements.

  4. The Power of Curiosity: Amy highlights the importance of approaching new challenges and opportunities with curiosity rather than fear of failure. This mindset promotes a playful, exploratory approach to life and work, making the process enjoyable and reducing anxiety about potential outcomes.

  5. Adapting to Change: The conversation touches on how the COVID-19 pandemic forced many, including Amy, to adapt their work methods. This situation, while challenging, opened up new opportunities and efficiencies, demonstrating the importance of flexibility and seeing potential benefits in forced changes.

  6. The Nature of Happiness: Both Amy and Will discuss how true happiness often lies in the journey and problem-solving process rather than in reaching a specific goal. They emphasize the importance of finding satisfaction in daily progress and the act of overcoming challenges.

  7. Building Confidence: Through Small Steps Amy shares her experience as an athlete, explaining how confidence is built through a series of small, achievable steps. This incremental approach allows for steady progress and helps prevent overwhelming feelings when facing larger challenges.

  8. The Importance of Mindset: The conversation repeatedly returns to the crucial role of mindset in overcoming obstacles and achieving success. Amy's ability to maintain a positive, growth-oriented perspective has been key to her accomplishments in sports, public speaking, and personal life.

  9. Balancing Achievement and Contentment: Amy discusses the challenge of finding satisfaction in current achievements while maintaining drive for future goals. She shares her experience of feeling unsatisfied despite significant success, highlighting the need for balance between ambition and appreciation of present accomplishments.

  10. The Value of Perspective Shifting: Amy Purdy describes her habit of consciously shifting perspective in challenging situations, such as reframing a frustrating encounter with another driver. This practice helps maintain empathy, reduce stress, and find more positive ways to interpret and respond to difficult circumstances.


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🫅 BIO - Amy Purdy

Amy Purdy is a remarkable individual who has overcome extraordinary challenges to become a Paralympic champion, motivational speaker, author, and entrepreneur. At the age of 19, Amy lost both her legs below the knee due to bacterial meningitis. Despite this life-altering event, she persevered and went on to become a world-class snowboarder, winning multiple Paralympic medals including a bronze at the 2014 Sochi Games and a silver at the 2018 PyeongChang Games.

Beyond her athletic achievements, Amy gained widespread recognition as a contestant on "Dancing with the Stars," where she finished as runner-up. She's also a successful motivational speaker, delivering a powerful TED Talk and addressing audiences at major corporations worldwide.

Amy is the author of the New York Times bestselling book "On My Own Two Feet."Her story of resilience and determination has inspired millions, showcasing how adversity can be transformed into opportunity. Amy continues to push boundaries, challenge perceptions, and advocate for adaptive athletes and people with disabilities.


Will Moore is a gamification, habits and happiness expert.

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