Anoushé Husain : Paraclimber

Photo Credit: Sana Murad

Anoushé is a champion for all those experiencing barriers and self-limiting beliefs.

Born missing her right arm below the elbow, living with multiple health conditions, a cancer survivor, a Muslim and coming from an ethnic minority, Anoushé has never let what society or culture thinks she should do limit her or dictate the direction of her life. She is constantly breaking the mould and challenging not only her own beliefs about her own potential but also that of society and her own culture.

She has become a role model to anyone facing a self-limiting belief or barrier and is sharing her journey to help others unlock their potential. Anoushé candidly talks about her life, how she has remained resilient in the face of huge obstacles and talks about issues that we as a society do not talk about enough. In particular, Anoushé highlights the plight of those stigmatised by society in order to change the misconceptions around these groups. She is heavily driven to helping others learn to shed their self-limiting beliefs and help empower them to reach their potential.

A civil servant by day, Anoushé is a paraclimber in the UK and an ambassador for both Ehlers-Danlos Support UK and Limbpower, the leading charity for amputees and those with limb difference. She also supports the Grit&Rock Foundation which aims to help teenage girls aged 13 to 15 from deprived, inner city backgrounds develop greater grit, determination and self-confidence.

Anoushé is the 2017 Asian Women of Achievement Award winner for Sport and the 2017 recipient of the Helen Rollason Award for Inspiration at The Sunday Times Sportswomen of the Year Awards.

Tell us a little about yourself and what you do.

I am a civil servant by day and train as a Paraclimber (disabled climber), and when I’m doing neither of those things, I support a load of charities as either an Ambassador or a Patron  (Limbpower, Ehlers-Danlos Support UK, Grit & Rock) run a social initiative (Paraclimbing London) and write articles talking about the things that we as a society aren’t great at talking about. I was born missing my right arm below the elbow, had cancer 8 years ago which had a lasting impact on my left arm, have had multiple other health issues including Ehlers-Danlos and Crohns.

What inspires you?

Seeing people accept the vulnerability that comes with being out of ones comfort zone, scared or at a low moment in life and watching them harness it to do something positive 

What books have greatly influenced your life?

Brenée Brown is by far my favourite author and is the reason I decided to talk about my life challenges publicly. 

How has a failure, or apparent failure, set you up for later success? Do you have a “favourite failure” of yours?

I love to fail because that’s when I learn the most. In fact, I consider myself a learner rather than a failure in those moments. Words matter.  My body failing me several times has led to me taking up climbing and becoming a change maker. It helped me find a purpose in life I don’t think I would have otherwise.  All “failures” hurt to some degree but a hip injury which pulled me out of competitions a couple of years back led to some of my most heartfelt, vulnerable and very powerful public speeches. 

If you could have a gigantic billboard anywhere with anything on it — metaphorically speaking, getting a message out to millions or billions — what would it say and why?

Fight for your happy. 

Failure is inevitable, it’s what you do next that matters. Your comfort zone is like a muscle, the more you use it, the more it grows and gets stronger

Ultimately though, I live by this mantra: 

In the last 2 years, what new belief, behaviour, or habit has most improved your life?

Accepting that I can’t control what is happening around me or to me but I can control how I react to it.

What advice would you give to a smart, driven student about to enter the “real world? What advice should they ignore?

Work hard, keep trying new things until you find something that makes you happy. Money isn’t everything. 

Photo Credit: Nyla Sammon

When you feel overwhelmed or unfocused, or have lost your focus temporarily, what do you do?

I actually ground myself using food, drinks, the climbing wall or Simba, my lion. 

Tell us something that would surprise us about you? 

I have stage fright! 

Whats been the biggest challenge you’ve overcome?

I don’t think any one challenge is the biggest. So many have been big for different reasons. 

Photo Credit: Ben Grubb 

What would be your message to the AWMB community? 

Fear of trying something new, stepping out of your comfort zone or being seen as vulnerable is normal. Try it anyway! 

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