Karen Walrond is an accomplished photographer, blogger, author, speaker and, in a previous life, successful corporate attorney working in the world of oil and gas.
Today, she focuses her efforts on celebrating diversity and authenticity; helping people experience and appreciate The Beauty of Different, her first book, and encouraging them to Make Light, her second, about-to-be published book.
It seems about as far from the world of oil and gas as a person can get.
Karen’s a great guest on the Disrupt Yourself Podcast, and in addition to her personal disruption history, she shares the story of an experience that strikes me as a beautiful metaphor for disrupting ourselves.
She certified as a scuba diver. She self-describes as a “nervous diver.”
“I am not a daredevil; I hate rollercoasters. I will never jump out of a plane.”
During an early diving experience in the Cayman Islands, the dive master took her group on a trench dive. She didn’t know what that would mean.
“We’re going in between rocks so it’s almost like a little, not a canyon, but…maybe a foot off of the sea floor going between these rocks and then suddenly the floor just disappeared and we had reached the trench. And the trench was 25,000 feet; something like that. You couldn’t see the bottom anymore; it was gone.”
I expected Karen to describe her terror; after all, who wants to suddenly be hovering over 25,000 feet of water? That’s a long way to sink.
‘There was a current or something, and it pushed me out over this trench and it is the closest thing to flying I’ve ever felt….I turn and I looked and I realize I’ve just swum off a cliff face….”
That’s the part that sounds like disruption to me—swimming off a cliff face. Terrifying.
“If you had told me what was going to happen ahead of time,” Karen says, “I would have freaked out….There’s a lot that happens in diving that if you tell me on the boat, ‘Here’s what’s going to happen. You’re going to go down there and see sharks,’ I’d probably be like, ‘Yeah, I’m not going down there.’ But then when you go down there and you see a shark, it’s the coolest thing.”
Swimming off a cliff face?
“It was amazing; it was the most thrilling experience I’d had at that point.”
That’s the other part that sounds like disruption to me—terrifying in the abstract but thrilling in the execution.
Hear Karen’s full inspiring story by subscribing on iTunes or listening above.
Resources Mentioned in the Show and Transcript
- Make Light: Stories of Bright Sparks, Slow Burns & Thriving Out Loud by Karen Walrond
- Forty Women to Watch Over 40
- The Make Light Show with Karen Walrond
- The Beauty of Different: Observations of a Confident Misfit by Karen Walrond
- Erin Loechner – Design for Mankind
- Ashton Applewhite – This Chair Rocks
- Brené Brown