Transitioning from the Armed Forces, whilst adjusting to an acquired disability, comes with challenges. Invictus Games athlete and motivational speaker, Mark Ormrod, speaks to Enable about his road to civvy street and breaking barriers.
Mark Ormrod joined the Royal Marines at 17-years-old, and had already completed his first operational tour in Iraq at 19. Mark left the Marines in 2006, but struggled to resettle into civilian life.
“I felt like I had no pride,” explains Mark. “It was little things that got me down; like when you go into a bank and they ask your occupation. Before, I could say Royal Marines, but now I was having to say I was between jobs, so I struggled with that.”
Re-joining the Marines in 2007, less than six months later, Mark was deployed to Afghanistan.
On Christmas Eve that year, Mark stepped on an improvised explosive device (IED). To save his life, both his legs were amputated above the knee, along with his right arm above the elbow.
“Leaving the Marines the second time round, after my amputations, was easier, to be honest,” says Mark.
“I think that’s probably due to all the care I had on the way out. There were so many more options available to me – I don’t know if they were there the first time, and if they were, I certainly wasn’t made aware of them.”
Mark took a significant experience, which could have upended his life, and turned it into a positive. He’s now an accomplished motivational speaker, travelling the country giving inspirational speeches.
“I just like to help people change perspective,” enthuses Mark.
“But I enjoy sharing my story as well and I like answering questions at the end: I can talk about what I love doing in my life, and just share experiences with people and give them some advice, too.”
Not only has Mark found his passion in speaking, he has competed at the Invictus Games, bringing home an astonishing 11 medals over two years – including four gold.
He’s also an award-winning author, and recently debuted the documentary following his story, #NoLimits.
“I think, the key to getting through any adversity or any challenge is proactively and consciously deciding what it is you focus your attention on,” advises Mark.
“Whatever situation you’re in, focus on the goods and the positives. Also, put things in perspective in your own life. In the beginning, I thought I was the most hard done by person in the world. You just have to look at it like a rebirth, with a couple of years’ experience.”
**Cover photo by Matt King/Getty Images for Invictus Games Sydney**