Breaking through the Fear! Finding Inner Strength

by Marianne  - May 21, 2011

Hi everyone,

Today for a change, I felt like just writing.  Often my fingers end up saying more than I can ever bring myself to speak out loud.  I have always been more articulate when writing than when speaking. I guess when you speak to people you are facing their expectations and judgements directly and risk being criticised, ridiculed or rejected  – and not many people are good at taking that on the chin! I will openly admit that accepting criticism is one thing I struggle with, even to this day.  In fact, I also struggle with compliments – I never know what to say and end up feeling very uncomfortable, deep down I actually hate being the centre of attention – even though I seem to be there more and more … go figure!

As a result of these fears and the underlying “shyness” in my bones, I have often felt unsure of myself, self-conscious and totally terrified of speaking to a crowd of people – it just isn’t natural for me.

Now, at this point a lot of you might be thinking why on earth I became a nurse, why did I learn to teach fitness and why in the world would I ever start a blog where I broadcast myself for the world to see??

A huge reason behind all of these things was to fight against my natural instinct to hide in the shadows. Deep down I know I CAN DO loads of things. In fact I could probably make a decent stab and anything once, and I am usually determined to be the best at it (but that’s another story about my competitive nature). My problem was always the fear of what people would think of me, I could never just let go and be myself! As I have got older, this has improved but, I still feel that fear and I probably always will.  What matters is, how you deal with that fear … do you let it control you, or do you take the bull by the horns?!

When I was 19, I started a Biomedical Engineering Degree, thinking that my creative mind could one day make me millions by designing some ingenious medical device to help people across the world. Soon I realised this path would lead me to the comfort of either a lab or office where I would happy work in my own environment and rarely interact with another human-being for the most of my working life. Maybe that’s an exaggeration but it certainly differs hugely when comparing it to what I do now.  Sick of the always choosing the “comfort zone”, I left this course in favor of nursing 🙂

In doing nursing I made a choice to try and conquer my fears and use my quiet confidence to help bring comfort and support to others.  I remember the first day I spent on a hospital ward as a student nurse, crapping myself that a patient would even talk to me! Or the first day I spent as a fully qualified Staff Nurse – I was like a beacon for all to see and direct questions, concerns and demands at – there was no hiding behind the “I’m only a student, let me get the Staff Nurse” line then – I WAS the staff nurse!! Then, the first day I was the senior nurse in charge of the ward during the shift – when I became an even brighter beacon for the managers, the junior staff members and all the rest … everything was directed at me. Running to hide was (and still is) an ever present urge but, NEVER an option.  My mum used to say to “feel the fear and do it anyway” (think that is a name of a book actually) which I think is great advice!

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, I know that people tend to see me as a confident person and they may assume this comes easy to me or that I have always been this way. But like most people, I have grown into the person I am now and, it was a long bumpy road.  I can safely say that I could have so easily ended up a polar opposite to who I am today, but I am so glad I chose the road I did. What made the difference was my ability to understand my weaknesses and strive to overcome them.  My weakness has now become my strength!

With everything that has happened in my life and the lives of my family and friends, I have come to truly believe that strength, of every kind, is born within us.  And I say “born” for a very good reason, in that we do not naturally possess this type of strength from a young age nor can it be taught. Instead, it grows and develops inside us as we mature.  We need to nurture it by acknowledging our vulnerabilities and our weaknesses to really let our inner strength shine through.  Throughout our lives, this strength turns to wisdom as it ages with us. It is almost like our best friend or, some may even call it God. Whatever it is, I am glad to be facing my fears, or I would never have done nursing, started myomytv or, even done this:

Sorry about the cameraman-ship :/

If we let fear or uncertainty rule our lives or dictate our decisions then how can we ever achieve our dreams? For me, I always want to have hope and faith that things will pan out. Hope is an amazing feeling as it means anything possible.  Even if it doesn’t happen, I can always say “I tried”.  Some may say there is a fine line between hope and denial, but I opt for seeing beyond the “can’t”, “shouldn’t”, “that will never work”, “let’s give up” cop-outs of this world – why can’t something work if you put in the effort, or at least give it a fair go!

In life, fitness, relationships and faith there will always be fear, challenges and, there will be disappointments and set-backs. Whether we progress and overcome these obstacles is down to (among other things) inner strength, determination and hope.  All of us need to conquer, grow and LIVE – let nothing hold you back in life and, if you want something … feel the fear and, do it anyway!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowline. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

– Mark Twain

Have any of you had similar experiences with finding your inner strength?Feel free to share your stories here!




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  1. “What you need to hear when you need to hear it”. I don’t know why you give so much for no monetary reimbursements, but thank you for doing so nonetheless. I and I’m sure many others have found inspiration and information aplenty in what you’ve shared with us all 🙂

  2. Marianne,

    thank you for being so transparent. Your words are inspiring and encouraging to me in my journey to become a more confident individual and face my fears trusting that God will direct me as I venture out into the unkown. I love the quote by Mark Twain… “Explore, Dream, Discover.” The challenge is always in applying this. The only easy day was yesterday, right?



    1. You are so right about “yesterday”. I hope you will reach your goals, it doesn’t happen overnight, as I am sure you know, but one day you will look back and see just how much you have grown. Fears are ever present in my life and I worry about the same things I always did, but I try my best to be aware of them, but take a different path. I use my inner confidence and intuition to help me a lot. It’s hard to describe. Like I am terrified by being put on the spot – when I am, I panic like mad, sweat like crazy, but I just have to suck it up and do it anyway – The feeling afterward is like no other – AMAZING, and you feel you could do anything at that point… totally worth it for that 😀

      When there is something I am dreading, I usual try to face it than run. If you run, it only chases you anyway, so there’s no benefit.


  3. Hi Marianne

    Congratulations on your successful….and continue to always have faith in God….and the more faith we have in God….the less fear we will have.

    The book “Uprising: A Revolution of the Soul”, by Erwin Raphael McManus boldly invites you to join the revolution. He illuminates the desperate heart cry of every human being – “I want to live!” – and then serves as a guide on a quest to answer that cry.

    I recommend you get this book…’s life changing. below are just some of his quotes from this book. Enjoy…

    “When we are in love with ourselves, we are prone to only listening to what we want to hear. We become more than willing to trade insight for affirmation. We want to feel good about ourselves more than we want ourselves to become good.”

    “Selfish ambition makes us emotional, relational, and material black holes, consuming everything around us. All that has the potential for light is swallowed up by the darkness of our hearts.”

    “When we are driven by vain conceit, we become slaves to performance. In our desperate quest to gain the praise of others, we end up living our lives as inauthentic performers.”

    “As long as we’re living for ourselves, and our lives are about us, we will strive to control everything around us. The more self-oriented we are, the more controlling we are.”

    “One of the most perplexing things about a life of greed and pride is that we become slaves to shame and guilt.”

    “The shape of your character is the shape of your future.”

    “Ironically, when we are most full of ourselves, we are most likely to make fools of ourselves.”

    “Humility is not about having a low self-image or poor self-esteem. Humility is about self-awareness.”

    “The word humble comes from humus, which is simply translated ‘earth’ or ‘dirt.’ Humility is about coming to grips with our humanity.”

    “It seems hard for us to believe, but God is not impressed with talent nearly as much as He is with character.”

    “When we humble ourselves, we choose the place of least honor and allow God to call us to any role of servant-hood He might desire.”

    “We must make ourselves nothing in order to receive everything that God longs to give us.”

    “The real test of submission is when we disagree, when we don’t like what God has said because it goes contrary to our personal interests or desires. If we find ourselves unwilling to submit to truth in those cases, then we are living by truth not because we agree with God, but because God agrees with us.”

    “Submission is not about powerlessness; it is about meekness. To be meek is to have controlled strength.”

    “We cannot be entrusted with authority over others if we cannot be trusted to live under the authority of others.”

    “The quest for honor is not where we pursue humility for greatness, but where we pursue the greatness of humility.”

    “In recent times in our culture we have put an increasing value on authenticity and a decreasing focus on integrity.”

    “Our claim that we are committed to being authentic can actually be a façade for self-indulgence.”

    “Our separations from God has not only made us echoes, but imitations, no longer reflections of the Creator, but replicas of a poor copy.”

    “While religion works to restrain our actions from the outside in, God always works from the inside out. Only this kind of change lasts… Your motivation is not what others think of you, nor even the consequence of your actions if you choose another way, but your longing to have the image of God revealed in you. You simply want to be a different person.”

    “Integrity is not just about who you are, but who you seek to become.”

    “When we lack integrity, we live in fear. While that fear may manifest itself in many ways, it is fundamentally the fear of getting caught, of someone knowing who we really are. When we walk in righteousness and love what is right, when we live lives of integrity, we have nothing to fear at all.”

    “How often do we place more emphasis on the development of our skills than the development of our character?”

    “Integrity is not just about keeping our hands clean. At times it is about getting our hands dirty.”

    “The real measure of our power is the freedom and opportunity we create for others.”

    “It’s a wonderful thing when you look inside your own heart and like what you see.”

    “How in the world could you ever imagine a life of faith that does not require risk? Faith and risk are inseparable.”

    “Great dreams require great courage.”

    “The path to courage would be paved through a life of meditating, day and night, on what God had spoken.”

    “Even if you’re only certain about a few things, if you will live by them without wavering, you will find yourself moving forward with increasing velocity.”

    “When our lives are shaped by the heart of God, we are able to respond without hesitation when the moment calls for courage.”

    “Courage is not the absence of fear; it is the absence of self.”

    “Bitterness requires that you live in the past; hope requires that you live for tomorrow. Gratitude not only allows you to enjoy the present, but keeps you looking forward to the future.”

  4. Hello,
    My native language is Spanish, so use a translator to write.
    Sorry for the lack of clarity in my writing.
    I Jugha football since age 5, thanks to my father, so to 22 years of age.
    I liked basketball, and my father’s hidden practice until entering college.
    In college, I was attracted to karate, and sport as a discipline rather than as a weapon of attack, managed to reach the coffee belt and had very pleasant experiences.
    When I graduated as a teacher of mathematics started in high school.
    At that time I injured my back, a interdiscal ernie, I had surgery 19 years ago reconstruyendoe two lumbar discs with bone grafts from the iliac crest.
    Everything seemed to collapse, sport zero, zero effort for a long year.
    I started slowly, with great patience and discipline, after four years, was running, mountain biking and start strength training with light kettlebells.
    I feel like I lost everything after d ela operation of the column, unable to play sports as before. It is very sad, so the lesions appear without warning.
    But now I think I have more than before, for I have learned to overcome fear with patience and attention.
    I know my body and my character much more, and in more detail since then, and best, I feel I’m growing more as a human being because I understand better, to the other. Fear makes us attentive and so appreciate the world and our neighbors.

    1. Thank you for sharing this with us Manuel, you have overcome a lot! You must have a very strong and determined character to have overcome all of those obstacles – hats off to you 🙂

      That’s another great point you made: “Fears make us attentive”. It’s very easy to get so self-obsessed in this world and focus too much on worrying about our own achievements and / or failures, that we forget to appreciate everything and everyone all around us.

      Thanks again for this comment 😀

  5. Hi Marianne,
    First off, what can’t you do? lol…lovely voice.
    I want to say how much I do enjoy your “rants”. Actually it was the Christmas rant that kind of hooked me. I found this site through Barefoot warrior, while stalking youtube for kettlebell instruction…lots of good info, but finding the right philosophy and mindset,..different can of worms. You encourage and inspire, and have been there for your loyal followers. Im a big fan of the
    As for finding the inner strength…a great philosopher once said ‘everybody’s got a game plan ’till they get smacked in the mouth”. Maybe a tad blunt, but very true. Adversity, and how we stand up to it is the difference maker. Adversity or hardship shouldn’t define a person- how they deal with it is what ultimately defines us. We all find that strength in different places. For me, when the sh*t hit the fan in my life, and it was all I could do to get out of bed in the morning, I found strength in the faces of my boys, (4 and 5 at the time) who depended on me to be there for them. The thought of disappointing them, or failing them in some way was far worse than anything I had going on at the time. And I did get by…and things are, for me, better than I could have imagined at the time.
    I find strength here, as the people who post, offer advice, encoragement and a pat on the back for goals acheived.
    There’s a song by a band called “the Mighty Mighty Bosstones” called “The Impression that I Get”. It says, in a nutshell, that there’s always someone worse off, and that someone could be you…it always picks me up, without fail..
    anyway, my 2 cents…

    1. Haha John, my singing is quite good, as in I can hold a tune, but I’m not going to enter the X-Factor any time soon. Thank you though. It illustrates something that I always wanted to do, but never thought I could – due to nerves and fear of making a idiot of myself. Turned out alright and I have done it again since, plus I have the honour to sing at my mum’s wedding this October 😀

      Thank you for your 2c’s which is very inspiring and moving – your children must be your life 🙂

      I didn’t think I ranted in this post. Next time I will consider a proper rant 😉


  6. Marianne,

    Hi. I completely understand where you are coming from. Also, I think you don’t see yourself the way everyone else sees you. A strong, competitive,and don’t give up type of person. I always come back to your site because I see that in your videos. And I think,”If she can do it. Why can’t I?” I am new to kettlebells and I am not where you are now but I will be evetually. hahahaha… Thanks for all your hard work.

    1. Thank you Maria. I believe all of us are capable of much more than we initially think. I agree that we often don’t see the good things about us that others seem to see. You will achieve your goals 🙂 I am happy to be helping you believe in yourself!


  7. Thanks for sharing your story,Marianne.I love this article!There are a lot of positive values that I could learn from u.

  8. Hi Marianne and all myomytv viewers!

    Thank you for you honesty in this article about fear – a fear that prevents us from being free to reach our natural potential in life.

    You are quite right, you don’t come across as anything other than assured and confident. The thing I like about what you do here that it comes over as natural, not contrived or boastful. I have viewed a lot of blogs and the instructors are often overtly loud and aggressive; it just turns me off.

    Like you, most people see me as gregarious and confident. I find that amusing because that’s not how I see myself. I struggled with learning from an early age, academically because of mind dyslexia and emotionally because of a strict upbringing loaded with tough-love, short on understanding and support.

    I got through my teenage fears by drinking, literally. I got loaded to get me through social occasions I just couldn’t handle sober. By the time I was thirty I was addicted and fast losing my mind, body and soul. Fortunately I had a healthy fear of what might happen to me if I continued and just enough humility to accept help from some very wise and kind individuals.

    One of these is a wee 78 year old Irish fella – I call him spiritual Frank. He is my Mr. Mayagi. Frank lost his family though alcoholism, when he got sober he became a Buddhist and this are two of the stories he told me about fear.

    1) Fear is watching the long grass move in the hedgerow and becoming transfixed by the thought of the man-eating tiger that is lurking there ready to pounce and devour you mouthful by mouthful. The truth of the matter is that it is a tiny field-mouse scurrying about on the ground that is making the long grass move and not a tiger at all – our minds distort and project our insecurities creating a fear that has no foundation or reality.
    2) A young man is washing his clothes on the banks of the Ganges when he slips and falls in. He can’t swim. The current takes him out in to the river where he will surely drown. He needs something to grab hold of to float. The only thing within grasping distance is a pussy, bloated, stinking corpse, full of gassy, vile air. The last thing the young man wants to grab the corpse, his fear is so great; yet it is the only thing that will save him. Overcoming his fear he grasps the corpse and uses it as a raft to safely swim to shore – face your fears, nurture them, get to know them for that understanding will become one of your greatest assets.

    When I first freed myself from self-centred fear I had an epiphany. I threw in my job and started a business I had always dreamed of doing. I also started working out. That was twelve years ago and my life is now completely different, I am completely different, yet the same. I like to believe that by overcoming fear and other short-comings we become the people we were always meant to be and I like to believe that at our core all humans are good, some of us just get a little bit lost along the way.

    1. Thank you Adam for this reply, it just shows how strong you must be to have completely turned your life around!

      My teenage years were a nightmare for me. At the age of 14, I was out drinking every weekend (unknown to my parents). I was such a silly girl, but I felt so confident when I was drunk – and I craved that feeling! Also I got into fights in school, was rude to the reachers and even got half my hair shaved off in rebellion :/ Guess it was easier to be a negative person and have people fear me, than face my own insecurities. So I understand what you are saying.

      You were so brave to pack in your job and start your own business – great stuff.

      Thanks again Adam


  9. Loved reading this, and I can totally relate to “feeling the fear and doing it anyway” (and you’re right, it is a book). Getting to the start on race morning for my first triathlon was full of fear and excitement, but as the day went on, I realized there was a ton of people in the same boat!

    I’ve read stories about performers that are still deathly afraid of being on stage (or “escaped” to channel a different perssona), and you realize that no one has ever started their lives as an athlete, public speaker, performer, what have you. It comes down to realizing you’re allowed to make mistakes, you’re allowed to look silly, you’re allowed to have weaknesses (and most importantly, you’re allowed to learn!).

    It’s a lot like a saying in a magazine ad I saw one time – “It’s all about making the start line.” 🙂

  10. Hi Marianne,

    I really enjoyed reading this post and other people’s comments – thank you.
    As a fellow shrinking violet, I’ve learned that I have to keep pushing myself to do things that I find nerve-racking or uncomfortable, otherwise I will just retreat further and further into myself. We all have a lot to offer and it’s important to be proud of who you are. If other people criticise, who is to say they are right? Don’t give those people power by attaching any value to what they say.
    I’ve also learned that you can’t just settle for a situation because it’s the easy option – whether that be in your relationship or career. You have to face your fears and strive for the life you want. Perhaps you may not achieve what you imagine in your wildest dreams, but you will make a life where you are happy and content that you have found your rightful place in the world. For me, that’s more than good enough 🙂

    P.s You have a beautiful singing voice – loved the clip 🙂

    1. Thanks Emma. I enjoyed reading your comment, and I agree with you 🙂 It is more than good enough for me, as long as I know I tried my best!


  11. What a great voice….when you going on tour…wow. Is there anything you can’t do… Also thank you for all of your help and info with the kettlebells. This is the best site I have found…. Mike Mc

  12. Marianne, I can relate to what you say, as I have always been inherently shy. Pushing myself to do things outside of my comfort zone is where I have been able to find my inner strength. Taking certain risks have brought me the most happiness, yet sometimes some sadness, but still worthwhile in the end. Also, I agree its important to always have hope despite any setbacks, we have to keep pushing forward with positive thoughts for the future. Great post!

  13. Marianne
    Thank you for sharing your heart. Fear, I’m learning, is “False Evidences Appearing Real”. As I grow older, I too can see how at times I have allowed fear of failure and not meeting people’s expectations to rule me. My inner strength is based on my faith in God – and as I grow older, and learn my life is in Someone Else’s hands, One who knows what is best and knows the course of my life, I don’t have to fear. Mistakes and failures help us to learn, and that is where the wisdom comes. Knowledge is great, but cannot help us, unless we know what to do with it. I’ve also learned when we are more compassionate with our own weaknesses, we will be much more compassionate to others!
    I know the last few months have brought various trials into your life, but you are, and will continue to be, stronger and more wise as you endure them with grace and hope!
    Thanks for encouraging us, way beyond just our physical bodies. That is why I continue to choose your site – there is so much more to you than just being a “trainer” – and you share that with us!
    Thanks for your vulnerability and for being YOU!
    Beautiful voice by the way! So fun to see this video!
    Michele <
    ps. I must tell you, I was doing one of your routines (Firm booty?)at the gym because they have a larger variety of weights for me to work with, and one man came up to me and said "That is a very impressive workout!" I thanked him and thought – "Boy, if you think my 10 and 15# workout is impressive, you should see Marianne!" Thanks for pushing us to do more than we thought we could ever do – and ENJOY it too!!!

    1. Thanks Michele, it’s nice to hear your thoughts and beliefs on this. I agree about the ability to be compassionate only matures when you can understand that everyone’s weaknesses and failures are relative to them.

      I had never sang in pubic before and this wedding was a big moment and break-through for me. The Minister loved the rehersal so much that he actually allowed this non-religious song to be included in the service, so he could hear me sing. Very nerve-racking, but what a high afterwards! 😀

      Thanks also for spreading the word about my workouts. You must be going for it if people are taking note – nice one !


  14. Marrianne, It has been said that the only fear you should have is the fear of God. Often in our lives we have fear of failure. Many times in my life I feared a lot of different things such as asking a particular girl out or starting a new job after 32 years at the old one. There were so many other fears that I could have wrote a book on it. The main thing is unless you try it, how do you know if you had failed or if you suceeded? As I aged, I lost a lot of my fears because I become confident in myself. I know the direction Iam headed in and if I get side tracked, I still feel confident in myself to find my way back. I will tell you that you are still young and you are beautiful inside and out and that is not meant to be a compliment,just the truth.. With that said, you will build confidence eventually in your self so don’t worry about fear.Look how far you have come, you had a disease that you could have said screw it, but you opted to do something about it. Your life is going in the right direction,believe me,and there will always be forks in the road but you have the desire and will power to overcome them.
    Hang in there Marrianne,
    Your friend,

  15. Thanks for this post, Marianne! I have been going through fear on some major positive changes going on in my life. I was getting to the point of running away from the things I wanted most even though they were positively what I want because I was scared. Scared of happiness, scared of failing or enjoying and then losing. This post encouraged me to stick the course and to face my fears head on. Thanks!
    PS: You have an amazing voice! 🙂

    1. Thanks Cherie, I am glad this post was relevent to your life right now. I understand what you’re going through, as I am in the same situation. Caught between the fear of new beginnings by leaving the familiar behind and heading forward in to the unknown. Losing happiness is always a risk, but we always learn to get it back. Often the next time we do it better 🙂

  16. I loved reading this because I can certainly relate to everything you said. I recently learned that I am a natural introvert and “right brained”. Sounds like you are, too! I read a couple books about introverts and extroverts and they really helped me feel more comfortable in understanding why I am the way I am. I’m also a nurse and an administrator, which means leading Board meetings and in-services. No easy for an introvert at all! In fact it used to be terrifying but it’s getting better. Great work, Marianne. Thank you!

    1. I can imagine it has taken a lot of courage over the years Angie get to where you are today. I know exactly how you feel.

      Thank you for commenting 🙂

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