Marie Forleo introduction

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I'm Marie

You have gifts to share with the world and my job is to help you get them out there.

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Her biggest fear, the unthinkable… It happened. But instead of being the nightmare she imagined, it became the answer to her prayers. You may remember hearing about her on the news. 

At 13-years-old, Bethany Hamilton lost her arm to a 14-foot tiger shark. But just four weeks later, she was back in the ocean, re-learning how to surf, and would later go on to win a national title.

In her words, “You don’t need easy, you just need possible.”

Bethany’s story has inspired millions through the blockbuster movie Soul Surfer, and the award-winning documentary, Unstoppable. (I also featured her story in Everything is Figureoutable about not letting any excuse hold you back!). I love how this Soul Surfer continues to face new fears and take on bigger waves — both in the ocean and the world.

In this MarieTV, we talk about how to overcome devastating setbacks, the power of following your fear, and why it’s never too late to follow your dreams.

The game is not to try and eliminate problems, it's actually to be strong enough to handle them. @bethanyhamilton  Click To Tweet

You’ll also learn:

  • How to handle an unexpected loss.
  • Why “working harder” won’t solve your problems — and what to do instead.
  • The power of owning your story (and sharing it the right way).
  • What science has to say about living a long, joyful life.
  • Why it’s never too late to restart those half-finished goals.
  • What really fuels success (spoiler: it’s NOT motivation).
  • The BIGGEST wave Bethany ever surfed — and why she craves it.

If you’re ready to brave the waves of your life with strength and grace, this episode is a must-watch. And don’t miss Bethany’s special gift to our MarieTV community below this video.

View Transcript

Check out this episode on The Marie Forleo Podcast

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DIVE DEEPER: Learn how to be your bravest self with Brené Brown & never let fear stop you again with Koya Webb.

Bethany is a shining example of how you can overcome adversity and stay true to yourself. But, she never claimed it was easy. She braved the surf again because “My love for surfing outweighed my fear of sharks.”

If you want to find the courage to face your fears? Let your passion make you brave.

Now, let’s turn this insight into action.

Don’t overthink this — just go with your gut-level response. In the comments below, share your answers to these two questions:

  1. What is one dream or “big wave” in your life that scares you?
  2. What could you accomplish if you let your love for your dream outweigh your fear of failing?

Remember, even though our culture loves to feature high highs and low lows, most of our successes and failures will NOT be as dramatic as national surfing titles and shark attacks.

As Bethany says, “You never know when your next success will be. You can will yourself to succeed as much as you want, but a lot of times you just have to keep putting along until it happens.”

Keep going for your dreams because the world really does need that special gift that only you have.

P.S. Want more peace and less chaos in your life? Bethany Hamilton is offering a special gift to viewers of MarieTV. Learn More about Bethany’s Be Present course and use the code MARIE to sign up for free.

XO

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38 comments

  1. Heather

    1. One ‘wave’ that scares me is trying to create something of my own and seeing what happens – I am not even sure if I have a good idea but I do think about some things to maybe try. I also get caught in wanting to do ‘so many things’ that I lose focus and don’t go for anything it seems.

    2. I have massive fear of failing I think – again, going back to this notion that I may be thinking ‘too highly and dreamy’ of myself (Hello Enneagram 4!) when I could just fall flat on my face or embarrass myself.

    I find myself in very entry level roles at the moment – currently in my mid 30s, living and building my life in London with my husband, have lived and worked in other countries for over a decade, got an MBA, yet I never have had a clear direction in terms of my career. I have been working in different charities over the past two years, both of which I care very deeply about but just not moving or growing (fast enough) it seems. Dreaming about starting my own dance fitness thing (getting my Level 3 certification now) but also have other ideas related to travel, photography, social enterprise, writing… Get easily overwhelmed or fantasize too much of ‘what could be’ but then don’t start. Not easily sure how to overcome this fear of failing and if this dream is really a dream?

    • teamforleo

      Such good takeaways, Heather. Maybe give Bethany’s advice that she shared when it came to big wave surfing a try- she started small and worked her way up. Otherwise that giant wave would be too overwhelming. Start one idea. Keep doing little bits and see where it takes you. -Sarah

  2. As I listened to Bethany Hamilton, I was inspired by so many of her perspectives.
    Two of her perspectives were especially striking to me. One is that she carries into her relationships the concept of pushing past pain points, and patiently waiting for her efforts to bear fruit. That shows commitment and requires appropriately controlling our emotions in the short-term so we don’t do long-term damage to the important relationships in our lives.
    The other perspective that resonated with me is that she looks at what’s possible, not what is easy. Her faith and courage are amazing.

  3. What an amazing woman Bethany Hamilton.
    Her inner light shines so bright. I was getting emotional watching this interview just hearing her speak about overcoming and facing fear from a place of courage and faith. That sense of peace and knowing is so beautiful and inspiring. Thank you.

  4. Just listened to this amazing podcast! I’ve been a follower of Marie Forleo for a while and read EIF when it first released! As someone who’s done all the exercises and went for all the “Start the right Business” prompts, I STILL have a major aversion to fear due to my personal traumatic event(s). This was a great reminder that while we have the freedom to choose our response, it can be never OR 4 weeks! Very inspiring and God bless this remarkable young woman. Oh and since the ocean & sharks are a huge fear of mine, it reminded me of a story I read that I’ll never forget. A book called “A Mighty Tempest” about an Australian girl lost at sea for 3 days who survives (yes, sharks!). Check it out.

  5. Love the sweet down-to-earthness of Bethany as she continues to share her life. Her commitment to discipline and joy and her faith in God shines through. Loved that she shared how the huge waves that can provide joy often cause fear in the moment and we have to plunge in to get past it to see the thrill on the other side. It is so like life. Thank you for having her as a guest!

  6. So much of this guest’s metaphors for life are oceanic which I enjoy a lot! I really feel this conversation because I love the cycles of the ocean and can really picture how she approaches healing. “The ocean wants to beat you down and send you to the beach…'” powerful stuff.
    I really identified with what you said Marie about approaching problems with a work team—-that problems WILL happen and setting up to prevent problems should not be the focus but rather building resiliency to take on problems when they happen.
    Been listening to these for awhile, thank you for offering such lovely and contemplative content.
    –LB

  7. My big wave would be to write songs about the truth of women and what we go through that really matters so men can understand us better and to lift women up!

    • teamforleo

      Do it, Carenna! Yes, the world needs it. -Sarah

  8. I love this one, Marie and Team Forleo. I’ve been a big fan of Bethany’s for years, and it was really cool to see her share more of her story.

    My biggest takeaway came from Bethany’s advice to keep putting along – to keep making progress even when the big changes and big breakthroughs aren’t happening. I really needed to hear that today – for my business and for my life.

    Thank you for the courage to keep going!

    • teamforleo

      We’re so glad that you got this message today, Celeste. -Sarah

  9. I loved what Bethany had to say about sharing her own story. “We can all be storytellers in our own ways, it doesn’t have to be on a big scale. We all have something to give and to share. We can bless others through our storytelling.” Your words, Bethany, will encourage me to think about the “next chapter” in my 43-year career in communications. Marie, thank you for asking Bethany about the “Power of owning your story.” This is inspirational on so many different levels, life, family, and work. I appreciate your thoughtful interviews, Marie and your amazing B-School is also inspiring me to take my career and my life to “new levels” — at the ripe age of 60-something! 🙂 … Getting ready to ride that next Big Wave!

    • teamforleo

      Love that, Kristin! We’re here for you as you take on the next journey. We’re thrilled to have you in B-School, too! -Sarah

  10. What an inspiring woman. Thank you for sharing Bethany’s story!

    • teamforleo

      Thanks for being here, Kate! -Sarah

  11. What an amazing movie to recommend everyone!! I am personally fascinated how Bethany never falls into Victimhood. When I was watching it the thought was: “I wonder how that manifestation came to happen”, the first minute of this video explains a lot!! Thanks!! “Be more than a surfer”.
    Question is: would she had been as impactful if she hadn´t had a lose/suffering story to inspire others? Probably not. Fascinating to look at why wouldn´t it.
    Pd: I saw you surfing while in Uluwuaty, Bali, years ago Bethany. It was an amazing experience!

    • teamforleo

      Hi Javiera,
      Yay! Pretty incredible that you have seen Bethany surf in Bali. Thanks for being a part of our wonderful community.

      -Antoinette

  12. Such an inspiring women. It’s the best example of not giving up in life. Thanks for sharing your story with us. 🙂

    • teamforleo

      Hi Sofie,
      So glad you enjoyed the episode!

      -Antoinette

  13. It’s so lovely to hear this conversation. I have been challenged with injuries sustained in a car accident and haven’t been able to work for 8 months. It’s been challenging to say the least.

    1) One wave that scares me is going public with my work and teaching. While I’m still in the midst of my recovery it hasn’t been the apt time, however, it is giving me the opportunity to work through all of the “stuff” that would not be supporting that. My work is geared at addressing the greatest challenges we face as a species and touching on the most sensitive topics in the collective conversation. It scares me that I am so bold to take on such a task and to be up to the challenge of showing up with dignity, grace, integrity and truthfulness in that work.

    2) Massive world changing personal and social transformation that is deeply impactful, meaningful and magnetizes amazing people and opportunities into my life. Blessings I can only begin to imagine. True change at the deepest levels that benefits and blesses all. And so much more I’m sure.

    Thank you Bethany & Marie for helping me move through this challenging time. Many Thanks, Aloha & Mahalo!

    • teamforleo

      Hello Shelley,
      Thank you for sharing with the community and being so open and honest. We are so happy you enjoyed the interview with Bethany, she’s pretty incredible!

      -Antoinette

  14. I teared up multiple times listening to this episode. I couldn’t even figure out why. There was something so faithful and fragile and strong all at the same time in Bethany. And it made me overflow with emotions of admiration and respect and gratitude that we’re on the earth at the same time. I’m a strong woman, and LOVE hearing from other strong women
    How will I put this wisdom into action? Like Bethany I always want to remember that I want to be more and give more then whatever vocation or avocation I have on Earth. I will engage in the storytelling that she talked about. I will engage in the listening, that brings forth the storyteller in others, And I will do with this one glorious life I have things worthy of storytelling

    • teamforleo

      Hello Elena,

      Your feedback is so beautiful and we are so happy that the episode resonated with you.

      -Antoinette

  15. This interview hit home on a number of levels, as another “Human” joining that mix with so many others whom have faced tragic, unanticipated life changing events and has adapted to forge forward living. And as a result finds themselves on a New Path Pursuing and Attaining Unimaginable Goals. Again, similar to most people out there I’ve experienced multiple life experiences to that were less than positive, but the resulting life change increased my internal strength. One in particular unanticipated event ultimately led me on a journey, that while I had an interest, I did not have the intention to seek out … Competitive Bodybuilding… and that spurred the quest to become a Professional Bodybuilder (hit first competition after just turning 40… fast forward Turned PRO at 48!!). I throw in this background to illustrate why a point Bethany made in this interview hit home. Bethany expressed that it’s not so much about Motivation as it is about Discipline when going after something you want.
    Which brought to mind this Zig Ziglar quote:
    “People often say Motivation doesn’t last. Well, neither does Bathing, that’s why We do it Daily.”
    I’ve often stated that Motivation is a SELF thing…ONLY YOU or I have the power to Motivate ourselves to Move toward & Take Action to reach our personal goals. Other people’s stories can Inspire us and provide more belief that IF we got Motivated We too have the ability to achieve great feats. Yet, Bethany presenting the discerning difference between Motivation & Discipline is powerful! Discipline is truly Motivation’s Foundation.
    Once again … a Wonderful Interview & a Wonderful way to Add Good Vibes to Tuesday👍🏼😁❤️‼️
    Stay Strong & Share Your Strength‼️
    SutterGirl

    • teamforleo

      Hi SutterGirl,

      Yeah! We are so happy to have you as part of our community and that you enjoyed the interview.
      Your insight and feedback is lovely, thank you for sharing.

      -Antoinette

  16. Sonia SAMSON

    Sentences she said turned into questions for me:
    Where is my healing place ?
    What do I need to stay sane ?
    What do I have deep respect for ? What’s my ocean ?
    ..Of course I have an idea , but as I am re-doing B-School, answering these questions feels like a necessary part of the journey.
    Thank you for helping me get to think (slowly but still surely) like an entrepreneur, seeing where I have to stop and ponder, because it’s part of growing.

    • teamforleo

      Hi Sonia,
      So wonderful to hear that the episode moved you to ask introspective questions, yes, growth is a great thing!

      Thank you for sharing your feedback.
      -Antoinette

  17. So much wisdom. Thank you!
    Pain can help us go deeper in love and kindness.

    • teamforleo

      Hello Jivan,

      Thank you for sharing and yes we agree!

      -Antoinette

  18. What an incredible speaker for body confidence! To hear her say that she has a really curvy body is so awe-inspiring. I have for the past year made massive strides in terms of my own health and fitness goals, accomplishing things that I never would have dreamed possible for myself. But my setback has been my body shape, being bottom heavy and not having the physique of a long-distance runner, for example. I really needed to hear this today. Thank you. Also Marie, your makeup is beautiful. xo

    • teamforleo

      Wahoo Alanna!

      So happy you enjoyed the interview with Bethany, she’s pretty amazing!

      -Antoinette

  19. Debi

    “Have some grace on yourself.” That said it all for me.

    • teamforleo

      Hi Debi,

      Wahoo–fantastic insight!

      -Antoinette

  20. “You don’t need easy, you just need possible.” that It

  21. A tree days ago I read this inspiring story, which gives me a new goal in my “new” life, I am a 5th generation craftsman, over 20 years I work in our family workshop, woodworking, with this epidemic everything is stopped.
    years and years of hard work are now over. as if you were in the golden sands of a Mediterranean beach when at an unexpected moment the waves that were near you devour and sweep you away.
    we never had the idea of learning to swim, but now is the time, not to learn to do it but to do it.
    for that i decide to change for new business, yes in moroccan handicraft but totaly different of mean.
    Normaly we did looms for berber women, and i have a nice relation with more than 40 women so the question way not to go for help to this people, yes i know internet, so i can promot there wool product and i can creat some profit until that covid gone and i can return back to my paradise, my heritage, my family workshop.
    i feel good now with helping each other to creat a new dimension to promot our knowhow to all the wold via internet and not to wait for custmers to find you.
    I’m sure a can swim now.

  22. I grew up in Cape Town and in 2002 we had a spate of really horrible shark attacks, culminating in a friend of mine losing a leg. She was always a beacon for us to get back in the water!

    • teamforleo

      Hi Christian,

      Thank you for sharing your experience with the community. Wonderful to hear that your friend served as a beacon to going back to the
      water!

      -Antoinette

  23. yoda-andrew

    Many people in the world are successful with the personal self-development program so why not take this unique and unrepeatable opportunity.

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