Overcoming Fear with Bethany Hamilton

Jenna Kutcher 

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November 18, 2019



Bethany Hamilton survived a tiger shark attack at 13-years old and was back on her surfboard four weeks later. She went on to inspire the world with her courage, dedication, athleticism, and fearlessness. That’s the unforgettable story we already know about Bethany Hamilton.

But there’s more about Bethany that you don’t know yet. In her new movie “Unstoppable”, Bethany continued her story with chapters and seasons that left me completely in awe of everything she has pursued and accomplished.

I felt hyper aware going into this interview with Bethany. I’d heard so many of the same questions asked over and over, reporters wanting to dig into the sensational story of the young teenage girl who survived a shark attack and how she overcame it all. I remember hearing the story as a kid — Bethany and I are nearly the same age — and thinking about who this woman evolved into after experiencing so much as a child.

What I want to know now is how that story is intertwined with the woman Bethany Hamilton is today. What is her relationship with fear? How does she redirect moments of comparison and “what if?” What is her world like now, as a mom and an athlete?

I am honored, humbled, and so dang excited to welcome this woman, a dream guest for so many reasons… Here she is, Bethany Hamilton.

The What If Moments

Bethany and I jump right into a topic we have in common: Motherhood. We laughed about watching our kiddos find their confidence. I asked Bethany if she was a fearless kid and if she worried about also raising two fearless boys.

“I’d rather have them be fearless,” she said. But now that she’s raising two kids, she has a whole new world to consider when she makes decisions. As she’s pursuing her biggest goals, her actions impact her children, too. That’s when I asked Bethany if she ever gets stuck in “What If” moments.

Her life was dramatically altered when she lost her arm in the shark attack, but Bethany’s outlook is that she probably would be in the same space she is now. A professional female surfer promoting female surfing. But in reality, the thing that changed her life also catapulted her onto a platform that allowed her to be even more influential.

“I really cherish that position that I’m in. I love that I get to be a role model for young girls,” she shared. “So much good and beauty has come from something that can seem so tragic… As more challenge comes my way, I hope that I am able to approach it with a sense of gratitude that we’re gonna get through it.”

A New Season of Motherhood

When Bethany was mid filming her documentary “Unstoppable”, she became pregnant. And even though it was something that she had prayed for her entire life, she found herself rejecting it. Bethany was pushing herself into surfing and focusing on the documentary which was intended to highlight her surfing ability and then all of the sudden she had a baby on the way.

Bethany shared a lot of the same feelings I did as I approached motherhood. She wondered how it would change her surfing and how her life would change. And she even felt a bit of selfishness in the moment. Bethany put so much value in what she had accomplished as a surfer and considered that her success.

Press play to hear Bethany’s story about becoming a mother and how her mindset shifted and grew in new ways as she welcomed her first son into her world. I loved when she framed her feelings this way: “Why not consider family being a success? Motherhood is part of my success.”

One thing that blew my mind? Bethany surfed a major competition in her first trimester. She can do ANYTHING!

Why She Created a Course

Bethany created a course this year and launched it this fall in hopes of expanding on the things she is already passionate about. The Unstoppable Year course is an entire year of challenges because Bethany believes it takes more than a few weeks to make big life changes.

Her hope is that the course will reach not only her fans that want to work with her in a deeper way, but also those who are looking to fulfill their dreams, set and reach their goals, develop strong relationships and have a better sense of their own identity.

The course covers topics like Be Present, Anchor Your Identity, Fight Comparison, Bless Others, Forgive, and so many more. And for all of these areas, Bethany also welcomes guests to speak, educate, and inspire students. You might even spot some Goal Digger alum in the line up.

It just goes to show, courses are a great way to teach and inspire on a topic you’re passionate about. Even Bethany Hamilton is doing it!

Advice for Young Women

Bethany and I talked about her definition for success and I loved that it all boiled down to one feeling: “I got to bed content and I wake up driven.” AMEN.

I also asked Bethany what advice she’d want to give her 13-year old self right now. She laughed a little and said, “Learn about finances and find a financial advisor!” And she sticks by that advice because it was a daunting task to learn about in her early 20s.

Beyond that, Bethany would tell her 13-year old self that the choices you make at that age really do matter. Even if you have a hard time saying no to things your peers are saying yes to, those decisions can make a big impact on the rest of your life.

More from This Episode

Bethany is a driven, competitive women so we talked about balancing that nature with her current season. She talks about her relationship with her husband and the similarities with my relationship with Drew. Plus, more on her year long program and what’s next for this powerhouse.


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Before you get any further... Hi! I'm Jenna Kutcher!

A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

I’m an expert at online marketing, a nerd when it comes to the numbers, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love (without it taking over their life). 

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