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Today's Takeaway with Florine Mark

Feb 7, 2022

With Author, Entrepreneur, and Fitness Trainer, Tareq Azim


Have you ever been afraid to try something because you were convinced you would fail? Sometimes anxiety and our fear of failure can paralyze us, especially if we think we’ll let others down. We may even sabotage our efforts by giving up too easily. But what if it didn’t have to be that way? What if we could learn to control our fear rather than allow it to control us? What if the very thing we fear most, could actually motivate us to succeed? When we are faced with no other alternative, then perhaps fear could help us achieve something we might not otherwise try. My guest today, Tareq Azim, is a former college football star turned entrepreneur and author. Tareq grew up the son of Afghan refugees who fled the Soviet invasion in search of a better life in America. He is also the founder of “Empower” — a unique fitness training facility where he worked with elite athletes such as NFL superstar Marshawn Lynch, as well as non-athletes. Regardless of whom he is training, Tareq’s approach is the same; he doesn’t see himself as their coach, but rather as their teammate. Tareq helps his teammates achieve their dreams by overcoming their fears and strengthening their mind, body, and spirit. Recognizing that his unique training methods could work in a variety of ways, Tareq wrote the book Empower: Conquering the Disease of Fear. He’s here today to share his philosophy and some of his training techniques with us to help us overcome our fears.


What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • What was Tareq’s family background in Afghanistan and their journey to the U.S.?
  • What did Tareq’s post-high school and college experience look like?
  • How did a sports injury change the course of Tareq’s life?
  • How did Tareq start to train elite athletes?
  • Why does Tareq call his fitness clients “teammates”?
  • How did the pandemic impact his Empower business model?
  • What is Tareq’s mission right now?
  • Why is fear the biggest driving force in our lives?
  • How do Tareq’s training methods work for addiction?
  • What does Tareq recommend for individual physical health?
  • How did Tareq create social change in Afghanistan?
  • What did Tareq learn about himself when visiting Afghanistan post 9/11?



  • “I realized at that age and time that it was fear that was preventing our growth and it was fear that was preventing our capability and our capacity.” — Tareq
  • “I was almost desperate to be able to find not normal things I can do to prove to myself that I’m not necessarily fighting fear, but I’m embracing fear and utilizing it for why it exists.” — Tareq
  • “I found a lot of peace and self-realization and an understanding around self-capabilities through the power of sport.” — Tareq

Today’s Takeaway: Fear can paralyze us. We might be so afraid to step outside of our comfort zone or do something different, that we sometimes don't even try! Just think of all the lost opportunities! All the life experiences we may have missed out on, the jobs or promotions we failed to apply for, or the chance to start a relationship with someone. We can lose out simply because we allow our fear to control us. But if we change our mindset to overcome these fears, we might be able to change our lives for the better. Tareq’s book Empower gives some amazing examples of just how much can be accomplished once we learn to embrace our fear. By working through that fear rather than running to avoid it, we can go far beyond what we ever imagined might be possible. In order to accomplish change, instead of focusing on our differences, why not focus on what we share in common? Tareq used the shared love of sports to inspire change in Afghanistan by establishing a Women’s Boxing Federation. In order to gain approval for this program, Tareq had to overcome his own fear when meeting with Taliban warlords. His methods demonstrate how the most important and overlooked area in our body is our brain. By working to understand what we fear and overcoming our discomfort, we can accomplish amazing things! Remember that every single day is a gift. When we embrace fear as a gift rather than a burden, we can grow even stronger with that gift and unlock our true potential. I’m Florine Mark and that’s “Today’s Takeaway.”


Brought to You By:

Gardner White Furniture


Mentioned in This Episode:

Empower: Conquering the Disease of Fear, by Tareq Azim

Tareq Azim