The Importance of Being Awkward

If you’re awkward and you know it clap your hands!

There are many definitions of the word awkward. Here are three that resonate with me:

awkward (from Merriam-Webster)

  1. lacking ease or grace (as of movement or expression)
  2. lacking social grace and assurance <an awkward newcomer>
  3. causing embarrassment <an awkward moment>

For as long as I can remember, I have felt awkward. While I always had friends and an evolving sense of self, I never felt like I fit in the way I perceived others did. I never cared about being popular, but I always felt like I lacked the social skill set that allowed others to become popular. How do people know the right things to say and do?

Have you ever wondered to yourself what the hell is wrong with me? Well I have.


Very often.

Very, very often.

I know that I’ve missed out on things as a kid, as a young adult and as a grown-ass man because I was AFRAID of being embarrassed by saying/doing the wrong things.

Looking back, I missed out on things in life because of a self-fulfilling fear that I wasn’t going to live up to some imaginary social standard. Well F that! There is nothing wrong with being awkward. In fact, I now think of being awkward as a lifestyle. I embrace and fight against it in equal measure. My take on awkwardness is a two-phase war.

Phase 1: Screw fitting in.

Be yourself. Be unique. Be awkward! While it may be a tougher mountain to climb, you will find people who love you for who you are and not the person you believe they want you to be. Too few understand (fewer share) my love for Godzilla movies, but those that do, totally get it and me. That’s a genuine connection.

Phase 2: Fight through awkward situations.

I’ve started to challenge feeling awkward as if I were training in martial arts. I purposefully started creating and placing myself in awkward situations to see how I would react. This is my form of awkward sparring practice. I relish awkward pauses, overambitious clapping and bad jokes that bomb hard.

The Ninjas at MFF have been part of my awkward theory experiments as well. I’ve programmed things like awkward dance parties (ADP son!), Star Wars-themed crawl games and African Anteater Ritual Burpees into classes.

Why do I explore this sense of awkwardness?

If you practice being comfortable in awkward situations, something special happens.

You become socially fearless.

When you become socially fearless… you are free!

Free to be serious. Free to be ridiculous. Free to be yourself.

Mark Fisher Fitness is the PERFECT example of finding a place where awkward breeds awesomeness. Whether it’s teaching a class in a Mad Max Warboy costume, or leading an RKC certification in another state with people I haven’t met, I am able to fully be myself because I am not scared of being awkward. As that fear wanes, your confidence grows. It is liberating, my friends. You know what else? People will dig you for being balls out. You may not connect with everyone, but that’s an impossible goal anyway. Find the people who relate to what you have to offer and hang on tight to them. Awkward folks will fight valiantly side by side.

Here are some action steps to help you embrace your awkwardness.

  1. The next time you find yourself in an uncomfortable silence at a party, live in it. Feel no pressure to say or do anything. See what happens.
  2. Wanted to wear a costume to MFF but have been too afraid? Do it!
  3. Say hi to someone you haven’t officially met, but see often, at the gym or work. Better yet, have coffee with them.

Keep me posted on your progress.


Steve “Coach Fury” Holiner’s superhero headquarters is Mark Fisher Fitness in NYC. Fury’s also a Master RKC, and Original Strength Lead Instructor and a Master DVRT. He is available for classes, semi-privates, instructor training and programming at MFF. Check out, Instagram@iamcoachfury and Twitter @coachfury for more info.


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