By Natalie Iannone

We like to think that the one thing we have control of is ourselves, but how many of us feel like there is something constantly pulling on us and holding us back from success?

For years, I felt restrained. I became a puppet in the play of life, a puppet to my own inner critic and adversities. My life experiences at a young age, including becoming a teen mom, made me clueless about what directions to take to be successful. When my son’s father, who I trusted, chose a different path, the puppet master took control of me. Its name was “Fear.”

Think Pinocchio…

At the time, Fear manifested itself to me through distrust, judgment, and unworthiness. These became my puppet strings, and I allowed them to guide me through life. Distrust pulled me in the direction of staying quiet about my life and not opening myself up to others. Judgment strings pulled the smile on my face instead of allowing me to show vulnerability. The oh-so-clever strings of Unworthiness kept me in the safe zone of limitations. These strings moved me for too many years.

It kept me in the safe zone at work. I wouldn’t take risks and use my voice to promote myself. I had to be seen as worthy of it and grateful for what I achieved. I was the nurturer but not one who would allow myself to be nurtured. This fear held me back from seeing my full potential and, more importantly, it prevented me from truly enjoying the journey.

Do you have a puppet master holding you back? Here are a few tips for becoming the master of you.

  • Take inventory of the people, places, things, and words you are surrounding yourself with. What’s feeding your puppet master?
  • Ask questions of your strings of fear, guilt, anxiety, judgement, shame, etc. For example, “Fear, what brings you to me? What part of this do I have control over?”
  • Rewrite your story. “I no longer acknowledge this moment as Fear. Rather I’m becoming aware of what I have a choice in and what I do not.”
  • Focus on gratitude. “Thank you Fear! Now I can focus on what I can control and have a choice to do what works best for me.”
  • Step into grace. We are human and have been conditioned to create habits that promote our own restraint. Cutting those long-binding strings does not happen overnight.

Through my own self-development, I began identifying the strings attached to me, playing me, and holding me back. When you allow yourself to cut these strings, you become empowered to recreate the stories you have been telling yourself. When Fear comes to me now, I welcome the visit so I can become aware of my emotions in that moment and adjust as needed. The key is that Fear is now a visitor; it is no longer allowed to take up residence.

I cut the strings of fear, judgment, distrust, and unworthiness. By becoming aware, I gained the power to begin breaking FREE of my puppet master. I could change the storyline of this play, and in doing so, I found me! The true and authentic me. I was able to recognize my gifts and allow them to be shared with others, and you can too.

I am now the co-founder of Turn It On. My partner Rebecca Ahmed and I serve other high achievers to move beyond any self-imposed limitations and cut the strings holding them back, so they can truly begin living a life turned on!

For more information about living a life turned on, take advantage of our FREE 5 Tips to Living a Life Turned On at