Once a month we will be featuring one of our customers in an email about their health and fitness journey and life in general. This month we are featuring Dean Milligan (photo in the CHARGER SINGLET). 

Lots of us suffer from some sort of anxiety but for Dean to even be around people made him physically ill. Please read Dean's heartfelt story below where he went from a shy kid to meeting the love of his life and inspirational runner. 

Where are you from?

Born and raised in Benalla in north east Victoria, I then moved to Wangaratta for work and have been here for the last 17 years.

What is your favourtie fitness activity?

Squash and Racquetball have always been my favourite sporting activities, however, hiking and trail running are by far my favourite outdoor fitness activities. and very likely to take over the overall crown.

What is your why for setting your goals?

19 years ago my why for starting running was to win the girl. I hated running back then, but eventually (3 weeks later) the girl noticed. I had won my girl and now I could quit running.

It would be 17 years before I take up running again.

Nowadays, my why is simply to see how far i can push my own limits. A by-product of this is that, I can teach my children to set and work towards their own goals, and feel the joy and satisfaction that comes with self accomplishment.

curiosity is a powerful thing. when you see that challenge that you don't know if you could complete, or you don’t think you have a chance at completing. This a bloody good, WHY.

Do you have any daily routines that you follow that keeps you on track?

Coffee, Coffee is the only genuine daily routine that I follow.

I have tried to start and follow daily routines in the past, but have never been able to stick to it.

I’d rather just go with the flow. as long as everything that needs to get done, gets done, then there’s no need to be locked into a specific order.

I generally find that I only need to look at my kids, and they keep me on track.

What do you think if the Maw Active gear?

Love it. The dictionary should change the word Perfection, to Maw Active, enough said.

What adversity have you had to overcome to get to where you are?

I have never told a soul this, but this seems like the place to tell it.

For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with anxiety. I was the kid in class hiding under the table or behind a friend trying not to be seen. Too scared to be seen and heard I’d do anything to stay out of the spotlight, my self confidence was non existent.

It wasn’t just in School, it followed me everywhere I went, and for my entire life. If I ever had to speak in a group, class, or public event, I’d first freeze, then get the shakes, then sweat profusely, all the while my heart is beating out of my chest. I’d eventually have to leave and find a bathroom so no one could see me throw up.

I hated being this way and I was ashamed of myself because of my anxiety.

I couldn't talk to anyone about it, so I had to try and help myself.

I had just started playing in National Racquetball Tournaments across the country. In the beginning I’d throw up before every match, in preparation for being under the spotlight to the public and best players in the country.

Eventually though, I felt my nerves ease and my confidence grow. A great feeling indeed. I found that by continually placing myself in positions that I was uncomfortable in, was helping to ease my anxiety and build a great deal of self confidence.

Running in races has the same effect. The first race I entered I almost pulled the pin once the finish line came into view, because I was too scared to be seen. But, as time went on, and the more I placed myself in this uncomfortable situation, the more my confidence grew.

I am by no means cured of anxiety, but I’m in a hell of a better place than I was. A dream of mine is to jump over a finish line of a race and fist bump the air in front of the public. my confidence isn't there yet, but it's getting close.

Social media and making videos are also tools that have helped build some self confidence.

Now, you lot better feel privileged that I’ve shared my deepest darkest secret with you all, lol and thank you all for helping me feel more comfortable in sharing it.

Who do you look up too in your health and fitness journey?

Professional athletes are always very inspiring, however, for me it's the underdog, the back of the packer that inspires me most. The people that do it for themselves, for personal gain and not to win the main prize.

Not so long ago I was a back of the packer. I finished fourth last in my first ultra marathon. I crossed the finish line as it was being packed away. It caused me to feel mixed emotions as I crossed the line and long after the race. I respect all athletes, but because of my personal experience I will always have just a little bit more respect for the back of the packer.

What has been your greatest achievement to date?

My greatest achievement is without a doubt marrying my wife and helping to create our 5 beautiful children.

As far as my fitness journey goes. running my recent solo marathon PB was both physically and mentally my greatest achievement.

What is your favourite fitness event you have undertaken?

The Bright running festival ultra marathon is definitely my favourite event to date. It had everything I love, Trails, Mountains, Rivers, Snow, Amazing views, it was gut wrenching and it finished on the back deck of a brewery.

WOW just blown away brother, to share what you have gone through with your anxiety is inspirational and to share that with us is incredible, we thank you for that as it may help someone who is anxious reach out for help if they need too. I am sure a lot of the Maw Brothers and others reading this are inspired to set massive goals and to go for them. 

We can't wait to bring you next Month's customer in focus. 

1 comment

  • Celia

    Incredibly courageous, inspiring and heartwarming Dean to share such a personal story. What a wonderful husband and father you must be. Go Molly!!

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