My Experience at Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within!
If you can’t, you must. If you must, you can.
Who Is Tony Robbins?
I began my personal development journey in the beginning of 2013. Afer a series of challenging life events, I very fortunately wound up reading a handful of life-changing self-improvement books that would transform my life forever. I then began working one-on-one with some very talented coaches, including the authors of two of my favorite self-improvement books.
Over time, I began surrounding myself with great people and listening to audiobooks and podcasts on the subject. While watching one of Lori Harder’s Facebook lives earlier this year, she mentioned how much she and her husband enjoyed watching the recent Tony Robbins documentary I am Not Your Guru which profiles his annual Date with Destiny event in December 2014.
Surprise guest Pitbull performing the first evening!
That evening I watched the documentary, and over the course of the week I watched, re-watched, and soaked in every freaking scene that film had to offer! I even put a copy of it on my iPhone and started listening to it while walking to work or at the gym. It was very powerful for me and helped me understand who Tony Robbins really was.
As soon as I had finished (or maybe I should say, memorized) the documentary, I called in and signed up for Tony Robbins’ next in-person course: Unleash the Power Within in San Jose, California set to take place from November 10th to 13th, 2016.
What is Unleash the Power Within?
Each year Tony hosts a variety of events, but his two main courses are Date with Destiny (“DWD”) and Unleash the Power Within (“UPW”). They recommend starting with UPW since it’s a shorter and less expensive course, and then moving on to DWD next. Before I get into how incredible my experience was, first here are some quick bullet points comparing UPW and DWD:
Unleash the Power Within (UPW)
Held twice a year in the U.S. (San Jose/L.A.) and once a year in Europe
4-Day Course (Tony teaches two of the four days)
The one I attended was held at the SAP Center in San Jose, California (where the San Jose Sharks NHL team plays)
10,500 people attend from 50+ countries
General Seating = $650
Options for better seating are available in the Executive, VIP, Diamond, Diamond Premiere sections
Where I Stayed
Airbnb walking distance to the SAP Center ($70/night)
Walking over for Day 1 of Unleash the Power Within
Date with Destiny (DWD)
Held approximately twice per year – once in Florida and once in Australia
6-Day Course (Tony teaches all 6 days)
This is the course featured in the documentary I am Not Your Guru
Once in Boca Raton, Florida and once in the Gold Coast, Australia
$5,995 for Main Room General Admission (with options for closer seating as well)
Unleash the Power Within – Schedule
Unleash the Power Within is a 4-day program taught by Tony Robbins and Joseph McClendon. While I became a little hesitant when learning that Tony only teaches two of the four days, the two days he is there are unbelievable and absolutely make the entire weekend worth it. He puts in 12+ hour days with you each day and gives you tremendous value. Further, Joseph McClendon very good too and the time with him is very valuable as well.
Tony has an incredible ability to get everyone engaged and energized, so don’t be discouraged by how many people attend. I would recommend considering the VIP section seating, which I did and allowed me to be much closer to Tony. The energy of the people who are up in front is extremely high and very engaging. Here’s a quick breakdown of the schedule:
Thursday – First day, doors open at 10:00 a.m. and Tony comes out around noon. Tony teaches until about 11:00 p.m., when we all do the famous firewalk across burning hot coals!
Friday – Taught by Joseph McClendon
Saturday – Big full day with Tony – starts early and goes past midnight
Sunday – Health and vitality-focused day taught by Joseph
Oprah doing the famous firewalk held on Thursday evening!
What I Learned
Using the power of decision gives you the capacity to get past any excuse to change any and every part of your life in an instant
1) Where You Come From Does NOT Determine Where You Go
One of the first lessons Tony taught me was how our background does not determine where we go. He told the story of a woman who was born to an unwed teenager. A woman who was sexually abused by her cousin, her uncle, and a family friend at the age of 9. A woman who, after suffering years of abuse, ran away from home at the age of 13. That woman, Tony said, was Oprah.
I realized that it’s time for me to stop playing the victim and blaming my past. Yes, I was abused and neglected growing up. Yes, I had a difficult childhood. But should I use this background as an excuse or as motivation? Everything that has happened to me in my life, Tony taught me, has been a blessing. If I had the upbringing I wanted, I would be living a mediocre life, working in a mediocre job, and stuck in a mediocre relationship.
“If she had been the mother I wanted, I would not be the man I am proud to be” -Tony Robbins
It is because I suffered and was abused that I found personal development books with an open mind, and it is because of my background that I am propelling myself so far beyond mediocrity as I create the incredible and meaningful life that I truly deserve. Our “problems” are really our biggest gifts.
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2) How to Make Real and Lasting Changes
I found it extremely helpful to learn Tony’s strategy for making real life changes. He breaks it down into 3 steps:
1) Learn from and model someone who is completely outstanding and has exactly what you want or who has made the exact change that you seek
2) Learn by total immersion. Expose yourself to this person or the right group of people, and live and breathe exactly what you want. Hunger is the biggest factor in getting what you want, so Tony says you must make this goal a total obsession.
3) Spaced repetition. This is defined as “a learning technique that incorporates increasing intervals of time between subsequent review of previously learned material in order to exploit the psychological spacing effect.”
In other words, model an expert who already has what you want. Get as close as possible to him or her with total immersion. And then take time in between to review your new strategies and changes, and continue to refine as you go.
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3) Uncovering Your Past
Throughout the weekend Tony conducts “interventions,” where he has someone from the audience stand up for a 1-on-1 session in front of the everyone. Below is one of his most powerful sequences that he does to help uncover your past and what has been holding you back.
Whose Love Did You Crave?
When Tony Robbins conducts his interventions, he often begins with the following question:
“Whose love did you crave more as a child, your mother’s or your father’s?”
I encourage you to answer this right now as you’re reading. I’ll go first:
Me: I craved my mother’s love more. While my father didn’t give me much love either, he was at least physically present while my mother was physically and emotionally absent. As a result, it was my mother’s love that I craved
Who Did You Have to Be for Him/Her?
The next question Tony asks is: “Who did you have to be to get that love?”
I encourage you to answer this one right now too. I’ll go first:
Me: To get my mother’s love:
I had to provide her with the emotional support that she should have been getting from her friends, parents, and my father
I had to be a people-pleaser, putting her needs ahead of my own
I had to give her emotional support for her problems
I had to be available to her at all times, despite her not being available to me
I had to be an adult from a young age, causing me to lose out on part of my childhood
This identifies how we start letting go of our true self at an early age to take on a role that isn’t us. Since we had to play a different role than ourselves to get us the love that we all needed at a young age, we begin changing for the worse and those changes cause problems today.
What has taking on that role in your life cost you?
I was rewarded at a young age for being a people-pleaser and for providing someone with emotional support at my own expense. At a young age, I developed an incorrect belief that it is important to be there for others, even though (or especially) when they aren’t there for me.
I didn’t learn how to receive love and I associated intimacy with pain since these unhealthy experiences with my mother took everything out of me and gave me nothing in return. That is what I thought normal relationships should look like. All give and no take.
Who are you really and how can you get there?
It can all change in an instant. There is something inside of us that can never be taken away, it’s who we really are. Maybe we have covered up certain parts of us so we could get the love that we craved, but our true self lies deep within even if it’s not on the surface. The first step is to identify your pattern, and from there, use the tools to make a change and uncover who you really are.
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4) Fulfillment vs. Achievement
“The biggest f**king lie on the planet is that achievement is more important than fulfillment”
We live in a society where you are rewarded for the accumulation of wealth rather than the accumulation of experiences, love, and joy. Tony told the story of Robbin Williams, who had checked every box and accomplished everything a performer could want. Success in TV, film, stand-up and four Oscar nominations, including a win for his performance in Good Will Hunting. According to our society’s terms, Robbin Williams was “successful”. But he wasn’t fulfilled. On August 11, 2014, he hung himself at his home in Paradise Cay, California at the age of 63.
I personally connected with this as someone who often gets stuck in an achievement mentality. Going forward I plan to take more breaks, relax and have fun. What we experience outweighs what we accomplish, and the people-pleaser in me used to focus on accomplishment as a way to be liked. As I learn to love myself, I can shift gears to a life of fulfillment on my terms.
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5) Be Energy Rich
Tony Robbins has some of the best energy of anyone I have ever seen, heard or met in my entire life. I could have been sitting in the last row of the SAP Center and still felt the electricity running through my body. In order to play at a higher level, shifts in our physiology are crucial. When we feel tired or lacking motivation, Tony encourages shifts in our body. This can be accomplished through rapid temperature shifts (like a hot/cold shower), and another way is with music and physical body movement. Since the course ended, the below Spotify playlist with all the songs from our weekend has been a great way to get back to that high energy state. I encourage you to check it out!
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6) Who Gets It?
People wind up at Tony Robbins events for a variety of reasons. Some have a burning desire to grow as a person and show up very open minded, and others are there because a friend or significant other asked, encouraged or even dragged them along. So who does this personal growth work stick with?
Tony Robbins was interviewed by Charlie Rose in 2000 and was asked:
“What’s the difference in the people who get it and it sticks? And those who get it but it doesn’t stick?”
“Standards,” Tony replied. The key difference between what gets done and what doesn’t get done in life lies in the distinction that we make between what is a ‘must’ for you and what is a ‘should.’ According to Tony, we all get ‘musts’ met. Think about what you’d like to have in your life that’s currently not there, and ask yourself what would it take to convert that from a should to a must.
1) More Personal Growth
As I discussed in my 5 Takeaways from my trip to Australia post, my personal growth journey has allowed me to achieve amazingly new levels of fulfillment and happiness. It has provided me with the tools necessary to start my own business, travel the world, and develop meaningful relationships. I find myself rapidly changing as a person for the better, and as a result, attending this event that reaffirmed my desire to continue growing, attending similar events, and surrounding myself with like-minded people.
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2) Making My Own Personal Growth Course!
I was so inspired by this experience that I am going to make an online course to teach my followers everything that I have learned from this Tony Robbins event and all the other events I’ve been to. This information is too important not to share with others, and I love spreading this information and helping people!
Audio Version: Check Out My Podcast Episode #3!
Listen to my Podcast Episode #3 as I discuss my entire experience at Tony Robbins’ Unleash the Power Within event, provide details about the program and teach you the techniques I learned to crush it!