My Weekend With Tony
Unlocking My Inner Strength
You've heard of Tony Robbins, right? He's the guru that has helped to transform the lives of everyone from celebrities to business owners to people just like me. I was recently fortunate enough to participate in one of his seminars, "Unleash The Power Within," and I can tell you with all honesty that my life was never the same once it was over.
Upon arriving at the convention center where the UPW seminar was being held, I was shocked by the number of people present. There had to be at least 5,000 among them. Walking around the building before everything got started, the first thing I noticed was the tremendously positive energy surrounding me. People had smiles on their faces, were hugging and high-fiving each other. There were people from all walks of life, some wearing business suits and some more casual attire (like me), but there was the sense that we were all connected and excited. I overheard snippets of conversation as I passed groups of people talking about their goals, dreams and ambitions as if they knew that this was the place they would all be realized. The buzz was contagious and hard not to get caught up in.
Upon entering the seminar itself, we were greeted by various members of Tony's crew. They actually looked excited to see us and shared big smiles and high fives all around. The audience was clearly getting pumped up while waiting in line. Shouts of Tony's name bounced around the room as people raised their fists in the air and jumped in place as they tapped into their vaults of energy. Speaking to some of these people, I was surprised to discover that many of them had been to this seminar two or three or even more times, and all agreed that the experience had changed their lives forever to the absolute maximum. I was hooked and couldn't wait to find out what was in store for me and my personal journey.
Those coals are hot...really hot!
I'm a little torn about how much to share about the UPW seminar itself. I clearly want you to experience it for yourself, but everyone was there for a different reason, and your personal journey may differ greatly from mine. I will say that Tony has a presence like none I've ever seen. First, he seems larger than life, and I'm not just talking about his height which is definitely impressive. However, he also seems like somebody you've known your whole life, somebody who cares about you and wants you to be the very best you can be. He's both a mentor and a friend, and he makes you feel like you really can do anything you set your mind to.
For instance, on the first day of the seminar, Tony announced that in the evening we would all be walking barefoot across a row of fiery coals. Of course, that was not something I had ever imagined doing on my own, but after just one day of hearing him share his positive message I believed I could really do it. There was a time when a feat like that seemed out of my reach and incredibly scary. Tony explained a few rules on how to get across safely and the power you would need to summon to take that walk, and all 5,000 of us headed for the parking lot where several rows of the burning coals were stretched out before us. I stood toward the back of the line excited to take my turn, especially after seeing and hearing people pass me who had already just walked. They looked elated and high-fived the rest of us, assuring us that we could do it, too.
Tony had told us earlier that the temperature of the coals reached up to 2,000 degrees. if there was any question of whether that was actually true, it was erased for me when it was my turn to walk. I took a deep breath, conjured up my newfound power and bravery and began to make my way across. I honestly couldn't feel a thing other than a certain calmness that I couldn't quite explain. I was really walking on actual fire and had never felt so free in my life. When I reached the end of my walk, one of the tinier coals got stuck to the bottom of my left foot. Tony had warned that this may happen and that his crew would be standing by just in case, and as soon as I shouted out in pain they were right there with hoses and removed the coal immediately. A sense of doubt added to the pain that I felt from the burn. Had I failed the mission altogether?
Looking back, I really don't feel like I failed at all anymore. I still have a tiny scar on the bottom of my foot, but I'm very proud of it and wear it like a badge of honor. I had faced my fear and had done something I never imagined possible, and I wondered what else I might be capable of doing with the same kind of mindset. Luckily, over the next few days, Tony had answers on that as well.
What's holding you back?
The three days that followed were a wealth of information. Tony challenged each of us to determine what drives us, what dreams we ached to make come true and how to live life to the fullest and happiest. He let us know that we deserved those things no matter who we were or where we came from. He helped us let go of the past and not let it affect our present.
For myself, I came to the conference loaded with guilt and shame. I had made so many horrible mistakes in my life that not only caused me great pain but had caused the same to people that I loved. I felt that I didn't deserve success or happiness or anything good in my life for that matter. Even though my outward faÃ§ade didn't always let you know it, on the inside I had a great deal of self hatred. I felt there was no way I could repair the extensive damage I had done. I was afraid of getting too close to other people for fear I might hurt them.
Tony Robbins had no time for that, however. Using powerful visual and auditory imagery, he took a room packed with people each through their own personal demons and somehow exorcised them for good. This was a several-hour process in which nobody left the room, not even Tony himself. In fact, he stayed with us constantly without any sort of intermission for himself. I won't lie and say the process was easy. At times, feeling all that pain again was downright devastating, but Tony brought us to it to bring us through it, and that's exactly what happened for me. I had never felt so free. I realized that while I couldn't change the past, beating myself up on a daily basis was holding me back from the person I could potentially become, somebody who helps rather than hurts and approaches life with gusto rather than dread.
Making My Move
I left the UPW seminar full of hopes and dreams, some of which have already been realized. I feel I am a better mother these days to my three children. I look at people differently, even the ones who might irritate me, and I feel great compassion and hope for them, too. I believe I'm a better friend to those I love, simply because I feel better about myself. Like the saying goes, put the oxygen mask on yourself first because if you don't take care of yourself, you won't be any good to anybody else. I experience my passions on full tilt now and am currently pursuing my lifelong dream of becoming a writer. Instead of fearing the future, I can't wait to see what life has in store for me. As Tony himself suggested, keep that momentum going and if something you're striving for doesn't work, try it again and again in every way you can think of until it does work. "Crush it," is an expression he uses quite often in regards to achieving your heart's desire, because why would you approach it any other way.
A week or so after I returned from the UPW conference, I sent Tony Robbins an email to thank him and to let him know how my time spent with him had transformed me. I shared what I had been struggling with and how he had helped set me free. I couldn't believe it, but he actually wrote me back to share a little wisdom relative to what I had been going through. I felt so blessed that he cared enough to do that. I believe he really wants each of us to reach our full potential. Imagine what life would be like if every one of us did that?