Recently, I attended the Tony Robbin’s Unleash the Power Within event in Los Angeles, California. It was a surreal and transformational experience. I walked in to the event with a heart full of hope and some trepidation. While I have seen Tony Robbins in interviews and was impressed with his charisma and passion, I have never read a Tony Robbins book so his brand of self transformation was new to me. What I would come to find out over the next few days is that Tony Robbins is a force of nature. I can only describe his four day, monster event as boot camp for the soul. We were pushed to our limits mentally, physically and spiritually.
Making the decision to attend his seminar was easy. My close friend, who is a philanthropist and a successful international model, was invited by the Tony Robbin’s team to attend the event as his guest. She asked me if I would like to join her. My answer was an immediate YES! She also asked if my best friend would like to attend as well. Though I knew my best friend would be hesitant because her work schedule is demanding, I begged her to clear her schedule for four days so she could join me. Miraculously, she was able to make it happen so hand in hand we nervously arrived for day one at the Galen Center in downtown Los Angeles. From the moment we stepped into the building the energy was high and the upbeat music was permeating the whole arena. We were ushered to our seats which were directly in front of the stage. As I looked around the venue a huge smile spread across my face. Ten thousand people had showed up looking to better themselves and their lives. Now this is my kind of party.
When Tony Robbins took the stage the audience erupted in delight. His presence is powerful. At a towering 6’7, he reminded me of a panther as he moved across the stage. He emanated strength and conviction. He made it very clear that he was on a mission to help to people change their lives. A brilliant speaker, he told powerful stories of transformation and effortlessly interacted with his audience. Robbins also told us that throughout the four day program we would be working in small groups with the people seated around us. This made me nervous. It’s one thing to tell my close girlfriends my fears and dreams, but telling total strangers my deepest insecurities didn’t sound very appealing. The whole idea of working in groups was made even more strange because a lot of the people seated in my section were famous. As I looked around me I saw Carmen Electra, Maria Sharapova, Mark Burnett, and a lots of Kardashians. And then I realize the man with the platinum hair sitting in front of me is Kanye West! SHIT!
I want to disclose that I do not get nervous around celebrities. For the last twenty years I’ve been surrounded by them because my best friend is a successful entertainer and I’ve traveled the world with her. It didn’t take long for me to realize that ALL people are pretty similar, even the ones staring back from magazine covers. We all have insecurities. We all want more Love in our lives. Still, I was uncomfortable sitting behind Kanye West and I am embarrassed to admit why. I pre-judged him and I felt bad about it. My best friend Nicole has known Kanye West for over a decade and would always tell me the greatest things about him, but like everyone else on the planet I have seen a lot wild headlines that left me wondering if this man was crazy or a genius. Well, I think most everybody on this planet would agree he is musical genius, but I did NOT want to find out if the other things I had read about him were true.
It turns out that all my preconceived notions about the man were false. I was so impressed by his willingness to participate in all the activities just like everyone else in attendance. I noticed when his friends were crying from a particularly hard emotional exercise, he made his way out of his seat to ask his security guard to get tissues for everyone. I noticed how he embraced his wife, the other five Kardashians in attendance, and his friends. He was warm and welcoming. I write all of this not to convince you what a great guy he is, but because it was a seriously humbling lesson for me.
I try my best not to judge people but I was guilty in assuming Kanye West wasn’t someone I’d want to spend much time around. I was wrong. From the Love I saw him show his friends and family to his energetic, child-like enthusiasm he radiated when Tony told us all to stand up and dance, he impressed me. Every ten minutes or so Robbins would ask us to hug and high five everyone around us. Each time, Kanye would turn around with the sweetest smile and hugged me like he had known me his whole life. So, the first lesson I learned during my Tony Robbins experience was that people can surprise you if you open your eyes wide enough to look closer.
Thankfully, most of the group work I was able to do with my best friend who knows me as well as I know myself. We both threw ourselves into the exercises Robbins had outlined for us. It wasn’t easy work. He was asking us to identify all of our limiting behaviors so we could break through our old destructive habits to become better versions of ourselves. What was so interesting was that so many of the people surrounding me had the same issues I do. How is it possible all these incredibly talented individuals struggle with same feelings of self doubt? Robbins explained that all humans are hard wired to experience fear as it was necessary for our survival in early times. Day one was all about learning to face these fears. At the conclusion of the exhausting 14 hour day, my friends and I took a short walk away from the venue to a parking lot where Robbins would lead us in walking across 2000 degree hot coals. During the walk we clapped our hands and shouted “YES” at the ink black sky. The barefoot fire walk was one of the most exhilarating experiences of my life. One by one, the participants faced their fears and walked across the burning coals and celebrated with the other attendees. At around 1am, my best friend and I made our way home to catch a few hours of sleep before heading back to the arena the next day.
Day two was all about figuring out what we truly desired and how to create lasting change in our lives. Tony never took the stage on day two but had Joseph McClendon, a leading peak performance coach, take us through the next phase of our transformation. It was another 14 hour day of dancing, screaming “YES” at the top of our lungs, and doing more intense group work. On day 3, Robbins was back with a vengeance to teach us how to transform our limiting beliefs holding us back from success into empowering beliefs that help drive us to the results we want to achieve. The most difficult part of the day was when Robbins asked us to relive our darkest moments. As he led us through the exercise, so many people were wailing from the pain that was rising up inside them. The whole time I was physically shaking like a leaf from all the emotions I was feeling. Day four was all about health and fitness. Leaders in the wellness industry took to the stage to educate us on how to fuel our bodies to have the energy we need for an extraordinary quality of life.
So what did I learn from the four crazy days I spent searching my soul at the Tony Robbins Unleash the Power Within seminar? My main take aways were as follows:
Everyone is going through something. Even Kanye, so be kind.
Everyone is the master of their destiny so be OUTSTANDING by choice.
If you are hungry to grow and overcome fear, you can achieve anything.
Take MASSIVE ACTION if you really want to see change in your life.
If you want to achieve success, you need to model those that have succeeded before you.
The best way to make positive change is through full immersion.
After spending four days dancing, shouting, learning and growing, I left the event feeling empowered, uplifted, and unstoppable. Being surrounded by so many people seeking positive change in their lives excited my soul in a deeply profound way. I will never forget all I learned and the amazing people I met. Along with 10,000 other people, I drank the Tony Robbins Kool aid and liked it. I liked it a lot.