I, unwittingly, began my personal development journey in late 2013.
I’d just gone through a devastating breakup that left me depressed, confused, and heartbroken for months. Wallowing in self-pity and victimhood, I quickly spiraled into a dark abyss of sadness and desperation.
Whenever I spent time with friends or family, I would put on a brave face for a few minutes and happily make mindless small talk until someone asked the question I dreaded most. “How are you doing?”
“Like shit!” I would always respond, “The love of my life just left me and already moved onto the next guy…how do you think I’m doing?”
This pathetic trend continued for months and for a while, the people closest to me expressed sympathy and offered encouragement. But eventually, my toxic state became too much for them to handle.
In a moment of frustration, my brother (literally) threw a copy of Awaken the Giant Within at my head, looked at me with an expression somewhere between pity and “I’m going to smack you in the face if you don’t stop whining everyday” and said, “Read this.”
At the time, I was a personal development newbie. I didn’t understand concepts like the growth mindset, goal setting, or state control and was the quintessential example of a man who was allowing life to happen to him (instead of believing he could make life happen for him).
Looking at the cheesy subtitle and Tony’s gigantic smile, I rolled my eyes. But I knew I needed to make a change and agreed to check it out.
When I got home that night, I opened the book and started reading…
…I couldn’t put it down.
Midnight passed. Then 1 am, 2 am, and 3 am.
I poured over the pages until the early hours of dawn and, for the first time in my life, I actually believed that I could create a life on my terms and control my destiny…more importantly, I discovered the foundational habits and action steps that would help me do it.
After a few months of implementing the new lessons Tony taught in his book, a mentor of mine invited me out to New York City to Tony’s flagship seminar, Unleash the Power Within.
I’d never been to a personal development seminar in my life, but after experiencing firsthand the transformational power of Tony’s strategies, I knew it was exactly what I needed.
Despite my financial challenges–I could barely afford to pay rent at that time, let alone a flight across the country and $1,000 to attend a self-help event–I maxed out one of my credit cards, bought my ticket, flights and committed to going all out on the experience.
Was it worth it?
Did I discover how to unleash the power within me and build the life I wanted? Or is Tony Robbins a (remarkably good) marketer who preys on those going through troubling times and offers false hope of inspiration?
I NEVER Expected This: My First Moments at Unleash the Power Within
I’ve been to a lot of parties in my day.
So when I say that I’ve never experienced anything like UPW before, you can trust that it actually means something.
When I showed up for the first day of the event, I was shocked by the swarms of people fighting to get into the venue. More than 5,000 personal development junkies from all walks of life were crowded around the entrance, desperate to make it through the line and find their seats (not that there would be much sitting at this event!)
It felt like I was attending one of The Rolling Stones last concerts…not like a seminar where I’d be sitting quietly in one place with a pen and paper learning how to live a better life.
After I finished the registration and made it through the doors, the rock concert vibes ensued.
The music was deafening (in a good way), at times people were jumping up and down like a mini mosh pit, and the spectacle on stage looked like something out of Burning Man.
I was hooked from the word, “Go”.
The room was teeming with an unshakable excitement and sense of anticipation that’s difficult to explain to someone who’s never experienced one of Tony’s events before.
And this surprised me. Going in, I’d expected a dull seminar where I’d have to suffer through hours of useful but banal powerpoint presentations., but those expectations were shattered seconds after I walked through the doors.
Not Your Average Guru: What to Expect from the Experience at Unleash the Power Within
After making my way to my seat, I pulled out my journal and prepared for the day ahead of me. I don’t know what I expected at that moment, but I can promise you I did not expect the events that transpired once Tony took the stage by storm.
And did I forget to say jumping?
Sounds absurd, right? But it it actually works.
Tony has been running seminars for decades and every aspect of the experience is strategically engineered to break you down and build you back up over the course of the day.
The “rah-rah” antics, as cheesy as they might seem, are there for a reason. To break you out of your shell and force you to adopt a new state of being where you are receptive and open to the lessons being taught.
Every day, you’ll discover new strategies to help you overcome fear, transform your identity, achieve bigger goals, and get on a path to a whole new life.
You will be forced to consider yourself and your desires from new angles, to face the uncomfortable truths about your life and behaviors, to look at yourself objectively and identify the steps to change your life.
Whatever you’re struggling with, whether it’s your career, finances, relationships, health, or emotional well being, at Unleash the Power Within, Tony offers practical insights that will help you make the leap from where you to where you want to be.
My favorite part of the event was when Tony did live interventions with attendees on the spot.
Whether he was breaking someone out of the “spell” of clinical depression, saving a troubled marriage, or helping a life-long addict create a new identity, Tony has an uncanny ability to cut straight to the heart of the problems people are facing and give them breakthrough solutions, on the spot.
You’ll meet likeminded people who are on a similar path and share a similar purpose and have the opportunity to network with individuals who may end up being apart of your life for years after. From millionaires to celebrities to music icons to fellow entrepreneurs looking to “crack the code” to lifelong success, UPW attracts a plethora of different people who are doing the journey with you.
In fact, if you’re single, it’s going to be good for you. You’ll be forced to break out of your social shell, shatter social constructs that have held you back for years, meet new people from all walks of life, and get vulnerable with absolute strangers.
However, if you’re in a relationship, attending the event with your partner could very well save or enhance your relationship. Tony spends a lot of time focused on masculine and feminine polarity and the lessons that he teaches will help you relate with your significant other in a more powerful way (bonus: you’ll have mind-blowing sex every night of the event…guaranteed).
While you’re at the event, I encourage you to focus on the event.
If you’re anything like me, the thrill of a new city and the high you get from the event will have you amped up and eager to go on an adventure after the event. But don’t.
Avoid drinking or using recreational drugs (trust me, with the “UPW High” you won’t need them), get to bed at a reasonable hour, and spend your downtime going over the lessons you learned and how you can apply them into your life. Drink plenty of water and bring a few power bars and energizing snacks to keep you present through the long sessions.
A full 12 hour day will go by and you’ll think it happened in only 3 hours!
Push yourself to stay engaged even when you’re feeling tired and remember: you will only get OUT of this event what you are willing to put IN to it.
I must be clear, live events ONLY change lives when you take action on what you’ve learned post event.
If you show up, “drink the Koolaid”, and then go back to acting the same way you did before the event, nothing will change. You must take what you learn and APPLY it to experience change.
Otherwise, UPW will be nothing more than a 4-day motivation fest that amps you up for a week, drains your wallet and leaves you no better than you were when you showed up.
Whose to blame for that?
My Biggest Takeaways from Tony Robbins at Unleash the Power Within
Everyone shows up to UPW with a different set of problems and challenges. And everyone leaves the event with different experiences. However, there were five central themes that dominated the conversation at UPW and still stick with me to this day.
1. Control Your State, Control Your Life
The state in which you find yourself in any given moment dictates the quality of your emotions, actions, and as a result, your life.
If you are in a bad state…if your emotions are running wild, your posture slouched and defeated, and your view of the world tainted by dark-colored lenses, every area of your life will suffer.
You’ll show up to your work with low energy and apathy. Expressions of love from your partner will be seen as an annoyance instead of a gift. Minor frustrations become insurmountable emotional obstacles. Everything in your life will feel heavy and hard.
Luckily, even though your state controls your life, you and only you control your state.
You have the power in any given moment to put yourself in a powerful and inspiring state. To ignore the emotional melodrama going on in your head and make the conscious decision to force your body into a different state of being.
And when you take control of your physical state, your emotional and mental state will soon follow.
After four days of jumping, running, yelling, screaming, and high-fiving for 12 hours a day, you will experience the power of state control firsthand. Despite the insane amount of energy you will expend throughout the event, you’ll find yourself energized and high on life throughout the entire day.
By understanding the power of state control, you reclaim control of your life and emotions and can consciously will yourself into a powerful state…on command.
2. The #1 Secret to Overcoming a Plateau in Life
In the same way that weight lifters hit inevitable plateaus in their strength and conditioning, we all hit plateaus in our lives whether they are in our career, finances, relationships, or personal development.
When faced with these plateaus, our knee jerk reaction is to quit. To see our lack of progress as a sign that we’re doing the wrong thing or, worse, that we are somehow less worthy because of our lack of progress. And this is exactly what most people–appropriately referred to as “dabblers”–do.
But over the course of the Unleash the Power Within seminar, Tony taught me that plateaus are an inevitable part of any endeavor. They are something that should be expected and planned for.
To be a high achiever at the game of life, you must expect the plateaus. And when you do, you must realize that the solution is not to simply give up or even to work harder. The secret to overcoming a plateau and reaching new heights of success is to ask yourself “Who” not “What” can help you.
More often than not, the solution to a plateau is to work with someone who can help you, like a coach. To enlist the help of someone who has “been there, done that” and can find the blind spots that you simply can’t see. With the help of the right coach or mentor, you can overcome plateaus faster and reach levels of achievement you previously thought impossible.
By trading dollars for insight, you can cut your learning curve in half and achieve 10X more because you are following a proven path to the results you desire.
Admittedly, Tony’s coaching services (or rather the services of his company) are pitched frequently throughout the event and, although I agree that coaching is one of the best investments you can make, it isn’t a tenable solution for everyone. Great coaches, coaches who can really help you get to the next level often charge $1,500/month or more for their services making it an unrealistic investment for everyone.
The key is to find alternative solutions that work for you.
Whether you find an unpaid mentor, apprentice under someone who has the results you want, join a local support group or simply use YouTube to find the information you need, you must always ask yourself “WHO can help me break through this plateau”.
Want all the benefits of coaching without the high price tag and long term contracts?
Then for a fraction of the cost, I invite you to check out my underground brotherhood of high-performers, The Secrets of the Top 1% of Men. My team of expert coaches and I will personally help you through the biggest challenges you’re facing in your life and you’ll get direct access to decades of experience and expertise from men who have walked the walk and know exactly what you need to get to the next level.
3. What’s Your “X-Factor”?
To achieve lasting success and create a legacy that will endure long after you’ve left this world, you must discover your “X-Factor.” The key differentiator that separates you from the masses and makes you stand out in a crowded world.
Too many people live lives of “quiet imitation.” They try to copy Tony Robbins, Gary Vaynerchuk, or Grant Cardone. What they fail to realize is that the reason that guys like Tony, Gary, and Grant are so successful is that they went all in on their unique brand, personality, and business.
And to achieve lasting success in business and in life, you must do the same. You must discover and develop your own “X Factor.”
Your X-Factor is what makes you stand out. It’s that thing about you or your business that is hard (if not impossible) to replicate. It’s what sets you apart from everyone else.
For example, Apple is one of the leading forces in the tech industry because of its commitment to merging art and technology. Their X-factor is innovation, beauty, and simplicity.
At Knowledge for Men, our X-Factor is that we provide actionable, in-depth content for men (mostly for free) that they can’t get anywhere else.
But this concept stretches far beyond the realms of business.
Each individual person has their own X-Factor, whether they are consciously aware of it or not.
For example, former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink’s X-factor is his extreme commitment to discipline and doing the uncomfortable things no one else will do.
Tim Ferriss’s X-Factor is his radical curiosity, obsession with testing and optimization, and commitment to ultra-efficiency.
But what about you.
What is your X-Factor?
To begin this path of discovery, I encourage you to answer the following questions:
- What makes you stand out?
- What is hard for other people but easy for you?
- What value do you bring to your community and the world?
- What do you believe is unique about your personality and the way you’re “wired”?
- What could your X-Factor become with conscious practice and hard work?
4. Understanding the 6 Human Needs that Drive Your Life
One of the things I loved about the experience at Unleash the Power Within was the way that Tony so effectively articulated ideas that we all “know” to be true on an intellectual level but struggle to practically apply to our lives. And one of the most important ideas he shared was on the six basic human needs.
We all share a need for 1) Certainty, 2) Variety, 3) Significance, 4) Connection and Love, 5) Growth and 6) Contribution.
However, few of us ever consciously consider these needs or how we are striving to achieve them in our day to day lives (and more importantly if the way we are attempting to fulfill these needs is helping or hurting us).
For example, every man wants to experience love and connection, but how we go about filling that need varies from man to man. Some men will choose to pursue this need through pick up artistry; having connectionless sex with dozens of new partners in a vacuous attempt to fill their egos and feel loved. Others will opt for a conventional marriage, settling down with the first woman they date and spending years in a mediocre relationship so they can feel accepted and stay safe within their comfort zone.
And it is only when we understand our needs and how we are attempting to fulfill them that we can choose to meet our needs in a more powerful way.
Once you understand your six basic needs, and which needs are the driving force of your life, you can begin to architect a life around what is most important to you. But until you gain an awareness of how these needs are impacting your life, you will always struggle to make the big changes you need to make to live the life you want.
5. Throw Out Your Old Beliefs and Reclaim Your Power
During the third day of the event, Tony took the audience through a ten-hour journey of devastating lows and euphoric highs as he helped us dissect, break down, and rebuild our beliefs.
Here’s the deal…
All of us, regardless of our age, upbringing, and background have negative beliefs, often called “invisible scripts” running in the back of our head that control how we see and interact with the world around us. And, whether you’re aware of them or not, you can see the impact these beliefs have on your life.
For example, if you were raised to believe (as so many of us were) that, “Real men don’t cry”, you will unconsciously manifest this belief in your life, stifling your emotions, hiding from your truth, and refusing to seek help when you need it most.
Or (another common example), if you grew up in a home where money was scarce and were taught that “Rich people are greedy” and “Money is the root of all evil”, you will unconsciously sabotage any attempt you make at achieving financial success and surpassing the rest of your family financially. No matter how hard you try to make more money, until you eliminate this belief from your subconscious, you will never break through the low-level financial ceiling that you unconsciously created decades ago.
Throughout the seminar, Tony helped us to not only identify the beliefs that were holding us back (and those that actually helped us) but shared the processes we needed to follow to break down those beliefs and replace them with more empowering ones to fuel a greater life.
Of all the lessons I learned during Unleash the Power Within, this was perhaps the most powerful and the practice of assessing, breaking, and rebuilding the beliefs on which I operate continues to serve me greatly to this day.
Who SHOULD Attend Unleash the Power Within?
I recommend attending Tony’s Unleash the Power Within seminar for two groups of people.
The first are people who feel stuck.
For those of you trapped in a monotonous and boring existence (even if you’ve enjoyed some success in the past) UPW will light a fire under your ass and give you the spark of motivation and drive you need to move your life forward.
If you’re stuck in a job you don’t like, in a marriage that isn’t working, or in the same patterns of self-sabotaging behaviors that have held you back from the life you desire for years, UPW will steer you in the right direction.
The second group to which I would recommend this event are those of you who want more.
Maybe you’re already successful. You have a 6-figure career, a good marriage, a healthy body, and an overall “above average” life. But when you go to bed each night, you can’t help but shake the feeling that you aren’t living up to your full potential. You know that there’s more to get out of life, but you can’t figure out what that “more” is or how to get it.
Everyone around you might look to you as the paragon of success and fulfillment, but on the inside, you know that there’s another level of impact you could reach…if only you knew how.
If this is you, Unleash the Power Within can help you discover a higher purpose for your life and equip you with the actionable strategies you need to improve your performance in every area of life and finally feel like you’re living up to the potential that’s always been inside of you.
Who Should NOT Attend Unleash the Power Within?
As much as I loved the event, UPW is not right for everyone.
If you feel like everything in your life is working, you’re on a clear path to getting what you want and you’re completely content with the results you’re achieving in every area of your life, don’t waste your time or money coming out to the event.
Unleash the Power Within is all about growth. Achieving the impossible, unlocking new levels of performance and satisfaction, and breaking free from the limiting beliefs and behaviors that have held you back for years. If you aren’t looking to breakthrough anything…if you feel like you’re already in a great place and don’t find it necessary to get uncomfortable then, UPW will be a waste of your time and money.
You’ll feel like you don’t belong and it will drive you to storm out of the seminar thinking everyone there is crazy.
Similarly, if you aren’t satisfied with your life as it is today but you aren’t willing to open up and try something new and different (even if it seems silly), UPW has nothing to offer you.
To derive any value from the experience, you must show up with an open heart and mind and a willingness, daresay an eagerness to try new things and act in an uncommon way. If you aren’t willing to be uncomfortable, vulnerable, and brutally honest with yourself, Tony’s lessons will fall on deaf ears and you will walk away completely unchanged.
Many people who fit into these categories will walk out within the first hour of the event for these reasons.
Here’s What’s WRONG with Unleash the Power Within
Although Tony and his team get a lot right, there were a few things about the experience that I utterly disliked.
For starters, Tony is only at the event for half of the four days, 2 of 4. When he’s there, it’s worth it and everyone’s on cloud nine. But his other trainers simply don’t bring the same level of impact and gravitas as Tony and it can make it hard to fully engage with what they’re teaching…even when it’s useful advice
Another aspect of the event that I rubbed me the wrong way was the dogmatic approach to health and vitality.
Although Tony does share a lot of practical and universal strategies for improving one’s health, much of the content was outdated (and according to more recent attendees, still is). After my recent struggle with debilitating toxic mold poisoning, I discovered, on no uncertain terms, that health and vitality are highly bio-individual. What works for one man can put another in the hospital and every day we’re discovering new insights into human biology that shatter our previously held beliefs about what it means to live a healthy life.
But this shouldn’t be seen as a deal-breaker. Simply a fair warning. Many of Tony’s health recommendations may not work for you. So be willing to do your own research and use your best judgment.
The final, and most problematic, issue with the event is the overly long sales pitches.
I’ve run my own seminars in the past. And I understand that 1) Seminars are expensive and rarely profitable and 2) Like everyone else, Tony is running a business and his higher-ticket events and coaching programs are responsible for most of the revenue he generates from UPW.
I have no problem with the fact that Tony and his team do sell other products and services during the event. And I actually encourage you to consider many of these opportunities seriously.
What bothered me about the way that the pitches were done is that they clearly take advantage of putting you in a euphoric state before the pitch to increase their sales. When you’ve been jumping up and down for hours, plotting out your vision for the future, and engaging in one of the most alive and emotionally charged states that you’ve experienced in years, it’s easy to make a quick decision without thinking about it if this is right for you, or if you can afford it.
Considering that many of his offers are for products and programs that cost upwards of $6,000 not including hotel and travel, it’s all too easy for attendees to make decisions that they can’t financially afford because of the pressure of the environment and the overall “high” of the experience.
There are even Tony Robbin’s supplements like vitamins and fish oil packs that are overpriced and have never seen anywhere else, suggesting this is a quick way to maximize sales at the event.
Although I won’t go as far as to say that the sales tactics are unethical, I would advise you to delay making any new investments until after the event has concluded.
Spend a night or two thinking about it and always know that those same offers will exist post event if you talk to the sales rep about it, and say you weren’t ready financially during the event and had to look things over.
More often than not, the best course of action is to implement what you learn from Unleash the Power Within, get results in your life, and then invest in a more advanced seminar or coaching program when it’s financially feasible and you’ve thought it through clearly.
My Honest Review of Unleash the Power Within: Is It Worth Your Time and Money?
Simply, yes and yes.
Unleash the Power Within is Tony’s flagship seminar experience and, despite his wild energy levels and enthusiasm, he isn’t getting any younger. With his recent health, age and vocal problems in the past, I suspect that he will only be able to continue the event for a few more years before it is completely handed off to his team or shuts down altogether.
If you can afford the event and take at least 5 days off from work, then I encourage you to attend.
That being said, the event is expensive. There are many costs behind the ticket price that add up.
Between the event itself, flights, ubers, hotels, high priced surrounding restaurants, overpriced snacks and drinks sold at the event, time off from work, and other unexpected expenses, the price can easily cost over $4,000.
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I hope to see you on the inside and keep the conversation going.
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