Tony Robbins: Rip-Off or Real Deal?

Hint: The answer might surprise you.



Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins

Tony Robbins

“We are defined by the stories we tell ourselves.”

-Tony Robbins


A few months ago, my husband came shuffling up to me with that look in his eyes. No, not that one! The other one. The one that says, “I’m going to put something out there and I know you aren’t gonna like it”. 

“There is a 2-for-1 deal for a Tony Robbins ‘Unleash the Power Within’ seminar coming to LA soon. Want to go?” 

What is the appropriate response when someone you love asks you to join a cult? Um, can I get a HELL, NO?! Obviously. Do I look like a kool-aid drinker to you? And then, out of nowhere, the Supportive Wife inside (deep, deep inside) gave me a nudge. Or a wild karate kick to the face. Clearly this was something he wanted to do, and I had seen him draw some real value from reading Tony Robbins stuff in the past. So I agreed to go and set about dreading it for the next several months.

You know about this Tony Robbins fellow, right? Maybe you saw “I am Not Your Guru”, the documentary about his “Date with Destiny” seminar (check out a preview here), or maybe you watched him send Oprah barefoot across a bed of hot coals (yes, literally). If you have no idea what I’m talking about, just picture thousands of lunatics paying a small fortune for the privilege of being corralled in some arena, jumping around screaming while a gigantic man yells at them about getting their shi- … act together. Not exactly my cup of tea. Sure, there are those who swear by his unconventional approach to self help, insisting their lives are forever changed by attending one of these events. But those people are nuts, right? RIGHT???

In the weeks leading up to the event, I started receiving emails with more details. Great news! Day One is a “half day”! Wait … Noon - 10:30pm … what kind of a “half day” is that?!?! Day Two … 8:30am - 10:30pm. That seems kind of long, so surely they’re going to give us a break on Day 3 … wait … 8:30am - 11:30pm!!! And finally, Day 4: 9:00am - 7:00pm. WOW. This guy sure likes to hear himself talk! What could he possibly talk about for all that time?? How will I sit still? When will I sleep???? Most importantly, WHEN WILL I EAT??? The email literally said, “We have incorporated time in the program for you to partake in a mid-day snack break.” Seriously? A “snack break” in the middle of a 15-hour day?? The seminar was weeks away and my blood was already boiling. Nobody comes between me and my meals!

Eventually the time came for me and my boiling blood to head over and “register” for the seminar. I’ll spare you all of the gory details, but suffice it to say that all 9,000 participants apparently decided to register at the same time. It was like waiting in line for over two hours to get a new iPhone, except instead of a life-enhancing piece of cutting-edge technology that fits in your pocket you get a lanyard, a workbook, and a bracelet you aren’t allowed to take off for the next four days. Enthusiasm level: NOPE.

Lucky for me, my Registration Day enthusiasm level inspired the perfect outfit to kick things off the next day. Day One famously includes the fire-walking portion of the event, and they recommend that you choose your attire with that in mind (wear pants that roll up easily! wear shoes that slip off easily!). Being a reasonably sane person, there was NO WAY anyone was convincing me to walk barefoot across a bed of 1000-degree+ coals. So I arrived with my lanyard, my bracelet, my best scowl, a shirt emblazoned with the word “NOPE”, skinny jeans and lace-up sneakers. No brainwashing for me!


Tony Robbins


And then the music started. And the lights. I started thinking that it might maybe just for a minute be ok to dance a tiny little bit, just in my seat. And then Tony Robbins came exploding onto the stage and the place was ELECTRIC. I can’t describe it except to say that the energy was irresistible and I got consumed by it — it cracked me wide open. Before I knew it, I was one of the jumping, screaming lunatics, complete with my very own breakthrough! Turns out there’s a lot of thinking and reflecting and feeling and sharing and laughing and crying in between all that dancing, and at some point Tony asked us to go back to a place in our lives where we felt absolutely unstoppable. Just one problem: I didn’t have a place like that to go back to. How could this be? 37 years of living and I couldn’t recall a single moment of feeling unstoppable?! 

I put that alarming thought aside and moved on to the next exercise, and the next, and the “end time” of 10:30pm came and went. The time flew by, and then it was midnight and I found myself rolling up those tight jeans and unlacing those sneakers and then … I walked on fire!!!!! Call it brainwashing, call it mind control, call it drinking the kool-aid — I’m calling it FEELING FREAKING UNSTOPPABLE FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE. 

After that, it was breakthrough after breakthrough for the rest of the time. Tony Robbins and his team helped me demolish my fears and doubts and replace them with new ways of thinking that left me empowered and full of life and energy. Tony Robbins has a gift, people! Like it or not, we all “brainwash” ourselves with thousands of reasons why we can’t have everything we’ve ever wanted in life. Tony knows all your reasons are horse pucky! Spend a few days with him and you’ll know it too. 

New enthusiasm level: YYYYAAAAAAAAASSSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

10 thoughts on “Tony Robbins: Rip-Off or Real Deal?

  1. You are such a gifted writer, Misty!! I must say, I was wondering those same questions you expressed at the beginning of your article. Nice job, and good for you!

  2. I have attended Tony Robbins events since 1991….I am so happy you stretched yourself… His Date with Destiny event is incredible for relationships( yourself and your partner). Because you have attended a UPW you can apply to be a Crew member for that event in the future anywhere he has them, or can be a crew member for any event you have completed. There are positions available in all areas including angels for the fire walk. Tony’s crew is tight, they stay in touch, and also have groups on FB to inspire and stay connected. Best wishes!

  3. Welcome to your life fun to be awake and alive! Your note will help many others be inspired! Living my dreams in Thailand with the most passionate wife and kids and time to enjoy them because of Tony Robbins work
    Make your move say yes!
    Craig Richards

  4. You are an awesome writer and talented communicator. You brought up the dialogue I had in my head going into my first fire walk, was not gonna do it but the explosion of energy in Tony and his message was too TRUE to pass up. I needed every nudge of strength his seminar gives, to walk and know I would survive. Another highlight was the laughter I remember feeling inside when we had to rest and listen to some funny stuff, just remember the people around me all laughing with our eyes closed, so fun to feel that good inside, welling over with joy that I didn’t want to end/he is talent beyond compare. I love him for not retiring 20 years ago and saying palm trees and oceans are easier to get along with than us, ha
    He never gave up on us, helping us, teaching us, he must know he can’t take all that stuff with him when he leaves but he still shows up for work earlier than us and later than all of us.
    He does it so WE can feel good, so WE can have a shot at life, so WE are part of the creative edge that life demands.
    I’m not sure what else to say, but thank you Sir, you are one of the best gifts God has given us. U woke us up, you showed us the way/God bless U!!

  5. You are describing my experience to a t! My husband came to me and said there’s an event I want us to go to and I need you to SAY YES! How could I not? I agreed to go, but I’m the months leading up to it I got more and more concerned about the long hours and being able to keep my energy up. Then came registration and I was not amused. High fives, chants, and cheers all around me. Not to mention the two hour line! Oh vey! I went into Day 1 trying to be as open minded as I could, but still being reserved and timid. The moment Tony got up on stage I got emotional and all my walls came down. I was a jumping up and down, screaming, high giving fool. I said YES, and boy am I glad I did!

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