2016 Reflections - Firewalking with Tony Robbins: More than Just a Physiological Impact


As 2016 ends and we take some time to think about some of the year’s highlights, Tony Robbins' Unleash the Power Within was one of them. 

How do you describe Tony Robbins?  Almost more than human.  The conference is something between a hardcore rock concert and a very dynamic church service (a long church service).  And while on the surface, those events may seem very different –Tony Robbins brings and maintains both elevated emotions, senses, and inspiration to the table all at once.

Twenty years ago, a co-worker of mine REALLY got into Tony Robbins.  In fact, at the time, I felt she was akin to a groupie, and I didn’t really understand it.  I remember thinking the whole thing seemed kind of “cultish” and therefore, didn’t engage to really understand why she was so into it.   Fast forward many years later - I’ve learned (the hard way several times) that judging something without understanding it is, frankly, my own ignorance. 

More recently, I was reacquainted with Tony Robbins through a blog I religiously follow called Asian Efficiency.  AE’s productivity content has been extremely helpful in both work and personal life due to their “holistic” approach - energy management, help with Omnifocus, a productivity "cheat sheet", a productivity "blueprint", including morning rituals, etc.

They profess in their content how much Tony Robbins has influenced them, and that his UPW conference was “transformational” for their work.  So, when Tony scheduled one of his shindigs in Dallas this year, I decided to go.  I wanted to see what it was all about.

While some of his tactics are a little hard core (i.e. fire walking on the 1st night), he is one of the most powerful speakers I’ve ever encountered. The days were incredibly long - 2 of them were 15 hours.  When I showed up the 1st day, I was so glad I had a car so I could make a quick get away when I became tired of sitting in a hard chair amongst 8,000 of my new friends!  However, believe it or not, his energy was so captivating that it was easier than I expected to stay engaged.

But what did I learn.  Here are just a few things…

Tony Robbins

1.     There is an Art to Fulfillment – One of his many provocative statements he made was “The brain is not designed to make you happy.  It’s a great strategy tool – but it’s not good at enjoying.” Deciding to live in a beautiful state of mind is 100% my responsibility.  To do this, I must become aware of my own thoughts and basically, STOP believing them! 

2.     Changing my Feelings starts with Changing my Focus, Language and Physiological State. This hit home because so many times when I get knotted up about something I want to change, I believe I need to stop feeling bad BEFORE I can make a change but according to Robbins, that belief is what holds me back. 


·      Focus = feeling.  What I focus on creates the feelings I have.  My pain and suffering is not necessarily dependent on what happens to me - it’s more dependent on the “story” I create about it.  I don’t HAVE TO suffer no matter what happens.  “As you think, so you feel”, he says.

·      Use Language that Lifts, Not Limits You – so often, my thoughts are a repeat of the thoughts from yesterday or the day before.  I can interrupt those patterns by creating “incantations” – sounds a little over the top but the idea is to create statement that addresses an Empowering Belief (instead of a Limiting Belief).  An example of one of my own Limiting Beliefs is:  “I can’t lose weight because I have thyroid issues” vs. this Empowering Belief I replaced while in the session: “I am strong and healthy overall, and I have the ability to make almost anything happen that I want to make happen.”

Tony Robbins

·      If I Can’t Change My State of Mind, I can change my “State” - The shortcut to changing my emotions is to change my “state”  (i.e. if I “feel” sad, I can change that feeling more quickly if I change something physiologically first - my posture, my breathing, my face expression, etc.). To close the gap between how you currently “feel” and how you want to feel, you need to visualize experiencing it.  In fact, the best advice he gave on visualizing is to not only visualize it but also, to imagine having it taken away – once you get a “taste” of something, you’ll fight to keep it!


3.  Stress is the Achiever’s Word for Fear.  This, too, hit home for me. Not only had I never related my “stress” to fear, I also did not realize how “universal” fear is.  He spoke of 2 primary fears that we all share:  “not being enough” and that “we won’t be loved.”  What he suggested was to dance with fear – instead of fighting it. And of course, Tony showed us this by dancing on stage with imaginary fear so that we could understand his point – it’s there and moving with it (instead of running or fighting it) releases its hold on us.


If you want to learn more about Tony Robbins and his style, you now can without attending one of his events.  A documentary was released in 2016 and Marie Forleo interviewed him about it. Good interview…

Oh, and I walked over hot coals - I, too, am a fire walker!  …although yes my feet hurt a bit afterwards. =)