Last week, I took a leap of faith into the unknown, and committed to an immersive seminar with one of the greatest speakers of our time, Tony Robbins. As I try to put it into words, I wonder how I could possibly describe this four-day experience.
We drove down to San Jose so early Thursday morning that the sun had yet to come up. Skeptical, doubtful, discerning. And 18 hours later on that same day, at midnight, I found myself storming across a bed of hot coals. It’s tough to process. The mental, emotional, and psychological intensity was something I’ve only rarely experienced.
It was like jumping into a bucket of ice water (literally, it’s so freaking cold in that room)! At first, I questioned the modality, and the process. Much of what we learned makes sense, and it’s not rocket science. And I could repeat everything I’ve learned over the past four days to you and you’d say, “Yeah, I get it.”
But it wouldn’t be the same. There’s emptiness in the statement, “I know.” You can know something, and still not put it into practice. At first I was certain I could receive the information given and put it into action without putting my body through the rigorous process of barely eating, barely sleeping, constantly moving throughout the day, and doing everything I could to keep warm.
But, information without emotion is not retained. After the cognitive (knowing it), there comes the emotional (feeling it), and finally the physical (doing it, consistently). There was clearly a method to the madness, because as I sit here today writing these reflections, I so deeply feel the lessons, the momentum, and the self-discovery. It was a true gift.
How can I convey something that was so deeply personal, yet at the same time shared by 12,000 people all together in the same room. So here I’ll share my top three takeaways.
The power of the peak state
We all have the power to snap out of any state, any emotion, and any situation with the snap of a finger. Just like that. I often get in a funk, or annoyed, or frustrated, and I let it control me. I let it control me for far longer than anyone could ever think possible. It dictates how I perform at my job, how I treat my husband, and how I treat myself. Tony teaches us a technique that can snap us back into a peak state instantaneously. Our state of being is controlled by three things: our physiology, our focus, and our language. So the first step to changing state is to move your body.
Change your physiology. Motion creates emotion. If we get up, move around, stretch, and get our heart rate up, it truly changes our physiology.
Next is focus. Focus is controlled by questions, so we must learn to ask better questions. Instead of thinking about the offensive experience or moment, instead ask yourself what you have to be grateful for, ask yourself how you can make a positive outcome happen. Don’t just think it, but really feel it. Put yourself in the moment of whatever it is you’re thinking about. If it’s a time in your life, really think about what it felt like to be there, the sounds, the smells, and the people around you.
And the final step is to change the language around whatever the challenge is. For example, if I am upset that something didn’t go to plan, I can describe whatever I can learn from the current situation, I can turn it into a learning moment or see how I can use it to my advantage.
Our basic needs.
There are four basic needs humans experience: Certainty, Variety, Significance, and Love/Connection. Any behavior we participate in is to meet a specific need, and people will give up their dreams and values to meet their needs. And anytime your brain perceives that something you believe, feel, or do meets at least three of your needs, you become addicted to that behavior. The challenge is, these needs can be met both positively and negatively. Tony challenged us to identify the negative ways in which we get our needs met, and gave us a way to remove those patterns in our lives and replace them with positive fulfillment of these needs.
There are three steps to change any belief, value, or pattern. First, you must find leverage. Leverage can be different for everyone. Is it something spiritual, or something physical, or does it have something to do with their kids? With the right amount of leverage, change becomes an absolute MUST. And goals without musts are nothing. Next you have to severely interrupt the pattern. Have a plan for what to do the moment you start feeling, thinking, or participating in the behavior. Change it immediately. And finally, replace the pattern. Have a real, viable alternative for replacing the activity or belief with another, more positive one.
Before I bought tickets to this event, I had many friends urge me to go. I heard everything from this will completely change your life! And, You have to go, or you would love it and get so much out of it! It was a level of certainty and excitement that I encountered the moment I walked into the event stadium. I saw people go crazy in the audience within moments of arriving. But, I won’t say that to you. I will say this: if there was ever anything you thought about changing, or improving in your life, or if you constantly try to be better, or if you have the slightest curiosity at all, this is an incredible gift to yourself. I didn’t fully immerse until Day 3, and the process I put myself through physically, mentally, and emotionally rivaled my summit of Kilimanjaro, both of which culminated in such an exceptional reward.
At the end of it all, I can’t help but to feel grateful for putting in the work, for giving this gift to myself, for going deep, and for being authentic to myself and to others. And damnit, I feel extraordinary!