3 INSANE Things Tony Robbins Taught Me

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Truth: 3 Doesn’t EVEN Scratch The Surface.

Imagine dragging your way across the desert. You are thirsty, dehydrated. In the distance you see a beautiful site, a desert oasis with a stream. You reach the stream only to discover it’s more of a firehose and you begin drowning in a turbulent, unrelenting flow of water. 

This is what it’s like when you learn from Tony Robbins.

I recently returned from five days with Tony and his Business Mastery team. What I learned during that time was invaluable, more than this blog could even handle. It would be a firehose of information. So rather than overwhelm you, allow me to give you my three biggest takeaways from my five days with Tony Robbins.

Before I do, let me start with a statement of absolute fact. Tony cares, really cares about the people he serves, works with, helps. He is one of the brightest, kindest, and most authentic people I have ever had the pleasure of spending time with.

If you’ve ever attended a Tony Robbins event you already know the energy level of the room, if you’ve never attended a Tony Robbins event it’s kind of like a rock concert, meets disco, meets party. The energy in the room is contagious and the temperature in the room is frigid, Tony likes it cold because it keeps people alert and “In State”.

Takeaway #1:

What business are you in? 
What business are you really in? 
What business should you be in?

These questions may sound pretty basic to you, but they’re not. So, what business are you in? You see many people answer this question by regurgitating what their business does. For example, when Tony asked me that question I answered: “I run a copywriting business”. While that’s true, that isn’t really the business I’m in.

It took me a while to process this myself, but eventually, with Tony‘s guidance, and a room full of like-minded individuals, I was able to come up with the answer.

What business am I really in? I write words that sell… anything.

Did you catch the difference? 

One of them tells you what my business is, the other tells you what we do. It’s a subtle shift, but one that can dramatically change the course of your business when people ask what you do.

Now let’s tackle the last question, what business should you be in? This is more about future proofing your business, looking ahead on the radar screen, seeing the opportunities in front of you. There is no way that I can do justice to this with any amount of words, so I will just let your brain ruminate on this one, better yet, attend Business Mastery and leave with a roadmap for your own growth journey.

Photo courtesy of Tony Robbins

Photo courtesy of Tony Robbins

Takeaway #2:

Who Are You?

Businesses are typically started by one of three types of individuals, identifying who you are, what type of individual, is critical to your business. It allows you to find the other people you need to build a healthy company.

Many people classify or label me as "an entrepreneur." It’s funny, I’ve never been comfortable with the label entrepreneur. Perhaps it’s because I’ve never felt like an entrepreneur. Just because I started a business doesn’t necessarily mean I’m an entrepreneur, does it? No, it doesn’t.

The three types of people are:

  1. artist/producer

  2. manager/leader

  3. entrepreneurs.

So, how do I know that I’m not an entrepreneur? Tony shared a great story, a story I will do my best to share with you.

Steve Wynn of Wynn Hotels and Casinos had just opened up a new location somewhere in Asia, I forget where, but that detail isn’t critical here. He invited Tony for a private tour of this new luxury casino. While being personally guided by Mr. Wynn himself, they entered the high-stakes room, where the “Whales" play, the gamblers that make up the largest share of casino revenue and are the smallest share of customers.

A gentleman seated at one of the tables lost a hand and in the blink of an eye $10 million was gone. Now, I don’t know about you, but the thought of losing $10 million on a single play would make me vomit, curl up in the fetal position, and most likely die. Not this man, no, Instead he stood up, turned around, and saw Steve Wynn and Tony Robbins standing there. He was so excited he shouted, “Oh my God I can’t believe you’re here, I am such a huge fan, can I take a picture with you?“ Tony, being gracious said, "of course you can." The man proceeded to walk over to Steve Wynn and put his arm around him for a photograph, he gushed about how much he loved Wynn casinos and his were the only casinos he gambled in. That my friends is an entrepreneur. It’s all about the game, they have the stomach to take the wins and the losses in stride, they don’t lose sleep over it, they live for it. It’s risk and reward that drives them.

So, I am clearly not an entrepreneur. While I do have entrepreneurial tendencies, I would not be OK losing $10 million on a hand, let alone $10,000 on the hand. Hell, $1,000 on a hand would be out of my comfort zone. I am not a gambler.

I am an artist. A producer. A performer. While I have entrepreneurial tendencies and I’m willing to take small risks, I leave the big stuff for the other guys.

There's also the manager/leader or operationally-minded person. That is definitely not me either, far from it. I live in the clouds, these guys, the dirt. I need these guys to run a successful business.

Knowing who you need is critical to the success and growth of your business. If your business has one of each of these personality types, chances are you’ll be OK. If your business is missing one of them, you should fill that gap as quickly as possible.

Interestingly, after going through this self-identity exercise, Tony asked by a show of hands how many of us in the room were artists/producers, how many of us were manager/leaders, and how many of us were entrepreneurs? I bet you’ll be surprised to learn that over 80% of businesses are started by artists. Astounding numbers, right?

Why do so many businesses fail?

Because artists like to do their art, they would do it for free if they could. But free doesn’t pay the bills. Most artists, myself included, are not great business people. They do one thing and they do it really well. I own who I am and I am grateful for it.

Photo courtesy of Tony Robbins

Takeaway #3:

Do you own your business, or does your business own you?

Can your business survive without you for a day, a week, or a month? How about 6 months? If you answered "NO" to any of these: you are not a business owner, you are an operator.

A business owner works on their business, not in their business.

If you do not have the team and structure in place so that the business can run without you being there, you have a job and it’s a really bad one. Being your own employee sucks.

When you put systems in place and surround yourself with the right people, you can work on growing your business, you can work on the business and not in it.

The stuff I learned from Tony Robbins was invaluable. If you want to go deeper with me on any of these subjects I’d be happy to chat with you. Connect with me, my fellow gladiators!