This past month, I attended a 3.5 day intense personal-development seminar called Unleash the Power Within, or UPW. UPW is a self-improvement/development seminar run twice a year by Tony Robbins, “designed to help you unlock and unleash the forces inside that can help you break through any limit and create the quality of life you desire.”
I have been wanting to go to one of Tony Robbins seminars for a while now – and while I have never read any of his books or listened to any of his tapes, I listen to his podcasts from time to time and have seen his Ted talk + Netflix documentary “I Am Not your Guru.”
Back in September, my cousin randomly asked if I wanted to go to UPW – without hesitation, I said “Why Not??”. We both researched other people’s experiences – podcasts, blogs, etc. – and decided, based on the positive feedback from all sources, that we needed to go and have our own unique experience. We found a great deal on discounted tickets on craigslist, booked our tickets, found an Air BNB, and were all set for the event! Below is my recap of Day 1 – you can find a recap of the Day 2 here and Day 3 here!
You are given a choice of 6 different programs to listen to before the event to get you in the right mindset – free for the first 30 days, then you are charged if you keep longer. Not a bad deal, unless you are like me and travel WAY too much to complete in 30 days & are unable to lug a bunch of CD’s around.
The Ultimate Edge: 21 day audio program. Choose this one for overall improvement.
Mastering Influence: 10 day system. Choose this one to increase your sales and/or influencing others to work with you to create a win/win situation.
Time of Your Life: 10 day system. Choose this one to get more of the results you are really passionate about in less time.
Creating Lasting Change: 10 day program. Choose this one to become a more effective inspirational leader using Tony’s techniques.
Path to Permanent Weight Loss: Choose this one to break through your weight and health issues permanently.
The Ultimate Relationship Program: Choose this one to create a relationship full of both love AND passion.
Based on what you are looking to improve in your life/the main reason for going to the event, you pick 1 program & it is shipped to you pretty quickly. You get to keep the books included, and after 30 days, UPS will pick up from your doorstep, free of charge, when you are ready to send back.
I chose the Ultimate Edge – and while my efforts were well-intentioned, I made it about 3/4 through before having to leave the country & send back. I did get a really good idea of what the seminar would be like, and I did gain a LOT of learnings from what I did complete. I highly recommend taking the time to complete the entire program before the event – it will give you a lot of clarity & make the event easier to digest. (Note to Tony Robbins Team – please make this program available for download on phones – the only CD player I have is in my car!)
You are also given 1 free over-the-phone coaching session. My cousin and I both had very different experiences – her coaching call was very sales-y, and mine was all about a coach breaking down my goals into smaller pieces. While it was interesting & cool to have that done, I was a little confused as to what the actual purpose of the call was for. I thought it would be like a life coach session, where I would be given some direction towards my goals & where to begin.
Fast-forward 2 months, and between coming back from being out of the country for 3 weeks, recovering from jetlag, teaching 3 yoga classes a week on top of my full time job, my bf moving in, and a trip to Florida 3 days before the event, I was obviously ready and not overwhelmed at all before flying out to Cali 😉
With that being said, I recover pretty quickly… and I was SUPER pumped about the trip. I believe everything happens at the exact time it needs to, and everything literally fell into place for me and my cousin. We got free transportation to and from the airport AND the event, and our seats were awesome for the price we paid. It was meant to be!
My cousin & I arrived early to grab snacks at a nearby Whole Foods, then waited in line until the doors opened at 10. Once the doors opened, we secured some decent spots – aisle seats, as you have a little more room to move & easy to leave for bathroom breaks. We both sat on opposite ends of a row, as we wanted to “play full out.”
It is recommended to sit away from people you know when coming to the event, as it’s easier to let go & fully experience the newness/craziness around people you don’t know.
If you sit by people you do know, you are less likely to dance & shout & let go – meaning, you are going to act in a way that fits what someone else might expect of you. Being around strangers allows you to let go & be a different person, at least for the 3-4 days that you are there. You will most likely never see them again… and if you do, you know they are accepting of whatever crazy behavior that happens that weekend! And who wouldn’t want to keep cool new friends like that 🙂
Staff/volunteers came to dance on-stage to pump everyone up… Then, Tony came onto the stage. The first day was all about Tony talking about values, creating our own lives through the power of thought & repetition, leadership, fears, quality of life, how we are the cause of our own suffering, and fulfillment.
We were also led through a 45 minute meditation that literally felt like 4 minutes… then, the firewalk. Tony took about 1.5 hours to get us in a specific, focused state of mind + gave us seven steps to prepare us to walk across hot coals. I’m going to be honest, I wasn’t worried until everyone + Tony kept talking about how dangerous it was! Regardless, Tony did a good job of preparing everyone for the walk. We all removed our shoes around midnight and walked outside as a huge crowd (10,500 people!). There were 35 rows of hot coals constantly being refreshed with new hot coals once they started to cool down, so you were guaranteed maximum hotness!
**Side note: It seemed a bit cultish with everyone walking outside, clapping their hands in barefeet, and chanting YES. YES. YES…. however, I understand the psychology of getting into a specific state of mind in order to do the impossible & was fully aware of what was going on the entire time.
After the walk, we were free to go home. Unfortunately, the person trying to get a video/pic of me & my cousin walking across the coals didn’t happen… so, being the crazy person I am, we found someone else to take a picture, and went a second time. It’s all about proof of the impossible, right?!
Below are a few of my favorite quotes/Takeaways from Tony on Day 1:
Biggest takeaway: Replace Expectations with Appreciation (I cried to a complete stranger about this one!)
Emotions don’t come from life – they come from what you believe about your life.
Suffering = perception of what you think are facts
You can have a thought, but if you don’t believe it, it means nothing
How to end suffering:
1) Appreciate & Enjoy
2) Learn & Grow
3) Love, live, & be grateful
Your worst day is your best day when you find an empowering meaning behind it
The words you attach to your experiences are what you will continue to feel
Who you become when achieving a goal is what creates happiness
Success without fulfillment = the ultimate failure
If you do what you do at the beginning of a relationship (ex: giving without expectation of reciprocation), there will be no end.
Complexity is the enemy of execution. Keep it simple!
Last note – Pitbull came on and talked about his relationship with Tony + living a positive life, then put on a performance. It was a lot of fun, and I loved how the entire day was full of different experiences!
A few other notes from day 1:
Tony tends to get distracted & bounces around from different thoughts/points… most of the time, he is able to come back & finish, but there were a few times he never did.
Be prepared to take a lot of notes!
There is a lot of dancing. A LOT. A LOT ALOT ALOT ALOT. Every 5-15 minutes, you are up & dancing to really loud music – it was like a non-stop dance party the entire weekend. This is done to get the body moving + keep everyone engaged versus sitting in a chair for 18 hours straight. The psychology of moving while learning = 95% higher retention rate, and motion = emotion. By changing your body, you change your mind.
Bring comfortable shoes & warm clothes. No one is joking when they talk about how cold it gets… I wore a hoodie, yoga pants, tennis shoes, AND I had a blanket to put over my legs. Between the dancing & sitting/cooling down, I felt like I was having hot flashes the entire event!
I know it is a lot of information, but there is a LOT that goes into an event like this. If anyone is interested in personal development, this is an amazing event to push you forward/give you insight on yourself/others/your life/etc. It is an investment, but completely worth it.
I have spent my entire 20’s reading, learning, researching personal development/spiritual development/psychology/power of the mind, and UPW was a nice refresher of everything I have learned thus far, just presented in a different way. However, there are things that we tend to hear and process at the exact time we need it, and there were a lot of impactful lessons/takeways from the event for me.
So no matter how awesome you may think you are, there are always new things you can be learning to help with your personal development, whether it be a book, a person, or Tony Robbins. My best advice would be to keep an open mind & never stop searching. Go after what feels right to you, and never stop, because learning & growth is never-ending.
That’s all I have for day 1! You can read about Day 2 here and Day 3 here… in the meantime, leave a comment below and let me know what you think! Have you gone to UPW or any other Tony Robbins event? If not, have you ever thought about going?