Four life lessons Tony Robbins taught me

WHAT our journalist learned from attending life coach Tony Robbins’ huge Sydney event.

"Say yes," Tony Robbins booms out to a beaming crowd of 7,500 people. "Yes" they unanimously reply.

The first of maybe a thousand yeses that ring-out over the four days of his recent Sydney program 'Unleash the Power Within'. The biggest crowd of his 25 years of speaking in Australia, it generated an unimaginable energy from people of all walks, many travelling from other countries just to be there. And while each participant was there for varied and personal reasons, their goal was the same, to make meaningful and lasting change in their lives.

The powerful program delivered a blueprint to do just that, and used music and lights and ecstatic dancing to break up the intense book work and bring the messages home in a physical way. Motion, as Tony says, equals emotion.

Even as a seasoned journalist, Tony’s ‘Unleash The Power Within’ was unlike anything I have ever experienced, and while it would be impossible to adequately explain the impact of the program, these are the most important lessons I have taken away from the four days.


Coming early on the first day, this truism resonated heavily throughout the crowd. Tony spoke about the way that old patterns and guilt keep a person stuck. When you’re bound by shame from things you might have done, or stuck in a ‘story’ you tell yourself about who you are and what you’re capable of, then you have no chance at moving forward.

However, letting go is not as hard as it may seem. Robbins explains, “Bad things happen to everyone, sure, but you cannot change the past, so why continue to perpetuate it? The key to letting go of a relationship or a painful past experience is that you have to face what has happened, accept that you can’t change it and then move on.”

Once you’re able to move on and close old doors then new doors will open, better opportunities can come and, most of all, you’ll have a better story that moves you forward. An excellent foundation to begin the weekend of learning new behaviors, this information was important to make the crowd feel like they were allowed to build from a clean state. That their futures didn’t have to be dictated by their pasts.

"Bad things happen to everyone, sure, but you cannot change the past, so why continue to perpetuate it?"

When I spoke to my seat neighbour Heather, a 55 year old restaurateur from the mid-north coast during a break, she said that it was the first time she’d ever really explored the idea that, while things had happened to her in the past that shaped the way she saw the world, it didn’t have to be how she would continue to see her future. “When I got divorced I just thought I would never have a relationship again, that all men would be the same as my ex-husband and that everything would end in the same way so why bother?” But the morning’s session around examining our personal patterns and key beliefs had convinced her that she could use the idea that ‘your past does not equal your future’ to move on, to ask herself ‘what’s next?’.

While the idea that you don’t have much hope of getting what you want without knowing exactly what it is first isn’t new, the importance of visualising your goals was a huge feature of the program. And I will admit that, while I knew before that this was important, I had never in my thirty plus years taken the time to actually do it. I had never sat and clearly visualised the type of life I would want for myself, embarrassingly I didn’t even know what to visualise when given the task. As we were prompted to picture our goals, a dreamy vision of work success, a house on the coast and enough money to provide for my mum started to take shape.

But this was not an airy-fairy guided meditation. Built on neuro-associative conditioning techniques, Tony calls this the ‘ultimate success formula’ and the first step is a very practical, ‘Know your outcomes’ - basically know what you want so that you can work towards it with a sense of purpose. The other four steps are just as direct; know your reason why, take massive action, know what you’re getting and change your approach if at first you don’t succeed.


These lessons neatly dovetailed into a module about how to ask for the things you want, a raise, an investor, even within a romantic relationship. The five steps spoke with reason about fair value exchange and determination:

1) Ask specifically - this is where having a very clear goal is so important.

2) Ask someone who can actually help you - or as another of my seatmates said ‘no point asking someone for a tractor if they don’t have a tractor to give you’.

3) Create value for the person you’re asking. Here, Robbins explains that while you should give people the space and time to choose to be helpful and kind, you also have a far better chance at getting what you want by showing them the personal benefit, whether it be a return on investment or social capital that they will receive by helping you.

4) Ask with conviction - if you aren’t convinced about what you’re asking for then how can anyone else believe in you?

5) Ask until you get what you want. Change and adjust what you’re asking for until you get a yes.


Maybe the most important message I took away from this extraordinary four days was how humans can make lasting change in their lives. Here we were guided through remembering previous decisions we have made throughout our lives that positively shaped us. Then we were instructed to name the decisions about our future that we wanted to commit to in that moment. Decide, commit, resolve. From here we were taught how to close the gap between where we are and where we want to be.

Again, it’s impossible to squeeze these four massive days into a single article, and ‘Unleash the Power Within’ is something that must be experienced to be truly understood, these four messages were core to my time with the undisputed master of self-help.

Over 4 focused, intensive days at Tony Robbins’ UPW you’ll discover how quickly you can create the physical and mental state to achieve your goals in the shortest possible time.