by Jenna Kutcher
Listen: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher
Tony Robbins is viewed through many different lenses. They range from dedicated, die-hard devotees who’ve experienced his methods first-hand and have the massive life changes to show for it. Some have seen or heard about his style from a distance and have quietly decided that Tony just isn’t for them. And others stand in outright objection. And everyone’s opinion is worthy based on their own experiences and beliefs.
And trust me, I have heard and read many assessments of Tony — the sparkling and the not-so-shiny personal, professional, journalistic and, well, other accounts. Yes, even those ones.
So how do I assess Tony? First, from a business standpoint. Afterall, this is a business and entrepreneurial podcast and Tony is an objectively brilliant person in business. He has helped me transform my own business. I’ve learned from him online, in masterminds, and through our conversation on the Goal Digger podcast last year.
But also, there’s a big reason the guy is so successful, and it’s not just his business acumen. He’s undeniably charismatic and big-time energetic. He dials into your potential and gifts within 15 seconds of talking to you, and boldly encourages you to seek and draw them out. And he can make you feel like you’re the only, and most special person in the room. Even in rooms of 10,000 people. He just has this mega-motivational, you-CAN-do-this effect on people, and it goes beyond the sold-out events and billion-dollar companies.
This past year I’ve spent time in his presence and something I admire is his unwavering, undivided attention and energy — in who he is with and all that he does. But I still had a few lingering questions for Tony and those are the ones I’m asking him today…
There are so many reasons I’m welcoming him back to the Goal Digger Podcast for the second time, but the main reason is that his business accolades make him an entirely qualified guest on a show dedicated to business and entrepreneurial advice, and honestly? Based on what I’ve seen and experienced, I trust the guy.
I know he’s not for everyone. Tony knows he’s not for everyone. And sometimes, his advice isn’t even for me. While I trust him, I don’t blindly take and run with the business advice from anyone. Not even Tony Robbins! But I will always seek out the opportunity to learn from people who are different from myself, who approach their businesses differently than I approach my own.
I am thrilled to share this conversation with you. We get into the man beyond the titles. I ask his advice for identifying the valuable gifts you’ve got bottled up inside and for evaluating mentors and educators. We talk about the knowledge business and what the future looks like for online educators like us. And I challenge him: Why the heck hasn’t he retired yet? The answer was in such contrast to what I believe as a lifestyle entrepreneur and yet it still stirred something inside me.
Who is Tony Robbins beyond the titles?
His bio is studded with titles and figures and impressive accomplishments, but I wanted to get deep into who Tony Robbins is beyond all of that. Who is the human behind the impressive titles we often hear first?
“I’m just a guy who loves people,” Tony laughed, “I think my primary question in life is ‘how can I help?’”
Tony is now in his 43rd year of helping people, and it takes many forms. It all started when he was 17-years old and with his goal to learn the tools to help others improve their lives. Coming from a difficult background with an unstable household, Tony wanted to help people get out of those environments and situations for themselves.
From feeding hungry people around the globe, freeing and rehabilitating child slaves, providing eye surgeries for those in need abroad, providing fresh water to thousands of people a day — Tony just wants to HELP.
“I’m here to help and I’m obsessed with finding out answers, and my whole education has been self-educated,” he explained. “You’re not limited… You can learn anything.”
You Have Something Valuable to Share
Tony mentioned self-education, and that’s key to our conversation, and key to both my business and his. We both believe that self-education is the future of our world, but entering this space as the educator takes the belief in yourself that you have something valuable to share. I asked Tony if he remembered the moment he realized that he had something of value to share with the world.
Tony remembers when it started — With a teacher in high school who recognized a gift within Tony for speaking to and capturing an audience. The teacher asked Tony to read and memorize a speech called The Will to Win by Vince Lombardi. The story within the speech mirrored the story of Tony’s life, and he was emotional on the first day he read it, and he got emotional again remembering during our conversation.
He competed in a speech competition with that piece and won first place. Tony credits that teacher for opening the door for him, for showing him where he served the world best.
Tony said knowing that you have value to share with the world comes in stages. “People think that you just wake up one day and you’re there. It’s stages. But I want to say this: I always made myself do it even when I didn’t feel like I was enough. When I didn’t feel like I had that certainty.”
When it comes to knowing your value, Tony says this: “You don’t have to worry about being perfect or being right. What you have to worry about is can I find something, do I have things of value, and can I bring them to people in the most sincere and honest way?”
How to Evaluate Mentors and Educators
I asked Tony to give advice on navigating the information overload we face everyday and what his answer is to figuring out what is for you and what is not, especially when it comes to mentors and teachers. His answer was honest and open, and even called his own style out.
“I’m not saying I have all the right answers for people, and my style might not be the right style, but I am a result of [learning from] all sorts of different areas,” Tony said.
His main advice for evaluating mentors and deciding who you let speak into your world was this: “Make sure they’re getting the result!” It all goes back to something he learned from his mentor Jim Rohn, that success leaves clues.
Tony summarized his answer to this with, “Check out everything, but before you spend too much time buying into a theory, see if the person is a promoter or whether the person gotten results.”
When Tony first evaluated his mentors and the educators he let into his life, he asked: Who do I trust? Who is getting results? They don’t have to be the same as you, you don’t have to like everything about them, and they don’t have to be perfect, but in this area (whatever that may be), are they the best?
For me, I have male mentors because I don’t need someone to teach me the head and the heart of things… I have that figured out. What I need are systems, and Tony alongside my business coach Dean, have created a system that I can learn from. When you look for leaders who look exactly like you in all ways, you’re never challenged.
Why He Hasn’t Retired Yet
You know me, you know that I value time over money and that time is my currency. I value my freedom, I protect my YES-es and that’s how I show up in the world. Tony could be classified as the complete opposite. The level of commitment and service required of him is massive, and yet with the wealth and legacy he’s built he could retire any day. So why hasn’t he? What drives him to keep doing it?
“It’s impact. Retirement to me, you retire and you die,” Tony said. “I don’t need more things, I have everything I need ‘thing’-wise… What I love is to see a human being light up. Nothing gives me more joy.”
That’s what it comes down to for Tony. Creating progress in his own life looks like helping others create progress in theirs, and this is what drives and motivates him to keep going. “If you can find something that you care about more than yourself, you’re now fully alive.”
“What else am I gonna do, sit on a beach, watch movies?” Tony laughed, “I just can’t think of anything else I’d rather do in this life.”
Facts about the Knowledge Business
If the term “Knowledge Business” is new to you, or you want to understand it on a comprehensive level, press play on this episode. Tony and I walk through some core information and facts about the industry.
What is the knowledge business? It’s the business of taking expertise, either your own or someone else’s, identifying a system that’s been perfected over years and decades, and sharing the system with others in a way that creates impact and income.
What is a knowledge broker? This is someone who learns from experts, believes in what they teach and their results, and promotes that expert to others.
What is a reporter as it relates to the knowledge business? A reporter interviews, collects, or otherwise curates the knowledge and systems of experts and educates others with what they’ve learned.
An educator in the knowledge business can be anyone with their own expertise and specialized knowledge within their niche who shares that knowledge with someone else.
The Big Picture
You know what I loved about this chat? So many things really, but a few moments stuck out. I really appreciated Tony calling himself out, admitting that his style isn’t for everyone. I think that level of awareness only makes me more eager to learn from him.
And that discussion of finding what’s valuable inside of you. SO GOOD. Hearing about that teacher who first helped him identify his gift of speaking and capturing an audience… It made me reflect back on my own story. When did I first realize that I could serve the world with the valuable knowledge I’d been keeping all locked up inside? I think it came in stages for me, too. And I would bet you’re on that very same journey that both Tony and I have been on.
If you’re reading this it’s because you’re at a pivotal moment. You are so close to unlocking that value, nailing it down, giving it a name and calling it your superpower. I know it.
The Knowledge Business Blueprint might be the next step forward for you in that journey, the next stage in realizing that you have something to offer and you’re doing the world a disservice by not putting it out there. But I can only point you in the right direction, show you the tools that helped me, and send you on your way… Until next time, keep on digging your biggest goals.