America’s #1 Peak Performance Coach
by Anthony Robbins
Having directly impacted the lives of more than 50 million people from 100 nations with his work in the field of leadership psychology and peak performance, Anthony Robbins is the one who gets the call from the superstar athlete when the game is on the line—fierce competitors like Andre Agassi, Serena Williams, Greg Norman, Wayne Gretzky, and marathon runner Stu Mittleman, who set the world record by running 1,000 miles in eleven days. Having spent the last three decades mastering the principles of vibrant health by studying a diverse cross-section of experts to find the most efficient and effective tools for getting real results, Anthony Robbins knows the mechanics behind taking the invisible and making it visible.
In addition to his life-changing peak performance seminars, Robbins created the Inner Balance Dietary Supplement line, an exclusive line of high-potency natural health products. Developed with former Harvard nutritionist Dr. Stacey J. Bell, Inner Balance combines ground-breaking scientific research with Robbins’ proven life strategies to promote exceptional overall health.
In an interview with The American Chiropractor (TAC), Anthony Robbins shares his philosophy and strategies for bringing health practitioners closer to attaining optimal health for their patients.
TAC: How did you go from living in a small apartment, practically broke and overweight, to the successful and fulfilled person you are today? How did you get yourself to wake up and start taking action?
Robbins: It really wasn’t too long ago when I was living in a stark, 400-square-foot apartment and reduced to washing my dishes in the bathtub. I was 30 pounds overweight, had a dead-end job, and in relationships that weren’t working. I was extremely unhappy and couldn’t stand who I was because I knew I had the potential to be so much more. I think there are many people who can relate to what I was experiencing, the pain of being in a rut and feeling like there’s no way out. That pain forced me to take action.
There are many people who live in what I call "No-man’s Land," a place where you’re not really happy, but you’re not unhappy enough to do anything about it. No-man’s land is a dangerous place. It’s a place where people numb themselves to their dreams. It’s where they dismiss hope and accept what’s in front of them instead of driving toward what they really want in life. I know because I lived there for a time, but I eventually hit rock bottom, and I’m glad I did because it forced me to take action. My only option for survival was to take action—to summon my courage, determination, faith, compassion, and commitment to transform my life. Only then did I have a future. I learned so much from that experience because I used those negative feelings to fuel my change. For me, I had no choice. I had to change.
I soon started having small successes and used those as building blocks to create more magnified ones. Before long, I was unstoppable. Along the way, I learned there is nothing you can’t accomplish if you effectively tap into your personal power. First, you need to decide what you want. The clearer you are about what you want, the more you empower your brain to come up with answers. Second, take action. Many people tell me they don’t know what to do or, "What if I try and it doesn’t work?" All I can say is this: If you try and it doesn’t work, you’re better off than before because you now know what doesn’t work. Next, it’s important to notice what’s working and what’s not. I truly believe that not reaching a goal is part of the game plan because it forces you to dig deeper and really use your full capacity as a human being. The final step is to change your approach until you achieve what you want. How many times do you need to change your approach? The answer is, until you get it right.
TAC: You’ve traveled around the world and worked with millions of people. What are the commonalities you find in the challenges that people face?
Robbins: For most of my life I’ve always been fascinated with the reasons why people do what they do. Some people may think that it’s different for everyone. I mean, what could a superstar athlete who has thousands of fans chanting his or her name possibly have in common with a mid-level manager at a manufacturing plant? While it’s true they lead very different lives, both have similar needs driving them forward each day. Over the last three decades, I’ve had the privilege of working with over 3 million people in more than 100 countries from virtually every walk of life—everyone from presidents of countries to professional athletes, from managers to moms, from gang members to Fortune 500 CEO’s.
What I’ve learned from spending time with people is that no matter what your background or the success you may have had or not had, there are six fundamental needs that we all share in common to get us through our daily lives. The first is a need for certainty—to feel comfortable with your surroundings. Some people reach this need by trying to control every aspect of their lives, while others may obtain certainty by giving up control and putting every ounce of themselves into their faith. There’s also a need for uncertainty or variety, creating an element of surprise and excitement in one’s life. There’s also a need for significance—a belief that one’s life has meaning and importance. I know this sounds extreme, but some people feel significant pointing a gun in someone’s face. On the other hand, someone else feels the same thing by giving back to their community in a meaningful way. There’s also a need for love and connection, to feel a part of something and share with those close to you.
I believe that the force of life is the drive for fulfillment, and that all human beings share this need to experience a life of meaning. Ultimately, fulfillment comes from the need to continuously grow and the need to contribute beyond ourselves. Those are the other two human needs—growth and contribution. How we get these needs met is unlimited. The only question is whether people will meet these human needs by acting in a way that is destructive or empowering to themselves and others.
TAC: You talk about people living an extraordinary life. What is your definition of an extraordinary life?
Robbins: I think the answer is different for everyone. For some it may be to make a million dollars. For others it may be to make a million dollars and give it away to charity. Some may get ultimate satisfaction from being a great father or a loving mother. Whatever it is, I believe that an extraordinary life is a life on your terms.
How one gets to that place, I believe, comes from mastering two skills. First is the science of achievement. I can tell you success is no accident in any environment. Whether you are trying to master your business, your finances, your body, or your relationship, there are laws, or rules of the game that, if followed, will lead to consistent success. There are logical patterns of action, and specific pathways to excellence. Those individuals who achieve extraordinary levels of contribution, impact, and success share a commitment to never rest until they discover these patterns and then take action to immediately utilize them.
But none of that means much without the art of fulfillment. I have had the privilege of coaching billionaires, leaders of countries, and sports heroes who have achieved their ultimate goals but still live in frustration, worry, and fear. I have seen business moguls who lead an industry come unglued in times of crisis. What’s preventing these successful people from being happy? The answer is they have focused only on achievement and not fulfillment. Extraordinary accomplishment does not guarantee extraordinary joy, happiness, love, and a sense of meaning. When we fail to be fulfilled, it affects everyone around us and, I believe, success without fulfillment is failure. There is an art to life. The reason I say art is that it is not a science—there are no specific rules. Art is unique to every individual—what is beautiful to one person can be ugly to another. It is up to you to decide if mastering this second lesson is worthy of your focus and time. These two skill sets feed each other, and can provide momentum to take you to a whole new level.
For me, I know the driving force in my life is to help make a measurable difference in the quality of life for people everywhere. It is my greatest joy to share the tools and strategies for creating a life of meaning and fulfillment. Nothing drives me more than to see someone or an organization transform and begin to pursue goals with a purpose that inspires them, and gives them a greater sense of meaning.
TAC: At your live seminars, you’ve been known to be on stage for more than twelve hours at a time. How do you get your energy?
Robbins: I’ve been an addict for as long as I can remember. I’m obsessed with life. I can’t get enough of it. The energy that comes from connecting with thousands of people at once—when you’re giving everything you have and they’re throwing it back at you five times as hard—is absolutely incredible. It’s powerful, so powerful that I get swept up in those special moments. Sometimes I come off stage and think it’s eight at night and I’m reminded that it’s one o’clock in the morning. Talk about energy.
Physiology makes up 55 percent of our communication. Your physiology directly affects your emotional state, our behaviors, and the results we get in life. Emotion is the force behind all human experience. Quite often, that emotion comes from motion. Think about when you’re thirsty or hungry at work. You start feeling irritable, listless, short-tempered, distracted, or tired. But in just a few minutes you can change your state of mind just by moving around or even breathing differently. The fastest route to dynamically changing your mood and your life is transforming your physiology. In other words, to find that creative answer, to discover a new direction in life and gain momentum, and to come up with new choices, feelings, emotions, and behaviors—you’ve got to first put yourself into a peak physical state.
I try to take care of my body too. I was overweight when I was younger, and I remember always feeling sluggish and rundown. I hated feeling that way and knew that I wasn’t treating my body right. I changed the way I approached health and it changed my life. I realized that your body affects everything in your life—your relationships, your career, your emotions, everything. A strong, vital body enables you to fully embrace and enjoy whatever it is in your life that you are most passionate about. It’s the basis for everything.
TAC: Have you attempted and failed at anything in recent memory? If so, how did you handle it?
Robbins: Of course I’ve had failures! Like most people, I’ve had as many, if not more failures than successes. I’ve made mistakes in virtually every area of my life, but what I’ve tried to do is learn from them, not only for my benefit, but to make a measurable difference in other people’s lives.
Unfortunately, we’re programmed to fear this thing called failure, so we try to do everything we can to avoid it, which is pointless. The key is that when you do run aground, instead of beating yourself up for being such a "failure," remember that there are no failures in life. There are only results. If you didn’t get the results you want, learn from the experience so that you have references about how to make better decisions the next time around. People who fear failure internalize the mistakes they’ve made, and when they try to go after what they want in the future, they might think, "Well, I tried to go after a dream before and look what happened." This is what keeps people from taking the very action that could move them to accomplish their goals. Too many people want to avoid any hint of a problem or challenge—yet overcoming obstacles is the crucible that forms character.
Every one of us has made our share of mistakes. But what I’ve learned is that life is not about success and failure; it’s about meaning—the interpretation we give to each event in life—and not the event itself.
I’ve found that we can do or overcome just about anything as long as we look at what happens to us as lessons and opportunities to discover something that’s going to make us better, make us grow, and not as something that’s going to arrest us in some way or keep us in misery. So I don’t consider failing or succeeding an endpoint. I look at how I can give the most empowering meaning to every situation I face. We can use setbacks as excuses to quit something for good, or we can use "temporary" failure as fuel to move us toward fulfillment.
Interested in learning more about strategies for peak performance? Unleash the Power Within, Anthony Robbins’ cornerstone event, is coming to Orlando, FL, October 31–November 3. Call 1-800-544-6655 or visit www.TonyRobbins.com/Power for more details.