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I recently had the chance to go to a convention with motivational speakers featuring Tony Robbins, Gary Vaynerchuk, and Robert Herjaveck from Shark Tank.
I was super excited to finally see the man himself, Tony Robbins. Practically, the father of the self-help industry. The king of motivational speaking. He’s written notable works such as Awaken the Giant Within, Unlimited Power, and MONEY Master the Game. I learned about Tony Robbins when I first got into the world of self-improvement when I was about 14 years old. I’ve watched his videos. I’d heard about him from different accounts—both good and bad. This was my first Tony Robbins event and besides a “Rich Dad” stocks class, my first self-help seminar.
So, I didn’t really know too much what to expect.
I had read a bit prior to going to the event about other more popular and notable Tony Robbins events like Unleash the Power Within. From that, I learned to expect speakers attempting to sell something. I decided to use that information to prepare to pay attention and learn from the sales pitches.
- The Ultimate Wealth and Achievement Summit 2018
- National Achievers Event Congress
- Speakers including Tony Robbins, Gary Vee, and Robert Herjaveck
- All day event (8 AM – 6 PM)
- Ticket pricing on website ranged from $69 – $1,495
- Groupon was selling tickets for $39 each
- Location was in Amway Center at downtown Orlando
- All tickets included workbook (as stated on the website)
Our tickets were bought via Groupon at a discounted price of $39 each. There were different tiers that included better seats and more benefits.
My plan for the event was to get to our seats by 8 AM, vlog the event with my DLSR camera, take plenty of notes, and stay until the end. That was the plan.
I woke up at 6 AM the day of the event although my boyfriend expected to have a hard time waking me up. I struggled to get him up and out. We ended up leaving to the event at around 7:30/40 AM.
Driving from my place to downtown Orlando can range from 30 minutes to an hour. It’s normally in between. Because of heavier than normal traffic and desperately driving around trying to find a parking spot, we didn’t get to park until around 8:00 AM.
My boyfriend hadn’t been feeling well throughout the drive. He decided to take a small nap until he felt better before we made our way to the event. Once he felt a little better, we started walking to the Amway Center where the event was being held at around 9:30 AM.
The walk from where we managed to find parking to the event was about 15 minutes. The late August Florida heat made it pretty strenuous. We were also carrying my camera in its case and some notebooks and pens.
The reactions of security to my camera made us worried that we weren’t going to be allowed to bring it in and have to walk all the way back to the car and then back. Thankfully, they let us bring it in but they said that we couldn’t use it because if we got caught, they’d kick us out.
Well there goes vlogging the event.
When we finally got to our seats around 10 AM, a speaker who I’d never heard of, Wayne Gray, was in the middle of a real estate sales pitch. Wayne was selling a three-day in-person training event for selling real estate. Listening to his speech and then talking to my boyfriend about it afterward, we both felt as though the training he was selling seemed “too good to be true.” This was also beside the fact of it seeming like a get-rich-quick program. We couldn’t figure out how he made money with what he claimed to be offering. After his speech, hundreds made their way to sign-up tables to give their credit card details for the house flipping seminar. The cost of the event was at a discounted price of around $500.
We didn’t get to see Robert speak, unfortunately because I believe he was the opening speaker for the event.
During a break to find something to eat we met up with a friend who had told us about the event and had also been to a previous Tony Robbins event. I believe he went to the Unleash the Power Within.
When we came back, we were near the end of another sales pitch. After him, the next guy, Doug Nelson had yet another sales pitch. I actually enjoyed his the most out of the other ones. It could be because I missed most of the other speeches or that he was just a better speaker in my opinion. He didn’t say, “Hey guys?” every other sentence like the first guy did. And he was actually story-telling unlike the other speakers.
My boyfriend on the other hand said he took too long to make his point, that he had no idea what he was trying to get at.
Doug shared an inspirational story about how he ended up in the hospital with 3rd degree burns after flicking on a lighter. At that point in his life he had already achieved financial freedom. During group physical therapy, he realized that one young girl’s parents couldn’t afford to be there with her because they were both busy working jobs all day. The talk then turned into about how that realization made him want to help people achieve the mindset to be able to have passive income. He introduced a 3-day workshop called, The Millionaire Mind Intensive, which was free unless you wanted to purchase VIP tickets.
The Featured Speakers
Gary came on stage to do a Q&A at the event during lunchtime. The people who bought a ticket that was at $500 had the chance to ask Gary any question they like. A few people didn’t even really have a question, they just wanted to tell him how much they inspired him and asked if they could get a selfie with him.
I had learned about Gary not too long ago. About December 2017 was when a friend told me about him and gave me his Instagram and then a book by him, Crushing It, as a birthday gift. I was surprised by how popular and well-known he was considering that I hadn’t heard about him before. My boyfriend, however, had known about him for much longer from their shared interest in wine. He was also a hater not much of a fan of his.
I love Gary’s character. He’s so serious, but I think he’s hilarious when he gets animated although I don’t think he’s trying to be. He preaches kindness in such a hardcore way.
There was a great valuable takeaway from one of the Q&As that really stood out to me. Someone asked Gary the last question from a survey I conducted for a mini-series on my blog and YouTube channel. The question was a similar variation to, “If you lost everything, what would you do?” (Everything meaning his wealth and material possessions probably.)
I got really excited that someone asks him that and was eager to hear Gary’s answer. He did not disappoint. His idea for rebuilding up his wealth if he had nothing was not to just go get a job and make money that way. What he would do would be first, go on Facebook marketplace or craigslist free and buy either free or really cheap stuff. Then, he would flip it on eBay or Letgo or Facebook marketplace for like ten bucks. He claimed doing that was the number one way of making $100,000 on the internet today. I thought that was absolutely brilliant and interesting. I had never heard of doing that before.
I’m not a diehard fan, but I’m not a hater either. I’ve seen some people describe Tony Robbins as a cult leader. I think that’s a bit extreme. He’s influential no doubt and he has millions of followers worldwide. But I don’t think that’s a bad thing. To be a cult leader, you have to be psychologically abusive.
Update: I’ve changed my mind about this after some learning about critical thinking and narcissism. Tony Robbins does use cult leader tactics and shows signs of narcissism.
Tony didn’t outright answer another one of the questions from the survey I ran for the mini-series on Starting a Personal Development Journey. It was indirect. He was indirectly answering the question about what he believed to be the foundation of personal growth.
His answer was energy. This was the main topic of his speech.
He talked about how he interviewed the world’s most financially successful people and how although extraordinarily “successful” they all claimed to be unhappy. I liked that he mentioned that because that’s what my question was trying to get at. If people can achieve so much and still not be happy with their lives, then there must be a strong foundation missing there. Their “success” is built from a weak foundation.
What he believed was missing from their lives and why they weren’t happy was their energy. He showed himself and how he presents himself when giving speeches as an example to the importance of having good energy. He was right. Part of the reason why we was such a great speaker was because of the immense energy he had when getting on stage and speaking.
After the event, though, my boyfriend brought up a good point. He believed that repressing your emotions all the time is not always a good thing to do. Tony said that whenever he’s feeling down or upset or negative, he just focuses on flipping his energy and he’s “happy” again.
Throughout his speech, music would start playing, Tony would start clapping and everyone would get up and start dancing. He would also keep the audience engaged by telling us to show signs of agreement. “If you agree, say I!” I couldn’t tell if he was saying “Ah!” or “I!”
Have you seen his clap, by the way? I love the way he claps!
We also had to do exercises with strangers seated around us which my awkward self dreaded. We first had to introduce ourselves to people around us and act annoyed. This exercise was followed by Tony asking questions about it and then talking about it. The next exercise we had to introduce ourselves but act scared. This was pretty easy for me to do in all honesty. The following ones we had to act like we were so excited to see the other person and in the other, act like if we didn’t make a great first impression, we would die.
The exercises were definitely insightful though. I realized that if we really force ourselves to be a certain way when we meet or interact with someone, it really changes the interaction and probably their impression of us. A lot of confidence can be about faking it ’til we make it.
We missed the rest of Tony’s talk and the ending of the event, unfortunately. My boyfriend wanted to beat traffic and not get home so late, so we ended up leaving the event early.
What I Didn’t Like
Drawn Out Sales Pitches
I don’t hate sales pitches. I really don’t. In fact, I appreciate them. I mentioned earlier that I was going to use them as learning opportunity. And I’m actually against the stigma against sales people or the beliefs that they are just tricking you, they just want your money, if you give in you lose, etc. Sales is a part of life. I went in expecting the sales pitches and knowing I wasn’t going to buy into them. I just wish there weren’t so many of them and so drawn out with so much fluff. One of them seemed too good to be true. It seemed as though the sales pitches made up for at least half—if not more—of the event.
Lack of information
The website showed very little information. It was very simple. There was no schedule for the speakers. We had no idea what or who was next during the event until we overheard someone mention when Tony Robbins would go on stage. They didn’t elaborate on what the seating levels meant with seating charts (bronze, silver, gold, platinum, and diamond.) The FAQ only stated to bring a pen and paper to take notes, that no outside food or drinks are allowed inside, dress code is business casual, ticket registration can be done at will call and how to contact for more info. Nothing about refunds either.
Ran out of workbooks
About an hour in the event, we realized that we had never received our workbooks that were supposedly included with the ticket. Thankfully, we were able to download the workbook online. Unfortunately, we were told this near the end of the event. And we weren’t able to look through it or write notes in it during the event. I also like having a hard copy of workbooks. That’s the whole point of them. I never got to take any notes. The reasons included being really tired, not having anything valuable to take notes on from the sales pitches and then having to get up out of our seats and start dancing all the time during Tony’s speech.
There were six male speakers. They couldn’t find at least one woman that had something valuable to offer? There was no diversity in race either.
Was It Worth It? Would I Go Again?
I’m glad I went. I definitely don’t regret going. And I think it was worth $39 (deal on Groupon) given our seating. If we had paid a lot more than that, I might’ve been disappointed.
I probably would go again. But not any time soon. (Update: I would NOT go to an event like this again or any Tony Robbins event.)
I’m more of a fan of online learning and books. Courses, memberships, ebooks, books, online classes. I think those things have a lot more value and “bang for your buck” because you can revisit them, rewatch and relisten and reread over and over again.
Although I do see and understand the use of in-person seminars. I think in-person learning is better for smaller groups, more individualized, and having the ability for one-on-one and more specialized. As for the large seminars, they’re a quick motivational boost, a pick me up.
And if I were to go again, I would make sure to go with more preparation or at least stick to the plan.
All in all, it was definitely an experience that made me finally realize what going to one of these types of events is like. And writing this article might help you or someone else know better what you or they are getting into and then deciding whether it’s worth it or not.