By Ward Richmond
In December 2016, I picked up a copy of Tools of Titans: The Tactics Routines, And Habits of Billionaires, Icons and World Class Performers by Tim Ferriss. This book is awesome and has hands down altered my life. Today, I keep a stack of these books in my office and hand them out or send them out to anyone that I think might enjoy it.
One of the “World Class Performers” profiled in Ferriss’s masterpiece is Tony Robbins. When I came across the Tony Robbins chapter, I rolled my eyes and thought back to a few months earlier in the Summer of 2016 when I gave my brother in law massive amounts of crap for attending Tony’s Unleash The Power Within seminar when it rolled through Dallas. Yes, he walked on coals. Yes, I told him he was crazy. Why in the hell would anyone walk on coals?!
Nevertheless, as I turned to Page 210 of Tools of Titans, I was already super impressed and totally enthralled by all other people profiled up to that point and I wasn’t about to skip a chapter based on any of my preconceived notions. “Let’s see what this Tony Robbins guy is all about.” I thought. 7 short pages later and my mind was blown. I felt an immediate connection with the “big guy” and wanted to read 700 more pages about him. So I did.
I started with Unlimited Power, then Awaken the Giant Within, then Money: Master The Game, then his latest book, Unshakeable. The next thing you know, I had written a check for $10K to attend his Business Mastery seminar in Las Vegas and hired a Tony Robbins Peak Performance Coach.
The 6 Months of coaching leading up to Vegas was phenomenal and I have signed on with my coach (Jayson Schlesinger) for another year.
Last week, I went to Vegas for 5 days and 5 nights with Tony Robbins. Let me be clear: there is no messing around at a Tony Robbins conference. Things get going around 10am and shut down around 11pm or midnight. “Lunch” takes place for an hour at 7pm. You definitely get your money’s worth. In fact, at the end of the first day, they give you the opportunity to get all of your money back if you don’t feel like you are receiving the proper amount of value from the course. There was no way in hell that I was going to be asking for my money back!
Tony is a machine and controls the room for what seems like 6-8 hours each day but he also brings in high caliber guest speakers to continue dropping knowledge on the highly engaged audience. Some of my favorite guest speakers included David Meerman Scott (on marketing), Keith Cunningham (on finance), Peter Mallouk (on financial planning) and one of the highlights was definitely the roundtable with the co-founders of Lyft, GILT and IndieGogo.
One of the greatest things about this conference are all of the other attendees that you meet along the way.
One of the greatest things about this conference are all of the other attendees (about 1500) that you meet along the way. In general, most attendees that I met, are highly motivated, successful, entrepreneurial business owners and operators with a thirst for knowledge and self-improvement. Some are with fledging startups, others are running tech companies that are 3 years in, and some are CEOs at major corporations. One thing is certain, everyone is there to take it to the next level. I truly think that anyone with an open mind, the desire to kick ass and elevate your game will find substantial value in attending whether you are a senior in high school or the CEO of a global corporation.
Here are my Top 5 takeaways. The “magic” about Tony Robbins for me, is that he can tell me something that I already know and have already been told or read hundreds of times but when he says it, it makes perfect sense and I actually do it.
Prime Your State
Prime your emotional and physical state before you try to start solving your problems. To quote Tim Ferriss (who also counted this as a top takeaway from when he attended “Unleash The Power Within”), “Tony believes that in a lowered emotional state, we only see the problems, not the solutions.” This is a fairly simple concept. Make your health a top priority. Work out on a regular basis. Eat the right things. Don’t drink too much. Break a real sweat. Meditate. Get a good night’s sleep. Jump in the pool (or the ocean). Or an ice bath! Swim some laps. Go for a jog. Walk your dog around the block. Go to yoga class. Kettle bell swings on top of a mountain? Boom! This can be as simple as doing jumping jacks in your office. Get your blood flowing! One more quote from Ferriss: “Sometimes, you think you have to figure out your life’s purpose, but you really just need some macademia nuts and a cold f*****g shower!”
You Can’t Improve What You Can’t Measure
This really hit home with me and it is something that I have really slacked at over the years. One of my top commitments after leaving the seminar is to set up KPI’s so that I can properly analyze effectiveness of multiple categories related to growing and improving my business. For example, marketing, sales, recruiting, customer satisfaction, innovation & general processes.
CANI (Constant, Never Ending Improvement)
Measuring your KPI’s is worthless if you don’t strategically focus on how to constantly improve them. At Business Mastery, Tony lays out the “7 Forces of Business Mastery” and the biggest takeaway from my week in Vegas is the vast importance of taking time each week (60-90 minutes recommended) to focus on one of the 7 forces.
Force 1: Create an Effective Business Map
Force 2: Innovation — Products & Services
Force 3: Marketing Systems
Force 4: Sales Systems
Force 5: Financial & Legal Systems
Force 6: Constant Optimization & Maximization: People / Culture & Processes / Execution
Force 7: Constantly Create Raving Fans & Culture
Build a Team that Works
Building a rock solid team is crucial and this is constantly reinforced throughout the course. The conference offered a lot of good tidbits on the hiring process. For example, if you want a job in sales within the Tony Robbins organization, they will turn you down a minimum of 12 times as part of the interviewing process. That is pure greatness! I’m not sure if I am at the level to pull that one off yet!! My main takeaway from this portion of the course is to take a hard look at your team. Take time to analyze everyone’s strengths and how they align with their role on the team. Are they all doing what they need to be doing? If anyone is not a good fit, save yourselves both the time and terminate this relationship. Where do you have gaps? Strategically hire to fill those gaps. The top 3 questions Tony focuses on when hiring are:
Can they do the job? Duh. This is pretty simple but you still need to check this box. Does the candidate have the core skill sets and ability?
Will they do the job well long term? OK. Now it gets a little trickier. Take time to understand the candidate’s personality and long term goals.
Are they the right team fit? Now it is getting down right complicated! It is critical to take the time to thoroughly understand their real needs, desires and goals. Will they be a good cultural fit? Can you make an introvert into a good salesperson? Yes. Will they be a good salesperson for the long term? Not likely.
I will be taking a hard look at my team and also implement immediate change with regard to our recruiting tactics and hiring process to make our team as strong as possible. I’m in the process of looking into tests. I’ve taken the Caliper test and the DISC assessment over the years. Any other suggestions for similar tests are greatly appreciated!
Building a strong team is absolutely crucial. You can work as hard and as smart as you want and you may get rich but building a great team is the only way to generate true wealth.
Proximity is Power
One of my best friends from college has always told me: “When you see your friends then you see yourself.” Tony Robbins agrees and his core philosophy that Proximity Is Power teaches that it is critical to surround yourself with high performing individuals if you are looking to take your game to the next level. “Whether it’s your business, health, finances, or relationships – surrounding yourself with people who are already successful in that area allows you to model what is proven to work, helping you compress decades into days.” Proximity is Power, folks. Live it. Love it. Breathe it.
I am planning to return to Business Mastery in Amsterdam next summer and look forward to seeing familiar faces and hopefully convincing a few friends to join me. Wish me luck on implementing my plan of attack and applying these learnings to my business and my life in a methodical and consistent manner to optimize results.