I lied to Tony Robbins.
I don’t know what came over me. I am not a liar. In fact, in my younger years this trait got me into trouble. Friends eventually learned not to ask if their skirt was flattering or if their boyfriend was nice unless they were sure they wanted an answer. And yet, there, pumping with adrenaline, nervous to interview someone I’ve admired, watched, listened to, and read for years, it just slipped out. I’ve been trying to write this piece for over a month now, and Tony’s recent coverage inspired me to get it finished.
First, if you haven’t heard, forty out of seven thousand participants had minor burns after walking on hot coals at Tony’s Unleash the Power Within event in Dallas.
To be clear, that’s not even one percent of attendees.
In fact, some of those injured were doing their second, third or even fourth firewalk, and would do it again. They knew the risks going in, and chose to walk on burning embers anyway, just like two million others have done at Tony’s events over the last thirty-five years. This was a successful conference where thousands of people conquered their fears and started changing their lives, despite what the headlines imply.
I can hear you asking, “but why walk on fire at all?”
Tony is a big believer in rewiring the neural pathways in your brain. You do this by practicing follow through; if you decide to do something, your brain and body must comply. For example, he plunges himself in cold pools every morning, to remind his brain and body that if he decides to do something, he’s doing it. Period. The fire walking is another, much warmer, rewiring exercise.
I’ve never walked on the coals, but I’ve had my own mind molding experience with him.
Which brings us back to the fibbing incident.
I was setting my small audio recording device down next to us, and the formidable billionaire in his trademark husky voice asked “Is that your backup audio?” “Uh huh!” I said, smiling, and then started the introduction to the show. Well, it wasn’t the backup. It was all I had.
If you’ve been following my journey, that’s probably no surprise to you. You know that I went from “Zero to Tony Robbins” in less than 18 months. I started with a pilot episode shot on a GoPro in my hometown of Oklahoma City. A few weeks later I was borrowing my sister’s DSLR and interviewing New York Times bestselling authors in Nashville. Soon after, Success Magazine decided to start distributing some of my interviews and articles. Then Entrepreneur and the Huffington Post. Suddenly I was sitting down with people like the Property Brothers and Al Roker. But my show is not sponsored (yet.) There is no production company. For many interviews I “schlep my husband across the country,” as Gary Vaynerchuk accurately put it, to run the cameras for me.
So while waiting in the hallway of the Four Seasons next to Tony’s staff and security detail, I was beyond nervous. I was having doubts. I was afraid I’d forget questions, stumble all over myself and waste some of the sixty minutes I had available. I thought that I’d have more time before landing an interview with such an icon. More time to invest in better equipment, hire a regular crew, practice more interviews and get in “TV shape” before I experienced The Tony Robbins Effect. (Much like Oprah, if he shares your content, you literally receive thousands of new subscribers, views and shares overnight.)
But one does not say “I’m not ready” to Tony Robbins. So I stuffed those fears down and did it anyway, rewiring that myelin as I asked my questions to one of the richest, most recognizable and most influential men in America.
During our interview, I had a realization.
Tony recalled how early in his career, he challenged himself to cure a women of a seven year snake phobia live, on stage, in front of thousands. He explained the power of “deep practice” — to not just practice, but to push yourself to the edge, to put yourself in a do-or-die scenario, over and over again.
Deep practice is a common tactic used by the massively successful, and the average person can use it as well. I’m not sure if I’ll be massively successful, but I’m sure that my show has been a do-or-die-right-now exercise for me. My own fire walk. Saying yes to every opportunity, before I was sure I was ready — walking across my own set of embers, over and over again.
When you decide to start taking action, rewiring your mind, and taking those bold steps, there will be consequences. There have been small blisters along the way, to be sure. I’ve had equipment failure, made mistakes, experienced tons of rejection and my share of snarky comments online. But I’ve had the most exciting, unbelievable year of my life!
I love how Arianna Huffington explained it to Marianne Schnall in 2012. She shared that the tiny blisters left from her fire walk with Tony were a reminder of “the inner strength we have to create the lives we want, not the lives we settle for — an inner strength greater than we often give ourselves credit for.”
I haven’t had the chance to actually walk on the coals yet, but I am looking forward to attending one of Tony’s events in the future. Today, I hope as you read this, you think of your own life’s bed of coals, and decide to take those steps, whether or not your brain thinks you’re ready. There’s a chance you could end up with some small blisters, but trust me, it’s worth it.
Watch the inspiring video interview with Tony Robbins at thepursuit.tv/tonyrobbins