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  • Writer's pictureVal Lonergan

I Went to Tony Robbins’ UPW – 5 Key Takeaways

13,000 people. 71 countries. Lots of screaming and dancing.  How one intensive 4-day event changed my life. Check out these 5 key takeaways!

I had the good fortune of receiving a complimentary ticket from a dear friend to attend #TonyRobbins’ famed “Unleash the Power Within” (UPW) event near New York in November, 2018.

If you ever saw the Netflix documentary about Tony Robbins called “I Am Not Your Guru” (which is awesome btw), then you have a glimpse of Tony’s intensity, effectiveness, and infectious energy. The UPW event is a little different than the one in the doc (which is called "Date with Destiny" fyi), it’s much larger in fact, but similar in a few ways.

If you're like me, in your normal life you may reserve your enthusiasm until something is proven first; find it somewhat difficult to stay motivated to meet your goals; not consider yourself someone who enjoys consistent ‘high energy’; or feel jaded about all the hype-and-no-results we’ve all experienced many times over.

But upon entering a live Tony Robbins event, all that goes out the window.

At least, it did for me.

As you can see in the Instagram post above, along with 13,000 other hyped-up beautiful souls from 71 countries around the world, we watched and sang and danced and screamed and listened and wrote and cried and dug deep and laughed and pondered as Tony taught us how to break through our old limiting beliefs and fears, and then emerge empowered on the other side.

Fair warning: I can’t say that it was happy and delightful the whole way through — in order for any transformation to occur you really need to dig deep and stir some old sh*t up, so you can get rid of it.  (And then replace it with something much more useful to get you where you want to go.) There was plenty of ugly crying.

Here are my 5 Key Takeaways from Tony Robbins’ UPW:

1. Nothing is unplanned

I freaked out about the details before I got there. This is normal.  In the days leading up to UPW, I was very focused on the minute details. I fretted and wondered aloud what the schedule was going to be, precisely when the food breaks would be, what I could and couldn’t bring into the arena, how long the days were going to be, and so on.

Once I was immersed in the event (it’s 50 hours spread across 3.5 very long days!) none of that mattered.  This is by design.  There’s plenty of information available to you beforehand, don’t get me wrong, but my little panicked mind was trying to create an illusion of control over something that quite frankly, it had absolutely no control over.

The good news is once we got into the groove, my lil’ brain and I, we just went with the flow and soaked it all up.  I ate when I was hungry.  The days were in fact long, but they flew by. It’s designed to show you that you can withstand a hell of a lot more uncertainty than you thought you could.

2. The notorious Firewalk is one heck of an experience!

All throughout Day 1, between more bouts of spontaneous dancing to deafening dance music than during all my 20’s combined, Tony talks about that evening’s upcoming Firewalk.  The firewalk is of course not mandatory, but it felt epic, important and pivotal in its lead-up.  He teaches us how much control we have over our mental state — how we can literally manipulate it from moment to moment.  (This is reeeeaaall handy BTW)

There’s lots of talk meant to scare you and psych you out, which is also intentional.  (That’s what most of us do to ourselves when we’re faced with something scary and unknown, and then we typically back down from a challenge.)  The goal here is to acknowledge your fears, have the proper training to learn how not to burn yourself (obviously!) and not back down from the unknown.

My friend @annibfit and I were a little dubious, if I’m being honest. Some of the crowd was all for it, some just said AW HELL NO and went home, while others, like us, decided to “go down and check it out before we decide.” #FamousLastWords

Standing in a giant chanting crowd at 1AM in my bare feet on cold pavement (reminder: it was November in New Jersey) was surreal to say the least. With my pant legs rolled up, suddenly the crowd broke and I was next in line. The rest is history.

I don’t have any video of myself doing it, but here’s Oprah doing it!(Note: I have no idea what company this is, I’m just sharing the awesomeness that is OPRAAAAHHHHHH 🙌)

I’m so glad I did the Firewalk because it came up often during the rest of the event.  I felt proud and — as intended — once I got through that, I felt like I could conquer anything.

3. There was a lot more #Psychology than I was expecting

Tony draws upon 40+ years of experience working with millions of people from all walks of life — rich and not-so-rich, young and old.  He says:

There are millions of stories, but only so many patterns.

Fascinating!! Knowing what he knows about human behaviour and #psychology, he can spot a pattern in someone's thoughts/actions from a mile away.  And he teaches us how to do the same.  As a person with a keen interest in this stuff, this part was so interesting and wonderful.  I couldn’t write fast enough to keep up with all the golden nuggets he was sharing.

4. Tony isn’t the only one who speaks – but everyone is amazing

In fact, Tony cannot speak a lot because he’s blown out his vocal chords — that’s what speaking at level 15-out-of-10-intensity for 14 hours does to a person over the course of 4 decades!  After a day of presenting he’s required to rest for 24 hours.  All the other speakers are awesome, and bring something uniquely wonderful to the table.

That said, Tony’s return for Day 3 (Transformation Day) has you transfixed from beginning to end — there’s no describing that day.  The deeper you dig, the more impactful the effects. Spoiler alert: I, too, blew out my vocal chords.

5. There was a lot more #Spirituality than I was expecting

What was the most moving for me was the oneness/unity with people from 71 countries around the world – I don’t mean for that to sound cheesy but when many thousands of people in one place are laser-focused on one precise thing, you can literally feel it buzzing in your body.  It transcended different languages, different faiths, all of that. 

The combined/compounded human energy was palpable in the air, especially when everyone dug deep in the gratitude exercises.  Tony has a way of teaching regular folks like me how to get in touch with their spiritual side that is accessible and profound.

So when people say that UPW is life-changing, I think it has to do with this stuff. You learn some things you can’t really unlearn.

If you’re curious about Tony Robbins’ UPW, check out this video that sums it up:

So there you have it.  My takeaways from Tony Robbins’ UPW.

Would I recommend attending this event?  Yes of course.  Any chance you have to see him live is one you should grab. Even if you’re skeptical, even if you’re not a keener, even if you don’t do crowds.

The whole point of it is getting outside your comfort zone.

Have you been to UPW?  Would you like to go?  I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Big Love xo


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