What Entrepreneurs Can Learn From Tony Robbins
There is, in every human, an ingrained need to satisfy his curiosity, which leads to the search for knowledge in any way possible. Some rely solely on books and other published materials, while there are others who prefer to learn as they “go along”. Others seek knowledge from other people, designating them as their mentors and even, to some extent, their role models.
Entrepreneurs and aspiring businessmen (and women, we do not discriminate) today certainly have no shortage of these sources of knowledge, especially if they prefer to learn from living, breathing people instead of words printed on books and tomes. With so many inspirational and instructional lecturers, as well as public resource speakers, they are certain to find that mentor or resource person that they have been looking for.
MEET TONY ROBBINS
Tony Robbins is described as an entrepreneur, a bestselling author and a philanthropist. Out of the dozens of known business gurus and strategists, he is adjudged as the #1 Life and Business Strategist in the United States, and a “world authority on leadership psychology”.
Tony Robbins: The Entrepreneur
One look at Robbins’ portfolio and extensive resume and you can immediately tell that he knows his way around business. Even the list of awards and recognitions indicate his sharp business acumen. Accenture named him as one of the world’s “Top 50 Business Intellectuals”, while American Express included him in their short list of “Top Six Business Leaders in the World”.
Among the businesses he founded, the most notable ones are America’s Best 401k (a retirement 401k solutions provider) and Global Accounting Alliance (a CFO Service provider for small businesses). He is also the chairman of a holding company composed of several successful privately-held enterprises.
Despite all these achievements, his most prominent career, by far, is as a coach, designing self-help talks and seminars, and even releasing them as infomercials for television.
Tony Robbins: The Author
Along with the infomercials, Robbins has authored several books, all of which became international bestsellers. These served as excellent reading material to accompany his infomercials. Some of his most famous titles are:
- Unlimited Power (1986), which talked about achieving success through taking care of one’s health, overcoming fears, enhancing relationships with others, and maintaining persuasive communication.
- Awaken the Giant Within (1991), which talked about how one can control his “mental, emotional, physical, and financial destiny”.
- MONEY: Master the Game (2014), which talked about the steps to be followed to achieve financial freedom.
- Top 60 Life and Business Lessons from Tony Robbins that Will Change Your Life (2016), co-authored with Antonius Houston
- How to be a Financial Grownup (2016), co-authored with Bobbi Rebell, which provided advice on how “to live one’s dreams and achieve financial freedom”.
- Hopping over the Rabbit Hole (2016), co-authored with Anthony Scaramucci, and this contained advice on how entrepreneurs can “turn failure into success”.
Tony Robbins: The Philanthropist
Robbins is also known for his philanthropic efforts, starting with the charity he founded in 1991, the Anthony Robbins Foundation. Dedicated to human service empowerment, its programs include youth leadership programs, product donations, event scholarships, homeless programs, inmate programs, and also grant provisions. He also entered into a partnership with Feeding America, and actively joined in the effort to provide meals for hungry Americans.
To date, Robbins continues to inspire and provide aid to anyone who would like to listen and learn from his life training programs. He has also served, in a personal capacity, as an advisor to world and business leaders. For four decades, he has amassed more than enough experience to enable him to create what is arguably the best personal and professional development program. To date, his live seminars are estimated to have reached more than 4 million people.
There is no doubt that these 4 million people all ended the seminar having learned at least one thing from Robbins. No matter who they are, or from what walk of life they came from, they are bound to have gained something from his talks or even from his published works.
In the eyes of an entrepreneur, however, what specific lessons can be learned from business guru, performance coach, and thought leader Tony Robbins?
Lesson #1: HAVE A SENSE OF MEANING.
According to Robbins, life is about meaning, and meaning is what all entrepreneurs need in order to get anywhere.
Basically, Robbins is telling you to know your purpose in everything that you do. There has to be an end goal in sight, a reason why you are doing something.
Maybe there are days when you wake up and decide to just “do whatever that day”. You’d think you’ll go to the office and just “wing it”. And then, at the end of the day, when you go home and take stock of your workday, you’d feel unsatisfied because it did not seem like you accomplished anything.
Well, that is because you didn’t have a sense of purpose and meaning, to begin with.
When you go to work and head directly to your office, you must have a clear idea on what you want to accomplish for that day. When you are looking for business ideas, you have to know exactly what you plan to do next once you hit that “brilliant business idea”. When you finally get around to setting up your own business, you also have to know what you want to accomplish and achieve at the end of 6 months, of one year, of two years, and so on.
Having a sense of meaning and knowing your purpose is the best way to show you whether you are doing things right or not. It’s your starting point, your launching pad, so to speak. You won’t be able to get anywhere without knowing where you’ve begun.
Lesson #2: A POSITIVE ATTITUDE KEEPS YOUR HEAD IN THE GAME.
If you are to attach meaning to everything, then make sure that they are positive. This can be accomplished through keeping a positive attitude.
Negative thoughts almost always clouds one’s judgment, and this renders him unable to spot opportunities and even lose the good ones already within his grasp.
Admittedly, this is not easy for everyone. Entrepreneurs are practically living with risk. Every decision they make, every business action they take, involve a considerable amount of risks, and these risks make them cautious and wary. This is when the negative thoughts come in.
Maintaining a positive attitude requires not a small measure of acceptance on the part of the entrepreneur: acceptance of the possibility of incurring losses, of making mistakes, and of failure. If you are able to overcome this reality, you’ll be able to adopt a positive outlook, which will eventually aid you in dealing with whatever comes your way.
Lesson #3: BE AWARE OF WHAT MOVES YOU… AND WHAT DRIVES YOU.
You know your purpose, and you are fully aware of what you want to achieve. Your goals are clear-cut, and so are the precise steps that you will take toward them. But then, there is the why of it all.
Why do you want your business to succeed? Why are you so intent on making sure that the business will become profitable? In the first place, why do you want to go into business? What is driving you in all your business decisions?
Entrepreneurs may be motivated by a variety of factors. For some, it is so that they can rise above a life of poverty – probably the only one they’ve ever known. In some cases, they are driven by a desire for adventure, to try something new and something they haven’t tried before.
Competition is also another driving force for some entrepreneurs. They feel like they have something to prove to others – and maybe even to themselves – and so they press on.
Lesson #4: EVERYONE IS UNIQUELY DIFFERENT, AND THAT’S WHAT MAKES THEM AMAZING.
No matter how much you wish it, you cannot control everything, and that is one of the many things you have to accept.
Certainly, one of the things that are beyond an entrepreneur’s control is how other people and entities will react to you. Therefore, you have to recognize and accept the reality that everyone is unique and different. Most importantly, you have to appreciate them for it.
Entrepreneurs should avoid lumping people together in a single mold, expecting them to act only in a certain one way. So when they do not behave or react as expected, they will be caught off-guard, throwing them off their game.
Recognizing the differences among people, whether they are your customers, business partners, competitors, or even the general public, will help keep you more in touch or connected with your environment. It allows sound judgments and certainly greater flexibility, something that all entrepreneurs will benefit from.
Lesson #5: YOUR EVERY ACTION AND DECISION WILL HAVE A CONSEQUENCE.
It’s a simple application of “Cause and Effect”. The entrepreneur does or says something, and there will definitely have a consequence. Whether the consequence is good or bad will largely depend on what caused it, combined with the circumstances surrounding the cause.
An entrepreneur approaches a financial institution to seek financing for his business idea. He may be able to obtain that financing, or he may be rejected. If he is rejected, he approaches an angel investor, ready with a proposal. He may get the angel investor on his side, or he may also fail to get the capital he needs. Once business operations are about to start in full force, the entrepreneur focuses on staffing and hiring. It’s either he is able to hire the right people, or he will end up with poor performers.
Knowing and recognizing how your every action, word or decision matters will increase your awareness on how you are progressing toward your goal. It offers you more than enough legroom or leeway to make the necessary adjustments when needed. It will make you more cautious and circumspect when making important decisions.
Lesson #6: YOUR JOURNEY IS NOT GOING TO BE EASY.
Robbins originally talked about this in line with investing, but it also applies to entrepreneurship in general. He likened the journey to a trek that one must undergo through a dangerous jungle in order to find what he is looking for on the other side.
All entrepreneurs have their fair share of these jungles. It may come in the form of a market that is tough to enter, or what seems to be an unresponsive and, therefore, unprofitable niche. It could also be in the form of trying to figure out whether the entrepreneur will have enough startup capital to bring his business idea to life.
He knows that he will be able to get what he wants – a huge share of the market, dominance in a particular niche, or profits, perhaps – if only he manages to go through the jungle. Overcome the obstacles, deal with the intervening issues, and smooth the wrinkles.
What’s stopping entrepreneurs is mostly their apprehension and fear, and these are largely brought about by uncertainties. The unknown, or what they will find or encounter when they go through that jungle.
He pointed out that the entrepreneur’s journey through the jungle will not be without peril. No one said it’s supposed to be easy. Therefore, you have to expect and even anticipate to encounter some snags and difficulties along the way.
But what about the fear? The foreboding? That debilitating trepidation of the unknown? The entrepreneurship journey will also involve mistakes and pain – maybe even lots of it. What about those?
Well, it is normal to feel them. But the important thing is what you will do when the feeling creeps up on you. How you will respond, and how you will try to keep them under control. That will require some programming and reconfiguration of your perception. You can try not to think of it as a jungle. Or you can try to change your perception of a trek through the jungle. Instead of thinking of it as a horrific and terrifying experience, look at it as an adventure. Instead of seeing it as a place that will scare you, imagine how it will teach you, and what it will teach you.
Throughout it all, never lose sight of what is important, and that is what is waiting for you on the other side. That’s your motivation, and that is what will keep you pushing forward.
And just think: countless others have gone before you and crossed the jungle – probably even the exact, same jungle – and made it out to the other side, accomplished and victorious. You, too, can do the same.
Lesson #7: BE HUNGRY… AND STAY HUNGRY.
Robbins identified 3 great traits of entrepreneurs, and one of them is hunger (the other two are drive and dedication).
Try to take a look at some of the most successful people in the world. Read their stories, and you might be surprised to find that many of them have faced rejections before they landed that one deal that turned everything around and brought them to that upward slope to success. Listen to them speak, and most of them are bound to talk about how their experience of hearing the word “NO” made them hungrier, pushing them to persist and move further forward. The more they experienced rejection, the hungrier they got, and it is the quality of their hunger that paved their uphill climb.
Robbins said the best entrepreneurs are, and will always be, hungry to grow, to give, and to contribute. Repeated “NOs” and “YOU CAN’Ts” do not have the power to stop them, because their hunger is more powerful.
The example Robbins used was of bestselling author J.K. Rowling, who amassed a great fortune and wealth after penning the Harry Potter books. She underwent a lot of hardships and rejections until her manuscript for the first Harry Potter book got a nod. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Lesson #8: MODEL, DO NOT CREATE; REINVENT, DO NOT INVENT.
Technically, this is saying that you do not have to do create something that has already been created and recreated so many times, and even mastered, by many before you. Be smart. Take a look at them, and learn by copying them.
Robbins called this “modeling”, which he described to be useful in fast tracking an entrepreneur’s dreams, allowing him to achieve a lot more in a shorter period of time. Take your cues from those who have already gone before you and done the same thing, achieving the results you want.
This may be blatant copying, but there is no shame in that. Even the greatest leaders and masters of various skills learned from others, and you can do the same.
There are many sources for learning the tricks from those who got there before you. You can do it the old-school way and read books and publications, or go online and check out blogs, videos and other media. Or you can hire a consultant, adviser or even a trainer to show you the ropes.
Lesson #9: LEARN AND ACQUIRE MASTERY IN CHUNKS.
Robbins introduced the word “chunking”, a method of learning in chunks, basically.
Entrepreneurs, especially during the early stages, often have an eagerness in them: eagerness to start right away, to start making money and to begin becoming successful in the shortest time possible. Thus, they force themselves to learn as much as they can, as quickly as they can.
The problem? It may be too much, too soon. They will end up becoming overwhelmed by too much information overload, and then fail to follow through with it.
They crash and burn, when they’ve barely started.
So he introduced chunking, where a function is divided into smaller, more manageable tasks. The learning process begins part by part, with the entrepreneur focusing on one task at a time, moving to the next once he has mastered it.
Once all the tasks have been mastered, then the entire function or process has also been mastered.
Through chunking, the entrepreneur will have the impression that he has learned many things when, in reality, he has learned only one or two tasks. But that does not matter, because he will continue with the other tasks until he has mastered everything. The follow-through is properly carried out.
Lesson #10: ASK QUESTIONS, BUT ASK THE BETTER ONES.
Entrepreneurs are some of the most curious people in the planet. The problem is that, sometimes, they do not make enough of an attempt to satisfy their curiosity. Mostly out of fear and apprehension, they refrain from asking too many questions.
But if you want answers, then you have no other choice but to ask your questions.
It is not enough to be asking good questions, however; anyone can do that. In fact, other entrepreneurs are already doing that. What you should do is to ask the better questions.
You see, by asking the better questions, you are bound to get the better answers.
So how do you know which are the better questions?
This requires you to put your natural curiosity as an entrepreneur to work. Look at the issue, but do not stop there. Study any underlying issue that may not be readily apparent or visible. If there are several problems at hand, look at the most critical ones and focus your energy (and inquiry) on them.
Lesson #11: ALWAYS EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.
One of the worst attitudes that an entrepreneur – or any person involved in business – can develop is complacency. It is so easy for one to feel comfortable when things are going well, so he is likely to expect that this trend will continue, and nothing will go wrong. However, there will always be that chance that things will, indeed, go wrong.
Therefore, it is better to adopt an attitude of vigilance, and perhaps just a tiny bit of pessimism.
The business landscape is anything but stable. It is, at best, volatile and ever-changing, and demands that you keep up with these movements. Being able to anticipate these changes means you can come up with backup plans to address whatever issues or consequences can crop up in the event that the unexpected does happen.
In Palo Alto (CA), we meet Partner at True Ventures, Jon Callaghan. Jon talks about how he became a …
Successful small business owners know that there is more to building a successful business than just …