Building an empire is easy if someone gives you the keys. What if you had to scrape and claw your way to the top and had people try to knock you down along the way? Going from rags to riches is challenging, and that’s what makes Tony Robbins who he is today.
Robbins is a speaker, coach and author. He’s advised some of the most famous people in the world on how to be successful — but he wouldn’t be himself without his upbringing. Let’s dive into his life and how he overcame trauma to create his multibillion-dollar empire.
Robbins was born on Leap Day in 1960. He’s the oldest of three children to parents who divorced when Tony was seven. The Robbins household was a chaotic one when the children were growing up. Tony has said his mother was addicted to alcohol and drugs and physically abused him and his siblings.
As the oldest child, Tony felt he needed to protect his younger brother and sister — so he did his best to be a live-in psychologist to raise them. Sometimes the abuse reached unthinkable levels. For instance, Robbins told CNBC his mother once chased him out of the house with a knife.
By the late ‘70s, Robbins was a high school student already on the job hunt. He got a job as a janitor cleaning his school after hours. Other kids were at the arcade or shopping mall, but Robbins cleaned the halls he and his friends walked daily.
Robbins was only making $40 weekly as a janitor. That sum wasn’t a lot of money even in the 1970s. He supplemented his income by helping people move on the weekends.
Tony faced financial adversity and then a health scare. In high school, Robbins grew 10 inches taller in a year. He didn’t know until he turned 31 that a pituitary tumor caused the sudden growth spurt. His cancer has mostly subsided, but these obstacles are only a few examples of why Robbins has so much motivation. Tony has said he wouldn’t be as successful without the adversity.
Finding Early Success
The janitor’s wage was challenging, but Robbins saved enough money to attend a seminar that changed his life. Tony went to see Jim Rohn speak at a motivational conference. Rohn was a motivational speaker, author and entrepreneur who gave Robbins his first job. Tony used Rohn as a mentor, often working 12 hours daily. Soon, he was holding seminars and influencing others to be successful.
Robbins’ first claim to fame was learning neuro-linguistic processing (NL). This idea rose in the 1970s thanks to Richard Bandler and John Grinder. The latter was a critical figure for Robbins. Tony used Grinder as another mentor and began giving seminars on NLP. Robbins used NLP seminars to teach people how to mimic others’ successes and behaviors for their own. The rest is history.
Coaching Powerful Figures
What do Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Steve Jobs and Tony Robbins have in common? They don’t have college degrees. Robbins couldn’t afford to go to college. In fact, he could barely afford Rohn’s seminar. Robbins used his excellent drive and work ethic to reach the top. His rapid rise gained the attention of some influential figures.
Robbins quickly found his calling: coaching others on how to fight adversity and find success anyway. At only 33 years old, Tony received a phone call from a powerful source — the president of the United States. President Clinton called Robbins on Christmas Day 1993 for advice. The two discussed how to address Clinton’s challenges in his first year in office.
Besides the POTUS, Robbins has also coached public figures domestically and abroad. Some famous examples include Diana, Princess of Wales, Oprah Winfrey, Serena Williams, Nelson Mandela, Hugh Jackman and many more. Regardless of your background, you can count on Tony if you need coaching.
Building His Empire
Today, Robbins has quite the business empire and made a fortune for himself. Estimates put Robbins’ net worth at around $600 million due to his successes. Being worth a half-billion dollars is no easy feat, so how has he done it?
First, consider his authorship. Robbins has penned numerous books like, “Awaken the Giant Within,” “Unlimited Power” and “Money: Master the Game.” Many of these works have become international bestsellers.
Additionally, Robbins has started or become involved in numerous business ventures. These companies include Robbins Research International, providing coaching courses and specialized curricula for entrepreneurs worldwide. He also has stakes in businesses like the Namale Resort & Spa in Fiji and TwinLab, a vitamin producer.
Maintaining Productivity and Positivity
Getting to the mountaintop requires hard work and dedication. You need just as much motivation to stay atop Mt. Everest. How does Tony continue his success? Much of it stems from his daily rituals.
Imagine starting your day by jumping into cold water. That may sound like an unconventional beginning, but that’s what Robbins does. Each morning, Robbins takes a plunge into a 57-degree pool. Why does he do it? Cold water immersion has numerous benefits. For example, research shows swimming in cold water decreases femoral artery and cutaneous blood flow and helps the body recover after intense endurance exercise.
Robbins also starts his day with yoga and meditation to show gratitude and think about the day ahead. These affirmations change your psychology and provide a more positive outlook. Positive energy fuels Tony, who runs numerous businesses and travels for events and media tours.
How does Robbins stay energetic? A significant part of his lifestyle is his diet. He eats an alkaline diet with leafy greens, legumes and healthy fats. Tony’s diet is mainly plant-based, with small portions of animal protein.
Turning Adversity Into Accomplishments
Life is hardly easy. It constantly throws fastballs and curveballs you can barely hit with your bat. Your adversity doesn’t define you — but your response builds your character. Tony Robbins turned his childhood trauma into motivation. Let his story inspire you and others to work hard and take every opportunity available. You never know what waits for you on the other side.
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