UNSHAKEABLE - a 5 day challenge by and with Tony Robbins
It is in the realm of uncertainty that fulfilment is found.
Needless to say that this might as well be the mantra of my life for the past two years.
Uncertainty being a constant companion: Will I be able to continue travelling? Where do I get an income from? How do I get from location A to location B with a dog that is not allowed on an Irish train? How can I use the bathroom anywhere without leaving my dog Marjorie unattended outside? Will I ever be able to settle down and not suffocate when thinking of growing roots somewhere? What am I doing here? Why am I doing this?
Uncertainty also being the cause of self-growth and self-development. There is no net to fall back on. It is, quite frankly, just you.
Starting out travelling you'd think you'll be able to be this whole different person, you'll not have any of the issues you encountered in your daily life. When in fact you might change your environment but you will take your Self with you, everywhere, no running away from that. In fact, the only reliable thing you do have is your Self. Thus you'd better strike a balance between the stuff you like about yourself and the stuff you cannot stomach. Best case scenario you'll not stop there and dive into a joy of constant work on yourself, healing trauma and a thirst for becoming the best possible version of yourself. While at the same time being comfortable with the side of you that you would call a fudge up. Indeed, this fudged up side of yours will appear frequently and the sooner you accept it, even begin to acknowledge it, love it, appreciate it, find out why it came into existence, the sooner you will be able to love every aspect of yourself.
And with that comes confidence, self-esteem, the knowledge that you indeed are a good person, a capable person, reliable, genius at times, and hilariously dumb other times.
Now, I digress.
Tony Robbins came onto my radar back in 2017 through Netflix's 'I Am Not Your Guru' documentary. I was hooked and I loved the way his whole thing is about self empowerment, not making it about him, not telling people that they need to rely on anyone other than themselves. Years later in 2021 I stumbled upon a YouTube ad that featured him and Dean Graziosi offering a free 5 day challenge called 'Time To Thrive' . And it did indeed lead me to believe more in myself, take action and evolve. I remember how this challenge was the spark that made me overcome my excuses of 'But I need better equipment.' or 'But I have no experience!' or 'But I am ugly!'. I was done being the 'but' or 'what if only I had done it but I never did it' girl. In May 2021 I started my YouTube channel. 7 months after fantasising about it back in my studio apartment in Aarau, shortly before the biggest adventure of my life was due to begin, travelling the world.
Back then, I had a little over 2'000,- CHF to my name. And after this challenge they advertised a super intense coaching programme for half of that. Usually I do not really think about the future and when something feels right, I go for it. This felt right, but I did not go for it. I was too preoccupied to be scared and fearful about what the future would hold for me. How would I be able to continue travelling?
According to myself back then I had no skills, no talents, no profession learned that would enable me to make a living and continue travelling.
I consulted with a friend and, deep down I probably asked his advice because I knew his answer already, he advised me against the risk and for taking the safer path. And I did. And I do not regret it.
That path led me to being able to get myself further along the journey and, only four months later, made me stumble over my first real and paying client. For something I did not think I was qualified or talented enough: web design.
A second adventure began then.
An odyssey if you want to be overly dramatic.
An exploration if you want. To say it was by far one of the most instructive chapters in my personal book of life is not exaggerated: I learned that I can learn anything. I learned not to wait for permission or a certificate. I learned that we are living in a new age where it is more important what you can than the certificate you might lack.
Certainly, it gave me a perspective on myself and life itself I never had before.
And this is me, still on that professional expedition, not near to being anywhere stable or finished. But knowing that I am so fudging grateful that I did it.
This is where Tony Robbins comes back into the picture.
Two weeks ago I, again, came across another challenge: Become Unshakeable.
Me and 1.5 million earthlings attended, via YouTube, Zoom and Facebook.
Five evenings, between 2 and 3 hours every day.
And it was mind-blowing.
Which is why I wanted to share my highlights, as well as a conclusion.
'Habits free us up, as well as imprison us.'
Tony Robbins is all about change. Change is mostly prevented by old behavioural habits and thought patterns. These habits and patterns form beliefs that result in an identity that we build for ourselves. And there are mainly two triggers that make us want to change: Pain and Inspiration.
So far so good.
For the majority of people, even if they mentally know they need to change, for example because of health issues caused by obesity, knowing is not enough. Most of us already were in that state of mind where we said that we can and we will. And then we did not.
The most intriguing information that I got from this day though was this: How do we make change last?
What makes change last?
First of all though I want to emphasise what Tony Robbins said: He is not our Guru because there is nothing wrong with us. Beliefs, formed in the first years of our life and layer upon layer added throughout our teenage years and adulthood, hold a tight grip on us. They are so deeply instilled within us that sometimes we do not even recognise them as beliefs.
However: Beliefs create & beliefs destroy.
Belief controls everything because a belief is having absolute certainty about something.
Thus, we need to work on our beliefs before we can even begin our process of change.
We can change if we can rely on an example that makes us realise that it is possible. In the end it comes all down to the following:
A strategy is fine but it will not get you where you want to go because it lacks the 'why'.
Why are you doing it? What is the story?
'Identity of mind VS identity of soul.'
Lasting change always requires a change of identity. That which we have become because of our (mostly) unconsciously settled beliefs. Do not accept the label for yourself or others, whether you gave it or others gave it. Who you are is defined by what you do - if you have accomplished something before, you know how it feels. And suddenly you may ask yourself: If I am able to do that, what else can I do?
This is called a breakthrough.
By reflecting on this breakthrough (trigger pain or inspiration), what the breakthrough was about (state of mind), with what aspects did you struggled during it (story) and what made it possible for you to break through in the first place(strategy), you educate yourself. You know you can do it again. You know the value. You know what reward is waiting on the other side. And if this reward is not enough, then whatever is holding you back needs to be dissected to find out what greater value the setback, the giving up held or holds for you (comfort? convenience? safety?).
In essence, all you do, you do to change how you feel.
How you feel is your state of mind.
Emotion is energy.
And every outcome of every situation is determined by your state of mind.
Here are Tony Robbins' 'Five to Thrive' to regulate your state of mind, regardless of your emotions.
By changing your physiology (the way you make your voice sound strong or weak, loud or mumbling; the way you stand in a hero pose or hunched; the way you move, your facial expressions) we can change our state of mind. You may not be able to prevent yourself from being robbed, but your state of mind can have an impact on the outcome.
Where focus goes, energy flows. Have you heard this before? Or this one: People get rewarded in public for what they practice in private. Simply put this says that every person we admire, did start somewhere, they were not born the way they are when we admire them. A successful sports person has trained hours and hours, days on end, months and years, to be where he is now. A successful actors have trained similarly intense and long in preparation for every role they played. Or a successful content creator has honed and expanded their skillsets over the course of their career. You do not believe me? Maybe Ed Sheeran will persuade you that I speak the truth. And this is what is the meaning of the second corner of keeping the state of mind you want, focus. On whatever you focus, your energy will flow there. Good or bad. Change or staying the same. Giving up or perseverance and consistency. It is with practice that we become masters of our destiny.
Language is the third corner of the triangle of state: Words create meaning and words are emotions too. It affects your state, the way you think about yourself. What music you listen to. And this goes deep. Making fun of yourself with demeaning words, letting others invade your personal boundaries, or making yourself small, not seen and not heard, because you feel like you are not worthy of either. I AM - the key phrase to disguise how awfully we sometimes execute self-talk in our minds. I am tired versus I am energised. You might laugh at that, yet have you ever consciously, determinedly tried if it actually makes a difference to change how you talk with yourself and others, In your head and out loud? It is easier to make a change if you are already in the right state of mind, easiest when you already feel strong and happy. Opportunities arise in the situation when we are unhappy or feel weak. This is the time to grow, to work, to sit up and shape the person you aspire to be. Change your physiology by getting up, turning on your favourite song and silly dance in the middle of your living room, laugh about yourself and then think about how funny and gorgeous you are. Does it make a difference?
All of the above then needs to be tied together by your choice of identity. Because your identity shapes your choices, thus by creating your own identity, you impact your choices, both in everyday life as well as in the long run.
Lastly, summing up the five to thrive, is the creation of a compelling future that gives you a reason to use your skills, the right drive or motor if you will.
'The definition of failure is not trying'
Most notable for me personally on this day was one guest speaker. Her father always encouraged her to fail, or so she says. Upon coming home from school and reporting of something she'd tried out and failed in, her father would be proud of her. This resulted in her being very persistent as a grown-up. She never let anything keep her from trying. It is in not trying that we are hand-cuffing our own potential. It is in not asking questions because we are too scared we could seem dumb. It is in not appreciating failure a a chance to stand back up and go from this experience with new learned knowledge and improved skill. The people that fail the most, try the most and succeed the most.
Maybe it starts with a simple question: What does rejection mean to you personally?
And then go further: Write a new definition for yourself of what value rejection actually could hold for you.
This is what I want to affirm within my brain over and over again, and this is what I took away from day 3 of this challenge: 'I am one of the brave ones, willing to go for it.'
Because courage is not the absence of fear, courage is to do it despite being scared. And self-doubt gets even smaller if it is not just about your personal failure anymore, but if this thing you created, your why, is bigger than yourself, if it is for other people, if you believe in your message, if you whole-heartedly believe in your personal 'why'.
'Love is the oxygen of the soul.'
Become the person you want to be friends with, become the person you want to have as a partner, as a sister, as a brother. And do it with love or do not do it at all! That is what 'unconditional' really means. If you do something for someone else, you do it to get approval, to be needed and therefore valued. Or you do it because you want to trade. And both of this is fine, if the other person knows it. Communicate your intentions and if there are no intentions, then do it unconditionally and whole-heartedly. This society of ours is so focused on trading one thing for another, that we have forgotten what unconditional love means. It does not only mean love someone so much, you let them go even if you will be miserable afterwards. It means, acts of service throughout, without expectations of any kind to get anything back. Both with your closest people and people in general.
Do it with love, or do not do it at all.
Trade your expectations for appreciation.
And while we are at relationships in general, not merely romantic ones, here is a nugget of wisdom I was absolutely unprepared for: The 4 horsemen.
Apparently existing for two decades already, a study showed that we are able to foretell if a relationship will endure by a mere half an hour of listening to their form of communication with each other!
Admitting that I did consistently, over the whole duration of each and every relationship I ever had, commit all 4 horsemen was not easy. Forgiving myself for the past is still an ongoing process.
Thus, let me elaborate and tell you what these horsemen are, so you can be wiser than I was.
Criticise vs. 'I' - messages: Describe your feelings and use the S.E.W. method by Dr. Julie Colwell. S = Sensation (I am feeling -insert bodily sensation'); E = Emotion (Only use the5 core emotions sad, mad/angry, scared/fearful, glad/happy/loving and excited; W = what you 'want' (how can this be helped, what is it you need from your partner? And questions are encouraged to go deeper into description about the state of body, emotions and how to improve this.
Contempt vs. Disrespect
Defensiveness vs. Responsibility: making excuses and playing the victim will neither get us where we want to be, nor does it make your relationship thrive. Taking ownership of what it is that you have done is a key essence to be not only responsible, but also loving as we show that we care and that we actually respect the other person. It also enables us to apologise, sincerely and authentically.
Stonewalling vs. Change your state: Inevitably, when we are heated up and in an argument, it is easy to lose oneself. All of the horsemen can be prevented though if we focus on what is important. Our feelings matter, wanting to be understood matters, yet, our relationship and love for the other person matters as well. By simply taking a time put, readjusting our state of mind (by readjusting physiology, language and focus), we can go back into the conversation with an open heart and mind. Most of the times what really triggers us are the 3 U's (feeling unseen, not understood or unsafe) and the 3 C's (being criticised, closing up or being controlled). If we fail to see that what causes a severe argument is basically the two involved parties feeling exactly the same (not heard or understood, not respected or loved), and that all they want to feel again is harmony and being cared for and loved, then we are able to give each other the room and space to calm down, adjust our states and reconcile.
'Life is not happening to you - it is happening for you.'
Whatever it is you are going through right now, whatever pain or sorrow or greif or hardship. It will end. And it never gets old to say this.
We all are going through challenges in life. It is the way we perceive them that transform every challenge into either a war, a failure or a possibility. Your outlook on life, formed by your identity, your beliefs, your patterns, your habits, determines your view on your life.
This realisation should not only free you up to become the person you always wanted to be (and if you are already there, congratulations, my dearest beloved soul, for the majority of us it is an ongoing process and ever changing), it also has the power to transform the life of other people. Because now you know that we are all walking in the same shoes, you'll be able to change the way you interact with people. By being a little bit nicer, giving one smile freely away each day, by treating others the way you wanted to be treated, unconditionally.
Does that sound like a lot?
Yes, I agree.
Nonetheless, once you start and see how absolutely mind-blowing it is once these subtle techniques become your new habits, how they let you thrive into becoming a whole new person, it is addictive.
Or so it is for me.
And I am nowhere finished.
But I am pretty happy with myself and how I treat people, how I treat myself.
I am a firm believer that in our core, we all are love.
More even: We all crave to be of service to others, give love freely, appreciate people.
We also have been conditioned that there is not enough (of whatever it is that you want more of; money or love or quality time or healthy relationships) for every one of us. Thus, greed is born. We behave in horrific ways, and that is fine and well if it is done unconsciously. Once we realise though that the real empowerment lies buried deep beneath all these toxic belief systems that infiltrated our state of happiness, of contentment, then we can start digging. Uncover the personality we are, the truly unique soul that lies underneath it all.
Our super power.
I see you, my beloved souls, every one of you is goodness and has deserved pure goodness in your life!
I love you.
You are special.
Love and light, to you.