How I Met Tony Robbins

Learning how to let go of what others think.

I don’t remember all the details of how I came to be in the situation I’m about to describe; a situation that had a profound effect on my perception of where I am and where I’m going, but dreams are like that.

I was at a dinner party with some friends who, like me are on a journey to discovering our gifts and learning how to use them to help others, and there he was, six foot plus tall and smiling. He was a gracious guest to our host, who was a humble, 40-something woman. She was making small talk about ridiculously basic things. But then, what do you say when you are hosting such an iconic personality?

I thought about the situation. What is Tony thinking right now? I know what I was thinking…

Here is an opportunity to talk to one of the world’s thought leaders and we are talking about this sh*t??? I had seen the movie, “I’m Not Your Guru” and knew his style from that. I knew that he is a person who pushes through all the crap, and says what no one else will say. He has a knack for it and doesn’t care that it rattles people. In fact, that is the whole point.

I kind of felt bad, because, I thought, here is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!!!

As I started to become partially conscious of the situation (and waking up but still in my dream) I thought, would I say? What would I ask Tony Robbins? How would I use this moment to gain insight? What is my subconscious trying to reveal to me??? I felt timid, like our host. I felt self-conscious about saying something stupid. I was afraid of being bold and offending someone. But, in that same moment of thought I realized that that’s his style, so I should just go for it.

And this is what I said knowing that Tony is a straight shooter and it seemed to me was very disappointed with the conversation so far,

“Tony, I want to share three things with you and I’d love to hear your feedback. First, I had a vision about 6 months ago that I have a similar mission as yours—that I will be a public speaker who helps people tap into their greatness. My shtick is a little different than yours, but that was my vision—that I create a massively successful business.

“Second, I recognize that there is fear that gets in my way to claim this vision, but at the same time I want to appreciate the process that it takes to “be” the biggest person in the room. What were your fears as you realized your path, and what did you do to overcome them?

“Third…” and then he stopped me in mid-sentence. He said, “Elyse, all the answers to everything are inside you. What is your biggest fear?“

And then I woke up. But the story doesn’t end there.

As I woke up I scurried for pen and paper to write down some key notes so I would be able to think about this. Yeah, it was just a dream—it’s not like I’m going to actually meet Tony Robbins (although I believe ANYTHING is possible). But, I did realize in that moment that I had something to learn from this deep, albeit, subconscious experience.

The next day, my daughter had an appointment with her therapist and we were going to meet as a team to discuss new health goals. As part of our conversation we talked about how she needs to not worry about what other people think about her so much. She vehemently denied that she does any such thing. As a teenager, she embraces her unique perspective. But, this superficial caring wasn’t what the therapist was getting at.

As we teased this subject apart, he said acknowledged her ability to be empathic and feel what others feel, and in that sense, she needs to cut herself off from that connection and take care of herself. I knew what he meant because I have come to realize that I tend to take other people’s feelings into account way more than my wants or needs.

In that moment of conversation, I realized what Tony was asking me regarding my biggest fear. As I woke up, I started to answer his question, “what is your biggest fear” in my now conscious mind. I said, “I worry about what other people think of me,” but as I thought it, I blew it off as something that is just a knee-jerk answer.

Only later, when we were sitting in the office of the therapist, discussing what empathy really means for us, I started to put the pieces together and could see the message.

Just as my daughter needs to learn to cut people off, so to speak, and take care of her own emotional needs, so too, do I need to cut myself off from that sense of fear that someone wont like what I have to say, or what I do. In order for me to fulfill my vision I need to start doing that. In order for me to tap into who I am fully, I have to stay connected to me, inside and not look for approval from the outside.

Easier said than done, but I’m working on it. Progress not perfection.

Originally published at

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