What Tony Robbins Taught Me

Written by: Nick Ortner

I know Tony Robbins needs no introduction. However, if you’re joining us from a country or are new to this space he is a motivational speaker and mentor to many.

Tony Robbins has been known for the past thirty years as an inspirational/motivational speaker, writing books, leading packed seminars around the country, and coaching Presidents and celebrities alike.

In late 2002, after reading his books and listening to his tapes (yes, tapes!), for several years, I decided to attend a weekend event of his in New York City.

Lessons Learned

I went by myself, following an ad I saw on the streets of New York and a gut feeling that this was something I needed to pursue, and the weekend was simply transformational. There’s a lot I can write about what I learned that weekend, but the primary breakthrough for me was taking responsibility for my life. It’s easy to believe that life just HAPPENS to us, but it’s not until we recognize that we are at CHOICE, every moment of every day, that things truly change.

12 years ago Tony taught me that and much more, and it has made a massive difference in my life. So it was a special day when I got to spend some time with him at his house in Florida. Tony and I had connected a year earlier when he heard about our work in my hometown of Newtown, CT, and what we were doing to help those struggling from the tragic shooting here. We spent the past year touching base and talking about how we might work together, and this meeting intended to further that discussion.

We got a lot done and I’ll be reporting in the coming months about what we’re doing together, but today I want to share three simple things I learned from being with him, and which you might find helpful in your life. They all start with “P” and you can apply them to your life in minutes.

What Tony Robbins Taught Me


You’re probably familiar with the outsized physical stature and presence of Tony. Standing 6’7”, with massive hands and feet, muscles that at 54, still look rock-solid, it’s easy to be impressed with his physical presence. But that’s not what Impressed me most about him, it was his emotional presence. Coming off a 5-day event he runs called “Business Mastery”, he could have easily been drained, distracted or simply just a little tired. But his engagement was laser-focused, taking copious notes as Dr. Leyden (the director of The Tapping Solution Foundation) and I spoke about what we were doing.

He wrote so furiously, while maintaining eye contact and asking penetrating questions, that I longed to see what that notepad actually said! Tony was WITH us. There was no doubt about it. Listening, caring, and looking to go deeper, to get beyond the surface of the discussion, to innovate, collaborate, and create magic in the world. His incredible presence energized us, helped us think bigger, clarify our vision.

Your takeaway: Being present to someone is the greatest gift you can give them. When you’re talking to someone, talk to them. If your phone buzzes in your pocket, leave it be. If you find your mind wandering to other tasks and responsibilities, bring it back. Be here now. Not only will you change the quality of your experience, but people will also notice and appreciate it in ways you can’t even imagine.


Tony talks a lot about his absolute devotion to what he calls “priming”. For him, it’s a commitment to 10 minutes of daily meditation, which he says usually stretches to 25-30 minutes, but he keeps his goal small so no matter what’s going on, he can achieve it on a daily basis. This priming is the time for him to focus, relax, and envision his day and his life. And the result is obvious. He’s able to be PRESENT because of this PRIMING!

Your takeaway: Set a goal, start small, to spend 5-10 minutes a day doing something to “prime” yourself for the day. Tap, meditate, try yoga, whatever it takes to mentally prepare for the day, and feel good.


When you’re running 12 companies, publishing a #1 NY Times bestselling book, doing media, and being in-demand around the world, there are a lot of responsibilities on your shoulders. It would be easy to become harried, to rush people, to have worry lines on your face, but Tony was the exact opposite. Calm and relaxed, joking around as his wife walked by moving some outdoor furniture pillows, playfully teasing his brother-in-law in the kitchen, giving us big hugs – he was having FUN. You could sense his joy for life, his joy being with others, his joy in being of service.

Your takeaway: Find places in your life where you can have a little (or a lot) of fun. Can you find ways to work, to focus, to be productive, AND have fun? What can you do to bring some joy and playfulness into your life?

To learn more about Tony Robbins and the influential work he’s doing around the world, visit

Until next time…

Keep Tapping!

Nick Ortner

Has Tony Robbins influenced your life in any way? Let me know below! And what do you think about the three “P”s? Tell me how you can implement them in your life today.

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80 Comments on this post

  1. Deb Thompson says:

    About 20 plus years ago, I was in a job I hated and on the verge of making myself sick from the stress. I got up in the middle of the night and turned on the tv to find Tony’s infomercial for Personal Power. I was so jazzed by the pitch itself that I got out my credit card and ordered the program right away. Within 2 weeks I quit my job *as a cashier)without another job, but with the firm belief that something much better was out there for me. Indeed, within a few days I was hired as a company for a job making a lot more money with training.

  2. M says:

    I love the 3 P’s and I love Tony!!!! Thank you for a great and insightful article Nick. I’m going to experiment with honing these 3 P’s in combination as I love how you’ve put these powerful practices together. It strikes me that they all relate to a state of “being” as opposed to “doing”, interesting given that Tony is Mr Peak Performance and Productivity himself ???

  3. Mary says:

    Love Tony Robbins. I credit reading and re-reading his “Awaken the Giant Within” with getting myself and my grandson *out* of a homeless shelter and into a stable apartment many years ago. Every word resonated as truth with me, you see. He is a profoundly inspirational, wise man—I still have that book—it’s rocket fuel—

  4. Araceli says:

    Tony has taught me so many things.
    -the importance to know why do I do the things that I do, by studying the human needs and what are the feelings that drive me
    – Swish pattern, I no longer bite my nails by using this technique.
    – Watching the video 7 minutes Rachaud, I applied that to my story. I was afraid of man and went back to my first memory with boys. I understood that they were mean, so I tried to avoid them
    – NLP techniques that used to made me sad or hurt, by changing the colors I changed that.
    – about my role in life whether I was femenine or masculine and why.. I am working on that right now.

    I have followed your tapping technique for years, and it has helped me to calm down a lot, specially when tapping under my eyes.
    Thanks so much for your great help.

  5. Esther says:

    Love this comment.Tony is fantastic.I have been in three of his courses and he is excellent.
    The three Ps..great.! Thank you Nick your work with tapping is tremendous!

  6. Jeanne Koenig says:

    Hi nick! Thank you soooo much for the gifts! I’m so grateful that I can start tapping again. My health is pretty bad so I need to do it often and I am not comfortable doing it alone yet. I loved the article. Tony Robbins rocks! Can’t wait to apply the 3P’s to my life everyday. He has a lot to offer as you do. Hope you have an awesome day!
    Love you and your system, Jeanne
    P.S. I didn’t Like on facebook because I have soooo much on my page that I’m running out of room on my phone. Can’t wait to get a computer! lol. Since I’m on Facebook everything I like goes there. Sorry. When I get a computer I won’t have to worry about things like that.

  7. Regina Clarke says:

    In 1990 when I was living in Santa Rosa, NY, a friend gave me tapes by Tony Robbins. I became immersed in them instantly. Every lunch hour at work I listened to them–it was the only free time I had–and did his whole process over a period of months. I set a goal to write a book based on his methods. I did that, and to this day I can recall the absolute faith I had in what I was doing. I didn’t just know he was right in what he was showing and teaching, I FELT it. Thus, the entire experience was magical. I have never managed to sell the book in traditional ways, and I have written many since. None have sold much. Yet my sense of faith is still there–it exists because what I did was fulfill a dream. Not just talk about it. Not just imagine it. I found a way to complete it, to bring the book into being. I think I fell in love with life then and there, and the sense of that has never left me. I consider Tony Robbins my first mentor.

  8. Bonnie says:

    I love this and I’m thrilled for this opportunity opening for you and the Foundation!

  9. Jennifer P says:

    Great article! Tony Robbins led me to meeting my husband. Back in the late 90s my younger sister was getting married and I wanted to find my forever person too. I saw an infomercial for one of Tony’s products and ordered it. The first step was to decide what you want and to create concrete steps to move you to that goal- taking responsibility for building the life you want! I was too old to meet people at bars and did not want an office romance so I took the bold (back in 1998) step to join a local online dating site. The only reason I had the courage to do it was because of Tony Robbins. I met lots of great guys, but I met my soul mate and partner in life on May 7, 1998 (one month before my sister’s wedding). We were engaged that October and married on May 1, 1999. We’ll be celebrating our 16th wedding anniversary this year and have two wonderful children. We also own two small businesses together- another way we have taken concrete steps to build the life we want! All the best things in my life go back to the day I met my husband and I have Tony Robbins to thank for that!

  10. Traceyhasfun says:

    One of my favorite memories was CANI….Constant and Never-ending Improvement…one of Tony’s commitments. I took a workshop of his in Boston, and waited to meet him afterword. After having his taped voice in my head for so many years, and sharing a workshop with him in person, I just welled up with tears and could only shake his hand…he reached forward and gave me a big hug.
    I’ve thought so many times in the last thrity years that I feel so blessed to be on the planet at the same time he is. And, I couldn’t have been more thrilled when I heard he is partnering with you, Nick!!

  11. Mary says:

    I started my journey in personal development with Tony Robbins ‘Get the Edge’ CD Programe, I went to his ‘Unleash the power’ Seminar and also did the Fire walk.
    I’ve done a whole lot of programes and seminars and personal work after that but I attribute the beginning of that journey to Tony. After that seminar, It really felt like I was released from the Matrix and I could do anything. For that I will be eternally grateful.

  12. Ann says:

    Tony Robbins’ sales person charged thousands of dollars to my credit card without my permission or knowledge. Robbins refused to take the honest and decent action to admit what his company had done and reverse the charges they made. My credit card company investigated and deemed them unlawful charges and reversed them.It was only after I reported this unlawful conduct to government agencies that I got a call from the company–but it was just excuses and more sales pitch.
    No decent human acknowledgement of what they did and the problems Robbins greed created for me.

    Very Unprofessional and dishonest company.

  13. Barbara says:

    Walked 12 ft of hot coals with Tony Robbins in the 80’s at his Power over Fear seminar. Made a big difference in my ability to cope with life.

  14. René Arns says:

    I did the seminar “Unleash the Power within” with Tony in London in 2005. I still have the firewalk certificate on the wall and look at it regularly.

    That seminar but especially the fire walk was a life changing experience. Tony opened a new world for me with unlimited possibilities, that now keep encouraging me to continue to explore and grow each day. The world had never been te same since, and I am erernally greatfull for my decision to attend and to Tony for what he gave me!

  15. Devikumar says:

    Nick, one more ‘p’ I like to add,his Patience.

  16. Renate says:

    I heared about Tony Robbins when we relocated to Singapore in 2001. Besides taking care of the family I got interested in books, articles and whatever came up in the field of self-development. Then Tony was scheduled for a seminar in a local hall. As I could not afford the ticket for the actual event I attended a pre-talk held by some of his staff. This already was such an amazing experience for me. I bought his books, read them in no time and later even got them for my sons. The following year we were relocated to Bangkok. There I met Tony at a regular gathering for entrepreneurs. He was very cheerful and commented on my German name Renate which is the same as his wife’s. Some years later we moved to Singapore again … and … I felt some regret for not having been part of such an enriching event way back.

  17. arlene says:

    like tony the best as he is both pragmatic and positive

  18. Sophia says:

    Dear Nick,
    thank you for sharing your experience with Tony. What I get our of it, is that I will definitely try to have more fun, playfulness an joy in my life. I do Priming, exercise, try to be present, but there is something missing, I take life to serious, feel too much responsibility, try to get it right, and forget about the fact that life should be a joyful journey.
    I am running a stress and burnout retreat, and it only makes sense if I am in a good place.
    All the people who come to us, are anyway far to serous and live so much in there heads.
    So thank you again, I do tapping with my clients and give them the link to your website.
    Much love from sunny Spain

  19. Maurine says:

    Tony used to hold seminars at the hotel were I work, and I really believe he helped lots of people
    change their lives for the better.

  20. chris says:

    The 1:4:2 breath recommended by Tony Robins is also very powerful.

  21. martha Williams says:

    Years ago I read one of his books. I ran a process to get my condo paid off. And a month later the money fell into my lap and I paid off the condo. I have good thoughts when I hear Tony’s name

  22. Brenda Holder says:

    Thank you for sharing such valuable info. I agree with the three P, I make a conscious effort to be present with my clients. Priming is new word for me, so important and being playful and having fun is something I do personal & professional. Thanks again for this great article and please keep them coming.

  23. Thia Rose says:

    I loved this article and I love your book, too! I’m so glad I kept revisiting Tapping even when it seemed not to work, because once I got down to those core beliefs holding me back–especially all the fear I had around having the kind of success you’ve been manifesting–things really started to shift. Presence, Priming and Playfulness have become important in my life (finding this article was just proof I’m on the right track) and part of that is due to the wonderful work you’ve been doing. So thank you Nick!

  24. Svetlana Rawes says:

    Yes I think it’s great. I use to have a lack of three Ps but learning more and more from lovely, talented Nick and Jessica I got calmer and I love the way how I feel these days. You guys you are so lucky to meet people like Tony in your life. I wish I meet wise people like you and learn from you face to face, or just talk as it would be pleasure. I have a list who I would love to meet. Well thank to Internet and it’s creator that I have an opportunities to know you at least on line. Thanks for sharing, xxx

  25. Pamela says:

    You – and Jessica – have been for 7 years and continue to be an incredible Presence in my life and many others. With the movie, the World Summits, online Seminars /coaching ,your Foundation work – Tapping is such a key to personal growth and you have Lead the Way! Many thanks.

  26. Najma Mohamed says:

    Dear Nick….you affirm others (healers) with such generosity of spirit. Since discovering EFT through yourself and Jessica two years ago, I have not stopped tapping and have taught the technique to so many other people. I am an educator in South Africa and use it in my classes on a regular basis. The kids just love …love… love it! May God continue to bless your work and may you continue to share your beautiful soul with others.

  27. Dr. Larry Quell says:

    I did tony’s fire Walk many years ago—-Helped my self confidence immensely. I’ve read his books and am reading his Money now. Very practical good stuff.
    I’ve been a great admirer of his work!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. Donna Berry says:

    When my husband was alive – the most notable quality about him was his PRESENCE. When he died I missed him very much. When I asked myself what I was missing about him – it was his presence. Realizing that, I realized that that was the quality I wanted to strengthen in myself and have been doing that ever since.

    The result – I am present and happy.

    Thank you for all you share so generously!

    Donna Berry

  29. Vicky Ternida says:

    Thank you so very much Nick for sharing your thoughts and your article about Tony Robbins. I have always been a fan of Tony and have read his recent Money book; I loved it!
    Actually, I already started with the first 2 P’s early this year and today I would like to be able to add the 3rd P, as well.

    Thanks again and more power to you and your great contribution in this world!

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Get Instant Access to our "Releasing Anxiety" and "Sleep Support: Quiet The Racing Mind" Tapping meditations.
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