Hi friends, so I did something kind of crazy and dropped $1k to walk on fire and spend four days immersed in one of Tony Robbins’s signature events – Unleash the Power Within. Pricey, yes. Worth it? Let’s talk about it. In this post I’ll share my experience at UPW. Consider this my Unleash the Power Within Review. Ready? Here we go.
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What is Unleash the Power Within?
There are so many great posts that talk about what Unleash the Power Within already. So if you want to read something in depth, google it. In short, UPW is a four day conference that Tony Robbins does a handful of times throughout the year and in various parts of the US (this past year had events in San Diego, Chicago, and the NYC area, with LA coming up in March 2019).
The event is super intense with 50 hours of conference spread across only four days. Be prepared to not sleep or eat much. The presenters reminded us multiple times that this is on purpose and very much by design. I think it’s one of the tactics they use to help get you out of your comfort zone. But it also helps you understand that you can create energy out of physical exhaustion.
And you’ll be joined by roughly 12,000 of your new best friends. Okay, you’ll be lucky to meet a dozen and have real conversations. But yea, there are TONS of people everywhere. It’s like attending a large conference or sporting event. The event page on TR’s site promises transformation. And based on the conversations I had with several other attendees, almost everyone seemed to be there for just that, including me.
My Key UPW Takeaways
Energy can be created: You guys, this has been a crazy year. I started out working in NYC, went to Thailand, got divorced, took a new job in San Francisco and then went back to NYC for UPW. Phew! But even before this, I’ve just been feeling…exhausted. I’ve been upset with myself as I complain to my friends, “I just feel so tired all the time!” And I’ve wondered what caused it. Not sleeping enough? “Moving” across the country? Processing my divorce? But even though I don’t know what the root cause is, I now know that I can create energy and demand it of myself. And I must not give into lack of energy as an excuse but create that energy and go for it!
You’re not successful on something because it’s a *should* instead of a *must* for you: This is something I’ve been thinking a lot about since reading The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz. In one part, Schwartz says that he looked at his friends and which ones were successful and which were not. The successful ones were committed and followed through no matter what, while the unsuccessful always had excuses. I applied this to myself to look at the areas where I believe I am successful versus not. And as I really and truthfully analyzed myself, I realized I followed through in the success areas and had excuses in the non-successful areas. Whoa.
Along the same lines, those success areas were *musts* for me versus *shoulds*. For example fitness is a must for me while blog success is a should. For fitness, I commit to making space in my schedule for workouts and then following through on them. I’ve walked miles in the snow and taken packed subway rides to class. No excuses! Whereas with blog success, I have more excuses than success: people can be more engaged if I can increase quantity of content. And (excuse!) it would be better if I had more time or energy.
You must believe in and visualize your success and dream future: Tony and team took us through many visualization experts. Guys, I read a lot of self improvement and business books and follow many influencers in the genre. Over and over and over again, they talk about visualizing your success. You have to decide what you want, see it, and feel what that success outcome feels like. And it’s important to repeat this. Your mind is a powerful thing, and if you’re not tapping into it (or worse, feeding it negative thoughts), you’re missing out. I know because I used to be a negative thinker.
It’s important to stay in a beautiful state as much as possible: Speaking of negativity, I literally feel like that line from Pitbull: “Took my life from negative to positive”. You literally wouldn’t recognize younger-me. Not to mention I’ve spent many years working on turning my mindset around. When I think back, I had no idea how toxic my mind was. I felt like things happened to me, not for me. I didn’t want to jinx things by thinking of good outcomes. How silly is that? Thinking about positive outcomes has gotten me way more beneficial outcomes than being worried about jinxing good things. Meanwhile letting my mind run rampant with negative and critical thoughts.
I was my own worst critic and a harsh one at that. I thought I didn’t deserve more, so I rarely got it. So I loved when Joseph shared five ways to praise yourself. We’re often times our own worst critic. So we must also remember to praise ourselves. And since I’m Type A, this is something I rarely do since I’m so focused on doing things better and how I can improve myself. Reaching for more is good, but it’s important to balance this by owning your strength and recognizing the wins along the way. As you can see…this is a topic I’m very passionate about, and I feel like I have several blog posts and videos I want to make to talk more about this. So let’s discuss more another time.
Knowledge isn’t as important as action: Tony stressed that knowing something isn’t nearly as important as taking action on something. You can *know* how to lose weight. But if you’re not going to take action to eat better and be active, you’re not going to lose weight. You can’t think yourself into losing weight. And on top of that, Tony also noted that if you want massive success, you need massive action. Hearing him talk about this topic made me wonder if I’ve been playing too small. Is now the time to make massive changes? Do I have it in me to do more after all I’ve already been through this year? I believe in my ability to handle it. But I also recognize that I need to take more time to think clearly about my hopes, dreams, and goals. And once those are figured out, then take that massive action. I do feel like I’m on the precipice of something big. And I’m excited about what’s in store for me in my future.
Has UPW been the push and epiphany I’ve been waiting for? Time will tell.
My Unleash the Power Within Experience
I’ve thought about how to sum UPW up into a short blog post. The thing is…you kind of can’t. I had moments where I was a bit skeptical, going through the motions but not feeling what was happening. And then moments where I was all in, screaming my head off with full energy. Overall, I had a wonderful experience. And I tried to break up my thoughts on various elements below without giving away everything we learned.
What I Didn’t Like
Although these are some things that weren’t my favorite about the event, I don’t feel like these were deal breakers or even worth changing how UPW went. They’re pretty minor. I appreciated the experience as it was, but these could potentially help someone prepare for UPW (especially if you’re a healthy foodie like me!)
Lack of Food: I’ve been able to maintain my weight loss, energy levels, and overall happiness by practicing intuitive eating. Which means when I’m hungry, I eat. And although you had complete freedom throughout the event to move as you pleased, besides not wanting to annoy your row in the stadium seating, you didn’t really want to miss any of the action. I kept reminding myself…this cost at least $1k (plus travel). This is expensive information!
Oh and you could bring light snacks with you, but not full meals. So I was hungry for much of the event. This didn’t impact the quality of my experience. I understood this was part of the strategy of the event. It just stood out to me because of my eating style. Still, I was able to bring in snack bars to turn to in times of hunger.
Lack of Healthy Food Options: The healthy food options were lacking. I was impressed they had vegan options nearly everywhere I looked. Even vegan tacos! But the overall “healthy” options were foods I consider to be more like snacks than meals. The falafel wrap and bowl were somewhat flavorless. A creamy red-ish sauce added some flavor (and heat!), but it was on the heavy side. The falafel bowl became my go-to. But how many of these can you eat for lunch/dinner/lunner over four days? There was a vegan vegetable soup that was actually really tasty. But you can’t make a meal out of what I estimate to be about 150-200 calories of vegetables sans proteins (beans?) or whole grains. My guess is food is dependent on the venue and not something really in control of UPW, but who knows?
Non-Participating Attendees: On one of the days, I sat further at the top of the VIP section. It seemed like the less engaged attendees were more likely to be found here. There was one part of the day where we were supposed to be shouting out various things. Personal things. Things you don’t really want to admit to let alone say out loud. But there we were, yelling it collectively. It was easy enough when everyone around you was shouting and your words were lost with the crowd. But this one person next to me was literally on their phone (mostly texting) the whole time, not saying a word. The screen was distracting (the room was dark so the lights from it got your attention). Not to mention the silence was also distracting. And the area seemed relatively quiet compared to what I’d experienced on other days. I tried to tell myself it was a challenge to not care what others thought and go for it anyway. But at the end of the day when a group is doing something, there’s something wonderful about group participation and energy creation. And I wasn’t feeling it in this case.
Selling: There were many sections of the event dedicated to selling you onto one of the other (more expensive) events or packages. Although it was good to learn about other events and learning opportunities, it was a little too much selling for me. I wasn’t timing things, but it seemed like we had more break time to buy stuff than to eat. With a money back guarantee (at least on the package I was considering), team TR certainly believes that the products are worth it. And there is discounted pricing at the event (something to consider if you’re looking into multiple Tony Robbins events). Although a bit off-putting, this wasn’t a major bother for me.
What I Loved
The Firewalk: The firewalk was surprisingly empowering for me. You can read my full firewalk story here. If you can walk on fire, you can do almost anything. Anything you put your mind to at least.
Meditation with Master Co: I LOVE guided meditations. And Master Co is one of the best. What an honor to have him guide us through a meditation. I love his style of practice too.
Movement with Egoscue: When I was recovering from my back injury in 2017, I stumbled upon a book called “Pain Free: A Revolutionary Method for Stopping Chronic Pain” by someone named Pete Egoscue. Imagine my surprise to see his name in big letters in one of the booths. The concept is that you can heal chronic and other body pains through specific sets of exercises and stretches that fix your alignment. Check out an example of one of their clients. I love the more natural approach. On the last day (about health), a team member led us through a couple simple exercises to re-align our bodies. They were short, simple, and effective. I plan to use them in the future and am also considering visiting one of their offices to learn more.
Story-telling: One of the best parts of all the talking was the story telling. They were so engaging and really helped explain some of the concepts we were learning. You laugh, you cry…you experience a wide range of emotions. And it helps add depth to the event so it’s not just you learning classroom style for 50 hours.
The music: The music helped me get so pumped up. More times than I can count did we jump out of our seats in excitement, dancing around to upbeat and fun music. It really helped get you into the event and into a better headspace for learning than sitting in a quiet room staring at a teacher. It helped make the overall experience FUN.
The energy: The energy was through the ROOF! Seriously, one of the most energetic groups I’ve seen, save maybe a concert or sporting event. And whereas those are specific to a theme, this was a beautiful group of individuals looking to make the world a better place, improve themselves, and achieve other great successes in life. Just like being in a room with your favorite team gives you a sense of relatability and even friendship, this was like that but the whole room.
The people: If you want to meet some next-level people, you’ll find them at UPW. I had the most interesting conversations with new friends I met at UPW. They are so uniquely talented and successful in their own right. It was inspiring to spend time with them, and they made me want to step up my game.
Surprise Pitbull concert: On the third day we were treated to a surprise concert by Pitbull. Whaaaaaat?! As a Zumba instructor, you know I was pumped. But what I loved that we got here that we didn’t get when I saw him at Zumba Convention was a bit of Pitbull dropping some inspirational words on us. So special and amazing.
And mostly seeing Tony Robbins in person! And of course there’s one of the main reasons I was there. To see THE Tony Robbins in person. He lived up to his expectations. So high energy, so motivating (even though he doesn’t like being a motivational guru), and so inspiring. I loved his dedication to excellence, storytelling, and ability to push us out of our comfort zones while also somehow pulling energy out of us when we didn’t know we had any left. It was amazing!
Other Notable Things
Tony’s Presence: Though I didn’t research much about the event before (my friend suggested I go into it knowing less and experiencing it more, which I appreciated), I did know that Tony would not be there every day. For our UPW, he was there on day 1 and day 3. But he has a killer lineup of presenters, like Joseph McClendon, who keep the energy and education going.
Schedule. What Schedule? There’s a schedule of the event on TR’s web site. I carefully studied this so I knew where to be when, if there was a chance I could get food after the day, and so I could plan for my commute from NYC to Newark. But when I was asking some of the staff when they thought the firewalk would be on day 1, they sort of laughed and said “there is no schedule”. One more experienced team member told me his estimate was midnight but he couldn’t promise anything. The event was set to end at 10:30 on day 1, but sure enough…I was walking on fire at around that time. Although schedules are usually important to me, I actually found it easy to go with the flow.
Touching: There are quite a few moments where you’ll be touching the person next to you. Lots of high fives, hugs, and even standing massages. I actually thought this was cool and a fun way to get out of your comfort zone and create camaraderie. But if you’re one of those personal space peeps…sit with people you know…or better yet…prepare yourself and see if you can stretch past your own limitations. This event is about personal growth after all.
Lack of Sleep: As mentioned above, you’re not meant to have long and restful nights of sleep over the course of this event. I’ve actually been working personally on getting more sleep. But despite these four days going completely against that (I think I slept somewhere between 3-5 hours each night), this didn’t bother me. I took this as a challenge to see if energy could be created when I feel physically exhausted. Based on the experience. You can. A useful tool I hope to use as needed in the future. Though I do plan to aim more for 8 hours, in general.
Which UPW Did I Attend?
I attended the 2018 NYC Area Unleash the Power Within. Which was actually held in Newark, NJ. If you’re reading this later and planning for a future UPW in the NYC area and it’s still at the Prudential Center, be prepared to stay in NJ or stay in Manhattan with a commute by NJ Transit or PATH.
What Ticket / Section Did I Buy?
When you buy your ticket, you choose a section. Seats are first come, first serve within each section. I splurged for the VIP section, which I believe was worth it. From my seat (for three of the days), I couldn’t quite make out presenter’s detailed facial features or anything. But I felt close enough to be thoroughly engaged. Plus the large monitors helped a lot. Had I gotten to the event earlier each day, I could have scored a seat in the lowest level. And on one day, I did get a seat there thanks to making some new friends who had a couple extra spots in their area. This area was cool because presenters (including Tony!) often walked throughout the floor seating, sometimes stopping near the base of VIP and talking to people in those low rows and looking up from there.
And if I had the cash, I’d absolutely splurge for floor seating. Those guys got to have Tony Robbins literally standing next to them at various times through the event.
I definitely wouldn’t get a ticket lower than VIP because those seats seemed so incredibly far away. Like it would be difficult to see the TV screens and stage and like you’d be less immersed in the experience.
Update: After reading my post, my friend J reached out to me that he and his wife sat in the Gold section and that they could see the screens very well and that they overall enjoyed the event from there. Plus he raised a good point that it would be better to attend UPW in Gold than to miss out on a really great event. Which I 100% agree with. If you can’t do VIP but you can do Gold, I say go for it. Non-VIP > not going at all. And the signature event, the fire walk, is the same experience no matter where you’re sitting inside. Woop!
I’d love to hear from others sitting in different sections – what was your experience like and which seats do you recommend? Leave a comment below.
My Firewalk Experience
Since my firewalk experience is more of a story than a list of key points, I thought I’d put that in a separate post. You can click here (post is being drafted – will add the link when it’s ready) to read about my empowering firewalk experience – one that almost didn’t happen!
Want to Go to UPW? Get Your Ticket Here!
There’s another UPW coming in LA in March of 2019. Click here to get your ticket and/or learn more about Unleash the Power Within. And more after that, including one in Australia!
You can check the Tony Robbins Unleash the Power Within web site. Events seem to be released closer to the event date. But they seem to happen about three times per year in the US.
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So did I love UPW? Yes! I loved it so much, I’m considering attending UPW again. Was it worth the $1k? I’m not sure yet. Jospeh told us that it may not happen at the event, but at some point afterwards, we’ll get hit *BAM* by what we learned at UPW. Like maybe an epiphany? I look forward to that. And in the interim, I definitely feel motivated to take massive action to continue pursuing my dream life.
Have You Attended UPW?
If so, what was your biggest takeaway? Leave a comment below!
Click here for my other motivation-related blog posts
Thanks for reading! Hope you enjoyed this post about my Tony Robbins Unleash the Power Within experience / review. Cheers!