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From the desk of Coach James

My Date With Destiny report, and Tony Robbins' home truths.

When you feel that life is destined to be the way it is, and you constantly ask yourself, 'What's the point; my life is such a struggle.' After 30 years of putting my life back together from a deadly road traffic accident, and still not feeling fulfilled after all the self development I've done, you begin to wonder what can I do next to complete my ongoing project of fixing myself? What's the point?

You know life's on a role when you check in online for your flight to Florida and you've been upgraded to First class – instantly your mood changes as you sip on your vodka and cranberry juice sprawled out under a blanket at 42 thousand feet.

This trip was something I'd have cringed at the idea of a few years ago, voyaging to Tony Robbin's premier event, Date With Destiny, which is only held twice per year. Click HERE to see my previous post on how this journey began.

Having already been to a Tony event earlier in the year I knew a little about what was in store, I wondered what else I could expect having left the previous event feeling unstoppable, which led me to signing up to run the London Marathon, that's how unstoppable I felt after UPW (Unleash The Power Within). How much more Power could I unleash?

Attendees arrived at the venue, the spectacular Boca Rotan Resort & Club the day before to register for the six day life changing event. I was a bit flummoxed when I was given a ping pong ball as I was handed my name badge. I was instructed to write my name and team number on the ball for the chance of winning a prize. I was told to throw the ball into a Tombola drum, the only challenge was you had to throw your ball into the drum by getting it in a 4" by 4" square opening – this will not be happening today I thought. The guy in front of me took about 25 tries, then I get to have a go. Standing about 10 metres back I remembered a technique I had learned in sports coaching for shot putting, whereby you don't throw, you use a push and follow through action. On my second attempt in went my ping pong ball – the shock on my face must have been evident for all to see.

Entering the main room where the stage was I took a seat in the centre section on the aisle, wondering if that was the right place to sit; was I going to be sat next to someone nice? I was let into the room ahead of the main rush to avoid getting knocked over because of my balance impairment. As the word was given for the doors to open the influx of highly motivated people who wanted more out of life began. People were hunting for good seats, and my surrounding area soon filled up, except the seat next to me, I suppose people were filling in as couples and I was a singleton. A voice asked me if the seat next to me was vacant, and a magnificent young woman soon occupied the space beside me. The young lady next to me had an energy that I instantly bonded with and it was as if we had been friends forever.

When the lights went down and a voice came over the PA saying, 'Let's get our dancers on stage!' the atmosphere became even more electric, like being at a pop concert. People were dancing and raving, hands in the air, the video screens displaying a kaleidoscope of colour. When the univocal tone of Mr Robbins roared, the room erupted into a frenzy. What the majority of people don't appreciate is when you move and change your physiology your state changes, this was something I took away from my previous Tony event. So the dancing and raving before Tony comes on stage gets the crowd into a peak state ready to make the best of what's to come.

Being in the energy of the room, surrounded by like-minded people is hard to translate into words, there are no words to describe the sheer aliveness of being in that moment.

Tony explains a pattern of psychology that people get trapped in life by and then demonstrates by asking who recognizes this happening in themselves? Tony interacts with someone who raised their hand to turn their issue around. One of the first interventions was for a lady who said there was no love in her life and the relationship with her husband. Tony asked her a series of questions to investigate her fable, of not having love in her life. "Do you have a family that love you, who else in your life loves you?" asks Tony. "Tell me about them?" After 20 minutes or so of the woman saying she has a mother and father that love her, a daughter, and siblings that love her, Tony then interjects with an empowering statement and question: "But there's no love in your life? You just spent 20 minutes telling me about all the love in your life. The truth is there's no love in the relationship with your husband, not that your life is devoid of love?" The woman looks bemused, and then attempts to continue with, 'Ah but...' when Tony follows up with, "Is it true there is no love in your life?". The lady agrees that there is love in her world and her relationship may have run its course and might need changing. When you see Tony interact live with a person and re-frame their issue, it feels more real than reading a text book case study. There is nothing like being at a live seminar and being part of what is happening. The 'mind' was telling this woman there was no love in her life, but the truth was something different.

This intervention demonstrates one of the biggest lessons that I believe all people could benefit from, tell yourself the truth. Tony's direct quote is, "Divorce your story, and marry the truth. The truth will set you free." The story we tell ourselves controls the way we conduct ourselves, if we see things at face value and don't make stuff up, to make us feel comfortable, people may just be less stressed battling false beliefs. This was definitely a key takeaway point from the event, always ask yourself, what is the truth here? What else could this [situation] mean?

Tony teaches in many of his programmes the importance of asking yourself empowering questions, to get an empowering meaning. The whole week was a deep look at our belief systems that run our personal psychology. The majority of people don't understand or take the time to look at their personal values, and see where internal conflicts lie. A big game-changer for me was my Primary Question, the thing I ask myself when life gets too much. Developing a new Primary Question that provides a better answer than my previous, "What's the point?" question completely changed the way I view myself in the world. I am grateful for the opportunity I had to look at all these components which run my life – it's like updating your operating system.

Besides having immense fun and meeting people that have become friends, Date With Destiny was without question one of the best things I have ever done. I almost cancelled my trip to Florida because two weeks before I was due to go I found out I have a brain tumour. The uncertainty of what might happen because of something growing on my brain was harrowing, but I know had I not carried on with my plans to attend Date With Destiny, my outlook on dealing with the prospect of going through the episode of dealing with the thing in my head would not be as hunky dory as it is. In the end I played full out at the event to the best of my ability, and thought if something does happen as a result of the growth, at least I was having a good time doing it.

The organisation was exceptional, the idea of putting people in teams was great, it meant people received a more personal touch from the team leaders and trainers who were part of Tony's company. The days were long and full on, but if you want to take life to another level, you have to put in the work.

Yours truly with the big guy.

On the penultimate day we were given the task to create a poster of our new outlook on life, the new values, questions, and goals beset upon ourselves by the week's discoveries. Creating a new way of being is not something the happens over night, but it happens daily, having a visual reference to keep us on track, striving for the new standards set over six long days and nights in Florida at Date With Destiny. The importance of controlling your focus is vital if you want to get anywhere; this goes in hand with setting goals. I always struggled setting goals because before I would tell myself that I'm not good enough to achieve that, or something else defeatist. The truth is if we truly commit to reaching our desired outcome we may surpass our limited expectations of ourselves, but if you do not try [take ACTION], if we do not do, one will never know.

See Tony's documentary trailer below, filmed at a Date With Destiny event.

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