- Graham Flanagan/Business Insider
Since the time he was a protégé of motivational speaker Jim Rohn in the late 1970s, Tony Robbins has been performing a learning exercise that has allowed him to become one of the world’s foremost public speakers.
Robbins has been the personal performance coach to clients like billionaire investor Paul Tudor Jones, Salesforce founder Marc Benioff, tennis champion Serena Williams, and even former US president Bill Clinton. He is also the founder or partner of about 30 companies with reported combined annual sales of $5 billion.
But his path to fame was built on life coaching seminars he’s been giving since he was 17 years old. He says that years ago, he developed an exercise he’s used after every one of them – even the all-day events that stretch long past their scheduled endings.
“Two in the morning, four in the morning, haven’t slept, my body’s hurting – the first thing I do when I get off stage, and I’ve done it for 40 years, literally, is I sit down with my team with a recorder and we say, ‘What was great?'” Robbins recently told the winners of the Shopify Build a Bigger Business competition, at an event at his Fiji resort Namale. “And then, ‘What could be better?’ Because there’s always something that could be better.” He also makes sure to answer “why” for both of these questions.
He and his team have made this exercise part of their event schedule, so that they can power through it even when they’re exhausted.
Robbins told the audience that after working with the mentors they won as the competition prize – including him – they should write down everything they learned on the plane ride home, while it’s still fresh in their mind: both what they are doing well in their business and what they need to improve.
The simple exercise, he explained, is like digging a deeper pathway to your new memories so that they don’t disappear when you wake up the next day and move on to a new task.
“I’m a big believer that everything you ever see, hear, taste, touch, or smell is stored in your brain,” Robbins said. “The problem is not storage, it’s retrieval.”