It’s time for a self-help revolution. For real.
On Thursday I attended the #TonyRobbinsTour in Portland (read my review here) and was honestly appalled. Since speaking out about my experience, I’ve received nearly 200 comments/emails and messages from people who’ve had a similar experience. Not ONE hate message (which honestly shocked me!).
So this is what I learned, and why I believe the Universe pushed me to endure twelve hours of that nonsense.
1. Self-help needs a serious shake-up! We are hungry for something REAL and authentic, and it is definitely NOT at these money-making, scam events. At least not for many of us.
2. It’s time for NEW BLOOD. Just look at the National Achievers Congress homepage (the event I attended) and what stands out? Middle-aged white men. Men who’ve been in the space for DECADES. Have they been successful? Of course. But I’m sorry if you’ve been in the game 40 years and are still teaching the same things, it’s time for new blood.
3. Where are the women? Over half the audience in Portland was women, yet there was not one female speaker on the agenda. It looks like they’ve had a few women speakers in past years, but sure didn’t have any at our event or on this years photo. Speaking of that, there are not many well-known women in the field at all, besides Rhonda Bynne and Louise Hay. We need more! There is one new-comer that I really dig, the author of You Are A Badass, Jen Sincero.
4. The bar is WAY too low. It’s time to change what we tolerate, because this current situation is a joke! Endless HARD sales pitches are tolerated. Not providing basic things like water, enough food or seating is fine. Running four hours late is no problem. Not bringing the main speaker out until the day is almost over, is totally cool. Locking people out of the event with no apology or refund. (Note: I’ve received several messages from people who’ve been trying to get their tickets refunded because they were either denied access or kicked out due to overselling the event. They’ve not been able to reach anyone. To me this is pure fraud). Providing customer service numbers that don’t work, totally legit. Like really people? Where else in life would you put up with this kinda shit? But people brush it off as the price you pay to attend one of these events, “comes with the territory.” In any other alternate universe this would have been grounds for mutiny.
5. Blinded by the rich and famous. The thing that upset me the most about this event, is that people were willing to overlook all of this, just to get a glimpse of the big star. They could walk away from being mistreated and give rave reviews, because they’ve idolized a celebrity for so long and wound-up being six-feet away from him. That forgives everything. These stars know that their followers will put up with just about anything to see them. They’ve been able to get away with taking advantage of us for so many years that there’s not a second thought. These dudes ARE NOT GOD. Why do we revere them as if they are? Why do we tolerate insults to our intelligence, disrespect of our time, and outright stealing of our money, just to get a kernel of inspiration or motivation? Don’t we deserve better?
6. Bullying works. This makes me sad. Watching thousands of people be bullied into buying programs they likely have no real interest in, because the physiology that the speakers use gets in your head. They use the first 50 minutes of a speech to say things like “success requires MASSIVE action.” Or “fear blocks opportunities and success.” Or “your thoughts need to change so you take action.” All statements that are actually TRUE and valid… but they use them to manipulate, and that’s fucked up. This way it sets up the HARD (and I do mean HARD) close, tying in all those statements to push you to buy. Making you feel like there’s something wrong with you if you don’t “take action.” They give enough truth and “empowerment” that those who are craving this knowledge can look past the subtle and blatant ways they are being manipulated.
7. People will pay for hope but need tools. I looked around the room at this event and saw 7,000 people in my hometown that were willing to pay big bucks hoping for tools to change their futures and achieve their dreams. Instead they were given the “opportunity” to buy more “tools.” This amazed me, because they did! They don’t realize that the “tool”they just bought, is a set up for the “next tool” they need to buy, and on and on.
My biggest takeaway is that NOW is the time for the next generation of “self-help” (can’t we come up with a new name for it!?) leaders to emerge. People are starving for truth, I know I am. For something REAL that WORKS. They are sick of being played. This isn’t the 90s so why is this industry still doing the same things as it did then? It’s tired. It’s played out.
It also gave me personally, the push I needed to get serious about making my big dreams a reality. I’ve been sooooooo hesitant because of all these negative stereotypes that I’ve held back on my own dreams. When my book was being published, I lobbied HARD to get it labeled as just “non-fiction” instead of “self-help” because of all these reasons. But now I see that maybe it’s just going to take a few mavericks to break down those old stereotypes. Maybe instead of trying to steer clear of the field I should start running through it! If NEW thought leaders rise up delivering fresh messages, in a way that resonates with regular people, maybe we could effect change.
I’ve realized that my fears are bullshit. They were just my excuse to not stand proudly in my truth. They’ve held me back from executing my vision, and redefining how people think of personal growth. I know who I am, and I’m NOT like them. I don’t need to be. I might not fit in, but I’m okay with that. My events and message will NOT be like theirs. I can’t let my fear of being put in the same labeling bucket as “self-help guys” prevent me from turning that label upside down. How else do revolutions take place?
- I WILL NEVER PITCH TO YOU at my events (even if it means I won’t get rich doing this, I don’t care).
- I won’t make you pay for a day long event and not feed you.
- I won’t insult you.
- I won’t try to con you into something you have no interest in.
- I will deliver the tools you paid for when you got your ticket.
- I will share real stories and real experiences, and introduce you to REAL people.
- I won’t hire actors, or audience prompt people.
- I won’t make you raise your hand every five seconds or force you to repeat after me all night long.
- I won’t ask you to message your neighbor or force you to repeat my slogans 100 times in an hour.
- I won’t kick you out of my event because it’s oversold and then not refund your money.
- I will listen to your feedback.
- I will keep it 100 with you, ALWAYS. Even when it’s not popular.
- I will stay me.
- I will spread the love, including as many of you as want to participate in this journey.
- I want to hear your stories.
If I break these and wake up in a cookie-cutter “motivational speaker” body, you have my permission to punch me in the face!
Soooo…. just understand that when you come to my events they are going to be REAL and unconventional! But you’ll have a good time and probably get tipsy (on martinis not the “Kool-Aid” lol)