I’ve been pretty excited the past week or so, in anticipation of seeing the king of life coaching, LIVE and in person. I’ve watched Tony Robbins on Oprah, and known of him for longer then I’ve been in the self-help game. I haven’t read his books, but watched enough of him on TV that I felt fairly sure of what to expect at todays National Achievers Congress, aka #TonyRobbinsTour.
Boy was I wrong.
The company that puts on this event, Success Resources America claims to have done this for 18 years. How is that possible? After the shitshow I lived through today, I find it hard to believe that this company is still in business let alone putting on events that people PAY to attend.
It started with no adequate parking. So after circling the area for an hour, my girl-friend (friend that’s a girl lol) and I decided to park at a mall about fifteen minutes-walk away. Okay… no biggie, shit happens. We were still excited and feeling very positive about the motivational download we were about to receive.
Even though it had taken an hour to get parked and to the venue, we entered the hall and excitedly asked the usher where to sit. It only took a second to survey the small, long conference room and realize that there were, in fact, no more seats. People stood lining the back walls, our section was completely full. PAUSE: Let me remind you that we PAID FOR SEATS. They’d oversold the event by 25%, no small amount. So yeah, not a great start. It took some digging, but finally we were able to locate two seats apart from each other and we each got settled in. It was the tail end of Robert Herjavec’s speech and from what I caught it seemed motivational enough, so I was eager to get out my notebook and begin my learning for the day.
And then some dude named Wayne Gray (who I can’t even find on Google) got on stage. The second he walked out I knew we were fucked. You know how people have these negative images of motivational speakers who are over tanned, over Botox-ed, who run out on stage and grin like loons? Then ask you questions every five seconds just to hear you repeat their words? Welp, it was sixty minutes of that, only in the form of a hard-sell real estate pitch. No, I take that back, it was more like being forced to sit through a time-share presentation on your vacation. Or worse; like having to PAY to watch an infomercial and not be allowed to leave your seat, because the minute you got up to go to the bathroom, or buy a $4 water, your seat would be gone.
To prevent me from clawing my eyes out, I take a look at the list of speakers in the program. I notice two things. 1. After each speakers info there is an application form that we are supposed to fill out where we put our credit card information and agree to buy whatever they are peddling. 2. There are NO WOMEN on the speaking agenda. NONE. As the lady next to me put it; “Just penis’ here today.” In an event lasting twelve-hours, they couldn’t find ONE SINGLE chick to add to the discussion? Or share her experience? Not ONE? Oh yeah, there is no diversity on the ticket either.
Then the fire marshal came and kicked all the people who didn’t have seats OUT OF THE EVENT. Yep that’s right, people who paid for seats were kicked out.
By this time my girl-friend was calling it a day and I desperately wanted to bail with her. We were both heated by this point, and asked the ladies at the ticket station who to call to request a refund (considering it was just two hours in, and not AT ALL what we thought we were getting when we bought our tickets). She gave us a customer service number that does not work.
One word….. SCAM.
I am lured to stay because I thought this guy must be the model of how to do “successful” live motivational events, and I’m curious if he lives up to the hype. I mean he’s kinda the go-to name in my industry, so I’m holding out hope that I’ll learn something I can “model after” (his words).
I hunt down another seat, stolen from some poor sucker who probably just had to pee, and get settled to hear Gary Vaynerchuk speak. I’m kinda excited to hear him, I can’t lie. I mean when it comes to social media and brand building he’s THE SHIT. Right away I’m pulled in, digging his message. It’s right up my ally, especially when he launches into the Hustle. And he did have the best line of the day….”It’s called gratitude motherfucker!” Okay, this I can do!
His speech ends and the (HORRIBLE) MC let’s us know that the dude we just saw on stage, was actually not on stage at all. It was a hologram presentation (I swear I couldn’t make this shit up!). Okay, here is where I fucking lose it. I’m sorry but if you are going to PROMOTE a motivational speaking seminar, and one of your three key speakers is not actually at the event, that’s a problem for me. I believe the legal term for that is; false advertising.
And then, just when I think it can’t get any more fake, the MC announces a big surprise! They’ve decided to give away a vacation for four to Disneyland. Say whaaaaat!? No way! Out come two stage dancers to hype the crowd, and the DJ turns up the dance music. One of the dancers is clearly a pro, beautiful with all the right moves. The MC tells us that to win the prize we’ve just gotta win a dance-off. Immediately I make a mental note that the hot chick (who seems to clearly work for them), who’s been dancing to the crowds delight, will be the “magic winner.” How fake could this get? Well they go through the whole song and dance (pun intended) and guess who wins???? Yup, the hot chick. Aka the audience hype girl. Now I can’t prove it, but it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that the audience just got played.
Then the hard sales pitches resume in earnest. Each more horrible than that last. I was trapped at a used car lot with no escape! And oh God! The way they sell this shit seriously makes your skin crawl. It’s the same pitches used in the 90’s when my parents would go to pyramid scheme events offering to make you rich overnight selling pre-paid phone cards. “But hurry, if you sign up now and give us your credit card you can save x $. But WAIT that’s not all!” I mean, was I in the twilight zone or the set of QVC?
The one that really pissed me off was Gerry Robert, trying to sell the crowd on signing up for his multi-thousand dollar “become an author, get rich” workshop. Basically playing down real authors, and saying that anyone can, and should “write a book” and use it as advertising. I’m sorry, I take that personally. And real writers and authors the world over should too. Of course he was offering some deal “only if you sign up now and give your credit card information.” As he showed us pictures of his custom-built private jet.
Shoot me please.
At this point I’d been sitting in this room since 8:30 AM. It was now 3:45 and it was taking everything in me not to walk out. You could feel the energy in the room. We were over it. And where the fuck was Tony? You know, the guy we thought we’d come to see? Where was he?
At close to 4:00 he comes on stage and I can barely muster a clap at this point. I’m trying to rally with everything in me, but my reserves are tapped out. Exploited by seven hours of pure shit. I think he must have picked up on the energy thing, or was maybe tipped off by the speakers before him, because that was his topic the first hour. I’m not saying his points were not good ones, they were. But there was something about the way he delivered them that felt condescending. Like he was scolding us for not BRINGING IT off the bat. IDK maybe that was just me… but that’s how it came across.
But I gotta hand it to him, after an hour or so his “magic” was starting to work on the crowd and even on exhausted, over-it, me. I was trying to be a good sport, jumping around with the best of them; like a real cult. Clapping on que and giving strangers messages (yes we did that) and high-fives until our palms stung. By about 6:30 the room started to let loose.
I was able to get some good stuff from his message, but nothing we haven’t already heard. I couldn’t shake the feeling we were somehow being manipulated. But the crowd was now digging him, and it seemed like I was the only one feeling this way.
But, people kept leaving in droves between dance parties, because the event was promoted to end at 5:30. We’d all planned on that, got sitters around that plan etc. He kept making these comments, like those of us who were staying where the good ones, the serious-about-success ones. As if the ones who had a life to get back to, or were starving to death were somehow losers. And I’m thinking, listen dude; I had to get a sitter for this, I’ve been sitting here for twelve hours, my stomach is eating itself, I haven’t had any water all day and I gotta pee like a mother! Don’t judge me if I finally call it a day and go home to drink a well deserved bottle of wine.
I finally ducked out at 7:20 and he was still going strong. Someone on my Facebook said he was still going at 8:30. I’m sorry but if an event is communicated and advertised to end at 5:30, but the actual plan is to not even get started till then, isn’t that information we are entitled to know? Had I know he wouldn’t be there till 4:00, I would have come at 4:00. But they know this, and they wouldn’t make the big bucks this way. So instead it’s done deceitfully. I feel he uses his platform to pressure people into buying all these “tools.” He’s the ultimate “closer” finishing the day by coming on strong with the; “don’t let fear stop you.” And the; “you must take BIG action.” And the; “change your attitude” messages which leave you questioning your gut reaction to all the slimy sales pitches.
Bottom line, the day felt like the worst hard-sell, pushy, dirty, scam ever; wrapped up in a pretty box called “motivation.” I feel robbed.
I want a refund.
The part of today that made me truly sad is that I saw 7,000 people who wanted to change their life, and find a way to live their dreams. They came to get information and tools on HOW to do this, that’s what our tickets supposedly paid for. But it seems to me, this event exploits their genuine desire, instead sucking them into potentially spending thousands of dollars on these random programs. They promise big money with apparently “no risk” and bla bla. I’m sorry but that just feels so dirty to me.
Maybe that’s why they are billionaires and I’m not…
This video kinda says a lot about how this man really is. See the dude crawling behind him? Yeah there were four of them, whose job it was to CRAWL (and I do mean CRAWL) after every step he made. I’m sorry but your NOT the POTUS.. is this really necessary? What are they protecting him from? A rabid fan who rushes out to give him a high-five, or God forbid a hug? Kinda speaks volumes if you ask me. More videos of the event on my YouTube channel.
*P.S. I know many of my readers are diehard Tony Robbins fans, it’s nothing personal… this was my experience.
PSS. I can’t seem to get my comment section to work, it just says “forbidden” (how scary is that!) when you try to comment. Sorry guys, I need a web designer bad! Feel free to comment on my Facebook, twitter or Instagram also videos on my Snapchat -all @ SarahCentrella
UPDATE: March 4, 2017 10:41 AM
In the past 24 hours I’ve received nearly 200 messages/comments from people who thanked me for posting this and speaking out. It is good to know that I am not alone in this experience. I’ve heard from people who were DENIED access to the event because it was oversold and have not been able to reach anyone to get their money refunded. THAT IS FRAUD. This company needs to be shut down.