Tony Robbins recently apologized for his conduct at one of his events: Unleash the Power Within. Tony entered into a dialogue with a participant about the #MeToo movement.
The dialogue was captured on video and can be seen here.
There is much to say about this video. I’ve watched it over and over again to attempt to discern what Tony Robbins was trying to communicate, which I think is summed up nicely with his own words, “I am not knocking the #MeToo movement, I’m knocking victimhood”.
As much as I admire Tony for engaging in this subject, it’s a tough one, my overall admiration for him has been severely compromised. Even though Tony Robbins’ Netflix special is titled, “I am not your guru”, I have put him on a guru pedestal in my own mind. After all, saying something like: “I am not your guru”, is very guru-like.
Tony Robbins’ facebook apology included the statement “sometimes the teacher has to become the student and it is clear I have much to learn”.
Tony, it is with a humble heart that I move from student to teacher.
Lesson #1 – Shift your Focus – Change the Game
It is abundantly clear that your focus is on the very small minority of women who have improperly used the #MeToo movement to make false accusations or to indulge in the “significance drug”. You say you are knocking victimhood but in your rant, you shift the victim from the vast majority of women who are actually victims to the very few men who have been victimized by the movement.
So how to get out of this Victim-Hero-Villan triangle where movement is a zero-sum game?
Focus on responsibility.
Lesson #2 – Be the Change You Want To See
You ironically took a hit of the significance drug when you spouted off :
“I was just with someone the other day, a very famous man, very powerful man”
Wow you really are someone aren’t ya Tony! And he went on to say:
“Who’s saying how stressed he is because he interviewed three people that day, one was a woman, two were men, the woman was better qualified, but she was very attractive, and he knew ‘I can’t have her around because it’s too big a risk’ and he hired someone else. I’ve had dozens of men tell me this.”
What did you tell these dozens of men? These poor victims? Did you tell them to “Choose your patterns well otherwise you will let the culture choose them for you?” You brag that 70% of the people in your company are women. Are any of them attractive? How do you manage yourself?
Instead of using your privileged position on the stage to address these issues you embarrassingly defended a hopeless position with a ludicrous example.
Lesson #3 – Reflect on Life Forces
Tony suggests we ask ourselves this question: “Do I want significance through problems or through growth?
Tony, I suggest that a growth opportunity for you is in the development of emotional maturity. My question for you to ponder would be this: “What gaps in emotional maturity does this expose for me?”
Dr. Murray Bowen describes two life forces. A growth force towards individuality and a regressive force of togetherness. The individuality force drives one to define a separate self from others. This greater definition allows one to be more responsible for self without placing blame or demands on others. The togetherness force exerts pressure to be like others, to agree on beliefs, principles, values and feelings.
Throughout the video, there is evidence that while Tony may have extraordinary emotional intelligence there is an underlying emotional immaturity that overrides all that intellect.
“Raise your hand if you follow me.”
“Raise your hand if you see this.”
“Raise your hand if you heard me.”
Let me just check in with you all – let me see those hands go up so I know that I am ok. Tony goes so far to make his point that he evokes Jesus to his side and then quickly suggests it doesn’t have to be Jesus it could be any religious leader. What’s wrong with Jesus, Tony? Too tough to be a self on this one?
It is free game for Tony to bring Jesus to his side, but when the participant quotes Deepak Chopra, Tony is quick to dismiss “I don’t care what Chopra says” and then quick to take another hit of the significance drug “I know Chopra”.
Tony, there is much food for growth here, but Trust Me, I Can’t Help You.