In February 2008 I saw Tony Robbins live for the first time. What I didn’t realise is that this encounter would change my life, literally.
Why Tony Robbins
I was at the time a CEO on garden leave and a certified Dale Carnegie trainer living in London. I had heard about Tony Robbins from other Dale Carnegie trainers and was curious. I was definitely not a fan (yet) but I felt I needed to know more about this man and why people were raving about him. My research led me to his introduction seminar called Unleash The Power Within which happens to be once a year in London. I bought my ticket through a group from Iceland but decided that this seminar was something I had to experience alone so I avoided everybody from the group during the whole seminar. I was there to learn and immerse myself and was not planning on getting to know anybody. I dressed like I was going camping, jeans and fleece sweater, and didn’t even put on any make-up. I was not there to find true love or passion, I was there to do my research – on Tony Robbins.
Strangers become friends
The first seminar day I sat down next to two British guys and despite my aim not to get to know anybody, some of the exercises we did, required me to talk and interact with the people around me. Everybody was nice to me but after having drinks with those two guys after our fire walk I knew I wanted to sit somewhere else the next day. There was nothing wrong with them, we just didn’t connect and I didn’t want to spend three more days with them.
The second seminar day I wanted to make sure I would see the stage clearly from my seat. Since I was alone it was fairly easy to find a single seat and I quickly spotted a few single seats. One of them was close to one of the aisles and had an excellent view onto the stage and the people sitting next to the seat looked friendly. What I didn’t know when I picked this particular seat, was that I had just made one of biggest decisions in my life! The man next to me was going to become my husband and the woman next to him, my mother-in-law.
These two people were total strangers to me, so I found it very easy to share everything with them, assuming I would never meet them again in my life. I shared that I had been single for 5 years and couldn’t trust men since my ex-boyfriend had cheated and lied to me during the four of the eight years we were together. I figured out that my view of men as cheaters and liars was probably holding me back of meeting any decent men. What I didn’t realize that by sharing my darkest experiences and recognizing my limiting beliefs, was that I was finally opening myself up for a new relationship. The man next to me was listening to a woman who was vulnerable and open, and not closed and tough like I had been for 5 years.
On the third seminar day, my new friends reserved a seat for me and I was happy to see them again. We shared more of our life stories as we were guided through more of the exercises. I became very fond of those two people and thought to myself that we would probably stay in touch. There was no love at play here yet, just the beginning of what I hoped to be a nice, long-distance friendship. Then during his sales pitch, Tony Robbins announced to the participants a discounted rate for three more of his seminars. We looked at each other… “Should we do it?” We decided to go for it! This was when I knew for sure we would meet again.
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On the fourth seminar day I had the biggest hangover ever. I had partied with other participants until four in the morning in one of the hotel bars and I had obviously had too many drinks. I felt awful and couldn’t really pay attention to the program. My newly found friends were super-sweet to me and tried to help me in any way they could. Once I almost threw up over them before I managed to run to the restrooms. Months later I heard that the man next to me had then said to his mother: “Now I have probably seen the worst of Sigrun and I still think she is wonderful”.
After spending three days together with my new friends, we said good-bye knowing that we would meet again at the next Tony Robbins seminar. Everybody went back to their lives and we didn’t have much contact for the next three months. The man who sat next to me was married and had a family, and I didn’t even consider a romantic relationship with him. To me we were just Tony Robbins friends until his relationship status on Facebook changed to It’s complicated. I immediately contacted him on Facebook to ask how he was doing and he was a bit surprised by my question. What I didn’t know then is that he had already fallen in love with me and his marriage was already broken before we met for the first time.
Is this a fling?
The next Tony Robbins seminar was in May and I was going to meet the man who sat next to me again. I wasn’t so excited so I even cancelled our first dinner that we planned to have the evening before the seminar started. During the Wealth Mastery seminar we had talks about our dream partners and our dream life and our must-have, nice-to-haves and no-go’s. I felt I could totally be myself with this man and found him to be softer and more vulnerable than other men I had met in my life. I started to have a little crush on my Tony Robbins friend and I asked him to kiss me. Actually I said: “Are you not going to kiss me now?”. He still makes fun of me today for saying that!
Our next Tony Robbins seminar was going to be in December. We compared schedules and found out that we both had a trip planned to San Francisco at the beginning of June and our schedules overlapped by one day. I still wasn’t sure about this man and even wrote in my dairy after meeting him in May that this was probably just a fling and I didn’t think this would turn into a relationship. I flew to San Francisco with mixed feelings in my stomach. Our meeting point was Union Square, he was coming straight from a meeting and I was coming almost straight from the airport. As I walked towards Union Square I saw him standing on a corner – and that is when I felt the rush – I was falling in love!
The next three months were hard as we only talked on the phone or over Skype. We had both fallen madly in love with each other, but the circumstances were far from ideal, living in different countries and him figuring out his divorce. There were times were I thought I should just give up before we even had a proper relationship. I sometimes had cryptic status messages on Facebook that only him and his mother understood as sign of giving up or asking for help. At the same time I was looking for a job and got a job offer from Carlos Ghosn to become the Managing Director of Nissan in Sweden. Now I didn’t know what to do. This was a once in a lifetime job opportunity but at the same time my Tony Robbins friend could also be a once in a lifetime true love opportunity.
Sweden or Switzerland
By the 1st of September I had to make a decision. Was I going to move to Sweden for a job or to Switzerland for love? Almost everybody advised me to go for the job as the love was too new to tell and if it was strong enough that we could figure it out. My brain told me to go for the job but my heart told me to choose love. I called Nissan and declined the once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity. 7 months after meeting my new friends at the Tony Robbins seminar in London I moved to Switzerland with one suitcase. Without really knowing each other we started living together.
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The next six months were really hard, much harder than those three months before. We were basically still total strangers and despite being madly in love there was just so much still to figure out between us. There were several times were I felt I had maybe made a mistake moving to Switzerland but I was stubborn at the same time and determined to make this work. With every argument we grew closer and learned how to deal with life and each other until things became really smooth and easy. It helped to watch Tony Robbins videos and think how he would have solved our dilemma.
Date with Destiny, our third Tony Robbins seminar, was in the middle of our difficult six months. We went through the whole range of emotions during those six days and learned so much about ourselves and our love. It was a true date with destiny for us. We grew closer and closer together as soul mates, lovers and best friends. We talked about following our passions and making our dreams come true. We both decided to make love and passion our priority in life and that was a big shift for both of us. Exactly four years after our date in San Francisco we sealed our passion for each other with a wedding in Iceland.
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Love and Passion
I didn’t just find true love at this first Tony Robbins event. I also realised that I wanted to live with passion in all other areas of my life. I started to think about how important passion is in your professional life and what I could do about it. I started to think about having my own business. It took me a few more years to find the courage to start my own business but when I finally did, I can trace back my first thoughts to this first seminar with Tony Robbins – where I found true love and passion.
“Live with passion” has become our motto. And love is like passion; you have to be open and vulnerable to find both. Passion is within you and when you are ready to receive – love will be there too.