Earlier this month, I experienced one of the most exhausting, and most rewarding weeks of my life (isn’t it funny how it works out like that?)
I spent 5 straight days working 17 hour days as a volunteer for the Tony Robbins event, Unleash the Power Within.
BUT THAT’S SLAVE LABOR KIM! HE DOESN’T PAY YOU??
No, if he did it wouldn’t be called volunteering. If he paid us, then we wouldn’t be donating our time and it would actually take away from the experience. It’s called contribution for a reason.
Since this particular UPW made national news with 'millions burned at the firewalk', or whatever the headlines read, I wanted to take a moment and share some behind the scenes truth about what really goes down at these events.
I won’t address the firewalk sensationalism too much, this article did a great job of that, instead I’ll share four of my favorite moments from the event:
1. From Homeless to Hired, Meet La'Ve Jackson.
If there was ever a story to remind me of our ability to change lives in an instant, the story of La’Ve is it. As fate would have it, on the day of the UPW conference, La’Ve was posted up outside the venue selling newspapers. At nine months sober, he was doing what he could to get back on his feet and selling the Street Zines was his way of making an effort to deliver value.
When Paul, one of the UPW crew members, initially encountered La’Ve, he didn’t give him much notice. Something called him back though, and a few minutes later he learned of La’Ve’s perseverance and determination to turn his life around and get clean.
Back inside the event Paul had the revelation that we were there in Dallas to serve people. There was no difference between this man on the street corner outside, and the thousands of participants inside who had paid to attend. So Paul took initiative to help in whatever way he could, and the results were nothing short of magic.
Paul joined up with some other crew members and together they pooled their money to buy La'Ve a ticket into the conference. My words will never be able to do justice to the joy that radiated from La'Ve, and everyone he met during those 3 days. His gratitude and willingness to play full out 100% led to some truly miraculous changes throughout the weekend.
While attending, he was offered not one, but TWO job offers, and another attendee even gifted him access to Mastery University, which includes three future events and months personal coaching ($10,000 value).
The communication and support inside the UPW Facebook groups is unending-- It’s amazing anyone gets any work done--but because of this strong community support, I’m confident La’Ve will be held accountable to continue onward and upward.
This was easily one of the most moving stories I’ve ever been fortunate enough to witness. Don’t take my word for it though, check out this video that was created to tell La’Ve’s story.
If you feel inclined to support La'Ve on his journey, check out this GoFundMe that the crew created for him.
2. The Power of a Simple Smile.
One of the side effects of crewing is that you find yourself smiling 30 hours a day. You also develop a tendency to say hi to EVERYONE and genuinely want to connect with them. I know, bizarre.
Some of my favorite moments from the event involved connecting with people I would likely never have gotten to chat with. All possible simply because I was being open, rather than closed off and in my head, or on my phone.
During one of my many trips to the ladies' room (17 hour days mean you’re drinking LOTS of water) I started chatting with the restroom attendant, Ora. I told her she had the best earrings, and conversation ensued. I found that she was genuinely happy to be doing her job and helping us ladies do our biz in a more pleasant environment.
When I saw her later in the day, she remembered our connection, said “My friend Kim!!" and reached out to give me a hug. Cue the heart bubbles.
This woman is trapped in a bathroom for 9 hours cleaning, she easily could have made some comment about how the paper towels go IN the bin, not on the floor next to it. But no, she was warm and joyous, and her ‘friendship’ is one of the memories I’ll cherish most about those few days in Dallas.
3. When finding your tribe leads to finding true love.
As a crew member, there are endless perks. Discounts on events, becoming best friends with Tony*, a lifetime supply of alkalizing super foods*, getting to dance on stage, behind the scenes peek at how this event goes off, etc.
Hands down, one of the best benefits of crewing is immediate access to people who share your values and are up to big things. If you’re single, it’s like a real-life dating app, but all the people who don’t get you have been filtered out.
Stories of new romance abound, but there’s nothing like witnessing these special connections in person. On the last day of the event, at our all-hands crew meeting, we all received a special surprise as one of our crew members got down on one-knee and proposed to his girlfriend in front of everyone. Their love story began when they connected at a UPW in 2015, both adamant that they manifested the other into their lives and that our little family made it possible.
If you’re one of those people who feels like “there’s no good guys/girls left” then I strongly encourage you to put yourself in more situations where “the good ones” are. By that I mean, join communities where you’re likely to share values with people. Surround yourself with people who want to contribute value to the world, who want to have fun, and do activities with these people that allow you to organically connect.
4. Getting access to the Ultra Spiritual.
Just as TR events draw countless opportunities for potential friendships, partnerships, romantic connections, etc. They also have the tendency to draw some established influencers and well known names in the world of business and personal development.
The Dallas event was no different, and front and center at this past UPW was none other than JP Sears from the famous youtube channel Awaken with JP.
Many attendees snapped selfies and connected with JP over his hilarious Ultra Spiritual videos, and his graciousness was evident throughout the event. His ability to be present with each person and stay down to earth despite his recent fame was so fun to watch. No doubt attributed to his enlightened state and vegan diet...
As an ode to his work, and in the spirit of keep life light and fun, I created this JP-inspired video to help UPW attendees re-integrate back into society following the event.
Take it with a grain of salt. (Organic, Pink Himalayan salt, of course).
There are hundreds of memorable moments I could share from my time crewing at the TR event, but these few should offer a taste of what to expect should you ever find yourself curious about attending.
I always love hearing others’ stories of transformation and growth (and I’m equally happy to answer any questions) so if you’ve ever been to a Tony Robbins event, or want to know more, leave me a comment below!
Photo credit (top): Tony Robbins