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The Moment I Walked Away from Tony Robbins


At the height of my disability, I was essentially bedridden, barely able to walk, I couldn’t care for myself, I couldn’t cook or even go to the grocery store. I was diagnosed at 38 with a neurological disability caused by emotional trauma.

I felt imprisoned by my mind and body, despite 15 years of therapy and dedicated efforts toward healing—this was the outcome. I was devastated and felt so lost. I was desperately looking for answers… and some hope.

That’s when I discovered an upcoming challenge that was being hosted by Tony Robbins and Dean Graziosi. I have been following Tony Robbins’ work for over a decade, reading his books and taking his courses. He has always inspired me. So when I found out he was doing a free event, I jumped at the chance to participate.

In late 2020, I signed up for the week-long personal growth challenge with Tony Robbins and Dean Graziosi.

I was beyond excited, praying this would be the next stepping stone to creating the future I craved. I was anxious for answers and some new direction.

This was a week-long free event where Tony Robbins, Dean Graziosi, and guest speakers went live on Zoom for a few hours each day. Overall, it was a powerful and inspiring experience.

On the 3rd day of the challenge, we were encouraged to share our motivations in the FB group. I poured my heart into a raw and vulnerable live video, letting the emotions flow with a full-on ugly cry. At that moment, I bared my soul, showcasing my story with my disability on full display – stuttering, tremors, and all.

The video took off, capturing the attention of none other than Tony Robbins himself and his team—I felt honored and privileged.

Many group members expressed gratitude for my vulnerability and shared love and support. After months of feeling defeated, that was a moment that filled me with hope.

At the start of the live broadcast the next day, Tony took a moment to highlight a few individuals who had courageously shared their powerful stories in the group, including me.

When he said my name, it was a moment of sheer joy. Tony Robbins, the man himself, spoke directly to me.

Though it was brief, he acknowledged my health challenges and disability. He promised to send me a copy of his latest book, “Life Force,” which could hold the answers I needed. I felt hope.

I waited anxiously for over a month to receive a book. I felt like it was the answer I needed for a better future. I firmly believed that Tony Robbins held the key to guiding me on this part of my healing journey and helping me get my life and health back on track.

As soon as the book arrived, I dove in immediately. An hour later, I was devastated.

I put the book down and never picked it up again.

I was angry. I am downright furious. And it was a defining moment in my growth journey. I had a life-changing epiphany… Tony Robbins wasn’t speaking to me—A person with deep unresolved trauma, a woman who had invisible scars deteriorating my body, a woman who was barely surviving and still yearned for so much more in life.

My body was dying and no one could tell me why.

Tony Robbins’ book Life Force is about taking your life to the next level and aiming for an optimal life and body. I was desperate to get to a functioning level, let alone optimal.

I was barely surviving. I needed to get to a place of “good enough” first. I couldn’t even fathom the optimal state because I had never even been close.

In my 30s, my body felt like that of a 90-year-old. The struggle for survival had been a constant in my life, with perpetual physical pain and the overwhelming weight of anxiety always at my side.

That’s when I realized….

Tony Robbins’ approach lacks a trauma-informed perspective.

He’s not addressing the specific needs of individuals like me, whose lives have been profoundly shaped by trauma. His teachings, while impactful for many, can fall short when it comes to guiding those who have been navigating the depths of trauma and chaos.

Don’t get me wrong. I still love Tony Robbins’ message. I love his energy, his mission, and his
commitment to empowering people.

Yet, this experience truly opened my eyes.

I started to listen to motivational speakers and personal growth coaches from a different angle—a trauma-informed lens. Their advice and wisdom are meant for people with a healthy foundation (and that’s not me).

Realizing this was genuinely liberating. It wasn’t about seeking excuses but rather gaining insight into why I’ve faced challenges in moving forward. Most importantly, it helped me find the right path so that I could thrive.

Think of it this way.

Imagine your journey of personal growth as a ladder, where each rung represents a step towards reaching your full potential. As we become an adult, we all start at different rungs (depending on our childhoods and the trauma we experienced).

A Ladder of Personal Growth

If you experienced childhood trauma, you might be around rung 3 out of 10 as you become an adult.

While those with a healthier foundation might be cruising at rung 7, as we both aim to find our full potential and climb to rung 10, that journey will look radically different. (and science tells us why)

Motivational wisdom is for the people hanging around the middle of the ladder…

After this profound realization, I started figuring out what to do differently. I have a different perspective on motivational gurus like Tony Robbins, Dean Graziosi, Zig Zigler, Gabby Berenstein, Les Brown, and Louise Hay.

Their teachings lack a trauma-informed approach. Although their message is beautiful and inspiring, I’ve found that not all of their lessons resonate with my personal experiences. And that’s ok.

My brain (and body) operate differently because of trauma.

I did not have the same advantages as many of my peers and did not start on a level playing field.

This powerful insight allowed me to gain a more profound understanding (and appreciation) of my life and healing journey.

I always felt like a failure when I took courses on personal growth and didn’t see substantial results. I blamed myself for not being good enough, not trying hard enough, and not being smart enough. When all along, it was the wrong information (for me). It’s like trying to drive to California and using a map of Ohio.

Although I appreciate Tony Robbins’ work and the help he provides to so many people, I realized that he may not be the best fit for me at this moment in time.

This could change in the future, but right now, I need something different. (If you are here, then you probably need something different too).

The experience with Tony Robbins has inspired me to share my story and educate others about the impact of trauma on personal growth. There are many people, like me, who have experienced trauma and are searching for answers to heal. Unfortunately, not many people are speaking to us. I want to change that.

If you’ve experienced trauma, you need a different map. Healing is absolutely possible and attainable with the right guidance and support tailored to your unique journey.

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