HRZone Community Manager Dawn-Marie Dart and members of other SiftMedia communities recently attended 'Unleash the Power Within', a workshop run by life coach Anthony Robbins. Below are their first-hand accounts of this remarkable event.
Dawn-Marie Dart, online community manager
Anthony Robbins helped celebrities such as Sylvester Stallone and Nelson Mandela to realise their potential. So I wondered if he could do the same for me.
After I told people I had enrolled on the course I was asked all sorts of questions. Is he a charlatan or a cult figure? Does he really have the tools to unlock the secrets of success?
I went along to the seminar as a sceptic. Having experienced the four-day event, I still wonder if his methods are entirely justified. He displayed an air of Jesus-like self importance that reminded me of Michael Jackson's notorious Brits performance. Unlike Pulp's Jarvis Cocker, I did not feel the urge to get up on stage and bare my behind.
Was it necessary for Robbins to ridicule individuals who volunteered to speak about their innermost personal feelings to a crowd of 12,500 people? For example, Robbins told a clinically depressed woman named Nula that mental illness did not exist and urged her to stop taking her medication because her ailment was "selfish". Robbins also shocked a terminally ill woman with his reaction to her heart-felt story: "You're f*cked." He reinforced this statement with "she may as well give up now! Right?"
These shocking responses demonstrated the Robbins theory that people get stuck into patterns of behaviour and sometimes need a wake up call to break the cycle. The volunteers mentioned seemed to be "cured" or on the path to their new lives by the end of the course. But was it a short term fix, or can he really heal the terminally ill - a skill often claimed by US TV evangelists.
No matter what your view, one thing he did achieve at the ExCeL Centre that day was to get 12,500 people to walk over hot coals - me included!
Below are extracts from the daily diaries kept by four participants at the 'Unleash the Power Within' event. Click on the headline links to read their full stories
Diary of an HR Manager
My God … I felt like I was at a religious sect convention.
I really did benefit from it all - a part of me has been ignited. I am more motivated and I'm sure I will work harder - play harder and smile a lot more.
Diary of a Business Development Manager
Arrived feeling quite excited, although my feelings changed to cynicism the minute I was surrounded by the hand-clapping and whooping that surrounded me.
I feel more positive and understand my actions and reactions better. The downside, according to my partner is my incessant "Anthony Robbins said..." comments!
Diary of a Sales Manager
What does he know about my problems, a Yank? Why am I here anyway? Is this going to be some voodoo/occult weekend?