Essential Career Advice from Tony Robbins

November 30, 2016

by Ravi Raman

I’m a big fan of Tony Robbins.

I first remember watching his infomercial when I was a little kid, sneaking downstairs to turn on the TV. We only had 4 channels at the time, and he was always on one of them in the middle of the night!

I went through his Personal Power II audio program (on cassette) in my late teens, and attended my first in-person seminar with him in 2003. I’ve since attended much more, and even founded and organized the Tony Robbins-inspired Seattle PowerGroup for years, a local meet-up group of people committed to personal development. When I stopped organizing that group we had over 200 members!

It seems like every time I’m exposed to and immersed in a Tony Robbins program, I get unstuck and find a way to either make a breakthrough or pivot point in my career. I can’t pin down the specific methods he uses to do so. There are so many strategies he teaches!

If you have a chance to attend one of his programs, notably Date With Destiny, I highly recommend it (read my review here). At a minimum, grab one of his books or other products. Apply everything you learn for 30 days. You are guaranteed to see results.

I was inspired to write this blog on the topic of Tony Robbins career advice. I wondered what Tony would say if someone asked him for career guidance?

With a few hours or searching and reading, I found the answer! In this blog post, I’ll highlight Tony’s best career advice as featured in several recent interviews he has conducted on the topic.

1. Have a mission, not a career

“You must find something you want to live for that’s bigger than yourself—a mission—whether it’s your children, a business, a non-profit, whatever. That pulls you to achieve, which is far more sustainable than to push yourself to. You can only push yourself for so long.”

Tony mentioned this point in an interview with Psychology Today.  A mission is far more compelling of a driving force than the use of willpower, or even the presence of a rigid goal. It’s what distinguishes a vocation – or calling – from a career. This mission becomes all-encompassing and the people you touch through that mission add fuel to your quest. Tony goes on emphasize this point in an interview with Dan Roth of LinkedIn:

”Fall in love with whose lives you want to touch and through what vehicle. You’ve gotta decide who you want to serve.”

During another interview with Business Insider on the topic of careers, Tony reveals the other benefit of doing meaningful work.

“When what you are doing work that is meaningful, it’s not work.”

I think we should all aspire to this goal of work becoming something more than work!

2. Don’t just follow your passion

Following your passion is bad advice. I’ve written about this in the past and other smart people agree, including Cal Newport. At best it’s overly generalized. What does “follow your passion” even mean? At worst, it’s misleading. Doing what you love while being flat broke is not a good thing!

Tony offers some outstanding career advice on this point in his interview with Dan Roth:

“A lot of people say you’ve gotta find your passion. You’ve gotta find you passion. You’ve gotta find your competency. You’ve gotta find the market. A lot of people have passion, but no competency. You’ve also got to find a market.”…”We all have to say, “What is my niche, that I will love, I am competent in and there is a market for it. And then, how do I just constantly and never-endingly improve so that I have that cutting edge to be able to give more.”

3. Invest in yourself

How much time and money do you invest in improving your skills?

Chances are after you finish school and land a job, your training and skill development has been limited to what is being taught on the job. The truth is, the only way to ensure your continued relevance over time, is to invest massively in yourself.

This is especially important if you feel stuck in your job, or aren’t satisfied with the long-term potential of your current career.

For example, if you are a truck driver, what’s going to happen a decade from now when there are fleets of self-driving vehicles? Your employment prospects are grim if you aren’t improving your skills to move up (e.g. into the management of a fleet of self-driving trucks) or across to a new industry (e.g. build the tools and expertise to retrofit vehicles with self-driving capabilities).

It all comes down to not resting on your laurels. Continue to grow. Continue to thrive. Successful people look around the world for the skills that are in demand, then retool themselves to be worth more in the marketplace.

Tony has this to say about investing in yourself:

“If you don’t keep growing, you are not going to feel alive and happy. You are either growing or you are dying. Progress equals happens. It’s not the goal that makes you happy, it’s who you become in pursuit of the goal.”

Tony learned this lesson from his previous teacher, Jim Rohn. Believe it or not, Tony was at one time, stuck and not seeing results in his own career and business! Jim Rohn said this to Tony during his time of struggle:

“You’re so focused on expecting things to happen so fast. Focus instead on building your skills and your gifts will make room for you.”

Your worth in the marketplace is based on your ability to add value to others. Build your skills to build your capacity to add value to others.

4. Secret to living is giving

Above all, the most important aspect of any career or mission is the contribution that your work provides to the lives of others. Tony shares this gem of an insight during a Q&A on Product Hunt:

“My original mentor, Jim Rohn, taught me that the secret to life is to find a way to do more for others than anyone else is doing. If you want to be extraordinary as a friend or business person, as a father or a lover, find a way to add more value, especially to those you love the most. I’m obsessed by this focus, and I really believe it’s the secret to not only wealth but real lasting happiness. In my soul, I believe the secret to living is giving.”


This post features quotes and clips from the following excellent interviews with Tony Robbins regarding career success. I recommend reviewing them all in their entirety.

Psychology today interview
Business Insider Facebook Live Q&A
Product Hunt Q&A
LinkedIn interview by Dan Roth

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