Why I stood Tony Robbins up and what it taught me

Jul 01, 2021

Last weekend, I had a pretty hot date in business development terms: a ticket to a four-day immersive event I’ve always wanted to do, with Tony Robbins…a front-row seat for live and interactive coaching from the man generally considered the world’s number one business/life strategist.


In case you need more context for the story I’m about to share, let me tell you that Tony Robbins is the man who Fortune magazine calls “the CEO Whisperer”. AmEx lists him as one of the Top 6 Business Leaders in the entire world. 


He attracts these commendations, not just for his several bestselling books, his world-famous events, and his client list that boasts billionaire business leaders, US presidents, and numerous A-listers at the top of their game. 


Whether you love or hate his personal style, it’s safe to say he has a lot to offer anyone who wants to grow and develop their personal and business results.


And, at the very last minute, I stood him up. I watched the first hour or so, then no more...


Now, this may surprise you. For one thing, I hope you know that I’m big on keeping my commitments. It’s an important part of my values and my professionalism that when I say I will do something, I do it.


And if you know anything about me at all, you’ll know that I am ALL about investing in myself, putting in the work needed to develop myself and the way I serve others, spending time and money to take myself to the next level to grow a thriving and profitable business.


So why on earth did I pull out of this transformational event?


Because the cutest, sassiest 8-year-old girl I’ve ever met reminded me of my WHY, with a few additional life-and-business lessons thrown in for good measure…




Last week was half-term here in France, and I had a really full schedule – working with the amazing women in my Smart Woman’s Mastermind, a couple of one-to-one intensive coaching sessions, and some exciting developments I’ll tell you more about soon!


To create some space for me to do all this, my husband and children took themselves off on an adventure for three days, camping in our campervan.


They’ve been so amazing, my kids. They’ve relocated to a new country, started a new school with a new language and taken everything in their stride. I’m in awe of their resilience, I really am.


When they returned from their trip, I was just preparing for the virtual live Tony Robbins event. It’s truly immersive…and I should mention the fact Tony Robbins’ events famously run for 14 hours every day!


And as she was unpacking from her trip, and I was preparing to disappear into this four-day, high-octane event, my daughter said to me:


“Mummy, do you have to work?”


I skidded to a mental halt so fast, I swear my brainreverberated audibly.


Imogen asked a simple question, but in that single heartbeat I felt the powerful tug of the thing that matters most – my WHY. My family. 


Sure, I want to build an amazing life for them. I definitely want to show my children the art of what is possible.


But I don’t want be so focused on building the perfect stage for our family life that I forget to pay attention to the players.


You want to know the two things I did there and then? 


I hugged my daughter, and then I switched off my laptop.  




Let’s be honest, it wasn’t truthfully a binary decision between a 60-hour event spread over four days versus time with my children.


On any spectrum there are multiple options and possibilities.


I could have negotiated, traded for the odd hour here and there, dipped in and out of the event (especially as it was online). 


I could have told myself that ‘something is better than nothing’, and pretended that in this instance a compromise was not just a fancy way of describing a half-measure. (I know that sometimes compromise IS the only solution, but – let’s be honest – sometimes it’s just the way we mask the fact we’re choosing to be half-assed.)


But having made that heartbeat and confident decision about what mattered most this weekend, it was easy to take complete action.


Indecision is the only bad decision.




Making the conscious and intentional choice not to try and do both things this weekend reminded me how much more impact there is in go-all-in development.


Even if I’d attended half the event by dipping in and out, I’d have got a quarter of its value.


And I’d have been only half-present (at best) as a parent.


Look, there are plenty of times when that’s the only choice. It’s called real life. But sometimes it’s worth choosing, and ‘playing full out’. 


It’s why I love business coaching and development events such as retreats, and why they are so well regarded. Making the time to invest in yourself and your personal and business growth will, hands-down,give you the fastest development and the steepest leap up. That’s where transformation happens. You’ll achieve in a few days what might otherwise take you months at least.




I know there are as many different definitions of success as there are business owners. But I’ll wager a hearty bet that we all have one thing in common, regardless of whether we want to make plenty of money, be recognised as an expert, or leave a legacy. (Actually, it’s okay if you want all three of those results; so do I!) 


The principle that I believe binds us is this: to be fulfilled and truly love what you do, personal life and business life don’t have to be perfectly balanced as such, but they do need to be in alignment. 


Being successful rests on all kinds of desires and responsibilities, which is why I qualified as both a life and a business coach. After all, who can truly separate the two?


You CAN have it all, but only if all of it is aligned.


So, all in all, my small daughter’s six words to me a few days ago reminded me of quite a few life and business lessons. Essential lessons, every one of them. I wonder if she knows how grateful I am for them?


Have a great week, and if you’d like to know more about applying these insights to your own business, just hit reply to this email and let me know.


Love, Karen x


P.S. Having stood up one of the world’s leading coaches, we decided to do something amazing with our weekend. We had the most phenomenal family day out in Europe’s largest sand dunes (see photo at the top), not far from where we live…100 metres above sea level, with the most spectacular winds, views and smells I think I’ve ever experienced. It was a day I will never forget…