Tony Robbins and Jerry Colonna — The Tim Ferriss Show

Tony Robbins and Jerry Colonna — The Tim Ferriss Show

Start (00:00:00)

  • Tony Robbins and Jerry Colonna, guests on The Tim Ferriss Show, discuss the significance of self-awareness and emotional intelligence in achieving success.
  • They emphasize personal responsibility, encouraging individuals to consciously choose their thoughts, feelings, and actions.
  • Building strong relationships and having a supportive network are crucial for reaching personal goals.
  • Mindfulness, meditation, and gratitude are highlighted as practices that enhance fulfillment in life.

Notes about this supercombo format. (00:05:16)

  • This episode is a two-for-one special celebrating the podcast's 10th anniversary and 1 billion downloads.
  • The episode features curated segments from the best of over 700 episodes.
  • The goal is to introduce lesser-known guests who have had a transformative impact on the host's life.
  • Bios of all guests can be found at

Enter Tony Robbins. (00:06:19)

  • Tony Robbins is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, and the nation's top life and business strategist.
  • He is also the number one New York Times bestselling author of books like "Money: Master the Game," "Life Force," and "Awaken the Giant Within."
  • Tony Robbins can be found on Twitter and Instagram @tonyrobbins.

Tony’s daily routines. (00:06:43)

  • Tony Robbins starts his day with a routine to strengthen his nervous system.
  • He alternates between hot pools and a 57-degree plunge pool, which he has at every home.
  • This routine wakes up every cell in his body and trains his nervous system to perform at a high level, regardless of how he feels.
  • He also has a cryotherapy unit in all his homes.

Cryotherapy (00:07:44)

  • Tony Robbins has not tried cryotherapy before.
  • Cryotherapy uses nitrogen to reduce body temperature to minus 220 Fahrenheit for three minutes.
  • Unlike ice baths, cryotherapy does not cause spasms and is less painful.
  • It reduces inflammation, sends emergency signals to the brain, resetting the neurological system.
  • Cryotherapy causes an explosion of endorphins, leading to a natural high and physiological transformation.
  • Initially used for people with arthritis, it has gained popularity among sports teams and is now available at local places in the United States.
  • Robbins found it beneficial for reducing inflammation and improving skin health.

Priming. (00:11:11)

  • Tony Robbins' morning routine, called "priming," involves explosive changes in physiology through specific breathing patterns and cold/hot water exposure to achieve a prime state for living a prime life.
  • During priming, Robbins focuses on gratitude, feeling the presence of God, and celebrating and committing to service.
  • Consistency in priming is crucial, similar to fitness, and requires regular effort to maintain.
  • Robbins emphasizes the power of gratitude in eliminating anger and fear, and advises trading expectations for appreciation to transform one's life.
  • Despite limited sleep, Robbins stresses the importance of a non-negotiable 10-minute morning routine to feel energized and ready for the day, as it's essential for personal well-being.
  • Extending the routine to 20-30 minutes enhances the overall experience and feels extraordinary.

Tony’s ideal music for meditation. (00:15:20)

  • Tony Robbins usually listens to a specific Oneness meditation created by a friend from India during meditation.
  • He finds the sound of vibration in this meditation profound and prefers it over modern, pop, or rock music.
  • Robbins views meditation as a way to prime courage, love, joy, gratitude, strength, and accomplishment.
  • He emphasizes the importance of daily priming and compares it to Russell Simmons's statement about needing three hours of meditation if one doesn't have 30 minutes.

Richard Branson’s first pre-investment questions. (00:16:36)

  • Successful investors are obsessed with not losing money and take calculated risks to protect their investments.
  • Richard Branson, known for his outgoing personality, is an introvert when it comes to athletics and challenges.
  • Branson's first question before any business investment is about the potential downside and how to protect against it.
  • He negotiated a deal with Boeing to return planes if Virgin Airlines didn't work out, showing his risk-averse approach.

What a 50% investment loss actually means. (00:17:21)

  • Losing money in investments has a compounding effect.
  • To recover from a 50% loss, one needs to make a 100% return, not just 50%, due to the reduced principal.
  • The average person tries to avoid losing money but isn't as obsessed with it as successful investors.
  • Successful investors are obsessed with asymmetrical risk-reward, seeking to minimize risk while maximizing potential gains.

The Paul Tudor Jones 5:1 strategy. (00:17:58)

  • Paul Tudor Jones' strategy involves risking a small amount of money with the potential for a high reward.
  • If he risks $1, he ensures that he has the potential to make $5.
  • Even if he is wrong four times out of five, he can still break even.
  • The key is not to avoid being wrong, but to set up trades where the potential rewards outweigh the risks.
  • For example, if he is right one out of three times, he still makes a 20% profit.
  • The average person risks $1 to make $1.10, while Jones aims for a 20% return.
  • This strategy allows him to be wrong more often and still come out ahead.

How Kyle Bass taught his kids about investing with nickels. (00:18:52)

  • Kyle Bass, an investor, taught his kids about investing using nickels.
  • He identified a riskless trade with total upside by researching currencies.
  • The US government spends almost 10 cents to make a nickel, which is worth half as much.
  • The material value of a nickel is around 6.8 cents, so it can never go below that value.
  • The government cannot continue to produce nickels at a loss, so they will eventually change the materials, increasing the value of existing nickels.
  • Bass bought 40 million nickels and stored them in a room, viewing them as a fundamental investment.
  • Tony Robbins and Jerry Colonna have different approaches to personal development.
  • Robbins focuses on external success, such as achieving goals and overcoming obstacles.
  • Colonna focuses on internal transformation, such as self-awareness and emotional healing.
  • Both approaches have value and can be complementary.

What the world’s best investors know for certain. (00:21:50)

  • The best investors know they will be wrong.
  • They set up an asset allocation system to make them successful.
  • They are lifelong learners.
  • They are real givers.

Enter Jerry Colonna. (00:24:16)

  • Jerry Colonna is the co-founder and CEO of, an executive coaching and leadership development firm.
  • He is also the author of the book "Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up".
  • Jerry Colonna is on Twitter at @JerryColonna.

Jerry’s spider tattoo origin story. (00:24:37)

  • Jerry Colonna has a spider tattoo on his chest as a reminder of a profound experience during a retreat.
  • During the retreat, he had a dream about a white house, mushrooms, and a spider.
  • After apologizing to the mushrooms for uprooting them, he encountered a spider that told him to stop worrying and that his children would be fine.
  • The spider tattoo serves as a constant reminder for Colonna to stay grounded, trust in himself, and let go of excessive worry.
  • Tony Robbins and Jerry Colonna were guests on The Tim Ferriss Show.
  • Iomy, a spider Trickster Spirit in Lakota mythology, is known for asking uncomfortable questions.
  • Jerry Colonna is skilled at asking uncomfortable questions, which can be a productive trait.

The 2002 Olympic bid meeting that changed Jerry’s life. (00:30:19)

  • Jerry Colonna was working at JP Morgan in 2002 after leaving Flatiron Partners in 2001.
  • He was co-leading a $23 billion technology investment practice fund.
  • After the 9/11 attacks, Jerry threw himself into the effort to bring the 2012 Olympic Games to New York City.
  • He felt helpless and overwhelmed by the attacks and the state of the city.
  • Jerry was struggling with depression and suicidal thoughts.
  • On February 2nd, 2002, after an Olympic bid committee meeting, Jerry felt like he wanted to die.
  • He considered jumping in front of a subway train but decided to call his therapist, Dr. Serlin, instead.
  • Dr. Serlin, a psychoanalyst, told him to take a taxi to her office immediately.
  • Jerry told her he wanted to be hospitalized, but she suggested he go to Canyon Ranch, a health spa, instead.
  • Jerry went to Canyon Ranch in Arizona and began to rebuild his life.
  • He had previously spent three months in a psychiatric hospital and knew the difference between the two.
  • Canyon Ranch was a far more pleasant and relaxing environment for recovery.

Jerry’s suicide attempt at 18 and his psychiatric hospital stay. (00:36:03)

  • At 18, Jerry attempted suicide by cutting his wrists.
  • He was taken to Jamaica Hospital and then transferred to Creedmore State Hospital.
  • After three days at Creedmore, he was transferred to Cabrini Medical Center in Manhattan, where he stayed for three months.

The difference between responsible and complicit in Jerry’s life in 2002. (00:37:22)

  • Jerry discusses the difference between being responsible and complicit in creating the conditions in his life that he didn't want.
  • He explains that complicity is important because it relieves people from the burden of feeling responsible for all the problems in their lives.
  • He also mentions that people often find themselves repeating patterns in their lives, such as always dating the same type of person or always finding themselves in the same kind of job.

Three important questions from Jerry’s therapist. (00:40:11)

  • Jerry's therapist taught him three important questions:
    • What am I not saying that needs to be said?
    • What am I saying that's not being heard?
    • What's being said that I'm not hearing?
  • Jerry believes that the suffering he encounters can often be traced back to someone not saying something that needs to be said.

Something important Jerry needed to say but didn’t during this time. (00:41:18)

  • Despite outward success, Jerry felt empty and hollow inside.
  • He wasn't living truthfully or with integrity.
  • He was afraid of losing the esteem of others and didn't want to talk about his dissatisfaction.
  • He knew he didn't want to continue his current work but didn't know what else to do.
  • He felt pride mixed with shame for walking away from a $23 billion fund.

How Jerry overcame self-doubt and unanswerable questions. (00:42:55)

  • Jerry didn't feel agency in overcoming his self-doubt.
  • He reached a point where he couldn't continue operating as he was.
  • He chose not to end his life and instead sought help from a therapist and went to Canyon Ranch.
  • He realized that his current path was causing him too much pain and was willing to accept the consequences of losing external trappings.
  • He felt a sense of urgency from his soul to pay attention to his life due to the high stakes involved.

Jerry’s path to coaching and three influential books. (00:45:02)

  • Tony Robbins discovered his passion for coaching after reading three influential books during a plane ride: "When Things Fall Apart" by Pema Chödrön, "Faith" by Sharon Salzberg, and "Let Your Life Speak" by Parker Palmer.
  • Inspired by these books, particularly "Let Your Life Speak," Robbins gained insights into his own struggles and felt compelled to become a coach.
  • An encounter with a young lawyer seeking a job in the startup industry resonated deeply with Robbins, as he saw reflections of his past struggles in the lawyer's story.
  • Robbins recognized the potential of coaching to alleviate suffering and believed it was about more than just providing solutions or answers.
  • Through coaching, Robbins found relief and a sense of purpose by helping others, discovering that empathizing with someone else's pain, the essence of compassion, magically alleviated his own unbearable feelings.
  • He views coaching as a means to connect with others and support them through life's challenges.

How much of Jerry’s coaching stemmed from focusing outside himself and healing his younger self. (00:52:02)

  • Jerry Colonna has heard of IFS (Internal Family Systems) but has not been trained in it.
  • Some of his clients have benefited from IFS.
  • Buddhism, wisdom traditions, and even the teachings of Jesus emphasize the importance of love and compassion.
  • There is a universal wellspring of pain and happiness that can be tapped into to help alleviate suffering and promote joy.

Convincing high-achievers of the importance of self-discovery. (00:53:28)

  • Some high-achievers may be skeptical about the importance of self-discovery and personal growth.
  • Jerry Colonna does not try to convince people that they need help.
  • He suggests that if everything is working well for someone, they should continue doing what they are doing.
  • However, he offers a simple question for those who are open to considering self-discovery: "Is there anything in your life that you would like to change?"

Jerry’s first question: “How are you really feeling?” (00:54:26)

  • Tony Robbins asks people "how are you really feeling?" to uncover their true emotions and challenges.
  • High achievers often fear being exposed as frauds and worry about maintaining their success.
  • This anxiety can lead to sleepless nights and the feeling of impending failure.
  • Robbins suggests focusing on whether one's current approach is working and offers relief from pain and suffering.
  • He uses the example of asking people what they want their children to feel at the same age to inspire change.
  • Tony Robbins explains that he asks people how they are really feeling because he believes that many people are not truly honest with themselves about their emotions.
  • He says that high achievers often feel like they are frauds and that they are constantly worried about being found out.
  • This anxiety can lead to sleepless nights and the feeling that failure is imminent.
  • Robbins suggests that people need to focus on whether their current approach is working for them and whether they are in pain.
  • If they are not happy with their current situation, he encourages them to make changes.

Working with the chronically busy. (00:57:27)

  • When someone is overwhelmed and busy, establish trust and relate through empathy.
  • Ask how being busy serves them and how they contribute to creating the conditions they don't want.
  • Busyness can feel good internally and externally, but it can also distract from internal unhappiness and lead to health problems.
  • Around 35 to 50 years old, systems that have worked in the past start to break down, leading to a crisis.
  • For someone who is genuinely busy in their early 20s, it may be a sign of striving to establish themselves.
  • For someone who is unnecessarily busy, inquire about the internal need that is being met by all that busyness.

Examining my handling of busyness, saying “No,” and related difficulties. (00:59:56)

  • Tim Ferriss experiences overwhelm due to a large number of unread emails and text messages, leading to a lack of anxiety about the situation.
  • Tim's solution to dealing with unwanted feelings has been to add more activities, using work as a distraction.
  • Jerry Colonna suggests that Tim's overwhelm may be caused by a "crow on the shoulder," representing the voice that tells him he might need to respond to every email, leading to a sense of obligation.
  • Tony Robbins manages his time and attention using a binary decision-making process, only accepting opportunities that meet specific criteria.
  • Robbins struggles with requests from people who have been supportive in the past but whose requests don't feel right or are unreasonable.
  • Despite his filtering systems and boundaries, Robbins still experiences anxiety due to two underlying fears: missing out on something important and disappointing people who matter to him.

Three basic risks we all try to manage: love, safety, and belonging. (01:09:56)

  • Love: we want to love and be loved.
  • Safety: we want to feel safe physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
  • Belonging: we want to feel that we belong.

Tools, books, and approaches for setting boundaries and saying “No.” (01:13:22)

  • Seth Goden's advice: Use the phrase "I wish I could, but I can't" to set boundaries.
  • Sharon Salzberg's approach: Take care of yourself first.
  • Nonviolent communication: A communication technique that emphasizes empathy and understanding.
  • Questions to ask yourself when considering a request:
    • Does this align with my values and priorities?
    • Am I taking care of myself by saying yes to this?
    • What are the potential consequences of saying yes or no?

“All beings own their own karma. Their happiness or unhappiness depend upon their actions, not my wishes for them.” (01:15:06)

  • The speaker discusses the concept of karma and how each individual is responsible for their own happiness or unhappiness based on their actions.
  • The speaker emphasizes that one should not feel responsible for someone else's feelings or actions.

A boundary tool that acknowledges compassion from a distance. (01:16:27)

  • The speaker suggests a visualization technique using a chain-link fence with a gate that only opens inward to help set boundaries.
  • The speaker encourages maintaining compassion and kindness towards others while setting clear boundaries.

The challenge is in the meaning assigned to a situation before applying a tool. (01:17:46)

  • The speaker highlights that the challenge lies in the meaning we assign to a situation rather than the lack of tools or techniques.
  • The speaker emphasizes the importance of recognizing that everyone, including oneself, has limited resources and may not always be at their best.

Dealing with vexing “Newman” personalities in our lives. (01:18:27)

  • Tim Ferriss introduces the topic of dealing with difficult people who tend to reach out only when they need something, often causing discomfort.
  • He refers to these individuals as "Newmans," referencing the character from Seinfeld.
  • Ferriss asks Tony Robbins and Jerry Colonna about their experiences coaching people through breaking up with friends or having direct conversations with such individuals.
  • Tony Robbins suggests starting with self-reflection and honestly assessing whether one is doing their best.
  • He emphasizes the importance of not feeling guilty when saying no to requests that don't align with one's values or priorities.
  • Robbins uses the analogy of a bonsai tree to illustrate the idea of carefully pruning one's life to create beauty.
  • He suggests that maintaining unhealthy relationships to avoid feeling uncomfortable emotions is counterproductive.
  • Robbins proposes the idea that individuals are inherently enough just as they are, without the need for external validation or connections.
  • He argues that losing connections with high-achieving individuals does not diminish one's self-worth.
  • Robbins emphasizes the significance of self-awareness and accepting oneself as fundamentally good.
  • He asserts that those who truly care about an individual will understand and accept their decisions, even if it means losing a connection.

Moving from intellectual agreement to behavioral change. (01:23:12)

  • Practices and tools are needed to move from intellectual agreement to behavioral change.
  • Embodying the Ted Geisel (Dr. Seuss) quote "the people who matter don't mind and the people who mind don't matter" is a practice.
  • Achieving permanent and sustained behavioral change is challenging.
  • Remembering that those who love us won't mind our failures can be helpful.
  • Practicing self-forgiveness and mindful attention to points of failure can be beneficial.

Benefits of journaling for personal growth. (01:25:42)

  • Journaling is important for personal growth.
  • Journaling consistently since the age of 13.
  • Handwrites journal entries and never goes back to reread them.
  • Journaling is about the experience, not about figuring things out.
  • General prompt used is "right now I'm feeling".
  • Example of journaling about guilt felt over not reaching out to someone in trouble.
  • Journaling helps explore the source and impact of feelings like guilt.

Guilt vs. remorse. (01:27:49)

  • Guilt is self-focused remorse, while remorse is about the other person.
  • Guilt involves ruminating about one's own failures, while remorse is about trying not to be hurtful.
  • Journaling can help bring attention to ruminating thoughts and promote self-forgiveness.

Marie Ponsot, the crow, and letting the crow speak in the journal. (01:28:28)

  • Marie Ponsot, a college professor and mentor, used the metaphor of a crow sitting on one's shoulder to describe the inner critic.
  • The crow constantly points out flaws and shortcomings, making one feel like a failure.
  • However, the crow's intention is to preserve a sense of belonging, safety, and love.
  • Instead of trying to suppress or silence the crow, it's important to acknowledge its presence and thank it for its vigilance.
  • The crow represents the part of ourselves that fears rejection and seeks validation from others.
  • Journaling can provide an outlet for the crow's voice, allowing for self-expression and release of negative thoughts.
  • Morning Pages, as suggested by Julia Cameron, can be a helpful tool for capturing the monkey mind's chatter and reducing its burden on the mind.

Jerry’s bedtimes, mornings, and journaling process. (01:32:16)

  • Wakes up between 5 and 6 am without an alarm clock.
  • Avoids looking at his phone at night.
  • Starts his day with caffeine and journaling for an hour.
  • Follows journaling with 30-45 minutes of meditation.
  • Views the entire period as one quiet meditative period.

Journaling for accepting life’s totality and our inner “multitudes.” (01:35:25)

  • Journaling helps in accepting the totality of life experiences.
  • Different pens can be used to represent different parts of oneself.
  • Giving voice to different parts of oneself allows for the expression of internal conflicts.
  • Journaling allows for dialogue, conflict, and argument, leading to full acceptance.

Tara Brach’s Radical Acceptance. (01:37:30)

  • Tara Brach's book "Radical Acceptance" offers a different approach to dealing with emotions, particularly anger.
  • The book suggests accepting emotions rather than trying to suppress or control them.

Using Marvel’s Hulk and Thor to understand and reconcile parts of oneself. (01:37:57)

  • The speaker shares a personal story of how he learned to accept his anger by associating it with the Hulk from Marvel comics.
  • He realized that his anger served a purpose in protecting himself and his loved ones, but it also had negative consequences.
  • By accepting his anger and transforming it into a more positive force, he was able to find balance and control.
  • Radical acceptance involves acknowledging and embracing all aspects of oneself, including both positive and negative traits.
  • Different parts of the self may serve important purposes and have been essential for survival.
  • Carl Jung's concept of the Shadow refers to the disowned or repressed parts of the self, which can include both negative and positive qualities.
  • Suppressing or ignoring these parts can lead to problems and hinder personal growth.

A difficult but life-changing decision Jerry made to say “No.” (01:42:55)

  • Tony Robbins left the venture business and professional investing despite his success because it caused him emotional pain.
  • The decision to leave was a result of a long-term process that began around 1999-2000 when the market crashed, making him unhappy and unable to continue fundraising.
  • After leaving the venture fund, Robbins took a position at JP Morgan but realized within a few months that it was not a good fit for him.
  • He chose not to renew his contract at JP Morgan and became unemployed for the first time since he was 13, seeking liberation from external definitions and constraints.
  • Robbins credits his decision to books he read at Canyon Ranch and the beginning of his meditation practice, which helped him listen to his inner self and make a choice that aligned with his true desires.
  • In November, he informed his business partner, Jerry Colonna, that he would no longer be his partner.
  • Despite the fear of the unknown, Robbins felt a sense of relief and terror simultaneously after making the decision.
  • He shared the news with his assistant, Carrie Racklin, who remains a close friend to this day.

Advice for anyone at a similar junction. (01:49:35)

  • Realize that you are not alone in feeling a sense of relief combined with fear of the unknown during midlife.
  • Many successful people have experienced similar feelings and have come out stronger on the other side.
  • Books and advice from those who have been through similar experiences can provide guidance and support.

Using journaling and meditation to cope with anxiety and inner turmoil. (01:51:23)

  • Expressing rage and anxiety through journaling or talking to someone can reduce their power and intensity.
  • Asking questions to the source of anxiety, such as "What's the threat?" or "Have I heard this before?", can help relieve anxiety by activating the prefrontal cortex.
  • Journaling before meditation can help process difficult feelings and set the intention for the meditation session.
  • Visualization and affirmations during meditation can help open the heart and promote feelings of love and kindness.

Learning about loving kindness (metta) meditation. (01:54:59)

  • Loving-kindness meditation (metta meditation) is a powerful and effective meditation technique.
  • Jack Kornfield and Sharon Salzberg are recommended resources for learning more about loving-kindness meditation.
  • Loving-kindness meditation can be a vacation from obsessing over oneself and can be directed towards others or oneself.

A new behavior or belief that improved Jerry’s quality of life. (01:57:05)

  • Jerry believes that the belief that he is a fundamentally good person, despite his failures, has greatly improved his quality of life.
  • This belief has allowed him to accept himself and his flaws, and to be more accepting of others.
  • It has also helped him to be a better partner, business person, coach, and parent.

Jerry’s billboard. (01:58:52)

  • Jerry Colonna discusses the idea of having a metaphorical billboard that reaches billions of people with a non-commercial message.
  • The first message on the billboard is "You're not alone."
    • This is important because people often feel broken and question their worthiness, but everyone is fundamentally good.
  • The second message is "Just because you feel like [crap] doesn't mean you are [crap]."
    • This reminds people that their current feelings of inadequacy are temporary and do not define them.
  • The third message is "This too shall pass."
    • This reminds people that difficult times are temporary and will eventually pass.
  • Tim Ferriss talks about his own struggles and how he has been very open about them.
  • He believes that sharing his struggles is important because it models something that is really important.
  • When people are at their worst, they often feel alone and believe that they must be crap because they feel like crap.
  • However, Tim reminds people that feeling struggle is a universal human experience and that everyone goes through difficult times.

Parting thoughts. (02:01:11)

  • Jerry Colonna's book, "Reboot: Leadership and the Art of Growing Up," is recommended for personal growth and development. Follow his work on for free podcasts, courses, and journaling exercises.
  • Tim Ferriss promotes his "Five Bullet Friday" newsletter, sharing interesting articles, books, gadgets, and tech tricks.
  • Eight Sleep's Pod 4 Ultra mattress cover automatically cools or warms each side of the bed for personalized temperature control.
  • Tony Robbins and Jerry Colonna discuss the importance of sleep and the benefits of the Pod 4 Ultra adjustable bed base, which tracks sleep metrics and improves airflow to reduce snoring.
  • Element is a sugar-free electrolyte drink mix, free of artificial ingredients and coloring, used by athletes, Navy SEAL Teams, Marine units, FBI sniper teams, NFL teams, and Team USA weightlifting.
  • Element offers a free sample pack with any drink mix purchase, has a satisfaction guarantee with low return rates, and also offers Element Sparkling, a bold 16 oz can of sparkling electrolyte water.

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