He’s 30 years old but looks much younger. Jairek Robbins is used to advising people three times his age, people in charge of multimillion dollar empires, every day on how to make their lives more successful. His clients include industry leaders who hire him to guide them through a crisis, or to help them improve some aspect of their life, health or relationship. Hard to believe? You should see him in action.
During his first ever talk in Dubai a couple of months back, he uncannily zeroed in on forty-something George (name changed) sat five rows away from him. George apparently was not feeling too good about himself as he suffered from Type 1 diabetes and was worried about whether he would be able to look after his little daughter before the disease took its toll.
Jairek soon had the reluctant and reticent George, a management consultant, talking about his deepest fears to an audience of hundreds, and advised him on how to move forward and lead a fuller life. Though this 15-minute interlude bit painfully into the two-hour workshop for the UAE’s cream of business leaders, Jairek apologised to the audience and worked on George, advising him on how to prepare himself mentally and even outlining some possible remedies available in the field of alternative medicine.
“George, my heart goes out to you,” he told the crestfallen man. “But if you keep your spirits up and do your bit, I am willing to work with you after this session.” Again, he apologised to the audience for taking up their time, promising to make up for it with a free Skype session for all participants later that month. “Are you feeling better?” he asks George. “Yes,” nods George, wiping away tears. If there had been any doubters in the audience before, all of them had been converted into Jairek fans.
It’s obvious that Jairek is sincere, and that is what makes him one of the most successful self-help gurus in the US – no mean feat for the son of Tony Robbins – self-help author, motivational speaker and the superstar among American life coaches, who became a millionaire by the age of 24. Tony made the Forbes’ Celebrity 100 list in 2007, when he was estimated to have earned $30 million (about Dh110 million). He’s the author of two bestsellers, Unlimited Power and Awaken The Giant Within.
His father’s influence is obvious; Jairek started life coaching on his own when he was 18, having apprenticed with his father for many years. He’s been on the motivational speaker circuit since he was 23, and now he’s finally publishing his own book. Live It! Achieve Success by Living with Purpose is out at the end of the month, and he says it’s an attempt to help people who can’t afford to hire him personally. “Primarily, every person you meet is either a warning or an example,” he says. “The book will help you recognise yourself, and give readers a step-by-step process for filling the gap between where you are today and where you want to be.”
While that may sound like typical guru-speak, Jairek is pretty straightforward when asked to explain. “It doesn’t matter in which industry you are, if you are not as successful as you want to be, if you are not working to your full potential, if you are not in your peak health, and are not happy in your relationships, you need help. And I can help.”
And help he does, using his Rapid Results Formula, spread over three weeks with five-minute motivational videos for five days a week, and online counselling. Jairek tracks his clients’ progress and they’re all held accountable for their inputs.
So, what is the key to Jairek’s coaching programme? “I’ve spent my entire life growing up in the personal development industry and have coached hundreds of clients from around the world in achieving Rapid Results in their life and business,” he says. “One of the key ingredients of incredibly successful entrepreneurs is their ability to identify areas they must improve on in their life and constantly strengthen their weakest points to ensure they are constantly growing and expanding their ability to conquer new challenges as they arise.”
Jairek learnt this from the cradle, so to speak. “I walked the hot coals [a method used by some life coaches to help get rid of fear] at three months old in the arms of my father!” he says. “When my dad tells that story, my mom says that I first walked the coals when I was in her belly! Essentially, by making me experience such things my parents were trying their best to prepare me for life – push myself to the edge, take advantage of the best things in life, and grow.
“My first real memory of walking across hot coals is on my fifth birthday at one of Dad’s seminars in California. I was scared and nervous, but there were all these people doing it and I wanted to as well. My mom talked to me and prepared me mentally and then my dad held my hand and walked me across.”
While he doesn’t use hot coals himself to teach clients to let go of mental constraints, he has his own methods, like skydiving or ‘breaking the arrow’. The arrow break is the practice of placing the point of a 28-inch long wooden arrow in the notch of your throat and then mastering your focus to first bend, then entirely snap the shaft of the arrow in half – without any injury to yourself in the process. It is an action metaphor in life coaching for breaking through our own limiting beliefs.
“You see people who are so good at what they do, but something keeps them from attaining real glory,” explains Jairek. “If they can identify one little thought or belief or feeling or emotion that keeps them from really getting the results they want and they use such a simple physical metaphor like walking the arrow, where the metal top of the arrow is pressed against the soft part of their neck… if you test it, it hurts, but it is so rigged that when they jump in and give it a wholehearted go and push at it, it collapses.
“That leap of faith is what we aim at, and that’s when you experience the freedom. It’s like going to a cold pool and testing it with your toes. It gets worse as now you know it is cold. If you just plunge in you’d be fine.”
Jairek learnt his lessons early. Coached by his father, he was challenged to learn a few lessons about himself and his beliefs and strengths, which he feels gave him an edge over many others in today’s market. During the summer of Jairek’s junior year at the University of San Diego, his father arranged for him to go and work at his step-grandfather’s place as a lumber jack in Canada.
“I was ready by 6am sharp, travelled in a van with other workers for an hour to the lumber yard and begin working from 7 am to 5 pm stacking lumber,” he says. It was physically demanding, hard, boring work, and Jairek learnt that his family had placed bets on how long he would last at the job. That made him more determined than ever.
“I made it a point to step up and over-deliver,” he says. Jairek then taught himself to turn what he found a boring and repetitive task into something he enjoyed. “I decided to find out what was great about this experience and how could I grow from this experience,” he says. “I had to find out how it would assist me in the rest of my life.”
The answer was disarmingly simple: “I was outside in a beautiful part of the world, and I made believe that I was basically working out at the gym,” he says. “I started to identify all the different ways I could pick up a piece of board and related it to different weightlifting exercises. I soon found myself doing bicep curls, tricep kick backs, squats, lunges, shoulder rows, back flys, dead lifts and many other exercises!”
But how could his mind grow along with his body? “I decided to get an iPod and load it with as many great audiobooks and personal development programmes as I could and every day expand my mind!”
That was how Jairek learnt the two main principle he teaches all the clients. “They will have to master how to turn the ordinary into extraordinary,” he says. “The ability to shift their perception about how they view the activity; and the ability to shift their procedure of how they go about physically doing the activity. One of the greatest gifts they can give themselves is to learn how to take the seemingly boring or mundane task and learn to love it!”
His book will encapsulate the life lessons he’s learnt and has been imparting to his clients. “Each chapter is strategically designed to engage you with personal reflections and challenges that will encourage you to make immediate improvements to your everyday behaviour,” he says. “It will also give you the tools you need to avoid the distractions in your life and concentrate on the areas that deserve the biggest focus, including health, family, relationships, your professional life, and spirituality.”
The idea, says Jairek, is to lead readers toward a life of growth and contribution that will “enable them to become the happiest, healthiest, and most fulfilled version of themselves — and inspire them to help others do the same.” Altruism is a trait Jairek admires, and the reason he keeps stressing to his clients to help others. Not surprisingly, Jairek supports a number of charities and non-profit organisations, such as the Student Partnership WorldWide and the Just Like My Child Foundation, which empowers women and children through better health care, education, and microfinance.
He describes his involvement in causes such as these as “an opportunity to reexamine how we have all been playing the game of life so far and as an opportunity to step up and realign, reignite, and reapply all of who we are.”
Jairek’s primary aim is to give back by helping people find their true potential. “My hope in helping people is to inspire them to sift through their life and business to identify the activities that they have been putting off or avoiding because they simply dislike having to do them,” he says.
“As they identify these activities I would challenge them to find a way to shift their perception and/or procedure and turn these activities into ones that they can learn to love to do.”
As the workshop ended, Jairek went back to George and asked him how he feels. George was certainly perkier than he was in the beginning, and Jairek told him he was willing to meet up with George later on to discuss some new alternative medical treatments for his problems.
“It’s all about going the extra mile,” says Jairek.