2100 people filled the auditorium.
And you could have heard a pin drop.
All our eyes were focused on one man, standing in the middle of the audience.
Perry was about 5 feet 11. Dark hair cut short. He looked to be in great shape.
We all felt for the guy. Because he was gazing up, face to face with Tony Robbins. And even though Tony looked back at him with compassion and sympathy, it’s still pretty intimidating to have his eyes drill into yours in front of a couple thousand people.
“How long have you owned your gym?” Tony asked Perry.
“About two years,” he replied, his voice quiet and uncertain.
“And how much profit did you have last year?”
“None,” he replied. “I lost money.”
“Well, how much are you charging?” Tony asked.
“$40 a month,” he said, looking embarrassed. “About half what other gyms charge.”
When Tony wondered why Perry said that that’s what he was comfortable with.
“So why do you think you’re only worth half what your competitors are?”
At this point Perry was holding his head down, his voice breaking up as he struggled to hold back his tears. And his answer caught me by surprise.
“Because I don’t think I deserve anymore,” he said.
“Before I started my business I weighed over 350. Then over the next year, I lost a hundred pounds. I felt awesome about that, so I decided to help my father get in better shape, and he lost sixty pounds.
“So I started thinking maybe I could help others lose weight and transform their lives. That’s why I started the gym.
“But whenever I get in front of a client to train them, I still see that 350-pound loser trying to give advice.
“I feel like a fraud.”
I was completely taken aback by this.
I had to give the guy credit for getting up there and actually speaking the truth in front of this huge crowd.
But it was more than that.
Because I knew exactly how he felt.
I remembered that when I started my own business years back, I, too, felt like a fraud.
When I first created WebsitesMadeEasy.tv, I also wanted to help others – just like Perry did.
I wanted people to be able to connect with their followers quickly and cheaply, with simple but powerful webisites.
But as soon as I began, I started hearing those old familiar voices:
What are you doing, James?
What makes you think you can do this?
And how can you charge money for it?
No one’s going to listen to you.
You're no authority – you don’t know enough.
This is for the pros. It’s up to the gurus to teach this stuff.
You’ve got to learn more.
You’ve got to be the best!
I used to play those tapes over and over again...
But I finally asked myself a new question:
Why are you doing this to yourself?
Why was I listening to these voices? Why were they even showing up?
Why did I keep telling myself these things?
What could possibly be the payoff??
And then I realized the answer.
As long as I listened to those voices, I wouldn’t have to risk anything.
I wouldn't have to do anything new or different.
I wouldn’t have to worry about losing control.
And I wouldn’t ever fail – because I’d never even try.
If I kept telling myself all this bullshit – that I'm not good enough, or smart enough or ready yet – then I wouldn’t have to worry about anything at all. I could just keep dealing with things I’d already tried, and that were already familiar to me.
But I realized something else as well.
If I kept this up, if I kept hanging onto control and only doing what felt safe, that would be the biggest failure of all.
Throwing in the towel without even trying…. that's the real failure!
In that moment I realized what I had been dealing with all my life: that all the negative self-talk and false beliefs had kept me in a prison of my making.
And it was time to break out.
So I started playing a new tape. I started asking new questions.
So what if I’m not the best?
As long as I’m helping people, isn’t that what matters?
Can’t I at least let go of a little control and see where things go? Take a few steps into the unknown and then learn from my mistakes and setbacks?
Can’t I see that no matter what my failures are, or what my successes either, they don’t define who I am?
That I’m not a fraud or a failure?
That what really defines me is my willingness to give, and grow, and stay true to myself – and true to my process – it will always be a win-win?
As soon as I started listening to these voices, things started to change.
There were shifts in my mindset and my perspective.
I started feeling more confident.
My self-concept started to grow.
Instead of looking outside myself for the answers, or seeing my past results as an indicator of who I was or what I was capable of, I looked inside myself, knowing that with the right attitude and mindset, I could reach any goal.
I was living a new story.
And soon these changes in my internal relationship with myself were mirrored by my external life.
The more I was growing the more everything else was growing around me!
My business started to take off.
My relationships became deeper and stronger.
I began to see possibilities I hadn’t ever even considered.
And now here I was, standing in a room with 2100 other people, watching Tony Robbins change a man’s life…
“I feel like a fraud,” Perry had said in defeat.
And at that moment Tony took this man’s head in his hands and kissed him on the forehead.
And in a hushed voice filled with love and compassion, Tony asked him, “Do you really think your creator put you here on earth to think you're not good enough? To believe that you don’t deserve whatever you want?!
“You can create whatever you want in life! You can do anything you want to do! And you can be anything you want to be!
“So quit living with these limited beliefs that are fucking untrue, and change your story!”
The man looked through his tears at Tony with a smile of gratitude.
And all 2100 of us cheered.
For me, my journey away from feeling like a fraud began with a decision to simply begin my business, even if I didn't feel ready or deserving. Because I’d discovered that the other side of that fear is where the growth and the magic live.
Right now I’m in the process of rebuilding WebsitesMadeEasy.tv. And one of the key components of this new, evolved version is that it will not only guides users through the mechanics involved in creating powerful websites, but the mindsets as well.
We want to enable people to move forward toward their goals and dreams not just with the technology and marketing tools, but by helping them overcome their own fears and misgivings.
I'm really excited about this new project, and I’ve working on perfecting it for more than a year.
But of course, as soon as I started moving in this new direction, I started hearing those old voices again….
What makes you think you can do this, James?
You're not a psychologist.
Why do you want to mess with a program that’s already successful?
What if this destroys the work you’ve already done?
What if you fail??!!
But this time, I don’t react the same as I did when I first began.
I know why the voices are there, and I've had practice dealing with them.
I just say to them, “I've been through the process again and again.
“I know how mental blocks can affect the people I work with, and how they affect me.
“And I know the keys to overcoming those beliefs and fears.
“But if I don’t share what I can to help others deal with these obstacles, then I really am a fraud.
“So thanks, but I’m willing to be afraid, and let go of control, and risk some setbacks and failures.”
We all feel like were frauds sometimes. We all hear those voices in our heads that want us to feel safe, but end up sabotaging our dreams and our accomplishments.
But we can’t let them imprison us – or make us feel like we’re failures.
We're better than that!
So the next time you hear your own protective voices, here’s what you need to do.…
Understand that they're trying to help you. Then talk back to them. Tell them, “Thanks, but I don't need your help right now. I'm willing to give up some control, and I'm willing to be a little bit afraid. Because that's how I'm going to be true to who I really am, and do the things I’m meant to do and live the life I dream of.”