determination, perseverance and faith all have a place in our lives,
whether it's for adventure, in business, our personal lives or parenting,"
says Becky Robbins, vice president of San Diego-based Robbins Research,
ask Robbins if those same qualities existed in her life 15 years ago,
and the answer would be somewhat different. "The identity that
I used to have about myself when it came to adventurous activities
was sort of a wimp," she admits, "and that needed to change."
grown up in an academic environment, Robbins' family focused on education,
music and literature. "I wasn't raised to be a courageous person
as far as athletic endeavors," she recalls. "But I've always
admired people who were athletic and good at sports. A lot has to
do with what you're exposed to when you're a young girl."
wasn't long ago when young girls were still raised to believe that
athletics were reserved for boys, as were mathematics, science and
medicine. Girls, especially those from academic backgrounds, were
taught manners and etiquette, how to walk and talk properly, which
fork to use with the salad, when to keep your mouth shut, and of course,
never to speak loudly. Most of all, they were taught how unacceptable
it was for a "lady" to get dirty. And like most young ladies
of that time, Robbins obeyed the rules.
at 18, Robbins' journey began in pursuit of a lifestyle that was traditionally
inherent of young women then. Her first born, Tyler, was of course,
a boy. The next, a girl. And the last, another boy. And while Robbins
relished her role as a mother, there was a part of her that felt empty,
aimless and unfocused. She reflects quietly upon a quote by famed
author Henry David Thoreau to analogize the direction of her life:
"The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation."
evenings in direct sales so she could spend days with her children,
Robbins wove in and out of each day, just going through the motions,
but knowing there must be more to life. She felt herself going nowhere
fast. Then, being that there were really no coincidences in life,
a friend told Robbins about the "Rocking Chair" test that,
simply put, meant not finding herself sitting in a rocking chair at
85, looking back with regret at all the things she should've done.
didn't want to look back with regret," she recalls. "I wanted
to add to the identity I already held for myself, which was my intelligence."
by her own admission, Robbins found herself using that intelligence
as well as her feminity as an excuse to get herself out of doing things
that were scary. "I'm too smart to do that. Only crazy people
race cars or sky dive. That stuff is for jocks, not me."
most important thing I came to realize is that the personal identity
you have for yourself is so pervasive for the rest of your life,"
wanting to be what she considered an intelligent wimp forever, Robbins
realized that she wanted to add to the fabric of her life by doing
more, by adding adventure and excitement. She wanted not only to learn
new things, but she also knew she needed to face her fears so that
she could enjoy her new adventures, whatever they may be and wherever
they may take her.
first step took Robbins to a Tony Robbins "Unleashing the Power
Within" seminar. It was then and there that life as Robbins knew
it would change forever. The three-day seminar taught her the communication
skills required to provide her with the tools she needed to discover
how abundant her own strength really was. What Robbins learned, as
do all of Tony's students, was how to change her limiting belief system
from the "I can'ts,"
"I shouldn'ts," "I mustn'ts," to a belief system
that allowed her to achieve anything she set out to do in her life.
Learning to have faith and trust in her decisions led the way to a
new and more exciting life of I can, I must, I will.
Robbins sitting in the front row, Tony couldn't help but notice the
crystal-blue-eyed beauty. The connection was instant and so began
their date with destiny. The 6' '7"- speaker, who was already
a great athlete himself, and completely fearless when it came to new
adventures, helped guide 5' 2" Becky into unleashing her power
the beginning, Robbins didn't want to do the things that Tony wanted
to do. She didn't want to go skydiving. She didn't want to go bungee
jumping. She didn't wan to learn to race cars. She didn't want to
go whitewater river rafting. She didn't want to go four-wheeling off-road.
She didn't want to ski down the expert slopes of Aspen. She didn't
want to go scuba diving. "It scared me to all these things,"
she remembers, laughing. "But Tony patiently worked with me,
helping me to understand and face my fears. One of the first fears
I faced was my fear of injury."
surprise there! Most people are afraid of getting hurt, which is exactly
what prevents them from trying anything new or different. And, by
85, they're passing that old rocking chair test. Not Robbins. One
of the first things she did was find people who would serve as good
models. Her assistant Elizabeth, for example, claimed the thrill and
excitement of the adrenaline rush was a great incentive every time
she tried something new. She shared the feeling of exhilaration and
sense of accomplishment her success and courage left her with each
time. In essence, Elizabeth revealed what had been missing for Robbins
-- new ways to create and add to the tapestry of who she was.
talking to different people, I decided I needed to explore and pursue
that part of me, the part that had never been exposed, the part I
had never grown into." And so she did.
her sensory acuity heightened, Becky was now ready for one of her
life's most exciting challenges, a three-day race car class at the
Bondurant School of High Performance Driving, which, at that time,
was located at Sears Point Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.
made a huge difference in my life" she exudes. "It was a
it wasn't without havoc. On the way to their first class, Tony and
Becky were rear-ended in their rental car, leaving them both with
painful whiplash. Determined to take the course in spite of this minor
obstacle, they both held their heads up high, with their hands, while
riding in the back of the skid car.
got so much out of that course. Every day, I had butterflies in my
stomach. I think I lost about 10 pounds from sheer sweat because I
was so nervous. And although I was the only woman, not once was I
treated any differently than the men," she notes.
right she is, because Bondurant doesn't teach by gender, they teach
driving skills according to ability. The skills that Robbins walked
away with not only enhanced her defensive driving ability, but they
also challenged and changed her life physically and psychologically.
She reached new levels of confidence as a driver and as a woman.
suggest that every woman go through this class. It's absolutely great
for women, especially for pushing them past their comfort zone,"
Bondurant offers extremely safe and controlled conditions with trained
professional at all times. If Becky had her way, everyone would attend.
If you find yourself saying you can't, then ask yourself why not,
and what would happen if you did?
of the most outrageous and scariest experiences Robbins encountered
was a whitewater rafting trip down the Colorado River through the
Grand Canyon. "At the end of that trip, I felt so grateful because
I became more."
out each night, checking her sleeping bag for scorpions, no makeup,
no showers for five days, and having one set of wet clothes and one
set of dry clothes would no doubt strengthen the courage of even the
is a great way for women to discover who they are without all the
trappings like makeup and curling irons," she concludes.
experiences in the world of adventure have done more than strengthen
her inner resolve. They've enriched her spirit and inflamed her desire
to share her path of perseverance with others, especially young girls
and boys. Several years ago, after speaking to a fifth-grade class
at Stovall Elementary, a school that educates underprivileged students
in the outskirts of Houston, Texas, Becky and Tony fell in love with
the little faces that expressed wide-eyed hope and innocence for the
a result, the couple adopted the class, which consisted of about 100
students at the time, and offered them a challenge. The Robbins' offered
to sponsor each child's college education if certain criteria were
met. Each child must stay in school, maintaining a B average or better.
Each must perform a minimum of 25 hours or more a year of community
service so they understand the importance of giving back, and as they
got older, must increase the time spent on community service. And,
of course, none may have a criminal record, do drugs or alcohol or
get pregnant. The results is $4,000 a year for each student for each
year of college, or a $16,000 sponsorship. Each year the couple return
to the school to provide encouragement and inspiration.
while it's important to Robbins that all students get a fair chance,
she's especially cognizant of the overwhelming need for young women
to receive the support and encouragement they require to build their
academic expectations and self-esteem. "It's so important to
me that young women have balance in their lives; that they are more
than their appearance, looks or being attractive to a guy," said
Robbins. "It's such a focus at that age."
financial independence to girls and young women is another area important
to Robbins. "Young women need to know that they can create their
own money. Knowing that you can support yourself enhances a woman's
confidence and sense of security."
of the importance of this message early on while still struggling
with her own enlightenment, Robbins made sure that her daughter Jolie
learned the skills required to grow into a woman with confidence and
independence. Today, Robbins exudes pride, beaming from ear to ear,
when she speaks of Jolie's dancing and singing career, and the success
she has found on Broadway.
becomes emphatic when she speaks about the need to focus our attention
on the education of young girls and the importance of supporting them
and understanding how resourceful they can and must be. "One
of the most powerful things I've learned is how important being resourceful
is. Resourceful to me means, 'you need to find a purple zipper in
Timbuktu by 2 p.m. today.' No doubt Becky Robbins would find it.
are also no doubts or confusion when it comes to Robbins' mission
in life. She wants to help young girls become great women. Or at least
help give them the opportunity to explore all the options available
before they make any final decisions about their futures. And when
you're resourceful, options are endless.
her adventures continue? You can count on that. Even though she and
Tony divorced in 2000, she is still working at Robbins Research, and
remains good friends with the giant motivational speaker. And she
is destined to delve into the world of adventure for many years to
come. "I now take educated, calculated risks. They add to my
confidence and who I am. I love adventure. I love it!"
determination, perseverance and faith all have a place in our lives
whether it's for adventure, in business, our personal lives or parenting.
Just ask Becky Robbins.