real life

'I thought Tony Robbins could change my life, but it didn't work out.'

I realise this is all totally cliché as they would say in a LA high school, but I’m in my forties and feeling as though I’ve lost my way. Or I never had a way. Or the way is over there and I don’t know how to get there. Or I missed an important turn-off ten years ago.

I’m not going to call it a mid-life crisis because 1) it’s not a crisis it’s more of a constant background hum in my life, kind of like the sound of my dodgy fridge. 2) I refuse to accept I’m mid-life. Full stop. No correspondence will be entered into.

This is me not having a mid life crisis... (Image: Supplied).

I’m thinking about myself ad nauseum and it is nauseating. I’ve never had a five year plan. I’ve never read self-help books. I’m not into strangers promising to have life’s answers for me.


In an effort to probably stop me talking about myself my friend, who is positive and lovely and all into helping people, asked me to send her some goals for the year. Some goals might focus me she said, and make me think about what I want.

Hmmm. Life goals? I should know this... thinking… thinking… nothing. So I googled “Popular life goals” and sent her a couple from a handy listicle. I don’t think googling life goals is what she meant.

Then Tony Robbins approached me. In my Facebook feed anyway. Ads for his seminars kept popping up and there he was on stage with his hands up in the air like some sort of square jawed Jesus wearing too long shorts. I didn’t click.

Then a colleague told me the documentary, I Am Not Your Guru, about Mr Robbins was fascinating. I watched it and have to admit I agreed.

Mr Robbins in my Facebook feed, an interesting doco, big girl lost? They were all pointing to one thing. Clicking. Maybe this is what I need? Maybe my problem has been I’m way too cynical. Yes. Yes. I need a kickstart. I need someone else to give me the answers (I also need someone else to give me the questions but I’ll worry about that later).

This is the man following me on Facebook. (Image: Facebook)

I found out there was a four day seminar in September this year in Sydney (is that a sign or what?) that included FIREWALKING called Unleash The Power Within. I need some unleashing, who doesn’t, and then I clicked on the price and went …. Oooh, bugger me Martha. It’s over $1000 and I just can’t do that at the moment.

I was sad, because I still needed to change my life and I still needed someone to give me the answers. I just needed the cheap kind. So I bought the book for $29.95. How clever am I? I was going to unleash on a budget.


I took my book home from the shop, grabbed a pen and notepad to write important life changing things on and started reading, announcing to anyone who walked past me that I was going to change my life. You wait family. Different person coming. Watch this space. I did hand movements to go with it.

By late evening something started to nag at me. There were case studies of Donald Trump and Michael Jackson and something smelt fishy.

LISTEN: According to The Well, turning 40 isn't a death sentence, it's just the beginning (post continues after audio...)

I looked at the cover. I wasn’t reading Unleash The Power Within.

I had bought the wrong book to change my life. (Who does that? Answer: someone who actually does need to change their life.)

I was reading Awaken The Giant Within not Unleash The Power Within. Giants and power aren’t the same thing. One goes Fee Fi Fo Fum. The other turns on lights.

I sighed. I told the kids.

That is so you mum. Getting too excited and buying the wrong book to change your life. My husband boiled the kettle. Probably not a great start.

I had a cup of tea. Life still the same. No giants or power in sight. But there was now a chocolate HobNob within.

I’m not giving up though ….

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Have you ever read a self-help book? What impact did they have on your life?