Last month I invested in a trip to Chicago and spent four days with peak performance coach Tony Robbins.

If you don’t know Tony or his work, he is worth knowing. He grew up in a household with very little money, often experiencing holidays with no food and a rotating door of four absent fathers.

His career took shape in the early 1980s as he walked on the beach, 40 pounds overweight, listening to the rock tune “Barracuda,” and feeling a big change was needed.

At the age of 19, after working with other legendary speakers like Jim Rohn, Tony’s path of success included conducting seminars, radio shows, writing books, and coaching.

Wikipedia reports Tony earned more than 30 million dollars in 2007, and that he has coached Serena Williams, Donna Karin, and Greg Norman, just to name a few. If that’s not enough, this spring NBC picked up eight episodes of “Breakthrough with Tony Robbins,” a reality show that follows Tony and participants as they battle personal challenges.

I’ve been a fan of Tony’s for years. I’ve read a few of his books and seeing him live was an item on my wish list. This year I decided I was going to do it.

A while back, I saw Tony on NBC’s “Today” show. The segment touted his web site so I checked it out and signed up for his emails.

I receive them often enough, but not on an obnoxious schedule. They’ve always been inspirational and have a deliberate business purpose. Most include a video of him, which I’ve found to be a great way to disseminate information and sell product. I’m definitely going to start using video when Oddpodz relaunches.

TR sold me. The last email video message mentioned his upcoming Unleash the Power Within™ event to be held in Chicago.

I signed up. And not just as an attendee. I purchased a Diamond class ticket for an additional $1000. Why spend the extra bucks? Because, 1) I deserve it (which I know sounds like a Saturday Night Live segment with Jack Handy) and 2) If you are going meet other high achievers, it shouldn’t be in the nosebleed section. The extra fee was well worth it. Not only did I meet a ton of very cool, got-it-going-on people; the choice seating and no-wait entry zone is the only way to go.

By far this event was one of the most enjoyable, inspirational things I’ve done in my adult life. And I would highly recommend it to people looking to take their lives to next level of success and happiness.

The event was held at the Radisson in Schaumberg, IL, which is one of the nicest convention properties I have visited. It is very contemporary; hip, and energizing.

The event attracted over 3000 people from 18 countries. It was four packed days of incredible content, inspiration, and networking.

Tony was completely amazing. His nonstop energy and conviction were invigorating, and for me the fact that he and I were born in the same year and same month was my magic connection. I have to admit, there were moments during which being his age made me feel like a slacker.

Then I had a dose of reality. I am definitely not a slacker; I just need to amp up my standards and goals a bit this year.

All four days were extremely intense. There was lots of jumping, yelling, dancing, and loud music, and tremendous energy flow.

I learned some fascinating methods for controlling the mind and managing the body. And there are sessions that the wussies should not apply. Breaking old and bad patterns is very personal. While the event includes a big room of people, the exercises are very intimate.

If you ever take this journey, wear running shoes and bundle up. The room is frigid. In fact, I heard they kept the temperature at 58 to keep everyone alert and focused. It worked for me.

The first day Tony introduces human concepts about how most of us live; embracing our values and needs, thus creating the results we have. He then walks though those same situations and demonstrates how people can achieve different results by breaking old patterns, changing their story and mastering a deliberate, strategic state of psychological and mental being.

While none of this is new, breakthrough science or even a foreign language to most, it is presented in a way that can alter one’s thinking and beliefs and produce meaningful change.

My mind was in very good place when I arrived in Chicago. While the economy has challenged all of us, I had a very good year and continue to make excellent progress on my road to higher success.

My agenda in attending this event was two-fold, 1) observe a fellow master speaker and business authority and 2) further develop my success package. I took away both.

As many of you know, part of Tony’s Unleash the Power Within™ program is the infamous fire walk.

This is where sane humans prance across several yards of smoking-hot, burning coals while their fellow higher achievers and some tribal drummers chant on. And most don’t burn their feet.

Including me.

I’m not disclosing all the details, because the ultimate experience comes from participating in the journey; but I will tell you, it was one of the coolest experiences I’ve had.

Being with thousands of complete strangers, in 37-degree, raining and windy, freeze-your-ass-off, brutal weather and achieving this scary-as-hell task was freaking remarkable.

Some highlights the event taught me and Tony Robbins teaches so well.

• Fear is the universal poison. But there are ways to leverage it and manage it to achieve happiness and success.

• Your past does not equal the future unless you choose to live there.

• The one word to sum up success is progress.

• Your mind and body are amazing success and happiness alleys. Master them both.

• Proximity is power.

• Start now. Life is not a dress rehearsal.

So, did my fire walk experience unleash more of my personal power?

Stay tuned and you’ll see for yourself.

Countdown begins, as we get closer to the re-launch of Oddpodz. I promise you, the wait will be worth it.

If you’d like more information on attending one of Tony’s events, reach out to my pal Scott Roberts at Robbins Research International, Inc.