When Tony Robbins was in high school, he set goals for his 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s that he's still working on today

Tony robbins fijiGraham Flanagan/Business InsiderTony Robbins is no longer the motivational speaker you may remember from the ’90s.

If you’re like millions of people around the world, you were first introduced to Tony Robbins in the late 1980s or ’90s through one of his ubiquitous infomercials for his books and audio lessons.

The thing is, the Tony Robbins of the early ’90s is totally different from the one of 2017.

Sure, his brand is still built upon his seminars and books, but he also has personal clients like billionaire investor Paul Tudor Jones, who pay him at least $US1 million each year. He’s built varying degrees of friendship with the last few American presidents and has even coached Bill Clinton; he gives leadership coaching to organisations that have ranged from startups to the Golden State Warriors NBA team.

He also helps entrepreneurs and executives determine how to work better with their teams and grow their businesses, he’s an owner of 33 companies, 12 of which he runs directly, and he predicts the sum of their annual revenues this year to be $US6 billion.

In a podcast interview with Business Insider at his Namale resort in Fiji, where Robbins was hosting the winners of Shopify’s Build a Bigger Business competition, he told us that his unusual career progression was all part of a plan he built as a sophomore in high school.

Long before he ever thought of becoming a life coach or business consultant, Robbins mapped out his life when he was about 15 years old, he told us. His response to living in a troubled family and a physically abusive mother was a need to help others escape pain and confining lifestyles, even though he didn’t yet know how. Here’s how he saw his life unfolding:

  • In his 20s, he would help people on an individual basis.
  • In his 30s, he would help small groups of people simultaneously.
  • In his 40s, he would help large groups of people simultaneously.
  • In his 50s, he would help organisations.
  • In his 60s, he would help society through politics.

Robbins, who is now 57, achieved all of those goals, with a tweak to the last one, by the time he was 40.

“I got ahead of that schedule very quickly, but it pretty much has been the path that I’ve been on,” Robbins told us. “I’m just a little further ahead.” He said he hasn’t decided yet if he still wants to make a run for politics, but after coaching politicians and seeing what that world looks like, he thinks he would rather remain in an advisory role.

“I don’t have to work another day of my life, thank God, but I’m in a place where I probably work as hard or harder today than I ever have, but I do it because I want to, not because I have to,” he said. “What is the difference between work and play? I think the difference is purpose.”

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