Tony Robbins has an imposing stature, a loud husky voice and and an intense energy. The uber popular business and life strategist often presents to large crowds and he's good at it — he has a commanding presence and is a captivating speaker. In the course of his career, the 57-year-old leadership coach has shared quite a bit about himself and his life, including painful details about a traumatic childhood.
What Robbins says people don't know about him, though, is that behind the larger-than-life stage presence is a man who does a lot of homework.
"Probably nobody knows how hard I prepare," Robbins tells CNBC Make It.
For example, Robbins spent between 12 and 13 hours preparing for a one-hour Facebook live his friend, the legendary hedge fund boss Ray Dalio, asked him to do.
"I just I want to be so prepared that no matter what happens, I can make it happen," says Robbins.
He does the same for his live events, which run from three and a half to six days and are expensive — in person tickets for an upcoming half-day seminar cost $1395 to $2995 and sold out.
"I get up on stage, it's 50 hours in a weekend and most people won't sit for a three-hour movie that somebody spent $300 million to make. I've got to hold their attention and have an impact. So in order to do that, you have to be so prepared for anything," Robbins tells CNBC Make It. "So I can enter that audience and anything can happen, I can turn it into something really useful.
Preparation is key to success in such a fluid situation.
"I over prepare and then whatever I prepare for almost always changes because when I get in the audience, you see what people need and it changes, but I'm still ready for anything that occurs," Robbins says.
"It's like making huge economic deposits so when you go to cash a verbal check it doesn't bounce, right? Or mental check, a psychological check.
"That's kinda how I operate."