Lying on the ground in the middle of a remote village in Uganda, Jairek Robbins was about to die.
Millions of parasites had infected his red blood cells with malaria, and thanks to a family tradition of eschewing modern medicine in favor of the belief that one's body could heal itself through natural remedies, he'd refused to take the very pills that could save his life. A local doctor told Robbins that unless he changed his mind and took the medicine, he had just a few more days to live.
"I called Dad first," Robbins recalls in his bestselling book Live It! "I told him the situation and he said, 'You'll be fine. Do whatever you believe with 100 percent certainty, and that is what will heal you. If you believe your mind will heal you, your mind will heal you. If you believe the medicine will heal you, take it, and the medicine will heal you. But whichever you believe, do it now and do it with certainty!'"
Robbins made one more call, this time reaching his mother.
"She said, 'I didn't raise you for eighteen years so you can go die in some godforsaken country on the other side of the world! Take that medicine! I am on my way!' and she hung up the phone," he writes. "I remember laughing and thinking she wasn't going to be happy when she got here. After thinking long and hard, I decided to take the medicine, just in case."
A Life Nearly Lost ... A Calling Found
Robbins, who was only 22 years old at the time, survived, but the experience changed him forever.
"It wasn't the thought of death that scared me most - it was the fear of not ever having really lived," he says.
Since that day, Robbins has spent the past 14 years as a business coach, speaker and trainer, mentoring thousands of professionals worldwide via his online trainings, keynote speeches, live events and coaching programs.
The cornerstone of his success, Robbins says, lies with three of the biggest lessons his famous father taught him.
Lesson 1: Learn it.
"I'm a lifelong learner," Robbins noted during a recent podcast interview. "My curiosity, my research, is all on this: How do I get to what works? How do I apply it in my own life and really get the actual, tangible results it supposedly promised?
"Then, if it works for me, how do I get it to work for other people around me? And if I can get them to do it, and then I can step away and it continues to work in their life and increase performance, magnify productivity and give them a happier, healthier, more fulfilling life, perfect. Now I know what works, and now it's my duty and responsibility in my eyes to take that to as many people as humanly possible."
Lesson 2: Live it.
"There are some topics I research that I would never stand up and tell someone else about because I'm not there yet," Robbins says. "I certainly know the studies, I know the book work, I know the research behind it, but there's no way I could talk to someone about the topic from a real life experience because I haven't been there."
However, Robbins says, when you really live what your preach, it resonates far more deeply with your customers and clients than any sales pitch or theory ever could.
"There's something about being able to look someone in the eye and say, 'Listen, I get it. I've been there. I know exactly what you're going through,'" he says.
Lesson 3: Give it.
In today's business world, far too many people are getting caught up in the vehicle and not paying attention to the message, according to Robbins.
"You become so concerned with trying to be a speaker, to be a coach, to be an executive, to be a entrepreneur, you're trying to get this title or this position or role instead of focusing on, What's my message?" he explains. "What is the piece of value I'm trying to bring to life? And how do I find any vehicle on earth that allows me to bring that message to the world and to other people?
"Stop trying to be famous and special and unicorn-like, and instead you put all your value on the end consumer getting the result that you dream for him or her to get," Robbins says.
Living It ... Every Day
While he isn't planning on any more near-death experiences, Jairek Robbins has not forgotten the lessons of that day in Uganda.
"I came to the realization that if I would have regrets if I died tomorrow, I was doing something wrong," he says. "For me, it's simple. Learn it. Live it. Give it."