Entrepreneur, best-selling author, and "CEO Whisperer" Tony Robbins discussed his success with CNBC's Tyler Mathisen at Inc.'s iCONIC conference in Los Angeles on Wednesday. Robbins emphasized the importance of achieving an owner mindset rather than an operator mindset in order to scale a business.
"The choke hold on the growth of the business is always the leader. A business is a system that adds value even when you're not there," he said, adding that leaders need to actually be leading instead of doing everything themselves.
"I've found it's 80 percent psychology and 20 percent skills," Robbins said, explaining that the psychological aspect is dependent on how much you grow, improve, and push yourself beyond what you thought was possible. It's easy go down the wrong road: "They focus on where they want to go, instead of what they're afraid of."
Stress, which Robbins calls "the achiever word for fear," also plays a huge factor. "If I follow the trail of your stress, it'll take me to your deepest fear," he said. This is what Robbins often tells the entrepreneurs he advises, like Marc Benioff and Richard Branson, to focus on tackling. But he doesn't expect everyone to succeed. "It's a gut-wrenching process," he told the crowd. "Entrepreneurship is not for everybody. Most people fail."
But there is hope. "The ultimate resource is resourcefulness," said Robbins. As a child, he developed the skill of creative problem-solving in trying to cope with an abusive mother while protecting his siblings. "It developed moxie," Robbins said wryly.
As for his ability to go, go, go--and what motivates him to continue--Robbins says "the drive part is falling in love with your customers." But he cautions against falling in love with the product, since they need to change over time--or be reinvented entirely. Part of managing a successful business is balancing what's needed today, and then, once revenue comes in, inventing for the future.