How to Experience a Breakthrough: Strategy, Story, State

April 14, 2019

Categories: Change

Tony Robbins says that to experience a breakthrough in your life, you need to consider 3 key things. They are easy to remember because they all start with the letter S:

  1. Strategy
  2. Story
  3. State

Before we get too far into the 3 S’s, take a few minutes and think about your life. Is there something you would like to change? What area of your life are you struggling with the most? For many people, their struggle lies in one of three areas: work/finances, body/health, or relationships. What about you? Pick one area where you’d like to experience a breakthrough. Spend a few minutes journaling about what success would look like in that area of your life.


The first S is strategy. Strategy gets at the tools you need to make a change. It’s the roadmap. For most areas of your life, you don’t have to figure it out yourself. There are experts who have succeeded and can show you the way. For example, if your problem area is finances, you could purchase a book on personal finance or meet with a fiduciary who could advise you. If it’s your health, you could read a book on diet/exercise, get a personal trainer, or hire a nutritionist.

Don’t try to tackle your problem alone! You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. You can learn from the best, and implement their strategies (which have been shown to be effective) in your life. Instead of spending a lifetime trying to understand a field of study, you can read a few books and get the lay of the land. Follow in the footsteps of the successful people, and you will be on the right track.


The second S is story. Sometimes getting in touch with a winning strategy is all we need to get going in the right direction. A lot of times, however, strategy alone doesn’t do it. We’ve probably all had the experience of reading a book, or getting a coach, and thinking: “That will never work for me because…” We have self-limiting beliefs about ourselves that get in the way.

When I was in high school, I was 50 pounds overweight. Even though I “knew” about exercise and healthy eating, I didn’t do it. Why not? Because I had a negative story about myself that kept me stuck. I didn’t really believe that I could lose weight and get in shape. To move forward, I had to replace my self-limiting beliefs with a more positive story about my potential and what was possible.


The third S is state. Our state has to do with our body and physiology, and it can have a powerful effect on the stories we tell ourselves. We’ve probably had times when we felt “on,” like we were powerful and could conquer anything. On the other hand, we’ve probably also had times when we were tired, worn out, or hungover, and felt like nothing in the world could ever go right.

Because our state is so powerful, it’s important to do everything we can to encourage a positive state. Whenever anyone is trying to make a change, I always ask about “state basics.” By themselves, they don’t seem that important. But put them together, and they can strongly affect your state.

State Basics

  1. Sleep: Are you getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night? Are you going to bed and waking up at about the same time every day? Are you waking up feeling refreshed and well-rested?
  2. Exercise: Are you getting regular exercise (at least 3x/week, preferably 5x/week)? Are you doing some strength training? Are you exercising at a high intensity level?
  3. Nutrition: Are you eating enough healthy foods every day? Are you limiting sugar and processed foods? Are you eating a lot of fruits, vegetables, and protein?
  4. Water: Are you drinking enough water each day?
  5. Alcohol: Are you limiting your alcohol intake? If you want to maximize your state, think about cutting alcohol out completely.
  6. Caffeine: Are you limiting your caffeine intake? If you want to maximize your state, think about cutting caffeine out completely.

Also, if you find yourself in a negative state, you can do something with your body to change your state. Research found that even standing in front of the mirror in a “power pose” (think Wonder Woman) can have positive effects on your physiology. In my own life, I have found that doing a short set of high intensity exercises (e.g., wind sprints or max effort push-ups) has a similar positive effect.

Putting It All Together

If you want to maximize your ability to create a breakthrough in your life, make sure you have the 3 S’s on point. First, have a sound strategy for improvement. Read up on the experts. Second, make sure you have a positive story rather than a limiting one. Finally, get your body in a positive state. When you get your strategy, story, and state working together, it’s like the wind is at your back. Anything is possible.


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