Seth Rowlands: From Tony Robbins to Selling Tony Homes

June 16, 2011
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Seth Rowlands

Seth Rowlands

Motivational speaker Tony Robbins would be proud of one of his former students and employees. His name is Seth Rowlands, and he works as a Realtor for Century 21 Marty Rodriguez in Glendora.

Now 32, he lives in La Verne, where he and Cristina are rearing their three children, Sebastian, Adrian, and their 5-month-old baby, Isabella.

“Every time, I come to work, I ask myself, ‘If my kids and my family were watching outside this window, am I being the type of person I want them to see, am I being the example that I want them to follow?’” Seth said.

Seth daily asks those kinds of probing, thoughtful questions. He also writes in his journal every day, writing and affirming his goals, poring over his action list and checking off the outcomes. “If you don’t write it down, it’s not real, it’s not concrete,” Seth explained.

At this point in his life, Seth is all about accountability. “If you’re not progressing, you’re regressing,” Seth said, adding, “That which can be measured can be improved.”

If his life is any kind of yardstick, he definitely has improved and continues to improve.

“I work in a great office with the best team and with the best support system, so there’s no better time than now for me to be my best and live my dreams,” he said.

How he landed at Century 21 Marty Rodriguez is a remarkable odyssey showing that the American Dream is still alive.

Seth grew up in a small rural Pennsylvania town of about 2,000 people called Wind Gap. After majoring in graphic design, he knew he wanted to see the bright lights of a big city, so he flew out to California in 2001 and landed on the couch of his brother who was living in Long Beach.

Immediately, he got work with an IT company in Ontario, Calif., helping people sort out their hardware and software problems over the phone. It wasn’t exactly his cup of tea, but it was a job. At the time, his girlfriend worked for Century 21 Marty Rodriguez, and one day when he heard that the office was going to a four-day “Power Within” Tony Robbins seminar, Seth decided to sign up, too. He had downloaded some of Robbins’ lectures on Napster, and had also rented his CDs from Talking Book World in La Verne. “Tony was always somebody I valued,” Seth said. “I was always aware of him.”

But nothing quite prepared him for the real thing.

“When the doors flung open, the energy that came out of that room was amazing,” Seth recalled about his first day at the seminar. “The music was blasting. Then in comes this 6-foot-7 giant of a guy. By the end of the night, he got us all clapping and screaming and walking on fire. I’m thinking, ‘What the heck did I get myself into?’”

One of the themes of the seminar is that you can accomplish a lot more than you think if you’re focused and committed. Still “on fire,” Seth gave notice at work that he was leaving and applied for a job as a waiter at Black Angus in Covina despite having no experience, but he now had the “power within” to make changes in his life to take him where he really wanted to go.

During his job interview, the skeptical manager asked him to sell her a pen. “I made her feel that when she picked up that pen, that pen was going to help her write amazing things.”

But eventually, he found out the waiter gig wasn’t for him, either, so he went back to his old IT company. One day, he picked up a “Money” magazine, whose cover story dealt with the expanding housing bubble and the bigger question, would it ever burst.

“Everything just became clear to me,” Seth said. “A career in real estate offered unlimited income potential, full freedom and the ability to be my best every day.”

He enrolled in classes, and after working a short time in a small San Gabriel Valley real estate office, he was hired by Century 21 Marty Rodriguez Sales Manager Ed Rodriguez III.

He hit the ground running, and in a short time, he bought a house in Rancho Cucamonga and a new Mercedes. He was so successful he even had money to hire a Tony Robbins coach. Indeed, the coach was Tony’s son, Jairek. One day, Jairek addressed Marty’s staff in Glendora, where Seth learned the Robbins’ organization was looking for a few local sales reps.

“I was saying ‘yes’ to opportunity,” Seth said.

The next week was interviewing for a position with the company. During one interview, Tony Robbins walked in.

“I was face to face with someone I’d admired for years,” Seth said.

Wowed, the kid from the Poconos accepted a job with the company, rented a Sunset Blvd. apartment in Hollywood and was living a lifelong dream.

“It was my lifelong dream to live in Hollywood,” Seth said. “I wanted to move and be in the thick of things.”

He wasn’t long for Hollywood, however, because for the next three years he was living out of a suitcase, traveling to all the major U.S. cities conducting Robbins workshops and recruiting people to attend Robbins’ multiple-day $500 a ticket seminars.

Seth took his craft seriously. He listened to other speakers on YouTube to improve his own style. “I learned what a good speaker is,” Seth said. “I understood what I was doing better.”

At the same time, he was tiring of life on the carousel. He was living the life of the George Clooney character in the film, “Up in the Air.” Living in a hotel was lonely and depressing,” Seth said. “The fun wore off. It was a job.”

And he also met someone he really liked in Orlando, making it tougher to keep winging it from city to city. Romance finally trumped Robbins, and he quit, giving up the company-paid car, phone, lodging and other perks of working for the Robbins organization to stay in Orlando

For work, he took a job with Paychex, a payroll services company, but quickly found out after so many years of being on his own that the button-up corporate world was a poor fit. His employer felt the same way, and two weeks later he was out of a job. When he found out his girl friend Christina was also pregnant, he was feeling the pressure. That’s when he called on his Robbins training once again.

“I had to put everything in perspective,” he said. “Every day people lose their homes, their retirement,” Seth reasoned. “So that Monday, I showered, I shaved, and I put my suit on. I knew I couldn’t be lazy.

“I was convinced I still had value. I knew opportunity would come my way, I just had to be ready for it. No one is going to hire anyone who is depressed. I had to do what I was always doing, writing down my goals, staying focused, being positive and most important, taking action.”

He took action by studying for and obtaining his Florida real estate license, but when the office he was with wanted to pursue a business model that he wasn’t on board with, he put in call last November to an old friend, Marty Rodriguez.

“My best asset was my relationship with Marty,” Seth said. “She always lifted me up and believed in me when others didn’t. She gave me a vehicle to succeed.” After speaking with Ed Rodriguez, he was packing his bags for California.

It wasn’t an easy departure. His baby was due in January, and with the holidays fast approaching it would have been easy to delay the trip until the new year. But he resolved that he had to leave for the good of the family that next week, and called his brother to tell him to save his spot on the couch.

“I put my whole life in that car, and kissed my family goodbye,” Seth said.

At the same time, heading west on Interstate 10, Seth saw a whole new world awaiting him. “That was a journey of the lifetime,” Seth said. “I had passion, I had purpose and everything going for me. It was a great opportunity in front of me.”

A couple days after hitting the couch, Seth was hitting the phones in Marty’s office. On Dec. 24, 2010, two of his clients’ sales offers were accepted. He called Christina with the news that he sold a house, and when she calmed down, he told her he had sold another house.

Seth used the money to fly back to see his new baby, whose birth he missed by a day. He was also able to move his family to La Verne in time for Christina’s birthday on Feb. 26.

Like the lessons from Robbins’ book, “Awaken the Giant Within,” Seth sees a future with unlimited potential.

 “I’ve been through challenges and changes, and shown myself I can get out of them,” Seth said. “Now I’m setting the bar higher.”

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