@SeanStephenson was born with a very rare bone disorder called Osteogenesis Imperfecta aka Brittle Bones Disorder. During his birth, nearly ever bone in his body was broken.
Sean recalls a time when, as a kid, just pushing his Tonka truck across the floor caused him to break a bone. By the time Sean was 18, he had already fractured his bones over 200 times.
The doctors predicted that Sean would not survive his first day, but through the love and determination of his parents and the love around him, Sean pulled through and has grown to become a powerful force to rid people of their insecurity.
As a child, Sean did not grow up like an average kid. He needed constant attention and was confined to a wheelchair. As he says, “I was in a constant battle either with my body or with my self image and self worth.”
On October, 1988, Sean’s life changed forever. He had fractured his leg by catching it on a door frame and was in excruciating pain. As his mother tried to calm him down, she asked him, “Is your condition going to be a gift or a burden?”
These words caused a powerful shift and realization in Sean. In that moment, Sean realized, “It’s not about what you have. It’s about what you do with what you have.”
From there, Sean knew that no matter what obstacles or challenges lay ahead, he was the one who was in charge of his destiny. Himself and himself only.
That’s his secret and with that belief, Sean went on to work at the White House, achieve his doctorate in Clinical Hypnotherapy, become a recognized international speaker, an author and a TV personality. He has made friends with world leaders such as President @BillClinton, Sir @RichardBranson, @TonyRobbins and the @DalaiLama.
One of Sean’s childhoods dreams was to throw out the first pitch at a Major League baseball game. He realized this dream and it is well-worth the watch on Youtube! As Sean says, “I am living the life I chose.”
Sean has impacted millions of lives, helping them end self-sabotage and realize their true potential. When I asked him in 2012 what his life was all about, he said, “to rid the world of insecurity.” Nowadays, he may add on to that, “to pursue my independence.”
I find it astounding the lengths we will go as humans to find hope in the world and confirm our own greatness to ourselves. I have done this with this book, seeking the inspiration and the hope that I needed to find in the world for my own sanity. I see this over and over again with the incredible people I have interviewed for this book. On our quest to affirm to ourselves and become who we truly are, we are driven by the seed of greatness that lays within each and every single one of us. As we tend our own inner garden with relentless love, and unwavering passion, abundant and delicious fruit becomes available not only to ourselves, but to all those around us as well. Our own satisfied deep desires and realized authentic potential ends up impacting the people around us and, in turn, makes our world a better place. When we embrace our challenges and develop the strength, resilience, and directed focus necessary to find the gift within any challenge, great or small, we not only give ourselves a gift; we serve the world as an example of what’s possible rather than a warning of the nightmare that ensues when one loses touch with their own greatness and gratitude for life.
Sean’s mission to rid the world of insecurity is surely born of his own relentless desire and commitment to tame and take hold of the reins of the inner storm that raged so fiercely within himself for those first 30 years of his life. Our greatest contributions will most often begin with a seemingly insurmountable challenge. It’s in our victory over the challenge that we are freed, and thus able to finally step out of our perceived prison and free those around us, as well.
What I have found through these interviews is that in overcoming any struggle, we are given the gift of being able to help others to do the same. In Sean’s case, his journey has inspired millions. His achievements and dedication to being his best, no matter what the circumstances, have made him the inspiring, successful and deeply fulfilled person that he is today.
Never underestimate the power of a single decision, for it was in a single moment of decision that Sean’s life became a gift, rather than a curse.
“I am here to tell you that you have no excuses. You have no insecurities to be afraid of, no more fears if you don’t want there to be. There are no boundaries. You can accomplish anything you allow yourself to. You can overcome any challenge life gives you. You can live the life of your dreams and I’m living proof and I’m here to help you be living proof as well.” – Sean Stephenson.
Among all of the achievements and successes that Sean has known, there is one that truly stands out among the rest; that is finding the love of his life; the girl of his dreams, Mindie Kniss, and marrying her.
At the age of 30, fed up with having to be dressed by his parents every day and wanting to become a man for himself and for the woman he loved, he and Mindie ran away from home, “for real!”
This was a massive leap of faith for Sean, as his parents had literally been his full-time caregivers all his life. He knew it would not be easy and so to cut off any possibility of going back, he and Mindie left on a cross-country journey without telling anyone where they were for several months.
In that time, they broke free from the bonds of certainty and comforts that served Sean for so many years and allowed him to break into
When Sean was 20, he published his first book titled, ‘How YOUth Can Succeed. In that book he defined success as… “Success is a dream with a plan of taking action. It’s not the result. I find that there’s a lot of people that beat themselves up because they don’t have their stuff yet. They don’t have that home… that car… that airplane… that girlfriend, husband, wife, whatever it may be. That child. And, so then they feel like failures. I disagree with that because if you have a dream and then you have a plan on how you’re going to go get it and then you go take action, it may take you a while.”
“Life is paradoxical. It goes by in a heartbeat when you’re done, but yet when you’re going through it, it feels like sometimes you’re running in quicksand.”
“I think there needs to be a distinction. Are we talking success or are we talking fulfillment? Because I don’t know if they are necessarily the same. They could be, but to me, if somebody says, Is that guy successful, he may have a lot of stuff, but if he’s not fulfilled then he’s not successful.
“Maybe according to my 20 year old definition he is because he took action on his dream and he was careful with his plan, but he’s not fulfilled. And so maybe that’s a point that we have to add here is that success has an element of fulfillment to it and that if you’re fulfilled then you’re successful.”
“Fulfillment is something that you can get if you live under a highway viaduct and love life. You can be fulfilled without any of that stuff. I’ve worked with so many millionaires and billionaires, celebrities, athletes, famous personalities, many, that are miserable because they have their stuff but they’re not fulfilled.”
“Fulfillment… has a two part element to it that one of my mentors, Tony Robbins, has taught me well, which is… you need growth, where you’re taking your mind, body and your spirit to the next level and contribution, which means you’re taking the planet or humanity to the next level.”
“I find that you need both because some people will become personal growth junkies and then never give back and they’re miserable because they may be in great shape and have a lot of money and have stuff, but they aren’t giving back to a family or planet or humanity. And then I find that these people that are philanthropic junkies but they don’t take care of their health and they don’t take time to quiet their mind or love themselves. And so they’re all about saving the planet, but they aren’t saving themselves.”
When I asked Sean if he considered himself to be successful, his response was, “Some days. Do I consider myself to be fulfilled? Absolutely. Do I consider myself to be successful? Some days I don’t because I’m not taking action on my plan. And that’s the key difference.”
“People like progress more than accomplishment. Accomplishment is fleeting. I got my doctorate degree. Ooo, yay, you know. Sounds flashy. It’s fun. But it took twenty-four years of schooling from kindergarten to the end of my doctorate. So, to get that, it’s an accomplishment, but once I got it, after being called doctor about a hundred times, that happiness faded. Progress feels so much better!”
“Progress means that it’s unfolding. I don’t feel successful when I’m not feeling progress. All the accomplishments in the world don’t make me feel successful. It’s progress that does. Progress lets you know that you’re still alive. People who are dead have a lot of accomplishments, but they can’t progress anymore, at least in the incarnation that they were in.”
I asked Sean to share his thoughts on how money relates to success.
“I think there’s beauty in humans not put money above each other, but I think there’s also a beauty to knowing that if you want to help the poor don’t be one of them.”
While exploring success with the many people I had the fortune to interview, one of the things I wanted to find out was who they looked up to. Who were their role models and mentors? This is powerful way to get to know what a person values and what has influenced their decisions to get them to where they are today.
I was surprised that almost every single one of the people I interviewed, whom I believed to be truly successful, mentioned their parents as their role models above anyone else. To me, this pointed to the value of a rich family life growing up to support a person to pursue their dreams and live on purpose.
Sean shared, “My parents. My father, he’s my business partner, he’s my best friend, he’s a dear role model of mine. He’s taught me how to look at everything logically. My mother’s taught me how to look at everything emotionally so… I’m not afraid to hug and cry, but I also know when times are tough you’ve got to suck it up and create a plan to take action and cry about it later.”
Sean also mentioned other mentors he’s learned from in marketing, @EbenPagan and @JoePolish; in personal growth, @WayneDyer, @DeepakChoprah, @ByronKatie, and @TonyRobbins.
“And there are new people that are on the rise in the personal growth industry… I call them my friendtors. These are actually friends of mine who are becoming mentors to the planet and mentors still to me. People like Brian Johnson from @PhilosophersNotes, @MastinKipp from @TheDailyLove and @EricHandler from @PositivelyPositive.
I asked Sean what he would say has been the greatest challenge he has faced in his life. His response was fascinating! I guess I am always fascinated to hear of obstacles that people have overcome, but to hear what Sean said about his own challenges opened my eyes to why he has become as success and fulfilled in life as he has.
“You know, being born in the container I’m born in was kind of difficult, I say tongue and cheek; it was very difficult and still has it’s days where it’s very difficult. To this day, I need help getting dressed, getting in and out of a car, I ride in a child’s car seat… there are a lot of physical challenges for me.”
“I’d say there are bigger challenges for things like finding somebody early on in my life. In my twenties, finding love was very difficult. Trying to navigate love… was very difficult. I mean, I was a late bloomer and blamed my disability and said that that was why women weren’t attracted to me and then went on a journey to figure out what attracts women. I spent about four years reading hundreds of books, going to seminars, going out and meeting women, making mistakes, swinging that pendulum too far over, to then coming back to the middle and finding who am I after getting over my fears of talking to women. Finding what it’s like to be in relationship was difficult, but then finding the right relationship and the right woman to say ‘Will you marry me?’ Getting to that prize, that victory of finding the love of my life; that process was extremely difficult.”
“Finding myself was the challenge, not finding Mindy.”
Sean found that he has laws of Nature that he has to follow just like everyone else. “If I focus on what I don’t want, don’t have and don’t like, I’m miserable. And so are you. And so is every human being.”
“I found a guy who realized that, wow, okay there’s these principles, these laws, that if you follow them, you’re gonna be alright. On the days that you don’t follow them, you’re not gonna be alright, so just follow them.”
“When you do what works, life works. When you do something that doesn’t work, your life doesn’t work. When I get up at six in the morning and I exercise, and I drink four bottles of water a day, and I eat at least one high plant-based meal a day, and I meditate, you know, I’m pretty solid that day. When I sleep in, eat a high carbohydrate, lots of fat, lots of sugar, salt, don’t exercise, look at my bills and get frustrated because it seems like there’s never enough money, then I’m miserable.”
“The guy that I met along the way was the one that said, ‘Hey! I know your ego would like to think that you don’t have to follow these rules cause you’re the expert, but you do. You do!”
“You know, and I think that’s another thing I found along the way is that I have to be very very careful who I let in my life. And by let, I mean, even reading things on the internet. I have to be careful about Googling my name anymore because, not that I’m some Brad Pitt of celebrity status, but I’m of enough visibility now that millions of people know who I am and, of millions of people, there are gonna be people who are really hurt and upset and angry with life and the way they vent their own self disgust and their own self frustrations is to use me as a pin cushion or use me as a punching bag, verbally, online through social media. And just getting used to the fact that that’s part of the process. You know, I can’t get everybody to love me because, well, that’s impossible and it’s not my job. My job is to just love everybody.”
I asked Sean about the key decisions he had made that shaped his life to be what it is today because I believe that the decisions we make are one of the most powerful forces that shape our life and our destiny.
“One was to go back to school and become a therapist because I learned a lot about listening. Before that I had just been a professional speaker and so I thought I had all the answers, when all of a sudden, somebody actually opened up about a deep-seeded pain, I didn’t have the sutures. You know, I didn’t have the scalpel. I didn’t have the instruments to be of best service to them. I had only motivational quips.”
“So, going back to school being a therapist was one. And I know the day that I did that. I had a girl come up to me in an audience and she rolled her sleeves up and said to me, ‘Why do I do this to myself?’ and there were cuts all up and down her arm. And I didn’t know what the hell that was even all about. I had never heard of self-mutilation. I didn’t even know why somebody would do it. I didn’t have an answer. I was scared. I was ill-prepared and I said, ‘I don’t know, but I’m gonna find out’ and I went back to school and stayed in school for, gosh, probably about another eight years after graduating college.”
“Then, the second decision was, I ran away from home at the age of thirty-two. People think that I’m joking, but I’m not. I was so tight with my family, my parents, and then my now wife, Mindy, who was my girlfriend at the time, she was always encouraging me to stand my ground and if I disagreed with them or, whether it was them or anything else in the world, to let my own voice be heard even if it’s gonna cause some friction and turbulence in the moment.”
“So, at thirty-two, I had a huge argument with my parents. Really, when we look back on it, they were wanting to say, ‘I love you, don’t go. Keep being the Sean that we’re used to you being,’ and I was saying, ‘I love you, but you need to let me go.’”
“I hit my breaking point and I left. I didn’t tell them where I was going and when I would be back. Mindy and I left. We traveled the country for a month and told no one where we were and it was the most liberating, scary… I’d never been on an airplane without being with my parents, or my dad. I’d never been that far away from home and not told them where I was. While that might sound childish, I’d been raised in my family that I was the one with the disability and they had to look after me and they needed to be aware of my whereabouts at all times. So, leaving … getting on that airplane, not telling them where I was going, when I’d be back. That was difficult.
You can check Sean out on Twitter @TheSeantourage
He has his own tv cooking show here: http://3footchef.com
Programs & Audios here: http://seanstephenson.com/shop/
Say HEY! to Sean on social media by tagging us both @SeanStephenson and @FacingDragons and have a great day!