Dr. Sean Stephenson is what I call a Miracle Maven – someone who lives by the Miracle Equation and has achieved remarkable results, or what I call “tangible, measurable miracles.”
Because of a rare bone disorder, Sean was predicted not to survive at birth. In fact, he’d suffered over 200 fractures by the time he turned 18.
However, Sean has survived, thrived, and lived a life that has inspired millions around the world. He’s appeared on Oprah and Jimmy Kimmel Live, has online videos with 10+ million views, been the subject of a TV series for A&E called 3 Foot Giant, and published a book titled Get Off Your Butt.
Sean’s success in life against all odds is a result of his unwavering faith and extraordinary effort. Today, he joins the third episode of the podcast in my series about the two decisions that lay the foundation for my new book, The Miracle Equation: The Two Decisions That Move Your Biggest Goals from Possible, to Probable, to Inevitable, to share how he beat his toughest challenges and created a life full of miracles.
– Sean Stephenson
"No matter what your container, no matter what your station, no matter what you were born into, you have to view it looking for the advantages."Tweet It
- How Sean was born into adversity, the moments that shaped who he is, and why Sean refused to be defined by his DNA.
- How Sean answered a tough question from a mentor – and why that moment defined his mission and changed his life forever.
- Why Sean’s container is a tool that gives him unique advantages and ensures he’s heard and remembered – not a setback.
- The first time the Miracle Equation appeared in Sean’s life, and how a meeting in his teens and a case of mistaken identity led to Tony Robbins, who notoriously doesn’t write forewords, writing the foreword to his first book within hours of the deadline.
- Why so many people give up before miracles have a chance to show up.
- How mentorship can activate your capacity for extraordinary effort – and how to make it an ordinary part of your life.
- Why Sean says he goes through “seasons of discipline” and how finding love helped him conquer his urge to burn out.
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Hal: Goal achievers, welcome. Welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome to the Achieve Your Goals Podcast. This is Hal Elrod. Welcome to a very special episode because this is the third episode in The Miracle Equation series leading up to The Miracle Equation book launch on April 16. As I mentioned last week, you can preorder your copy of the new book, The Miracle Equation, how to move your biggest goals from possible to probable to inevitable, on Amazon or wherever books are sold. And then here’s the cool thing. If you forward your receipt to the email address: [email protected] and pay attention, there’s been some misspelling on that. There’s two Es in the middle. Miracle ends with an E. Equation begins with an E. So, [email protected] but forward your receipt. If you do that today, you’re going to get over $1,200 in bonuses. I’m going to lead a six-week live Miracle Equation implementation course, how to create tangible, measurable miracles, and that’s going to start the week after the book publishes.
And then you’re going to get a Miracle Equation limitless potential guided meditation and you’re going to get a Miracle Equation one-page printable implementation guide so you can keep it front and center during your Miracle Morning or just during the day because what we focus on expands and I want The Miracle Equation to expand in your life and your world and enable you to take all that is important to you and bring it into reality. So, what’s special about today’s episode is this is actually the third podcast episode in this Miracle Equation series. However, this is the first interview of what I call a miracle maven and I know you haven’t read the book yet because it’s not out for another week or so but in the book, I talked about the way that I define people that live by the Miracle Equation, which is really anyone who’s really achieved amazing results in their world, extraordinary results, or what I call tangible, measurable miracles but a miracle maven is one who understands miracles, one who understands how to create them.
And our guest today, Sean Stephenson, Dr. Sean Stephenson, is someone I would consider a miracle maven and he’s been a miracle maven from a very young age because Dr. Sean Stephenson was predicted not to survive at birth because of a rare bone disorder that stunted his growth and causes bones to be extremely fragile. When I say extremely fragile, he fractured his bones over 200 times by the time he turned 18 and despite his challenges, Sean took a stand for a quality of life that has inspired millions of people around the world. And since 1994 so over 20 years now, his powerful message has been heard at live events in nearly 50 states and 16 countries. He shared the stage with US presidents, billionaires, business moguls, celebrities, and his Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, and Sean has even appeared on everything from The Oprah Show, doesn’t get bigger than that, to Jimmy Kimmel, in addition to online videos with tens of millions of views. And the Biography Channel produced an hour-long feature on Sean’s life called The 3 Foot Giant.
And Sean has also the international best-selling book of Get Off Your “But”, a book that has “but” B-U-T, been translated into over a dozen languages. He’s a board-certified therapist, a Doctor of Clinical Hypnosis, and Dr. Sean Stephenson sees clients in a unique 12-hour session to get to the root of their fears, excuses, and insecurities. And I’ve also met his lovely wife Mindie. They both have traveled the world, but call Scottsdale, Arizona their home. Again, from a very young age, as I mentioned, Sean has implemented the two decisions that make up the Miracle Equation, unwavering faith and extraordinary effort.
And if you study the world’s most successful people in all walks of life, from prolific creators and innovators and world champion athletes, you name it, across the board, you find that they could not have gotten to where they are without making these two decisions, unwavering faith and extraordinary effort, and not just once but making them over and over and over and over again as a fundamental way of living and showing up to every challenge that they face and every opportunity that comes their way. And it is through unwavering faith and extraordinary effort that miracle mavens like Sean who you’re about to hear from are able to create tangible, measurable miracles, and really create a life filled with miracles.
Hal: So, my very first interview I was joking with Sean before we started, “This is kind of an experiment,” so hopefully this – but with Sean, it can’t go anything but well, but I’m very honored and excited to have Sean, you my friend, on the podcast.
Sean: Hal, I am super excited. It’s inevitable this podcast is going to go well.
Hal: It is inevitable but of course like anything when it’s your first time and I’m like I’ve never asked these questions to anybody so hopefully these are the right questions but let’s just start. I mean, again from birth, you were born with what many people could call a limitation or born into adversity if you will, just these physical, this condition that you were born with. So, I would love to hear about and for your audience to hear about your upbringing and what was life like growing up and what were some of the moments that shaped who you are today.
Sean: Sure. So, I feel like when I look at my life, Hal, starting with my birth that I have very clear two options to choose whereas I think most people have lots of options. I think most people don’t really fully figure out whether or not they’re going to tackle life head-on or they’re going to maybe play it safe and keep it okay. I felt like really early on if I’m going to survive like literally going to live, it’s going to be because I have a clear-cut vision of where I’m headed or I’m not going to have a vision and I’m going to perish. And it says that in many spiritual texts that people who don’t have vision, perish and it’s because when you have massive adversity like I did at birth with my physical condition, you need that vision to pull you forward or you just get crushed by the day after day after day of pain and challenges and adversity. Sometimes I feel like I may have blocked out a little bit of how much pain I went through as a child just so I can go on in my life and not have it kind of be like a weight from my past but there was a tremendous amount of pain.
I wasn’t physically abused by a family member or a neighbor but I was physically abused by my DNA. My DNA was abusive and you can’t outrun your DNA. You can’t hide from your DNA. And so, with that, I had to get very clear on who I am separate of my DNA and whatever happened, happened that I wasn’t going to stop. My mentality from a very young age was that the only thing that’s going to stand in my way of my dreams is death and I decided to give that the run for its money. And it’s been a really wild existence. I’m turning 40 here in about a month-and-a-half and…
Hal: When’s your birthday?
Sean: May 5th.
Hal: I’m May 30th. Yeah, we’re pretty close.
Sean: Yeah. So, does that make you a Taurus? Or you now in…
Hal: I am a Gemini but, yeah, I’ll be 40. Sorry. You’re a Taurus?
Sean: Yeah. So, my mentality it’s always been that only death is going to stand in the way of my dreams and I’m going to give death a challenge. I’m going to stay one step ahead and it was really I feel like my competitive side has been a big part of why I’m still here. My competitive side and there was a conversation that I have with the mentor. I don’t know if I’m jumping ahead and where you want to go with this.
Hal: No, it’s okay.
Sean: There was a conversation I had with one of my mentors probably going on nine years ago and I have a group of mentors about 21 of them over the course of my life that has really shaped a lot of my reality and my opinions and my values and one of these mentors he just got really quiet with me and he said, “Sean, I’m going to ask you a question and I’m going to need you to take it really seriously,” and he said, “Why were you born?” And I’m going to ask your listener right now the same question. Why were you born? And that’s a heavy question from most of us because it doesn’t have an exact answer in a very clear textbook. It’s based on a spiritual energetic response and for me, I did something that my wife Mindie has taught me to do which is get out of your head and go into your heart and get into your heart consciousness.
And your heart doesn’t have any questions and the head doesn’t have any answers. The head is what produces the questions and the heart is what produces the answers. And so, the answer that I was able to summon and my mentor asked me why were you born, it was very clear that I was born to rid this world of insecurity and he said he could feel the hairs on the back of his neck stand up when I answered that. He said it came from a deeper source and I agree and he said, “Sean, I want you to know that not only do I think that that’s accurate but this needs to change the rest of how you live. Everything from this moment forward should be run through the filter of are you ridding the world of insecurity? And this is your mission now. It’s been clearly laid out for you what needs to be done. You need to rid this world of insecurity. And if anybody was born into a container that the human race would listen to on this topic, it would be you. Because if you’re a perfect specimen of health and you walk out on that stage and you say, ‘You don’t need to be insecure,’ the audience is going to have an abreaction and say like, ‘Who are you to say that?’ Like, ‘It’s easy for you to say.’”
But when I roll out on stage, 3 feet tall in a wheelchair with twisted mangled arms and legs and I say to somebody, “You do not need to feel like you’re not worthy of respect or worthy of love or worthy of a great life that you are enough just the way you are born. You are enough,” when I say it, people listen because they realized that the chemistry set at which I have to live in with my container that didn’t come easily. That came with choice and effort over time and when I say it, something recently popped out of my mouth when I was on stage and I said, “If I looked like you, you couldn’t hear me the same way.”
Hal: Yeah. You actually said that at our Best Year Ever event and it resonated so deeply with me. Yeah.
Sean: Yeah. And that’s why I believe that my container who I am is a part of my mission. It’s not like I was born with this and then I kind of stumbled into, “Oh, I guess, I want to make people feel good.” No. This container was a part of my co-creation with my creator as a part of the tools in my toolbelt. I don’t look at it like, Hal, you got a better body than I did because you can walk. You got a different body than I did. And so, my body gives me advantages that other people’s bodies don’t have. For one thing, I roll into a room and people will remember me for the rest of their life. I’ve had maybe once in my entire life where somebody didn’t remember meeting me that I knew I met once. And apparently, that’s a regular occurrence for you normal-looking people because I don’t know what that’s like and I’m grateful I don’t know what that’s like. I don’t have to grow out my hair and spike it and get it to look like I fell into a tackle box with piercings to get people to pay attention to me. I just go outside.
Hal: So, describe your body real quick, Sean, for anybody that doesn’t know. Yeah. How tall are you? Describe your body.
Sean: Sure. So, I’m 3 feet tall but because of my bone structure, I can’t walk. My body, my legs can’t hold the weight of my trunk so I use a wheelchair. My legs are kind of bent in almost like frog legs because the bones were combed by the muscles over time and were bent in whatever direction the muscles wanted to go and so my legs are kind of bent in. My arms are twisted so where most people would bend at the elbow, my arm kind of corkscrews to the right and left. The arms are bowed and my chest bones of my sternum where most people at the sternum if you touched the center of your chest, you can feel that bone. Mine protrudes out because all the ribs pushed it forward to have room for the organs. Since I didn’t grow tall, my ribs had to push out on the sternum. And this container for, oh gosh, most of my life I have been on a journey to enjoy the packaging that I was given by looking for the gifts, understanding that it wasn’t an accident.
And some people debated me on this, Hal. They’ll say, “Well, Sean, what if you’re just delusional and that’s just s**t you’re making up so that you can feel good about yourself?” I go and my response is, “So what then? Like, I’d rather live in that reality where I’m supposedly delusional feeling good than realistic feeling like I was a genetic disadvantaged reject of my genetics.” So, you have to no matter what your container, no matter what your station, no matter what you were born into, you have to view it looking for the advantages. You got to look for the advantages in your life because that’s what’s going to pull you forward. Never listen to or allow a disempowering prediction to limit you. You have to rewrite the story of what you’re going through in a way that empowers you. Never believe a prediction that doesn’t empower you, is the normal way that I say that.
Hal: Well, and I love that. Like, I’ve always said it as everything happens for a reason. There’s that old adage. But we choose the reasons and to your point, yeah, this whole realistic when people counter you and they’re like, “Oh, well is that the stuff you’re making up to feel better about yourself?” It’s like we create our own reality and reality is our life is as good or as bad as we choose to see it. And whenever I hear somebody complain about their body like, “I’m 5 pounds overweight,” or I’m like, “Well, why would you allow that to affect your emotional state and your quality of life?” Like, there are people that are 100 pounds overweight or there are people like Sean that are 3 feet tall and it’s like so should they be unhappy? I think that should give us and, Sean, to your point I think you’re so right that you’re born into a body that gives people perspective.
That’s when I thought of my car accident. I’m like I was hit head-on by a drunk driver and found dead because otherwise I couldn’t have stood up in front of a room and been like, “Hey, you know, you can be happy even when things are going bad.” If I have a great life, I’d be like, “Whoa, easy for you to say.” I’m like, “Oh, no, no, no, no, I was told I would never walk again but I was still happy,” because the outer circumstances define your internal reality and you’re such an epitome of that.
Sean: You know, Hal, I’ve always thought about this. I don’t know if I’ve ever shared it with you but it’s so true with a guy like you. What doesn’t kill you only raises your speaker fee.
Hal: Yeah. You’ve said that to me. You’re funny. For those of you that don’t know, go watch on YouTube videos. Sean’s one of the funniest speakers in the history of speakers. Man, you are the highlight. We had Sean at the Best Year Ever blueprint event this last year and, I mean, Sean I literally, literally which is an expression but it’s never happened literally but I fell out of my chair twice laughing while you are giving your message, dude.
Sean: Thank you.
Hal: Yeah. You are a gift, man. You are a gift. So, I want to dive in into The Miracle Equation a little bit and look at how the two decisions that make up this formula how they have shown up in your life and I’d love to kind of visit like early on like when was the first time these two decisions shown up for you and then how do they still show up for you now. For you and for our listeners, I wanted to find a miracle really quick and the reason is miracle is a very loaded word. It’s often viewed as a passive or random act which I think gives miracles kind of a bad name. People are just going, “Well, yeah, miracles happen for random people and I keep praying waiting for my miracle, waiting for my lottery ticket.” But the way that I like to reframe miracles is in a way where, “No, no, these aren’t mythical random acts. These are tangible, measurable results that we have control over creating or at least influence over creating.” So, let me put it in a sentence. I define a miracle as any result outside the realm of what you believe is possible or probable for you. And that’s why when you achieve it, it feels like a miracle because you’re like, “Oh my gosh, it was so far outside the realm where I thought was possible but I gave it everything I had and it actually happened.”
The first decision that makes up or that I believe contributes to what creates a miracle for us is establishing and maintaining unwavering faith that you can create whatever that result is that you want. And most people don’t do that because they go, “Well, I’ve never done it before,” and there’s lots of self-doubt. We have to overwrite that doubt with faith. And the second decision is once you’re clear on, “Okay,” like you said the vision, what’s this miracle that I’m going to create? Then, okay, what’s it going to take? I’ve got to put forth the necessary effort or what I call extraordinary effort to make this miracle a reality. And if you maintain unwavering faith, you put forth extraordinary effort over an extended period of time until you reach your goal, it becomes inevitable. Your success becomes inevitable. So, that’s kind of the big picture context. So, diving in, when it comes to unwavering faith, when was the first time or the first defining time that you established the faith that you could do something that you had never done before?
Sean: I think when I was sitting with this woman named Bryn and we were at a lunch meeting in Santa Monica and I was in my early 30s, no, actually I’m in my late 20s and she was an executive producer of a TV show and was very successful and she said, “Sean, I heard you on…” Back in the day, they weren’t called podcasts. They were called like monthly interview series, right?
Hal: Yeah. Sure.
Sean: But essentially, they were the same thing, right? And I was on a monthly interview series that she heard and she’s like, “This man’s message needs to be heard into the world and shared with the world,” and so she met with me for lunch in Santa Monica and said, “You need a TV show,” and she said, “But I have to be honest with you. A million shows get pitched a year like around the world,” and that actually might be a million in the United States. I don’t know. But she just said a million. And she said something like 10,000 get picked up and made into shows and something like 1,000 air on television in a year. And she’s like, “So, it’s tremendous odds against you,” and whenever I hear somebody say like tremendous odds against you, I can’t help but have my curling of the corners of my lips like I have to smile when someone tells me that something’s not possible because of the statistics.
Because the stats were so against me just being born and living through my condition. So, I’m somebody you want to bet on for the long haul and when she said that this is a long shot but would you be willing to try it? I didn’t know but I started to clearly keep the vision in my mind and three years later after flying back and forth between New York and LA and multiple ups and downs, we finally sold the show to A&E and the 3 Foot Giant was born and that was an incredible experience but I wasn’t sure it was going to happen but, actually, can I share another one?
Hal: Yeah, please.
Sean: Because there’s another moment that’s even crazier because I was convinced that it would take magic. I would need a miracle, and that was when I wrote Get Off Your “But” and I wanted Tony Robbins to write the foreword. Have you heard this story, Hal?
Hal: I have not.
Sean: So, I wanted Tony Robbins to write the foreword to the book and I…
Hal: Who doesn’t want Tony Robbins to write the foreword to their book?
Sean: Right. Exactly. And if you noticed, Tony Robbins doesn’t write any foreword.
Hal: No, he doesn’t.
Sean: You’re lucky if you get an endorsement from Tony Robbins, let alone the foreword and I had met Tony Robbins when I was younger when I was 19 years old and I asked him at 19, “If I ever wrote a book, would you write the foreword to it?” Now, he’s talking to a 19-year-old kid at the time and I don’t think he thought it was going to happen or whatever so he said, “Sure.” And fast forward to now, I’m in my late 20s, down well over 10 years later, and I’ve got the book sold to the publisher, Wiley, and that as you know in the publishing world it’s a big deal to get a big publishing deal. You had to jump through a lot of hoops, write proposals, have literary agents. There’s just a lot that has to happen and I told my publisher I’m going to have Tony Robbins write the foreword because when I was 19, he said he would do that. And nobody believed me. Like people were like, “It’s not going to happen.” So, I started contacting because Tony is like the President of the United States.
Hal: Yeah, exactly. It’s a little hard to get a hold of him.
Sean: Really hard to get a hold of. And so, I’m reaching out to every contact that I could find to try to reconnect with him to say, “Hey, I need you to write this foreword now that you promised.” And everybody from his lawyers to his agents to his security, you name it, it was like, “No, no, no, Tony does, maybe he promised that then but he doesn’t have the time now. That was 10 years ago. Blah, blah, blah. No, no, no, no, all these doors were shut,” and my publisher is like, “We’re ready to print this. You need a foreword. You don’t have a foreword and if you can’t get us this foreword tomorrow morning, we are going to have to pull the book.” And I did something that was otherworldly I still can’t explain how it happened cosmically but I went to bed that night so focused on parting the seas like Moses. I’m like, “This has to happen,” and I, literally, this is when I like stepped back into my spiritual roots and I was like, “God, if you’re listening, I know you got a lot going on but I really need your help. I need to get Tony Robbins to get on board with writing this foreword. He said yes. I believe he will do it. I just need to reach him.”
And the next morning the miracle happened. I opened up my computer. I was in San Diego at the time and as I pulled up in the laptop screen, I see an email of Tony Robbins and it said, “Sean, the speaker in my living room is broken. Can you come over and fix it?” And I’m like, “Why the hell is Tony Robbins asking me who knows nothing about subwoofers and speakers like why is he asking me?” And then it hit me like a ton of bricks. He had accidentally written the wrong Sean Stephenson in his address book on his email and he thought he was writing his sound and AV guy that comes over and fix his stereos.
Hal: No way.
Hal: No way.
Sean: Yeah. So, I immediately wrote him back and I was like, “Tony, oh my God, I think this is a mistake but I view it as a divine mistake. We met all these years ago. You said you would write a foreword to my book. My book is actually needing to be printed and I need this foreword today. Will you please write this foreword for me?” And within six hours I opened up my email again and I had the foreword to my book.
Hal: Sean, A, yeah, I’ve never heard that story; B, that is extraordinary; and, C, you and I, I don’t think either of us can explain that and what I mean is this. So, in the book, the first chapter is called taking the mystery out of miracles where I try to bring a miracle from this mythical random thing that we feel like we have no control over so therefore, I’m not empowered to do anything about it to no, no, no you can actually create these things in your life that are beyond what you can imagine. So, I tried to make it really tangible for people but then at the end of the chapter, the last section in bold, it says, “Putting the mystery back in miracles.” It’s the chapters taking the mystery out of miracles. The last part is called putting the mystery back in miracles and it talks about exactly this which is you can’t explain it but when you start to live like you had unwavering faith, you established unwavering faith that Tony would write your foreword.
You maintained that faith despite every sign from rejections to nonresponses, every sign that said, “Dude, you’re not going to get Tony to write the foreword,” even to the fact of it being the last day which it creates more doubt like, “Dude, there’s no way.” But you maintained unwavering faith and putting forth extraordinary effort through all that time then there is a mystery. It’s like you can’t explain how Tony accidentally freaking emailed the wrong Sean Stephenson the day that you needed him to do it. You don’t need to understand how your car works when you turn the key. You just know that when you turn the key it starts. You don’t need to understand exactly how these miracles will show up in your life. You just need to know that if you want to create miracles in your life, you have to make these two decisions and maintain these two decisions, unwavering faith and extraordinary effort.
Sean: Well, here’s what’s so crazy about the unwavering faith is so my family has always been big supporters of my dreams and I remember when I went to bed that night even my family was like, “Sean, I think you’re going to have to let this one go.” So, like finally when you have your last card and it’s not going to work and you’re like, but here’s how crazy, this is the unwavering faith. I said, “If we can’t get Tony to write the foreword then I’m not writing this book,” like I was going to pull the book from being published like that’s burning the boats. That’s not having an escape plan. I literally feel like I peeled back an invisible veil of reality and like whispered into Tony’s ear, “Open up your laptop, send the wrong guy an email and get be connected with me,” because I was somewhere in his email address book at the time is when we met when I was 19. That’s how we connected but we hadn’t spoken or connected each other since and I didn’t have his email like he had mine. I didn’t have his actually. So, it was crazy like it was a new email address on his side but my old email address and the fact that it all played out that way, that was one of the days where I realized it was so spooky that I was like, what else am I capable of?
Hal: Yeah. Right. I mean, there’s so much more that we don’t know than that we do know. We think that what we see is all that’s real and, yeah, there’s that quote. I don’t know who said it but I think it’s something along the lines of, “When you make a decision, the entire universe conspires to make it happen.” And I think that’s the mysterious element of miracles is that, yeah, when you make a decision, you made a decision that Tony write your foreword, the universe conspires to make it happen and most people give up before they give themselves a chance for the miracle to show up. You got a week after you get your first rejection from Tony’s team where you can go, “Yeah. Well, hey, we tried. It’s not going to work.” But when you maintained that until you get the result you want, it mysteriously magically miraculously happens.
Sean: I love the song lyric it came out in the 90s from Will Smith, “No plan B. It distracts from plan A.”
Hal: Yeah. And Will is a miracle maven in half. In fact, if you get him in the podcast that’d be awesome.
Sean: Yes. I haven’t met him yet, although I’ve been conspiring with the universe to make it so but the time has not happened yet.
Hal: Beautiful. Well, let me ask you one more question. Let’s dive into the second decision. I’d love to get an example for you from this. So, the second decision is extraordinary effort and, of course, you can dumb that down and go, “Yeah. Of course, you have to work hard but, yeah, you do.” The amount of effort you put forth typically will quite closely parallel the type of results that you create. Somebody, an athlete that is a world champion typically the amount of effort they put in the gym is, I mean, Michael Jordan, the Kobe Bryants, these guys are usually known for they’re the first ones to show up. They stay late. They outwork everybody else so they put forth extraordinary effort and then when they’re on the court, when it’s game time, they’re the ones that win the championships.
So, for me personally, my whole life I was lazy. I wasn’t born, I didn’t have this, I wasn’t like – I had a military father where just like grinding and working hard and disciplined. I was really lazy for my entire life and for me, the defining moment when I was 19, I started a sales career and the culmination of I found the goal that was meaningful enough to commit 100% to and then I found a mentor to guide me to reaching it and those two combinations is what switched on my extraordinary effort and, yeah, I’m willing to work hard and do whatever it takes. The beauty of it is once you live this miracle equation it becomes a part of you. So, once you put forth the extraordinary effort, even if you’ve been lazy your whole life and then it turns out even if you don’t reach your goal but you actually get close or you develop some qualities that you really feel great about then it gets easier and easier and easier and extraordinary effort quickly becomes pretty ordinary. So, I would love to know, first question is were you always motivated and disciplined like from childhood on or was there some defining moment somewhere along your journey that changed things for you?
Sean: I’m going to say something that’s not going to make me look good but it’s the truth.
Hal: All right. I love it.
Sean: I go through seasons of discipline almost like a pendulum. I’m either all on or I’m all off. There is no gray to Sean Stephenson. There’s only black or white when it comes to discipline. So, I’m either working out every single day or you won’t see me in the gym at all. I’m either eating 100% clean on my diet or I am a disgusting pig with my food. I am either super fixated on my goal, getting out of bed super early going after it or I am just watching Netflix like I am somebody that when I’m on, I’m the best to be on your team. When I’m off, you would never want to work with me. And I fought that my whole life because it’s crazy but as I’ve accepted that, all I got to figure out is how to stay on like what has to happen to keep the machine running and when I mean running, I don’t mean like I burn myself into the ground and don’t do self-care. It’s quite the opposite. When I do the self-care, I can keep the machine going. When I stopped doing the self-care I burn out and I quit.
So, I don’t know if it’s that I’ve always been disciplined. I have seasons of being disciplined and there are certain things that I have to do but the example that came up for me because you asked for like an example of endurance that like I’m fixated on my goal and had to keep going. It was finding love and this might be a little bit of a curve from a lot of the answers you’ll get which will probably be based on business or health but for me, it was love and I want to tell you a little bit of a story about that because the listener right now might be in that space. And that is when you’re born 3 feet tall and in a wheelchair in today’s society, you’re kind of categorized as a sexual convert. Most people don’t think of you as a dating option. They see you as cute, inspiring and, oh, wow it’s amazing that you’ve done so much. It’s not like a, “Holy cow, I like to date this guy. I like to have intimacy with this guy.”
It was a lot of challenges that I had to face when it came to dating. In fact, people would say, “What was the hardest part of your life?” And I would say, “Finding love.” Because two things, I have to peel back all my own insecurities and then I had to find people that didn’t have massive insecurities to be with a guy like me. And that meant I had to kiss a lot of broads before I met my princess and now my queen and I can tell you that there were so many nights from about – I was one of those weirdos that I never went to the girls at cooties phase. I always liked girls. From the moment I hit kindergarten, I always wanted a girlfriend and from kindergarten until 31 years old, I just kept moving forward saying, “I will have love in this lifetime. I will have somebody that will have my back that will be an awesome relationship partner. I will have this.”
And because I have that energy and decision that I had to make every day, that means I have to go through rejection after rejection and I can’t tell you the number of times, Hal, that I heard this one statement and I actually felt that there was a conspiracy at one point in my life against me that all the women were coming together to memorize this one line. And that one line is, “Sean, you’re amazing. I’m in love with you but…” and then whatever they would say, “But I can’t be with somebody in a wheelchair.” “But how can I walk down the aisle with a guy in a wheelchair when my family doesn’t think it’s going to work?” “But how are we going to have children?” But blah blah blah blah. And I would face this again and again and again and people would tell me like literally, people would say like, “Sean, you should just enjoy everything else about your life. You don’t have to have love to have a good life.”
They just kept trying to get me to play small, put my glow on low and I’m like, “No, I deserve to have a great sexual healthy relationship. I deserve to have an incredible partner that I can marry. I deserve that. I’m a human being and I’m sorry that I’m in a container that doesn’t necessarily strike most people’s fancy but I know that out there, there’s somebody that will see past it.” And what I was wrong about was I went about for a year in the wrong way. I thought I was looking for somebody who would see past it. But really when I finally met my wife, she changed everything because she said, “You’ve been going about this all wrong. You’ve been looking for somebody to look past it. You need somebody to look right at it and be okay with it and love it.” She said, “I hate to break it to you but no other girl loved you before me.” And I’m like, “What?”
My heart like broke again. I’m like, “What do you mean?” And she goes, “Because if there’s a but, I’m in love with you but…, there’s no love.” And like it was heart-wrenching to hear that but also freeing because what she was saying is there is no but for me. I love you, period. So, that’s what we say to each other all the time. I love you, period, like end of sentence. Full stop. We’re done after that. And that’s the thing that kept me moving forward in this relationship with her is I realize that she loved me, period. And I was so grateful. I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve high-fived through time back in history my younger self over the years being like I am so glad you were fixated on this goal and got me here. Whether I’m on a beautiful vacation with Mindie or I’m looking at her eyes on a date night or I’m in the hospital and she is holding my hand or whatever it is, I’m so grateful for that younger version of me that said no to everybody else that said it wasn’t in the cards.
Hal: Well, Mindie is your miracle would you say or one of them?
Sean: I would say Mindie is not the miracle but the miracle of the fact that I didn’t give up because I can tell you there were so many times, Hal, and I think this is everybody’s journey maybe in love, not just somebody in a wheelchair, but did you notice that like you would meet somebody, you would get closer and you get almost like writing a book. You get drafts and then you’d be like, “Okay. Well, this has more of what I was looking for but then it wouldn’t work out,” so then you’d be like, okay, and then you’d go right back to the drawing board and you get another draft. It would be even better than what the last relationship was but, and then finally you get to the person that you want to be with and you’re like, “Okay. This is it. This is the final draft. This is the final copy.” And that experience of having to go, “Oh, I thought it was it but it’s not,” crumpling up the relationship and starting over with somebody else or with maybe clearing the slate and starting over with your current partner like that level of focus to know that it’s going to be okay, that takes some ton of faith and endurance to deal with the heartbreak.
Hal: Yeah. I mean, unwavering faith that you were deserving and I think that’s a really important part. We didn’t talk about that today but I called it enlightened entitlement which is that you have to feel deserving of whatever it is, whatever miracle you’re trying to create in your life or whatever you want for your life. You got to feel deserving and many of us just feel like that Marianne Williamson quote, “Who am I to be special or happy or in a relationship or whatever?” And to your point, Sean, you have so many people tell you that like, “Yeah, you don’t need that part of your life to be fulfilled, Sean. You don’t need love. You can just be a motivational speaker and be by yourself,” and you’re like, “No, no, no, no, I’m not going to settle for that. I want and deserve to have love and a healthy happy partner and I’ve met Mindie.” You guys are beautiful together.
Sean: On our first date, Hal, this is how…
Hal: Your and my first date or this is you and Mindie?
Sean: Yeah. Me and Mindy. Our first date, I said to her no different than the Tony Robbins foreword book as I said, “I would like to sleep with you someday,” and her jaw dropped and be like, “What guy says that?” And I remember like in that moment thinking I am burning the boat. Either she is going to reject me or we’re going to be together like there isn’t a middle choice and that goes back to that black or white versus the gray area. I mean, I was, “Either like we’re going to be together or we can’t be in each other’s lives. I have enough friends. I don’t need another person that I secretly want to be with but I’d tolerate having them around as a friend. I can’t do that to myself anymore. So, are you in or are you out?” And that level of confidence and congruence is what made the relationship possible.
Hal: Wow. That is really, A, that’s an entertaining story but that’s also just incredible. That’s incredible and that’s an element of extraordinary effort, getting out of your comfort zone and just stating this is what I want and, yeah, man, beautiful. Well, Sean, you are truly a friend, you are a miracle maven, and the beauty of it is you are using your life to bring that out in other people and your life, the package you’re born into like you said it is the perfect package to do the work you’re doing and it’s such important work. I mean millions and millions and millions of people, myself included, have been positively impacted by you and your heart and your spirit, your gifts, and I’m really thankful for you, man.
Sean: My pleasure. Thanks for having me a part of this equation because this equation is something that I want you to continue to shout from the mountaintops because we need more people creating miracles and we need more people to have these choices to move forward when everybody else around you think you’re crazy.
Hal: Absolutely. What is the next best step for people to take with you? Your book, your videos, your website, is there a freebie?
Sean: Yes. So, I would like to give them a course, free. Go to TheUnstoppableFormula.com. That’s TheUnstoppableFormula.com. It’s a video course where I teach you my three steps to being unstoppable and it will get you into the Sean Stephenson ecosystem. If you want to learn more about what I’m up to, start there. It’s my gift to you and I would really appreciate it if you became a part of my life and we can bring value to each other.
Hal: Awesome. Well, I believe the message that you gave I think you taught, not I think, I know that you taught The Unstoppable Formula at our event and once again I just took notes and I was taking notes at the back of the room and just going this is considering the Miracle Equation I’m like this is the fundamentals. These three steps that you teach, three steps, right?
Hal: These three aspects that you teach, these are, I mean, there’s lots of frameworks in the world and whenever you discover framework where you go, “Oh, if I just live by this, it will radically transform my life. That is your formula.” So, everybody, check that out, TheUnstoppableFormula.com. My guest today is Sean Stephenson. Sean, I can’t wait to see you again in person, my friend, and give you a big hug, you and Mindie both, and we’ll talk to you soon.
Sean: Thanks, Hal.
Hal: All right. Goal achievers, thank you for tuning in to another episode of Achieve Your Goals Podcast. I love you. I appreciate you and go out there this week and create some miracles in your life, help others do the same, and cannot wait to talk to you next week, everybody. Take care.