In this special episode of Your Business, Your Wealth, Paul replays an episode with Sean Stephenson, who recently passed away. Paul shares his memories of their conversation and highlights the impact Sean had on his life. The interview is replayed in its entirety.
The doctors who helped deliver Sean Stephenson into this world 38 years ago told his parents that he would be dead within 24 hours because of a rare bone disorder he was born with. Well, were they wrong! Despite this disorder and the challenges he had to face in life by being confined to a wheelchair and being three feet tall, Sean went on to become a professional speaker in 17 countries and 47 different states. Sean was an empowering example to many people.
WHAT WAS COVERED
- 06:10 – Sean’s background and rare bone disorder
- 10:04 – His views on self-pity
- 12:57 – Addiction and its adverse effects on us
- 17:04 – What is fair?
- 20:36 – Choosing the pain you want
- 22:01 – The doctorate he holds
- 23:28 – The three minds: the conscious, unconscious, and higher conscious
- 30:45 – “Sharpening his saw” and his four part process to continually improve his craft
- 35:53 – Energy, imagination, and your life’s purpose
- 39:13 – Getting people out of their “funk” or their F.E.D. and into their G.A.P.
- 42:20 – Staypositive.club and his How to Stay Positive When Life Gets Crazy ebook
- 44:30 – Sean’s parting advice to everyone
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“Legends Are Made” Copyright 2017. Music, arrangement and lyrics by Sam Tinnesz, Savage Youth Music Publishing SESAC and Matt Bronleewe, UNSECRET Songs SESAC
EPISODE TRANSCRIPT – FORMATTED PDF
EPISODE TRANSCRIPT – ORIGINAL TEXT
Full Episode Transcription
Paul: Hey I was so glad that you could join us today… Today is kind of a unique show. About two and a half years ago, I had Sean Stephenson on the podcast, we’re gonna replay that episode with you today, but with a little different context, you see recently Sean passed away. Now, for those of you that don’t know who Sean Stephenson is he has had documentaries made about him, he served in the White House, he’s been on the Oprah most of which, because of what he accomplished in his life, despite being wheelchair-bound and only being three feet tall, that’s 91 centimeters he was born with this bone disease that caused his bones to break incredibly easily. In fact, what ultimately took his life was he had a fall and a head injury that he was not able to recover from. Now during his life, despite being passing away here at the age of 40, what he had done in his life is he went through his primary education as a kid and already had 200 bone fractures before he was an adult.
Paul: That left him wheelchair-bound his entire life. And despite all of that, completed his degree, became a motivational speaker, served as an intern in the Clinton White House and then as he was doing his motivational speaking people would come up to him afterward, and say, “I need help with this, I need help with this. And he felt like he wasn’t as well-equipped as he ought to be to be in the position that he could offer the kind of help people needed. So he went back to get an advanced degree in the areas of hypnotherapy and mental health so that he could better serve people ultimately he came up with the practice like an advanced counseling practice where he would spend a day with high income executives and entrepreneurs and have impactful conversations with them that would absolutely change their lives. Now Cory my business partner actually had one of those folks who Sean had made a difference for impact his life. And that is exceptional. When you have the chance to make a big enough difference in the world that the people that you made a difference for are now out making a difference for other people. It’s hard to compare that kind of impact in the world.
Paul: Now, what you guys wouldn’t know is Sean was the first celebrity we ever had on the podcast and as a result, I was a little nervous going in, so I got him up and running on our podcast recording software at that time, we had a little bit of a conversation and I said man “I’m nervous.” And he says that’s okay, it’ll be no problem, Paul. He walked me through a set of exercises in the way I held my body the way I was speaking to then just let that nervousness drain right out of me, and we had an incredible conversation. He’s a gentleman who made an enormous difference for many. You could be one of them, but I would highly encourage you to hear two specific themes that he talks about. One is that pity is a drug and it will anesthetize you against being able to achieve your aims.
Paul: And that fairness is an illusion. You see, so often people live in a life where they feel like they’re oppressed, by the things that are not fair. He certainly was somebody who everyone would have totally understood with that particular disease, the inability to grow taller than three feet, to be wheelchair-bound your entire life would be plenty of reason for people to say it’s okay for you not to do much in this life. And yet in the span of 40 years that he was here on this earth, he accomplished more than many despite his physical frailties. You see, you get dealt the hand that you’re dealt in life. The question is when those things happen, that everybody else would consider bad we need to stop and reflect and say, “wait what can I do, what can I do that would make a difference for others, what can I do that will make a difference for me, and allow me to overcome these challenges and I think you’re gonna hear the spirit of that in Sean’s voice in this episode, we’re enormously thankful that Sean came on the show.
Paul: I met him after he spoke to a group of entrepreneurs that I was spending time with and were it not for his impact in my life I may never have been able to prepare for some of the other celebrities we’ve now had on the show. Now at this time we weren’t video recording? All of our weekly shows, we were still on podcast only format then. So, please forgive the fact that the rest of this will be audio but do take the time to look up some of Sean’s stuff, that’s incredible. It’s all over YouTube. I know it’ll make a difference for you, because the man made an incredible difference to me in being able to design and build a good life.
Paul: Welcome to Sound Financial Bites. I’m Paul Adams. It’s so good to have you here with us today. I get a chance to introduce to you, Sean Stephenson, who’s an incredible speaker, he’s an amazing motivator, not to mention, a man that has deep insights into the human psyche both for the sake of his own performance, but more importantly, for the performance of others. Sean I’m so glad you could come on Sound Financial Bites today.
Sean: Thanks for having me on the show, bud.
Paul: If I can, a little bit of background for those people who might be doing dishes right now, or they’re out on the run, or they’re driving to work this morning while they’re listening to us, you’ve been described as, on the biography channel, the three-foot giant when they did a documentary on you. Maybe you could just kind of orient our audience to the beginning of how your life started and what you overcame just to have what most people consider, even to have a normal life, but you have turned that into an extraordinary life, and you’ve used that as an example for others. Could you just perhaps orient everybody to that to kick us off?
Sean: For those of you that don’t know my backstory, or my appearance, or what I’m up to on this planet, I’m going catch you up to speed as best as I can. When I was born, the doctors told my parents that I’d be dead within the first 24 hours. You can imagine the pain, and the fear, and the hurt that was running through my family’s life when I came into this world, and what’s really remarkable about my life is that it’s 38 years later, and all those doctors are dead, and I’m the only doctor who lives. I own my own doctorate now. You just don’t know where things are going to go in your life. Sometimes, the darkest moments are actually the brightest, and what you think are the brightest are sometimes the darkest. We have to stop playing the game like we know what’s happening here.
After I made it through those challenging years of birth and childhood, I dealt with a lot of physical challenges. I’m only about three-feet tall because I was born with a rare bone disorder that stunts the growth of my bones, and also it causes my bones to be extremely fragile. Something as simple as sneezing as a kid would fracture a collar bone. Something as putting on a pair of pants too quickly would break a femur. I use a wheelchair every day for mobility. I’ve been stared at every day I leave my house, and yet I’ve gone on to have a pretty amazing life, and I can’t take all the credit. My parents did an amazing job in raising myself and my sister, I was surrounded by incredible teachers and mentors along the way, and I’ve just taken a lot of good notes, implemented the strategies, some of which, hopefully, I’ll get to share with your listeners today.
We’ve done some great things with the capabilities I have. I’ve gone on to be a professional speaker for the past 23 years, I’ve traveled, speaking to about 16 to 17 different countries, 47 states in the U.S., we’ve put out videos online to the social media platforms, and it’s gotten well over a quarter of a billion views now – that’s billion with a “B”. I’m very, very blessed. I have an incredible team of employees around me, I have an incredible wife, I live in a beautiful home, I drive a luxurious awesome car. I am not somebody you should ever feel sorry for.
Paul: I’m going to take a wild guess that you felt like you were somebody people shouldn’t feel sorry for well before the accomplishments. Can you talk about that like what it was like? Nobody was going to feel sorry for you and you didn’t take that orientation back before all the accomplishments.
Sean: My mentality was always pity is a drug, and it’s the most addictive drug on the planet. Whenever you have self-pity going on, then it causes other people to feel sorry for you, and it just perpetuates the issue. You feel sorry for you, others see that, and then they feel sorry for you, and it just become a self-fulfilling prophecy that then eventually you’re like, “Why don’t I have the dreams that I’ve always wanted? Why am I lonely? Why don’t I have the money? Why am I not traveling? Why do I not have any good quality friends? Why do I always struggle to make ends meet?”
It starts with self-pity. Self-pity cause us so many things to either never happen or to get worse. You’re right. I didn’t allow self-pity into my life for a couple of reasons: one is my family was amazing growing up. They still are. They taught me that no emotion is bad, Paul. Every emotion serve a purpose, but some emotions get you certain outcomes that feel good, and some emotions get you certain outcomes that feel bad. When people felt sorry for me in the earlier days of my life, I noticed it didn’t feel good, and good things didn’t come of it. I quickly figured out, “Wait a minute, I need to correct that behavior of theirs. I need to let them know that that’s not what I’m looking for.”
Just like now. Now, I’m on the other side. I’ve built a pretty fun life, a lot of people know who I am, got some money in the bank, and so it’s an exciting place to be, and yet, I can tell you there’s new challenges that arise. The new challenges aren’t pity. It’s that now the bar’s being raised. Now, people are expecting bigger things from me, and having to meet those expectations. Now, people are challenging me to get further outside of my comfort zone and reach more people.
Next month, I’m doing something that makes me extremely nervous. I’m going to Africa to interact with people, I’m going to be going into a third-world country, I’m going to be going out into one of the poorest slums in all of Africa to work with individuals, and it’s because I’m continuing to push myself outside of my comfort zone because I know there are people out there in this world that are still suffering, they’re still struggling, they’re still addicted to challenges in their life, and I want to be able show up into their lives, tell them that I understand not what they’re going through, but they’re human being, that they have emotions, that I’ve had the same set of emotions, and that I have some strategies for them that can help them deal with those challenges.
It doesn’t matter whether I’m going into slums of Africa, or into rich neighborhoods in Southern California, my mentality is always the same: how can I be the most empowering example to others to get their life into a place that they love, and that it’s helping others, and that they really enjoy the reflection in the mirror before they go to bed each night?
Paul: Something you said there that I want to suss out a little more, Sean. You talked about two things, that self-pity can become reinforcing, and people are addicted to their problems. I think, for most of our listeners, they’re not folks who are necessarily seeking pity, but what I could see is somebody having someone in their life who’s addicted to pity who’s listening right now, or people being addicted to whatever problems that they have, which could be a complaint about a coworker, a fellow executive, a particular customer that they’re — I never thought about addicted. Can you just talk about being addicted to a problem that you have?
Sean: Let’s just talk about addiction for a moment. That word has a lot of different terms. Some people only use it as a means of explaining a behavioral or substance choice that is degrading, or demoralizing, or causes challenges like one that can lead you in death. So, there’s that version of addiction. Then, there’s just the addiction of the macro way of looking at it, which is doing something don’t want to be doing, but it feels good, so you keep doing it. You’re doing something you don’t want to do, and you know it’s not good for you, but it feels good, so you keep doing it.
Complaining can become an addiction, being sad and, “Woe is me,” can be an addiction, eating chocolate and drinking caffeine can become an addiction. There’s a lot more than just drugs, alcohol, sex, and gambling that are usually talked about as the traditional sense of addictions. Addiction is a thing that we’re all dealing with. I know that people have an addiction to their social media. I’ve dealt with that. I’ve had to cut myself also from social media for a while when I found that I knew it wasn’t good for me to be obsessing over it. I knew that I could be doing other things with my time that could be more productive, but it felt good to see how many people liked something, or commented, or what other people were doing, right? When I had to break away from that, it’s because I found that it was feeling good, but I knew it wasn’t good for me.
The addiction of complaining is what you brought up, and complaining, in general, it doesn’t allow anything positive to happen. I got a few people in my life that I’m dealing with these days that I love, that I adore, that I really know have been there for me during my toughest times, and yet, they are addicted to their pity party. They always have somebody to blame. They blame other people for their emotions. They feel like their life is being dictated by jerks, and if only they didn’t have jerks in their lives, they would be so much better off. But, that is such a bold-faced lie, because you’re going to be always surrounded by people, and some people you’re going to find to be jerks on some days, and some days, you won’t find them to be a jerk.
It comes down to you and your interpretations to the things that are going on around you. When people are, let’s say, incompetent in my presence, I don’t get all pissy and say, “I’m Sean Stephenson. Get your shit together. You need to be doing this.” No, no. When I see somebody is incompetent, I go a little deeper. I found out are they incompetent because they don’t care? Are they incompetent because they’re scared? Are they incompetent because they’re jealous? Are they incompetent because they’re confused? What’s causing that? As I get deeper into it, I can react differently or specifically respond differently to each of those different scenarios, because somebody that’s just scared, that’s a different response than somebody that’s angry.
I always try to get underneath the surface, figure out what’s going on, what’s causing that behavior, how can we get to a solution that everybody feels good, that I get my needs met, they get their needs met, and we all walk away feeling like that was a wonderful interaction. If you’re an individual that feels like everything has to go right for you by everyone around you the first time or you’re going to lose your cool, then you’re going to live a pretty chaotic, dramatic life, and I see that a lot. People get cut off in traffic, somebody will screw up their order, the bank will take longer to process a check, the cable guy will be there outside of the time window he or she said, and then all of a sudden, you can go into tailspin and like, “This wasn’t fair.”
Well, Paul, first of all, who said that life is fair, and the second thing is what is fair? Is fair anything that just goes your way, or is fair what is supposed to be unfolding for the greater good? Who gets to determine fairness? For me, what I’m always looking at is the concept that fairness is an illusion. It doesn’t exist. It’s a lie to think that somebody is starving in a third-world country that that’s not fair, and somebody that’s born in the wealth in another country, that that’s not fair, and that the person that’s tall and skinny, that’s not fair, and the person that’s in the wheelchair, that’s not fair, and you can just go on and on, “That’s not fair, that’s not fair,” at the end of the day, what are you achieving?
I’m always looking at, okay, drain out this fairness conversation, and let’s get to what do you have control over? What is in your sphere of influence? How can you respond in a way that is at your highest good? When you do all that, I just think life gets a lot easier, and I just realized that I’ve been ranting for a few minutes, but hopefully, it made sense.
Paul: You said something about something being fair, and fair being an illusion, and even discussing it would be — I’m coming up with this metaphor off the top of my head, but it would be like discussing the color of the monster that lives at the bottom of the lake like who just made it up. It is absolutely abstract the “fair”, and its exercise in futility and upset to be even discuss it. I never thought about what is fair, what isn’t fair, and usually the one I think of that I’ve done is like, “Wow, that doesn’t seem fair,” usually having to do with somebody else’s life, kind of like watching somebody get hit in a football game and wincing like, “Oh, I bet that hurt them a lot.” But, it’s an exercise in futility to even reflect on the fairness.
Sean: Let’s go even deeper. We don’t know where things lead for each of us. What may look like it’s unfair in the moment is actually opening the door into an incredible quality of life. For instance, my parents brought me into this world, and they were told that I was going to die, and that I had this rare bone disorder. If I lived, I’d live my entire life stunted in growth and in a wheelchair, and most people would hear that story and they’d be like, “Oh, that’s unfair that those parents had to go through that.” If you ask my parents today, what’s it then like raising Sean? They would say, “It’s been a blast, it’s been amazing. It’s not been easy, but it’s been so worth it and valuable, and educational for them, even.” So, to sit here and say that that wasn’t fair, no, it’s more like it wasn’t easy, right?
Paul: Yes, yes.
Sean: But, that’s not what we’re debating. If you want an easy life, then go do whatever you want, get arrested, become overweight, and die early. That’s what happens when you take the easy route every time is you just go for the immediate gratifier, and it’s just not worth it. Paul, I was just talking with a client, and we were discussing that pain cannot be avoided. Pain is present for every human being. The question is what pain do you want to choose?
For instance, last night, at around 10:30, one of my individuals that works with me was in the gym with me and pushing me to continue my workout, and it was painful. I was like, “Oh my god, this hurts.” When I was on my 300th sit-up, and it was 10:45 at night that I had promised that I would get my workout in before the day ended, it was painful. I would have much rather been sitting in front of my television, playing my PlayStation, and just sitting doing nothing, but that would have been causing a different kind of pain. That would have been a pain of regret. That would have been a pain that led to, maybe, obesity. That would have been pain that led to missing a job opportunity, and making money, or whatever it maybe. You have to choose. What kind of pain do you want? I want the pain that comes in growth, not neglect and regret.
Paul: It’s so good. You’ve referenced some things I think, sometimes, people might listen hearing this as like, “Wow, he sounds like a great speaker.” Would you share with everybody what your doctorate is in?
Sean: Sure. I will give you a macro explanation and the micro. The macro is kind of like a doctorate in unconscious mind study. That’s how I describe it to the layman that don’t understand the whole industry that I’m in. But then, for those that actually dig a little deeper and they’re like, “Okay, I Googled that, and there’s no such thing. What is it really?” and I say, “It’s a doctorate of clinical hypnosis,” but when you say hypnosis, people freak out. They think that you’re going to pull out a pocket watch, make them bark like a dog, because all they have references, when it comes to hypnosis, is stage hypnotism, which is about as far away from what I do is possible. It’s like saying the difference between a massage therapist and one of those illegal massage parlors are the same. It’s not.
Paul: But, it’s the study of the unconscious. As you’re talking about people being addicted to their complaints, or people being addicted to the pity party, it’s like you’re not saying that lightly from like a general background of a guy who could take pity of himself and chose not to. You did that and then went and got a doctorate studying the subconscious mind for the sake of human performance.
Sean: Yup, absolutely. It’s all in there. The mind is so powerful. In fact, can I give you like a Psychology 101 right now?
Sean: I believe in three minds. You don’t have to agree with me. This doesn’t work for everybody’s model of the world, but this is how I live my life. There’s the conscious mind, and I like to look at that as like a parent, and the parent sets the bedtime and tells you what chores to do, tells you when you have to be home, all that. You have a parent that lives inside your mind. It’s called our consciousness. Then, you have the unconscious mind, and that’s like the kid. The kid is not as responsible as the parent, but it’s very creative, very playful, very imaginative, very emotional, and the unconscious mind is a beautiful thing because it’s able to come up with great ideas, and have surges of emotion, and you need the child to live inside of you as well.
But then, there’s a third mind, and I like to call it the higher conscious mind, and I learned all this in my training. The higher conscious mind is like a grandparent. You know how grandparents and grandkids have a special bond because they have a common enemy? It’s the same thing. The higher conscious mind, or some people call it the soul, some people call it your manifesting energy, some people call it the universe. Everybody’s got a little different name for the higher conscious mind. But, that is a beautiful energy source that is what creates divine wisdom that flows things. When you’re in your zone and you’re coming up with incredible ideas that are way bigger, brighter, and more amazing than you could ever imagine, or your higher conscious mind is that part of you that’s able to tap into the global consciousness, where you can think a thought of somebody, and then your phone rings and it’s them.
Here’s where it gets really interesting. When people come see me as a therapist, it’s because their conscious and unconscious are not working well together. The child and the parent are at odds. There’s some serious rebellion, and they get what you call self-sabotage. When the child and parent are at odds, then the grandparent and the grandchild can’t be having fun together. Your spirit, your soul, call it what you want, and your unconscious imaginative emotional brain can’t hang out. You can’t have that up-and-down relationship. It’s like when you are praying, you’re sending the energy up. When you’re getting divine wisdom from what we call intuition, you’re getting energy coming down from the higher conscious mind. When I am interacting with people, I try to get them to step fast as possible back on the right foot, the right page between the conscious and unconscious so that they can finally tap back into that higher conscious where they get brilliant flowing moments where life becomes effortless, and good things just unfold.
Paul: I’m paused, because like that might be the idea, the construct it’s giving me personally, and I’m just taking the first two of the parent and the child, because I’ve seen me do it where I’m like, “I need to eat healthy. I should eat vegetables, but that chocolate looks really good,” and just the labeling of that for me to be able to like, “No, that’s the kid, and the kid needs to listen to the parent a little bit,” is that one piece to construct, or like buckets to put some of my own thoughts in is incredibly helpful.
Sean: Here’s the thing. I’ll take it one step further, Paul, and that is the parents needs to be loving, because how many times do you yell at yourself internally, saying mean things to yourself, beat yourself up? That’s an abusive parent, and when you have a parent that’s abusing a child, eventually, that child grows up, and then that child can fight back. How does it fight back? Through self-sabotage, because the unconscious mind is the one that’s been responsible and in charge of your emotions. Have you ever had an emotion that take you over, and then your logic just went out the window?
Sean: That’s the child that ran the show, and it’s because the child was rebelling against the parent that was not being very loving, very just, very clear. I’m always working with my clients to get the parent and the child inside of them to work together, because that third component, most people only talk about it in a spiritual or religious context, but I can’t deny that it’s there. There is some kind of magical energy that is around us that some people will die and kill for, oddly, but there is some kind of energy around us that, when we are right with ourselves, we can tap into, and when we are not right with ourselves, we can’t buy a vowel from that space.
Paul: You’ve been speaking and teaching on these topics for the last 23 years, and having had a chance to see you live, Sean, what blew me away — Sean and I were both at the Entrepreneurs’ Organization Conference up in Vancouver, Canada for the annual retreat for Seattle Chapter, and Sean was our featured speaker, and he was incredible. Here’s what I mean by incredible. I’ve had the chance to see some of the best professional speakers in the world that coach and train other speakers, and Sean is right there with the best of the best. Here’s what occurred to me while you were doing that, Sean. I mean, just engaging, entertaining, highly informative. For those of you that don’t know members of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization either here in Seattle or in your city, this is a demanding group of type-A people, and they were all absolutely floored. There’s almost always a critical voice of some way for one of the members or more of a speaker, but you just nailed it.
Here’s the thing that occurred to me is you have chosen, through all this, at some point you spoke, it went well, and you’ve gone on speaking, and written books, and been on Oprah, like all of it. But, it seems to me like you’re continuing to hone and grow expertise even from beyond where you were even five years ago. Share with me what it’s like, or what your mindset is that has you in a spot where you’re saying, “I’m already beyond the top of the game of what most people who were professional speakers would say they would like to be able to do,” you’re already beyond that, and it sounds like you’re continuing to press yourself to another level. This is a long way to ask this question, but I don’t think you’re pressing yourself in a way that’s like — you just look like you enjoy it and you love it, and yet, you continue to get better at it and honing expertise, like you definitely did not phone it in for us. What is it for you that has you be somewhat successful, and yet, it seems like still turning back to sharpen the saw that where you’re at now, you want to be better.
Sean: There’s two things that come to mind: one the reason why, and I have to be real with you and say I have phoned in speeches before. I’m embarrassed to say it doesn’t happen often, but it can, and it has, and when I phoned in speeches, fortunately, I’ve developed enough of a skill set that on a bad day, I’m still good. I know that sounds cocky, but I can back it up, and yet, when I look back on those days that I’ve phoned in speeches, it was because I wasn’t implementing what I teach my audience, which is you have to have impeccable self-care.
I can think back to a speech that I phoned in last year, unfortunately. I phoned it in because I was exhausted. I’ve been doing a ton of international travel, I overbooked myself, I wasn’t taking time to relax and play the video games, and hang out with the friends, and be gluttonous, if you will, just enjoying my own life and because — it’s not even gluttonous. I didn’t even give myself time to fill the tank back up. I got on the stage, and the audience wasn’t laughing at the parts that normally the audience laughs at, and I got mad on the inside, so I just hurried the speech along. I did well, the people that hired me were not upset, they felt I did good, but I know I could have been much better that day.
One of the things that I do is I really take incredible, impeccable care of myself, so that means having a trainer, somebody that’s on top of my workouts with me, making sure that I am consuming really good, high-nutrient-dense foods, doing things like constantly striving to learn new information, and that’s where we get into the sharpening the saw that you mentioned.
In my office, I have a 110-inch screen that comes down out of the ceiling and a projector, and I turn the lights off and I hook it into my old computer system, and I wheel about maybe six feet in front of it, and I pull out a little lamp so that I can see down in my table, and I pull out a journal, and I watch film. I call it game film of all my speeches that I recently done, and I write down what went well, what didn’t go well, what could have been better, how could you have made that funnier, what could you have done to be more impactful, how did you offer them further information about you, and I review the game film. If you look at anybody in a professional sport that climbs to the top, they had to review the game film, and they had to review what they could do better. I’m always reviewing my game films.
The second thing that I do in regards to my speaking sharpening of a blade is I’m constantly looking at speaking in a four-part process: message, so like what am I saying, delivery, how am I saying it, marketing, how I am making it known that people could buy this and bring me into their organization, and attitude, how am I showing up in the experience before, during, and after the speech to create a valuable wow experience for the client and the audience. I’m reviewing the message, delivery, marketing, and attitude after every single speech I give, and I really work hard at making sure I never take, for granted, the podium.
The stage is a blessing and a privilege, and to get in front of somebody, I never want to have that time where they’re looking at their watch going, “What the hell is this about?” I can’t relate to this guy. I’m not in a wheelchair. This guy doesn’t know me. He doesn’t get me. I don’t want to waste my time with this. I don’t want that happening in my audience. So, I do the work ahead of time, during, and after to make sure that the calls of the world walk away and going, “Whoa,” and that’s not an accident. To make the sublime happen, you have to take the mundane and beat on it until it’s so polished that it looks effortless.
Paul: In the beauty of I’ve heard former special operations folks that are friends of mine say, “You will never rise the occasion. You only fall back on your most recurrent training.” That’s what I think about when you were spent physically and “phoned it in”, you still did well, because you fell back to this training you do, and if I’m hearing you right, you both design from your four-part process, but you debrief using the same construct: message, delivery, marketing, attitude.
Sean: When it comes to energy, because some people feel like they don’t have the energy to take on their day, or take on a project, or take on a speaking career, whatever it may be. My mentality is the energy cannot be mustered up from willpower alone. Willpower is the conscious parent in you, and willpower is fleeting. It burns out, it’s like rocket fuel, it will not last long. That’s why you have to tap into the second stream of energy, which is imagination, which is the emotional interaction between what’s not here – so, like the invisible – and then transferring it into the possible. How could we take that invisible idea and bring it into the construct of reality?
I found that energy that comes from the imagination and the unconscious mind is best to summon from a place of purpose. When you see me and you’re like, “Is this boy on caffeine? Where is he getting all this energy?” No, I’m not on caffeine. What I am on is my life purpose, and my mentor asked me — I got several mentors but one of them. I flew down to his hometown. We took a ride together, and I literally was only with him for a few minutes, and he asked me, “Why were you born, Sean?”
He just kept asking me that question over, and over, and over, until finally he said, “Stop answering from your head; start answering from your heart,” and as I went down into my heart where that’s the seed of intuition, I said, “I was born to rid this world of insecurity,” and he said, “Yes, you were.” He said that the little hairs on the back of his neck stood up. They stood up because he thought if there was anybody to be born into a package, and get onto a stage and talk to us about our insecurities, that we would listen to and deem, as an automatic expert, it would be a little man in a wheelchair. Because, if he could work through his insecurities, maybe there’s hope for the rest of the human race.
I’m convinced that my energy source is not coming from my intellect. It’s not coming from some kind of substance like caffeine. It is purely coming from life purpose. I open my eyes in the morning, I hit the wheelchair running, and I am just ready to take on, because I’m playing a game for the human race. I’m not living my life just for Sean. I’m living it for the human race, because I know there’s seven billion people, and I’ve only reach a quarter of one billion. I have so much more to go.
Paul: Speaking of that, so you face challenges, you’ve been up against all this, when you spoke live, and us was talking before the podcast here, attitude has been a big influence for you and is a big focus area for when you’re interacting both with your clients and with your audiences. Can you just maybe spend a few minutes on this? Somebody finds themselves in a funk. They’re all funked up at the beginning of a day because of something, how do they extract themselves from that?
Sean: I get them to stand up, I get them to start breathing, I get them to move their body, to stretch themselves physically, because motion creates emotion. You must get your physiology onboard. You can’t just use your intellect. You have to use your physiology as well. I get to them to shift their physical state. Then, once they’ve shifted their physical state, I ask them, “What are you focusing on?”
Most people that are in a funk are focus on what I call the FED, F-E-D. They’re focused on their fears, which is what they don’t want. “What if I fail? What if I look bad?” their envies, which is what they don’t have, “But, I don’t have the time, the money, the energy,” or they’re focused on their dislikes. That’s what they don’t like. “I don’t like this. It’s too cold here, it’s too hot in here, it’s too loud, this seat is uncomfortable, my shirt is scratchy, I don’t like that I’m having to wait for something,” and when your focus is on what you don’t want, don’t have, don’t like, you’re going to be miserable.
That’s why you need to shift it from the FED into the GAP, the G-A-P. That’s your goals: what do you want? What is the thing that you need to be focused on that you want? Your appreciations: what do you have? What’s already at your fingertips that you love? And your preferences: what do you like? What do you like to be doing, and start doing it more? Do you like to read, do you like to take bubble baths, do you like to go out in nature?
You need to get your focus away from the fears, envies, and dislikes into the goals, appreciation, and preferences. You need to move your body, and sometimes you actually need to surround yourself with different people, because if you’re around like Eeyore’s, “I never have it go my way,” then you’re going to be fighting that energy and wasting your energy trying to convince them, “No, you can do it. I promise you, buddy. We can do it together.” Screw that. I don’t have time for that anymore. I love all human beings, but I don’t like all of them.
Paul: I love that. Love as a commitment; like as an emotion.
Sean: It’s like I can love you, but not want to spend time with you. I reward people with my presence who are willing to be responsible for their emotion’s reality, and they’re willing to create an atmosphere around me that’s inviting.
Paul: This is, I think, Sean, an amazing gift you talk about the difference that you want to make for people. I think this conversation and some of the insights that I know you’ve produced for me, and I’m sure happening for our listeners as well, are amazingly impactful. You put together a little something for our audience for a book that they can get ahold of to look into. Right now, an e-book that they can get from you that’s at, if I remember right, is it staypositive.club?
Paul: Staypositive.club where they can get your ebook on keeping that mindset right.
Sean: It’s my gateway drug into my personal growth experience of being educated by Sean Stephenson. I start everybody of with this course called Stay Positive, How to Stay Positive When Life Gets Crazy, because it’s easy to be positive when everything is going your way. When money’s flowing in, when you’re having incredible physical intimacy, when you feel like you’re in great shape, that’s not hard to stay positive. What happens when you feel out of shape, or you are out of shape? What happens when you lost the deal and you’re struggling financially? What happens when your spouse tells you they’re not attracted to you anymore? What happens when your kids tell you that they don’t love you? What happens when things don’t go your way? How, then, do you stay positive?
I created this course, How to Stay Positive When Life Gets Crazy. There’s an ebook involved with it, there’s an audio version, there’s a three-part video series that they get on how to stay positive in health, wealth, and relationships. I even throw in a book for kids called How You(th) Can Succeed. It’s my self-help book for young adults, and you get all of that when you go to staypositive.club, C-L-U-B. If you love this interview between Paul and I, you’re absolutely going to love that digital course, and if you don’t love it, just let us know, we’ll give you 100% if your money back as a refund. I stand behind it, and I just know it’s going to make a big impact on your life.
Paul: Sean, that’s awesome. I’m going to be the first person to execute on that. I’ve got the page pulled up right now as soon as we get complete. Thank you, again.
Sean: You’re welcome.
Paul: Any other parting word that, as you think back to audiences you’ve been in front of that’s like the 30-second snippet of if people leave this conversation today knowing this, you want to just land it right now.
Sean: Love yourself. It’s not going to be easy, but it’s so going to be worth it. It’s going to take time. You may feel like it’s very foreign. Maybe, it even feels awkward. But, if you’re not putting your attention on how you can love yourself and have more self-compassion, self-empathy, you’re going to struggle, and that struggle does not need to happen by loving yourself, by looking for where you are doing well. Catch yourselves doing things right. Pat yourself on the back more. You’re an achievement. You wouldn’t listen to a podcast and get this far into the podcast if you weren’t up to playing a big game. So, please be kinder to yourself and love yourself. You will raise the vibration of this planet. You will truly get the most out of everything that I’ve shared. Loving yourself is such an important space to be in.
Paul: Sean, I don’t know, but I think I definitely love you a little more after this conversation. Thank you again for this. Everybody, when you get a chance, I want you to get over to staypositive.club, just some awesome packages put together for our audience at Sound Financial Group and Sound Financial Bites. We look forward, and I’d love for you all, as you get a chance to engage in that and experience it, shoot me an email. You can send a note to us on Facebook, LinkedIn, and let us know how it was for you, and how this podcast was for you, because we love passing those things onto Sean so that he knows that he made an impact in the gift that he gave of his time to us today. Have a great rest of your day, and we hope this is a contribution to you being able to design and build a good life.
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