Pain is fuel for a life of purpose

An Interview With Speaker & Author Sean Stephenson

Sean Stephenson, author of Get Off Your “But:” How to End Self-Sabotage and Stand Up for Yourself, recently sat down with Williamsburg Learning President, James Ure, for a virtual interview from Sean’s home in Phoenix, Arizona. Sean is a successful entrepreneur, mentor, and therapist. He has a powerful perspective on life, challenges, and discovering your purpose.

Sean knows pain. Born with a rare genetic disorder called osteogenesis imperfecta, Sean suffered more than 200 bone fractures by the age of eighteen. Besides the physical toll of his condition, Sean has grappled with intense emotional pain and insecurity for all his life. He has faced feelings of shame and judgment from others who cannot relate to his situation and often wrestled with the question, “What did I do to deserve this?”

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Sean’s response to his challenges is an inspiration: Despite the physical limitations caused by his disorder, Sean leads an active lifestyle, travels around the world to share his story, and regularly earns $10,000 for speaking at high-profile leadership events. Despite the many rejections he’s experienced socially, Sean is happily married and firmly committed to expressing and sharing his love for “all human beings.” Despite the many chances he has had to get lost in self-pity, Sean has transformed his pain into fuel for his lifelong mission to “rid the world of insecurity.”

Sean said, “When you get dialed into why you were born, you will have a drive inside of you that will only be stopped by death.” Sean credits his mentors, people who possess the experience and integrity needed to push Sean in the direction he wants to go, with helping him tap into his own sense of purpose. Sean also talks in detail about the way in which his pain led him to clarity on this topic. “A lot of people, when they see my success… they think that that is something that I was focused and fixated on,” he says. “But what got me here was the fixation on helping people in pain. Because when you’re in pain, the best thing you can do is help somebody in pain.”

In the interview below, James asked Sean how our students can learn to trust themselves. Sean’s response was powerful: “By taking incredible care of yourself.” When “you take impeccable care of yourself, you begin to trust yourself… you can’t love yourself until you trust yourself.” Sean offers students advice on how to accomplish this in the latter half of the interview.

Reflecting on the ups and downs of his life’s journey so far, Sean asks “Has it been easy? Heck no. Has it been worth it? Oh, you better believe it.” Sean’s message cuts to the core of the human experience, and we think you’ll appreciate this chance to hear him share it. As Sean says, “You get down to the nerve of human experience, and you remove that feeling that you’re not enough, which is insecurity; when you remove insecurity, all that’s left is love.”

Please enjoy!

November 9, 2017