Another one of the personal improvement books I just finished was one I got at the library... Get Off Your "But": How to End Self-Sabotage and Stand Up for Yourself by Sean Stephenson. I had never heard of the author before, and it was the creative title that snared me. But after reading this book and checking out the author's story and videos on Youtube, I came away with a huge appreciation and respect for what he's done and the message he has here. He definitely qualifies as someone who got off his "but"...
Contents: Acknowledgments; Foreword by Anthony Robbins; Born to Kick BUT - The Short Story of a Big Life; Lesson 1 - Start Connecting; Lesson 2 - Watch What You Say to Yourself!; Lesson 3 - Master Your Physical Confidence; Lesson 4 - Focus Your Focus; Lesson 5 - Choose Your Friends Wisely; Lesson 6 - Take Full Responsibility; One Last Thing; Resources; The Author
Stephenson was born with a genetic disorder called Osteogenesis Imperfecta, or "brittle bones disorder." With this condition, his bones were extremely fragile and could (and did) break at the slightest touch. Even a sneeze could break a rib. The birthing process left him with far more broken bones than complete ones, and the doctors gave him approximately 24 hours to live after being born. But his parents didn't accept that diagnosis, and Sean was a fighter. He spent the first few weeks of his life encased in a body cast to try and repair the damage, and slowly he healed enough to head home. But even then his struggles were far from over. His legs would never be strong enough to support him, so he was confined to a wheelchair to move around. Everything was designed to help him avoid inadvertent contact that would lead to yet another fracture.
If anyone had a "right" to offer up excuses for what he couldn't do, it would be Sean. He was adapting to his limits, but that doesn't mean he wasn't frustrated or angry with what he was going through. At the age of 9, he broke his femur on Halloween, the one day of the year he loved because everyone dressed up to look strange, and he fit right in. As he was wailing in pain, his mom looked at him and said "Sean, is this going to be a gift or a burden?" That question stopped him dead in his tracks, and subsequently changed his life. It didn't mean that he was now excited about his condition or never wished he could be something else. But he did decide at that point to start focusing on what he *could* do instead of what he couldn't do. That moment affected him deeply, and led him to be able to share his story with millions, allowing others to toss out the "but" sentences that limit them... I'd like to be successful BUT I was born into poverty... I would move on with my life BUT a drunk driver killed my wife... I'm overweight BUT it's not my fault.
His six lessons, complete with many stories, involve the reader in a number of exercises to identify and pinpoint the reasons and causes for not being able to move forward. For some, it may be self-talk that is extremely negative. For others, it may be the lack of physical confidence that causes them to feel and project inferiority and a "woe is me" attitude. Regardless of which lesson resonates most deeply, the material is informative and easy to follow, and you can't help but be amazed that the person this advice has more reasons than most to be affected by all of the problems he talks about. When you're a three foot guy who needs a wheelchair to get around, it's not like you've led a charmed life and haven't had to apply any of the concepts you're talking about...
Get Off Your "But" hit me on a number of levels, both in terms of things to consider and with inspiration to look beyond self-imposed limits. While it might be easy to think "I know a number of people who need to read this," the reality is that *I* need to read and remember this... and act on it.
Thomas Duff, aka "Duffbert", is a long-time member of the Lotus community. He's primarily focused on the development side of the Notes/Domino environment, currently working for a large insurance … more
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Starred Review. In Stephenson's powerful and practical debut, the psychotherapist and professional speaker reveals how to banish self-doubt and insecurity in a world where they may seem omnipresent. Beginning with the source of his own struggle, a rare and painful disease that causes his bones to weaken and break under minimal pressure, Stephenson offers a structured approach to a wide array of topics, including dating, weight loss, lack of motivation, friendship, finances, and goals. While his advice is encouraging and insightful, Stephenson's text is also notable for examples, mottos and resonant personal stories of enormous obstacles and accomplishments (his work with the Clinton administration, attaining his Ph.D., opening his own private practice). Though his unwavering optimism can be daunting (bringing one's day-to-day gripes into sharp relief), Stephenson is empowering and uplifting throughout, and should prove helpful whether facing a lifelong challenge or a more immediate battle.