“It’s about not settling for mediocrity,” says Scott Chesney, Speaker, Coach & Consultant, and Alliance Advocate, as he delivers a speech to an enthralled crowd from a stage. Scott continues:
“With mediocrity I think of surviving, getting by, of coasting. I’m tired of surviving; I want to thrive. Disability is not synonymous with limitation. You can make a choice to thrive, starting today. Thriving doesn’t overlook that there are challenges, that things can be tough. Challenges will arise, and when this happens we have to work a little harder. We have a choice as to how we respond to challenges – we can roll our eyes and say ‘what do I have to do’, or we can rise up and say ‘what’s next?’.
Scott woke up on December 28, 1985, 15 years old and a sophomore in high school, to find he was paralyzed from his belly-button to his toes. He didn’t have an illness, or an accident, and doctors determined that during the night he had suffered a rare spinal stroke.
For anyone, this would be a life-altering experience, a challenge that seems insurmountable in many ways.
It was a life-altering experience for Scott as well, but perhaps not in the way you think, because Scott Chesney doesn’t believe in limitations. He doesn’t believe in the impossible. Scott, who has been in a wheelchair since his stroke, has changed the meaning of the word ‘impossible’ by adding an apostrophe to read, “I’mPossible.” This has been a game-changer and a life-changer for him, his audiences, and his clients.
The Power of Possible
As Scott says, “Nothing is impossible, it just may take a little longer. Thinking something is impossible causes you to emit energy that supports the idea of ‘I can’t’.”
He understands the power of “can’t” because he’s heard that word about his disability over and over, and it hasn’t deterred him one bit. He chose to ignore the idea of ‘can’t’, and instead put his faith in the power of self-empowerment; the power of choice.
Scott speaks powerfully about some specific examples – miracles, some would say – that have come into his life through inspiration, motivation, action, and focusing on the possible.
He had always dreamed of having children, and was told by doctors that he had a “less than 2% chance” of fathering his own children, and that the longer he was paralyzed the worse the odds would become. This news was, of course, devastating, but Scott remained positive.
Scott describes a personal development seminar he attended with his wife, where on the last day they learned there would be a fire-walk. He was told he couldn’t participate because he can’t walk.
Don’t tell Scott he can’t do something, because it only fuels him to prove you’re wrong.
Determined to do the fire-walk, Scott elected to focus on what he could do, rather than what he couldn’t, and declared he would do the fire-walk. He imagined that his dreams – everything he’s worked for – lay at the other end of the fiery path of coals.
He successfully completed the fire-walk – on his hands, with someone holding up his legs.
A couple of weeks after this transformative experience, Scott went back to the doctor for testing about his ability to father children. The doctor came to him with the results, utterly baffled, and told him that despite all scientific and medical probabilities, his chances of fathering children had risen from 2% to 55%.
Today he is the proud father of two children: a daughter and a son.
He has travelled the world – twice – giving motivational speeches. He skydives, surfs, and para-sails. Scott prides himself on living life to its fullest and encourages his audiences and clients to do the same.
The ‘secret sauce’, according to Scott, is taking doubt and fear – the feeling that you can’t – and turning it into action. Action is the ability to ask ourselves ‘what happens if I give a little bit more?’.
The Power of Choice and Action
When life presents challenges – sometimes seemingly insurmountable ones – it’s important to remember that we all have the power of choice. Scott is all about motivation and inspiration, but all the motivation in the world comes up short if action isn’t taken, he cautions.
“Half the battle is action, is showing up. It’s getting out of bed every morning and choosing to be fully present in your life. The other half is where your choices are taking you.” says Scott. “The power to choose can take you beyond your wildest dreams, but conversely choice can go the opposite direction, down a road of destruction. The choice is always yours.”
The Power of Gratitude
The underpinning to his accomplishment – to believing in the power of possible – is gratitude, according to Scott. “At the heart of choice” he says, “is the power of gratitude. Where you are, right here, right now.”
Gratitude, he says, allows him to never have bad days anymore. He may have moments of challenge, of sadness, but gratitude keeps his perspective – and motivation – where it needs to be to overcome doubt and fear.
Every night, Scott writes a list of twelve things he is grateful for. This allows him to go beyond surviving; it allows him to thrive.
The Power of Thriving
What does it mean to thrive? According to the dictionary, thriving means: growing and developing well, or vigorously. It means to prosper, and flourish.
It’s easy to thrive when things are going well, but what does it mean to thrive in a time of challenge or difficulty?
Thriving isn’t synonymous with joy, success, and happiness.
We can thrive even when things are hard, and the key lies in ongoing evolution and growth. Even in the midst of our most difficult challenges, we can still evolve. We can still grow. It’s likely most accurate to say that it is in our challenges that we grow the most.
Thriving doesn’t mean finding yourself at a point in your life where you are comfortable enough; where things are okay, or even great. Thriving is a continuous journey of growth – of expansion and adaptation – that allows you to live with purpose, passion, and authentic well-being even during the most difficult times. Especially during the most difficult times.
People who thrive don’t overlook, ignore, or negate feelings of fear, doubt, or insecurity. Far from it. People who thrive look challenges squarely in the eye and ask themselves how they can grow and learn despite difficulties. They ask themselves what is possible, and don’t waste precious energy on what isn’t.
As Scott would say, people who thrive ask, “what’s next”?
The Thrive Community be Enemeez®
At Enemeez, we couldn’t think of a more fitting person than Scott Chesney to lead our Thrive Community. The Thrive Community is a private space, hosted through our Facebook Group, for any person with a spinal cord injury, as well as their caretakers. Our purpose is to provide a safe, educational space for group members to ask every question, connect with their peers, and empower each other through communication and connection. Our conversations are often led by incredible individuals, like Scott, who themselves are spinal cord injured.
To learn more about what Scott is up to today, watch his Ride the Wave trailer here.