May 5, 1979 |
|Alma mater||DePaul University|
|Occupation||Therapist, author, motivational speaker|
|Home town||La Grange, Illinois|
|Height||3 ft (91 cm)|
|Spouse(s)||Mindie Kniss (m. 2012)|
Sean Clinch Stephenson (born May 5, 1979) is an American therapist, self-help author and motivational speaker. Because he was born with osteogenesis imperfecta, Stephenson stands just three feet tall, has fragile bones, and must use a wheelchair.
When Stephenson was born, doctors quickly recognized the signs of the genetic disorder osteogenesis imperfecta, commonly known as "brittle bone disease". Most of his bones had been broken during the delivery. He was placed in intensive care at Chicago Children's Hospital, and doctors warned his parents that he might die very soon. He survived, but spent much of his youth in pain and experienced the stunted growth and mobility limitations common for people with osteogenesis imperfecta.
Education and career
Stephenson began delivering motivational speeches at the age of 17. With the assistance of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, in 1998 Stephenson met his motivational speaking hero, Tony Robbins. Robbins became his mentor and encouraged him to change his lifestyle to improve his health. While attending DePaul University, Stephenson worked as an intern for President Bill Clinton and for Illinois Congressman Bill Lipinski. After receiving his bachelor's degree in political science in 2001, he published his first book, How You(th) Can Succeed!: Transforming Dreams into Reality for Young Adults, and returned to motivational speaking.
After his speeches, Stephenson found he was often approached by people seeking advice on personal issues. Feeling ill-equipped to advise them, he decided to go back to school and become certified as a therapist. He took courses at Bennett/Stellar University, a private institution specializing in neuro-linguistic programming and hypnotherapy, and at American Pacific University (since renamed Kona University). In March 2004, Stephenson began work on a Ph.D in clinical hypnosis at American Pacific. He operates a therapy practice from offices in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois. He also continues to work as a motivational speaker, earning $15,000 to $30,000 per appearance.
His second book, Get Off Your "But": How to End Self-Sabotage and Stand Up for Yourself, was published in 2009. It was a self-help book that recounted his own personal story along with the stories of others, and provided exercises for readers to perform while they read. Tony Robbins provided a foreword. That same year, Stephenson was the subject of "Three Foot Giant", a television documentary that aired on The Biography Channel in November 2009.
On May 14, 2011, Stephenson proposed to Mindie Kniss. The couple married on September 14, 2012.
- How You(th) Can Succeed!: Transforming Dreams into Reality for Young Adults (2001)
- Get Off Your "But": How to End Self-Sabotage and Stand Up for Yourself (2009)
- Stephenson, Sean (2009). Get Off Your "But". San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. p. 1.
- Gregory, Ted (May 5, 2009). "Osteogenesis Imperfecta: Motivational Speaker Sean Stephenson Uses His Disorder to Inspire Others". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
- Robbins, Tony. "Foreword" in Stephenson, Sean (2009). Get Off Your "But". San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. pp. ix–x.
- Stephenson, Sean (2009). Get Off Your "But". San Francisco: Jossey-Bass. pp. 24–25.
- "About Bennett Stellar". Retrieved August 8, 2011.
- At the time Stephenson began his studies, American Pacific was unaccredited. In 2009 it became accredited through the Distance Education and Training Council. ("Accreditation Details: Kona University". The Database of Accredited Postsecondary Institutions and Programs. United States Department of Education. Retrieved August 8, 2011.)
- "About Sean". Sean Stephenson Enterprises. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
- Madrzyk, Anna (July 18, 2011). "Oak Brook Therapist Lives Life One Way: Big". Daily Herald. Retrieved August 8, 2011.
- Martinovich, Steven (May 25, 2009). "Just Do It". Enter Stage Right. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
- "One-Hour Bio Special 'Three Foot Giant' Profiles Sean Stephenson a Remarkable Man Who at 3 Feet Tall Lives a Larger Life Than Most". The Futon Critic. November 2, 2009. Retrieved August 7, 2011.
- Sean Stephenson - website for Sean Stephenson Enterprises LLC
- Living at Cause with Sean Stephenson - motivational online video series