Stephen continued to write, and before long, he the makings of a book filled with life stories and the lessons he learned on his journey. He found an agent and submitted proposal after proposal. Publisher after publisher turned down his book. "Most of them, supposedly with a heavy heart, said, 'Sorry, we can't publish your book--there's too many of them like yours that are already out there."
It was another ten years before his book, Obstacle Illusions became a reality, but within one day, it shot up the ranks on Amazon--finishing at number three in the Happiness genre and thirteen in the Self Help genre. This is out of eight million books on the market.
Stephen is deaf, but he has never allowed the obstacles in his life to hinder his journey. He became a stockbroker on Wall Street, racking up a six-figure salary--and then walked away from his job to become a transformational speaker. He became the first deaf instrument-rated pilot, ignoring the naysayers who worried about his safety in the air. "Obstacles are just illusions in our minds," he explains. "Life is full of challenges-- but it is our attitudes towards those challenges that determine how we face them. None of us have ever made any mistakes, because you see, mistakes are merely experiences and we learn from them. Everything we experience teaches us something."
When Stephen's book was released, he invited readers to take pictures with his book and share their experiences with him. Chico, a firefighter, sent in his picture from the firetruck and shared his experience reading the book with his teenager:
I just want you to know that raising kids is challenging. Especially when you
give them a pretty good life. I feel that my 16 year old doesn't appreciate what
he has. So what I did was force him to read with me your book. I read the
Preface, he read chapter one, then I read chapter two. I really cried When I came
to the part of your teacher saying "THAT'S RIGHT, STEPHEN.
reading towards the end of that chapter crying. I'm trying to teach my son gratitude through your book experiences.
Take a moment to watch Stephen on this video:
I first came across Stephen online back in 2006, when I launched my blog and went out to look for other deaf and hard of hearing writers. Stephen and I quickly became friends and we finally met face-to-face at a SOBCon conference. Most recently we met again at the Yes to Success seminar, where Stephen was one of the speakers. Stephen spoke at Janet Attwood's "Live Your Destiny" workshop and shared one of the stories from the book. (Janet and Chris Attwood are the authors of New York Times bestseller, The Passion Test.) Stephen is amazing at helping others to transform their lives and to shift their perspectives. One of the things that Stephen taught me is this: "The more you put your attention to something, the more it expands, whether good or bad." I've learned to redirect my thinking in positive ways and I've seen the results-- it works!
One of Stephen's favorite quotes comes from Henry Ford:
"Whether you think you can or whether you think you can't, you're right!"