Chad Hymas is called one of the “10 most inspirational speakers in the world” by the Wall Street Journal. He is a bestselling author – selling millions of books, and he is a quadriplegic wheelchair athlete who holds the world record for longest distance wheeling a wheelchair – 513 miles (from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas)! He is the youngest person ever to receive the Council of Peers Award for Excellence (CPAE) and the youngest ever to be inducted into the National Speaker Hall of Fame.
In this conversation, Chad and Chris explore Chad’s moving life story and his areas of expertise: Change, Perspective, Leadership, Vision, and Safety. Chad is a master storyteller and speaks on how our thoughts and words create our future. His story of overcoming adversity, dealing with incredible change and circumstance is one you will never, ever forget!
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Chad Hymas: WSJ World’s Top 10 Most Inspirational Speakers Talks Change
Joining me is Chad Hymas one of the ten most inspirational speakers in the world, according to the Wall Street Journal and me. I’ve booked him more than any other speaker in my career. He only gets rave reviews. He’s a bestselling author who sold more than four million books. He’s a quadriplegic wheelchair athlete who holds the world record for the longest distance wheeled by a person in a wheelchair, which has over 500 miles from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas. He’s the youngest person ever to receive the Council of Peers Award for Excellence and the youngest ever to be inducted into the National Speaker Hall of Fame. He’s an expert presenter on change, perspective, leadership, vision, and he speaks on how our thoughts and our words create our future. His story of overcoming adversity, his family, dealing with incredible change and circumstance is one you will never forget. Please join me now with the incomparable Chad Hymas.
Chad Hymas, how are you doing?
Chris, thanks for having me.
I had to have you. You’re one of my favorite speakers of all time.
It’s been a long time. You and I have had a relationship for over a decade.
It’s fun hanging out with somebody that has the same haircut as me. I always enjoy that.
I thought I was the only one here. I don’t see anybody else around. I don’t know what you’re talking about. I have no idea. Our faces don’t look the same. You’re gray and brown-haired. I guess you dye or color it. I don’t know what you do.
I want to look more dignified.
It is dignifying. It’s inspirational. Thank you.
This is typical of what it’s like whenever we hang out, we have so much fun. Of all the people, I’ve booked you as much or more than anybody I’ve ever booked in my career. Everybody always has rave reviews about you. You’re a sure thing every time. Also, they talk about you for years. They say, “We got to get somebody good like Chad. Do you remember that Chad Hymas guy? We’ve got to have another guy who’s as good, talented, engaging and funny as him. You can cry and laugh for the same five minutes with somebody like that.” I’m like, “There are not many people like that. Sorry.”
You’re making me sound better than I am. The truth is you have booked me a lot and I’m going to be grateful for that but moreover, I’m grateful for the relationship that I have developed with you, your twins and your beautiful bride. Our families are close and that has developed because of our business relationships. I’m very grateful for that relationship.You got to hang around good people in order to keep your self-confidence up and your belief system going. Click To Tweet
Thank you, me too. You’re such a good friend. It’s great to have friends on the show and have that extra amount of comradery and sense of humor as we have. You alluded to the fact that you married my wife and me. You were our officiant at our wedding. That was a great time.
That was truly a privilege and an honor to be able to do that and perform that ceremony in front of all of your loved family and friends, and those people that care and love you the most. Thanks for that.
It was my honor to have you, and I couldn’t have chosen somebody better to do it. Thanks so much again, but your son had broken his femur or something that day.
He was the youngest boy. I’d forgotten about that. He had broken it that day. I didn’t get worried until I was there with you guys. While he was playing soccer, he took an illegal shot to the leg and got hammered.
You went home that night.
I was supposed to leave the next day.
Your family story is amazing. Your wife and you are high school sweethearts.
Twenty-six years we’ve been married and I’ve been in a chair. I’ve been paralyzed and a quad for 20 of the 26 years. I will call it a roller coaster but it’s been an amazing journey.
She’s an amazing wife. You guys adopted two more kids after you had your accident. Your accident is something that a lot of people know about. I know about it, but a lot of people who are reading this might not know about it. Let’s walk through that because it’s a very intriguing and impactful story. Your wife calls you up and says, “Our son took his first steps, get your butt home.” You went to the farm and had to finish up a little something with the tractor. Tell us what happened.
You’re spot on. You probably know the story as good or better than anybody I know. She did call me up and tell me that our youngest boy has taken his first two steps. Our dream has always been to raise our kids on a farm or a ranch. We live on the outskirts outside of Salt Lake City, Utah in the Rocky Mountains, about an hour away from the airport. I worked in Salt Lake and started my own construction company in order to build up capital to pay for the ranch. I didn’t have that kind of money as a 21-year-old kid. I love construction. I love working with my hands and working hard. I’ve always been that way.
I’m not saying that in an arrogant way. I don’t know if it’s the work ethic that was instilled into me by my grandparents, my dad and my mother, or if it’s something that I always enjoyed. With that said, right to the story, I’ve got a cool picture. It’s the last photo that was taken prior to the accident. It gives you a better perspective of what things looked like. It’s one of my favorite photos of Shondell and me and the boys. It is pertinent to your question. There’s a great shot of Shondell. That’s about 48 hours before the accident. These are the boys that were born before the accident, and then we adopted two more after. Back then, that’s what our family looked like. Kyler’s in the stroller. My favorite part about that picture is my hands and I would lose them two days later.
She’d called me up and told me to hurry home because he had taken his first couple of steps. We can make a long story short. I went home. I hopped onto our tractor to go feed the animals. We raise horses and elk. Elk are species a little bit bigger than deer, smaller than moose. They weigh about 1,400 pounds. In my opinion, they are arguably God’s greatest creation next to you and me. I say that to all. Elk are magnificent. I don’t know how to say it any better than that. I went on the field with those elk. I had a little malfunction with my tractor. I saw a warning light on the dashboard. That’s something that you and I have talked about a lot in our conversations. I didn’t listen to the warning that I was given on the dashboard. The red light was flashing and bale hay rolls over. It lands on my body and punched my head through the steering wheel. A shaft went through my mouth and it broke everything in its path.
This has all been redone. That broke all the bones in my neck. I got a scar on my neck. That’s where it went in. The fixed all seven vertebrae, but there were no stitches, glue or duct tape for the spinal cord. That’s where my new life was to begin. Ever since that day, I’m 95% numb, armpits to the toes, elbow to the fingertip. I lost the use of my fingers in my hands and my forearms. My torso is gone but because I’ve learned how to balance myself, I can use my shoulders to swing and get a little bit of exercise and stretch out the muscles that I can’t feel.
You’ve done a lot of amazing things with your body. Since that happened, they told you, you won’t be able to walk or roll yourself in your own wheelchair. You have to have an electronic wheelchair. You won’t be able to do anything like brush your teeth or write. All of that was wrong because you’ve done all of that except the walking, but you’re rolling yourself. You broke a world record rolling yourself from Salt Lake City all the way to Las Vegas, which at the time was the longest distance wheeled by a person in a wheelchair, which is quite amazing. You also went sky diving.
I was tubing behind a boat. They put me on a jet ski. My family does all sorts of tours. It’s unreal. A big part of that is I don’t like statistics or numbers. Don’t get me wrong, numbers are great when it comes to goals. I’m not talking about money, but numerically or metrically. It’s a great way of measuring success. Sometimes it’s the incremental successes that allow us to reach those numbers that we set in the very beginning. If we choose to lose 10 pounds, celebrate 0.5 or 0.25 pound. When I set that world record, I gave up halfway through that race because I was measuring my success the wrong way. I kept counting my success by the mile marker on the side of the road. When I would quit because I was getting tired and the mile markers weren’t coming fast enough anymore, my dad came to me and said, “Why don’t you start counting the yellow stripes.” That mentality is what helped me finish the race. The power of our mental capacity and our mindset speaks volumes for the goals that we set and not becoming what others dictate for our futures.
I’m not mocking doctors. I push the wheelchair where most like me do not. I had to change some things. Most tires aren’t slick. They have knobs on them, but not my tires. That allows me to have friction. I changed the clothes that I wear. I don’t necessarily like these clothes. They were a couple of sizes too big that allows me to put them on by myself. You’ve spent many hotels with me as we’ve been to the clients that you serve. You’ve had me in to speak to those clients. You’re one of those people that don’t leave me alone. On behalf of my wife, I can thank you for that. She doesn’t like me to be alone. I like visiting and joking with you, but you’ve seen everything that there is to see about me. There’s not a lot of people who see that. It takes me a couple of hours to get dressed by myself and I can do it. I travel alone.
People always ask me, “Do we need another hotel room?” I said, “No. He’s going to rent his own car when he gets there.” They hang up the phone with me at that point.
They don’t want to deal with that. They don’t want the insurance that goes along with that.
You brought up your dad. I want to go back to him because he’s a central theme and somebody who inspired you from the day that you didn’t start off waking up out. After the first surgery in the hospital after the accident, you did not wake up an inspired, happy man as any of us would have been. Your dad was right there and I’ll never forget this. He started filming you that day to show you the amount of accomplishment you would have one month or a year from then to see where you started and where you ended up. Within a few days, your kids and you were throwing the ball back and forth or rolling the ball up and down your body and playing catch in that way. He taught you a lot about vision and how to look at things and deal with the circumstance. There are some great stories about him in your speech and in your life.
I’ve talked about our fathers in our lives. I’ve often reflected on me the courage that my dad must have had to tell the doctors that they were not going to give me my prognosis, that he was going to talk to me and give me the news. When I woke up from a coma 3. 5 weeks later, he was there. He was the one that gave me the news and some good news. He told me that he was glad that I was awake and that he had been waiting for me. He told me that he was glad that I was alive, although he did not want me to be a still air. He thinks that a lot of people are still air. They just exist without accomplishing things and contributing to society.
He calls that theft of air or theft of life. He was glad that I was breathing and that was a start. He gave me some news that I didn’t want to hear, which is where it started to turn a little bit south in my mind. He told me that due to that choice that I had made, I did lose my feet, my legs, my midsection, stomach muscles, 2 out of my 3 chest muscles, most of the strength use of my arms. I did lose the complete use of all ten fingers and my hands. That was where my new life was to begin. He gave me a call to action or he gave me a challenge.
That challenge was to be five things. Be a better husband, father, coach, contributor to society, and he asked me to be a better disciple. I thought that was a joke. I let him hear it through my trach. I didn’t say it like you and I were talking now. It wasn’t that clear. I communicated through a trach and some eye language. I told my dad that he needed to get out. I thought that he lacked credibility and he had no idea what I was going through and that I would never walk again. Death seemed a much friendlier option and I wanted to die. He walked out of the room. That’s an important piece to talk about because as I visited with my dad after that, I ask him why he did that. Why did he leave the room? Why did he leave me?Fear and confidence cannot exist in the mind at the same time. Click To Tweet
It was once already a dark room, breathing through a trach, being alone. Now I’m truly alone because I can’t hit the button that calls a nurse in. The room was still dark and there are tubes everywhere. I can hear a few beeping noises that are measuring my breath intake and the IVs and all the liquid in my body. There was nobody to call, nobody but me and my maker. That was it. It’s not that I’m demeaning my maker. My dad came back in the room and said, “Are you ready to be teachable or are you going to sit in that wheelchair as everybody else does?” Right off the bat, my dad taught me about metrics.
I’m not knocking people in chairs. Please don’t hear that message. Some people don’t have a choice, but my dad believed that I had a choice. With that, he did not want me to go into a depressed state and stay there. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve been depressed, suicidal and sad, but he did not want me to stay there. He wanted me to be different. That’s where it all began with my dad. I appreciate you acknowledging that and bringing it up because without that somebody else believing in me, I’d probably still be sitting back in the hospital or some sort of a care center watching Judge Judy. I would not be here in the studio talking to you.
If it wasn’t for these beginning moments, you would not have inspired millions of people. You’ve also sold hundreds of thousands of books. You’ve gone around the world and inspired people everywhere, not only as a speaker but as an author. That’s some pretty remarkable stuff to be proud of that you’ve done in the last decade and a half or so.
We sold about 4.3 million books. I’ve been to 89 countries. My dad was with me the night that I was inducted into the Speaker Hall of Fame. I’m the youngest inductee ever in that. I’m not saying that to brag, but it was an awesome opportunity to have my dad introduced me. This was the night of that introduction.
He’s a very good-looking man.
Dad and I are close. I’m close to my mother as well. You’re only as good as the people that you hang around. Now, you know why I talked to you almost on a weekly if not daily basis, and I talk to my dad every day. You got to hang around good people in order to keep your self-confidence up, keep your belief system going, keep pushing and keep believing because whatever you believe drives your action, and action drives your results. Whenever I talked to him on the phone, even though we’re in a pandemic and a crisis, and a lot of people are quarantined, and the way we do meetings has changed, when you talk to people who believe that you can do something, belief drives everything. If I were to believe that I was worth nothing, that I couldn’t be married because I’m numb and that would drive my action, hence the results. When I believe that I can do things that others might not believe in, that has led to my action that day, thus the results that I get. That’s the equation that I live by almost as equal to the Ten Commandments that are in my front room hanging on the wall.
When I talk to people about you, I talked about the words vision, circumstance, adversity and change. You’re a master expert on those four things. We already touched on it a little bit, the vision to look at things in a certain way. A lot of people think, “I can do this or that’d be a cool thing to do. I’d like to do that.” They go, “I could never do that. I don’t have the time to do that. I don’t have the energy or the willpower or the talent or the fear.”
“I don’t want to embrace technology. I don’t think I can learn social media, learn how to do a Facebook Live, talk on camera, do a virtual presentation or a Zoom chat. I don’t know if I can learn Zoom.” That fear will end up preventing people from maximizing their potential. Can you imagine how many people are going through that now? Not just with social media, but with the current crisis, the fear of going to school with a mask. I’m not saying whether or not they should or shouldn’t. I’m just saying that this pandemic creates and instills fear.
I don’t know anything about a pandemic, crisis, politics, Democrats and Republicans or that stuff. I do know that fear and confidence cannot exist in the mind at the same time. It’s not that I’m always confident and I don’t want to be arrogant, but this fine line is called gratitude. If my right hand is pride, this hand here is depression, right in the middle will be gratitude. As long as I can try and keep my life’s vision, my visuals, my goals, right along with that middle line, either a little bit to the left or right or right on that line, I’m doing okay. I don’t want to have too much pride or confidence because that’s arrogance and ego. Too little pride is called depression and suicide. I played both ends of that stick. I like to try and stayed right in the middle somewhere.
You can’t have fear if you have gratitude and love. That’s the opposite of it. If you have fear, then you’ve got to go back to gratitude and love and that’ll solve the fear usually. You’ve taught me that. Speaking of all this technology, you have an amazing backdrop and some lights and you can do the switches and you have different cameras there. You have a pretty cool studio built there. You’ve built a lot of things on your property. I want to get into that, but tell me about the studio. It’s like some of the Utah Jazz colors though in the background.
You probably don’t like that too much in Los Angeles, but I’m not against LA. I’m a Magic Johnson fan. I grew up watching Magic play against Bird. Those are fun rivalries to watch. Now we’ve got LeBron in LA.
You are one of the first people to call me when Kobe died. You knew that I was going to be feeling that.
Within an hour of me finding out, I had you on the phone.
Thank you for that because that was a beautiful thing and horrible. I was on a golf course and it was foggy, the same fog he died in.
You couldn’t even talk to me.
The people all over the golf course were crying and screaming. You could hear it as the news was traveling around. We were all in disbelief and still trying to play golf. It was crazy, but it was so awesome to get that call from you. We talked about what a leader he was and all the things that we could focus on that we’re positive about him. You and I always go back and forth to Lakers and Jazz. You recognize talent. I know you’re a big fan of Magic as well. That was a special day to have that you call me. That was nice.
You and I recognize what I admire Kobe for. It’s that everybody has a critic and you know as well as I do that Kobe had many. If you’re not from LA, he had haters left and right. Whether they were on the court reasons or off the court reasons. Here’s why I love Kobe. He took a circumstance. He’s no worse or better than Chad Hymas. He took a circumstance and you can look at my circumstance here, a circumstance of challenge, struggle and done it many times. I’m not talking about one time but adversity. He had proven to be able to take adversity and use his mind. At the end of his life, he was doing the best that he possibly could to be a good husband and a good father to those girls.
That’s why I want to live my life through all the challenges, struggle, adversity, pain and mistakes that I’ve made. In the end, when I’m all done, whether my plane crashes or a helicopter or I die of natural causes, whatever age it is, I would like to be able to say at the end that I was trying to help these girls become better basketball players. I had set up this foundation and it wasn’t about basketball, but it was helping them believe in themselves. Not many people knew about what he was doing until after he died.
Everybody came out of the woodwork to say how he impacted them. Even on his helicopter before he died, he had a girl sitting on the helicopter with him who wanted to get an internship with some baseball lawyer or baseball agent. He had texted that guy at that moment saying, “You should take a look.” He was always checking in with everybody and always inspiring people and asking for them to be their greatest, to match him, to be the best that they could be and digging that out of them. A lot of cool stories came out after he died.
In my opinion, Kobe amongst many others has demonstrated that leadership is not announced by title or the number of championships or MVPs you earn. It’s announced by the way you change and the way that you demonstrate your leadership ability. That’s something that Kobe had to grow into. If you imagine being in the NBA at age eighteen and competing against Michael Jordan, arguably the greatest of all time. Can you imagine that guy he watched playing and that amount of pressure? I’m saying, I am a true fan and a person that loves Kobe amongst many others who take adversity, mistakes, challenges and growth, and do the best they can to become better. That’s how I view Kobe Bryant. I have a great love for those pictures that have come out since. Vanessa has posted of their anniversaries and how they have learned to love and forgive and be apart, which is no different than my marriage. We’ve had to learn to love and forgive each other. I don’t know a marriage that’s any different. While the decisions and choices might have been different, the principles are the same. I looked at Kobe as a mentor and a leader as I do many other people.
A lot of other people look to him now like they never did before. Two things I want to say, one is a lot of people, thousands, millions of people look to you that same way. Number two, how cool is it that the best thing that could ever come out about anybody is the number of people who come to your defense or to sing your praises that it’s unasked for. It’s out of the love of their hearts. They want to come out and support you. That’s right there which shows you the man. It’s the people who knew him and know you or who’ve come in contact with you, how they all come out and sing your praises and say, “Look what he did for me or what he said to me.”
That’s showing somebody’s impact in their life and how they have affected others. That’s what you can be proud of. You do that every time you step on stage. There are people in the audience and I hear it every time from the planners. I hear them ey say, “It’s like what you said would happen, Chris.” People after the event came up to us and said, “He changed my life and many of our members’ lives and their lives were impacted greatly by him.” I hear that all the time and I don’t always share that with you. I promise it every time to the client that’s going to happen and every time, I hear that from the clients.
I call that legacy. We were talking about Kobe prior. That’s what any of us should aim for. When we’re no longer here, what have we left behind aside from worldly material things that people can take and use in their lives to make them better? That’s called legacy. There have been many that have left a great one. I believe that Kobe is one of those. That’s what you and I are aiming for. We need to leave a good legacy for our children to follow and our grandchildren and for others that might not even be our blood relatives, to be able to look to with the invent of social media and YouTube and ways to leave messages to people, books, journals, whatever it is, Twitter accounts, social media accounts, with all that. That’s a great way to leave messages for people and share your individual stories so that people have something to be inspired by, to look up to it, and be mentored by.
What you said, I couldn’t agree more with. That is beautiful and very well said. You said the word stories and it reminded me also of another great thing about you. You’re one of the greatest storytellers I’ve ever known and seen. You have a list of stories that you will go through. I know many of your stories, not all of them, but I know a good amount of them. You’ll look at the client and you’ll say that to me, “This story will be good for these guys.” Now I’m going to put you on the spot. What’s one of your favorite stories to tell that’s a good one that you find is the one that people respond to the most. Do you want to tell us that story?Too much pride or confidence is arrogance and ego. Too little pride is called depression and suicide. Click To Tweet
I have a library of probably 300 stories, but in a 60-minute keynote, I only have time to share three that’s better than anybody. Three stories and the principles in about a 60-minute time slot, and then be able to give a call to action at the end. One of my favorites is I have a passion and a love for elk. When I was in the hospital, my dad kept telling me that I can still be a farmer and raise elk. I can still perhaps be a better farmer than I ever was before. I had asked him in the hospital if he would stop bringing it up. He kept hammering it in and I thought it was overkill. I thought it was too much.
He did a good job. He kept his mouth shut for about 63 days. That’s how long I was in the hospital. At the end of the 63 days at 5:00 on Thursday night, my dad came to me and said that they had released me to go home, that I will be taken home that night and released. My dad took me home and dropped me off with Shondell. I went to bed that night and twelve hours later, which is now day 64 at 5:00 AM, a light came on and somebody woke me up at 5:00 in the morning. My dad and my wife were already up, which means he was in on this. Something was going on.
It was a conspiracy and they both dressed me in camouflage clothing from head to toe. My dad picked me up, carried me out to his truck, set me in the passenger seat, put the ventilator on the console, the trach in my neck, put my four-wheel-drive electric wheelchair in the back. It’s a little bit stronger than that Chevy that you drive back in LA. My dad drove me to that 28,000-acre piece of ground that I wanted to buy. He parked down at the base of the Canyon. Both my brothers showed up in their trucks, one brother put a camel bandana on my head. The other brother got out of his truck and he poured elk urine on the top. Now I have a better reason why I was invited in the first place. It’s not baiting. You only bait fish or bear. This is called a mate. They put me behind the sagebrush behind and I started to call in some wild elk.
You did put me on the spot. I wasn’t prepared for this. My brother recorded it live. As soon as I hear and see horns and hear him bugle, I realized something. What’s that bull looking for? It was not looking for a mate. He’s looking for a female which is the scent on the top of my head. There are horns right there. He’s a 6×7 bull, 340 class. All that means is he’s a big and mature bull. He’s coming right for the scent, right for me. My dad and my brothers are standing up in the tree. I’m on the ground. He comes past me. He’s calling off other bulls, making sure that he’s the only bull in the territory. He’s coming to get me and put me in his harem like he wants to create some wedding vows or something. My dad shakes the tree and the bull is in no hurry to leave until he smells the human scent, and then he’s gone. Now, I’m going to put you on the spot. What’s my dad trying to do the day after I get released from the hospital?
Set your vision for the future that you are able to still do the things that you wanted to do.
I’m still able to do things. I just can’t do it the way I used to, but it doesn’t mean that it’s the wrong way. There are several right ways. The principle for me is there are several right ways for me to get dressed, to eat food, to find an airplane, to court my spouse being married, not just one way. Whereas when we get used to behavior or we call it a habit, we stick with it and we think that’s the only way it can be done. That’s not true. I’ve learned that there are several right ways for me to go and get to Japan even though I don’t speak Japanese or get to China, Dubai or Thailand even though I might not speak the language. There are several right answers. Here’s the problem. The next five years, it’s still part of the same story, I chose to not buy into that philosophy. Something changed my behavior and I’m going to show you what that was.
This is a picture that my dad took after five years of me not going. Do you remember that little boy that we show in the beginning? That’s him five years later. Look at the four-wheeler and how dirty that is. The message is that we need to get dirty for other people. I’m not talking about dirt, but maybe that’s finding a place to serve or letting our spouse know how much we care about them or taking the twins out for ice cream. I’m saying whatever that is. There are several ways to get dirty. Look at his boots. Those are sacred where I come from. Those are called cowboy boots. His jeans are called Wranglers. One of the most important features of that picture is his jacket. Notice how his camou is too big. I realized that day when my dad gave me that picture that I had never taken him to Cabela’s or Bass Pro Shop or Walmart for that matter and buy him his own camou.
That day after that trip, I took him to Cabela’s and I did not know that you cannot go to Cabela’s without spending $5,000. I spent it on my credit to catch up or all the time that I missed. The best part is that picture. Look at the smile on his face. What’s the message? When I saw that picture, it reminded me of what I had robbed him off for five years. It’s that smile. It’s not hunting. It’s not about shooting animals or anything like that. I had robbed that opportunity from him. I’m sick and tired of committing theft and robbing other people. That’s why I haven’t missed a day of going out and looking for elk with him. He’s now 22 years old. He’s my best friend. I haven’t missed one of his ball games.
You make sure you schedule your world for him.
I don’t miss any of the kids’ activities, which is not a problem amidst COVID. They’re not playing ball. I can’t miss it. I did it for five years and they say that they’re better off playing when I’m around. It’s like your kids are when they’re out there kicking the soccer ball. They want you to watch them. They need you to believe in them. When they see that, then they’re better because of it. I can’t miss it. I ask people this, “What are you robbing from other people because you’re choosing not to show up?” Whether that’s work and putting your full-day and your full effort, your full potential, whether that’s to your spouse and giving it all you have in a relationship or your partner, to your children, to your grandchildren.
If you’re not, get out of this room and make a phone call or send a text off that sounds something like this, “This is Chad. I’m at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in Los Angeles. I just wanted to let you know that I’m amongst beautiful people close here to the beach. Here’s a couple of pictures of what it looks like in downtown LA. I’m thinking of you. The sun’s out bright. Thank you for the sunshine. You are my life.” Send that message off to your grandchild, a parent or somebody and watch what happens to their self-esteem and confidence. It’s amazing what happens. That’s one of the stories that I’d love to share and the principle that goes along with it.
It’s touching and got so many great lessons in it that you are good at pointing out and demonstrating to us and talking us through.
Thanks for giving me the chance. You and I didn’t talk about that. You surprise me too much.
I love when you’re in Los Angeles and I can pick you up from the airport and take you wherever I want. That’s the real surprise.
I’ve seen and been to lots of places, but a lot of times I’d like to stay in a hotel room for safety or I don’t have Shondell with me. Not every place is wheelchair-friendly. It’s easier for me to be in a hotel, but when I’m in Malibu or Los Angeles or Orange County, or you’ve driven down to San Diego to meet me, and you’ve taken me all the way back to LA. You and your wife drove me from San Diego to LA at one time. You and I stay out until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning, and we’re going up on top of these hills that I never knew existed in LA.
You’re showing me where all these famous people live. We’re going up and down. We’re taking photos. You took me to a band one night to watch one of your drummer buddies play. You’re a drummer yourself. I have never done that within other meeting planners or with any other agency. I don’t know if that’s just professionalism or being genuinely service-oriented. I hope this doesn’t offend you. I call it true discipleship, being willing to sacrifice your time away from your family to benefit my life and give me an experience that otherwise I wouldn’t have. You’ve done that. You took me to that restaurant to eat and we were sitting on the water.
There was another restaurant you took me to. I think it was Malibu highway or wherever that highway is. The ocean is on the other side, but we got seats right there by the window. You had a reservation in advance. We sat there and watched the bikers and runners go by and the oceans right out there. I don’t know what that was, but then some famous people came in and we knew who they were. I’m thinking, “This is way cool.” I’ve never done stuff like that. I’m traveling for twenty years. We’ve had a lot of fun.
You only want to spend time with those people you love. I love you very much. I remember when you were speaking in San Francisco and we went to the Mark Hopkins Hotel and we had that brunch. I went to the bathroom and I came back and you’d paid for the darn thing. I was supposed to pay for that entire thing. You always try to do that.
I just know there’s never money in your pocket. I’m joking. I like to pay for it. It’s the one thing that I can do to say thank you for all that you’re doing for me. You paid for gas. I think one time you had me pay for gas.
One time we got pulled over. Do you remember?
We got pulled over but I got us out of it because I played gimpy “He was trying to get me to the restroom. I’m sick and he’s trying to get me to the hospital. Can you please let us get to where we need to go?”
You didn’t say that. We pointed to the restaurant we were about to be at. That was in San Diego. The guy said, “You guys go ahead, please.” It was a red light or something.
I use my circumstance to get us off the hook. Let’s call it what it is.
I tell people this all the time, we have so much fun that when we’re together. You and I love to get inside an elevator and do this two-man routine. We hope that people come in with us. I tell people another thing about you, which is so true and no offense at all. You forget that Chad Hymas is in a wheelchair within about 10, 20 seconds of meeting the guy because you’re comfortable and likable. Any of the hesitation or nervousness that anybody would have, you take it right away and they forget. You’re the most likable guy anybody’s ever met. That’s why you’re so great. You’re a great friend, but you’re such a great guy to learn from and be inspired by. Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for so many people to inspire them, and there’s the family now.When we get used to a behavior or habit, we stick with it. We think that's the only way it can be done, and that's not true. Click To Tweet
Shondell and I celebrated 26 years. There are the two boys that we introduced people to earlier. We adopted Gracee when she was three days old. She’s now a junior in high school. She’s from Guatemala and Kaleb is from Ethiopia. We’ve only had him for two years. My wife found him in an orphanage at age nine. He’s been an amazing part of our family. Thanks for letting me share that with you.
Your family is inspiring as well. You’re a great leader in your family and your community. You have so many great messages from leadership to vision, to how you deal with change, circumstance, adversity and look at life. It’s wonderful to know you and it’s always fun to book you because I know the clients are always going to be happy.
Thanks for having me, Chris, and for your friendship more than anything. I appreciate it.
This was fun. I’ll talk to you soon. Thanks again.
Thanks, Chris for having me. Take care.
About Chad Hymas
“One of the 10 most inspirational speakers in the world.” – The Wall Street Journal
On April 3, 2001 Chad Hymas’ life changed instantaneously when a falling one-ton bale of hay broke his neck. He was pronounced a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the chest down with limited function of his arms and hands. However, Chad’s dreams were not paralyzed that day. Chad Hymas is a World Record wheelchair athlete and set a new world record by wheeling his chair from Salt Lake City to Las Vegas (513 miles) in July 2003.
His message inspires, motivates, and moves people to action! His take on change, vision, leadership, safety, and life are among the most moving and inspirational that any speaker has ever conveyed. He is amazing at customizing his speech to fit your theme or topic. Your audience will feel a personal connection to him almost immediately.
When Chad rolls out on stage, your audience will have an immediate respect for his circumstance. His disability and what he is overcoming is a true example of, “set your mind to it and you can accomplish anything.” Through his unique sense of humor and his emotional story, your people will fly higher than they ever thought possible.
When Chad was in the hospital and learning to balance his body again, his three-year-old son told him “to use his wings” because he no longer had use of his legs. Chad delivers this message to thousands, and will convince your group to “stretch out their wings, take off with confidence, and not worry about where they’re going to land!”
Chad prepares for each event separately and incorporates his story and life experiences with the specific needs of the target audience. He will know the theme of your meeting and relate his circumstances to it. Chad enjoys studying the audience prior to speaking so that he can align his message with the personalities in your group.
The impression Chad leaves with those who hear him is genuine. They will have a knowledge of achieving what some say is unachievable! His words are heartfelt, sincere, and honest. Let Chad’s story impact your group to “fly high!”
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