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Quadriplegic ranch owner delivers message on change, problem solving, purposeful living

Part comedian, part motivator, part advisor, NACBE guest speaker Chad Hymas describes how a life-changing accident reframed his approach to living and problem solving.

NACBE GUEST SPEAKER Chad Hymas brought a message of “legacy” to business managers and guests attending the CSO Conference. He wasn’t talking about leaving a monetary legacy but a personal one — a legacy of purpose. He learned the hard way.

In 2001, when Hymas was 27, the young husband and father was crushed by a 2,000-pound hay bale on his Utah ranch. He was in a hurry and ignored his tractor’s hydraulic indicator light — as he had many times before. When the hydraulics failed, the bale crashed down, shattering his neck. In an instant, Hymas went from an athletic and robust elk ranch owner to a quadriplegic with no idea how he was going to provide for his family — financially or emotionally.

Bringing the Boilermaker audience through both laughter and tears, Hymas shared his story of then and now — how, with help and not-so-gentle prodding from his family, he reclaimed his dream to develop 600 acres of wilderness into an elk and pheasant hunting paradise.

He credits his father with helping him understand the need to reframe his approach to life so he could be the father, husband and business man his family and colleagues deserved. As a result, Hymas is intentional about living his life with purpose and putting others first.

“Watch what happens when you stop saying ‘I, me and my’ and start replacing those words with ‘you, we and our,’” he told the audience.

In relating his story, he also shared tips for solving problems and overcoming obstacles: think creatively, be proactive and engaged, take pride in yourself and what you do, celebrate others’ victories and “do more than the contract requires.”

“The problem is that some people just choose to 'show up'; they change nothing,” he said. “People who refuse to change how they’ve done things in the past will find themselves paralyzed by their own patterns.

“Just because you’re breathing doesn’t make you alive. Showing up to a meeting doesn’t mean you’re present. You’ve got to make yourself irreplaceable in a replaceable world; indispensable in a very disposable world.”