About Rob Bryant
Rob is a Speaker, PhD, Professor, father of two US Marines, World Renowned Motivator, Guinness World Record holder, Business Analyst, author (4 books), and retired vice president with CSC (Fortune 150 company). Rob has spoken over 500 schools, colleges, churches, organizations, clubs and more. Over 200 newspapers, 100 radio stations, 50 TV stations (including every network) and 25 magazines covered Rob’s story. A complete list is available upon request.
My life story before 1975 was very normal. I was the product of a normal childhood. I joined the U.S. Air Force after graduating high school. My mundane life changed forever when one night while guarding a nuclear storage facility, I stole government protected objects to prove security was poor. For the next few months my life was turned upside down by attempts to court-martial me and send me to prison. Soon after the charges were dropped due to lack of evidence – Thank God for helping me in my youth!
Major accident in 1982 – I was a husband, father of one, and an employee of a large corporation in the oil-field business. In December, I was performing a routine operation on an oil rig. Suddenly a pulley broke and I fell 55 feet straight down. My back was broken, spinal cord severed, and I lost feeling and movement from the waist down. Within seconds, I began hemorrhaging due to internal bleeding. I fought for my life with each breath. Not wanting to die, I declared that I would live because I wanted to see my second child (my wife was eight months pregnant), if only one time.
I survived but was crushed, when I was told that I would never walk again. My friends and relatives rallied around me once again in prayer. I had no movement from the waist down, yet I was determined to walk again. In so doing, I broke several weight lifting records and ignored the pain. Even though it was impossible, I began using braces and crutches to walk. Enough movement returned in my left leg for me to walk out of the largest rehabilitation center on the West Coast!. I discovered prayer, determination and a positive attitude made the difference.
A World Record. I set new goals for walking, despite several back operations, decubitus sores on my feet, and serious burns from the knees down. I began with ten steps, then one block, and then one mile. Incredibly, after a year of training, I then went on to walk from Fort Worth to Dallas (24 miles), using braces and crutches, setting a World Record. Soon after, a publisher released my book, “Lord Lift Me Up, and let me stand” and I began sharing my testimony to churches, civic organizations, and universities.
And a second World Record. I tried to live as normal a life as a paraplegic, husband, and father of two can live. I found that my upper body was stronger now than before my accident, and I began rowing a row-cycle (three wheeled row machine) for exercise. I found myself traveling farther and farther each weekend. I discovered that the existing Guinness World Record for any type of row machine was 795 miles. I felt God was calling this old paraplegic to set another world record. I couldn’t think about anything else. I set a totally unrealistic goal of traveling 3,280 miles from the West Coast to the East Coast!
After training for two years, my trip began in Los Angeles, on April 2, 1990 on the row-cycle. The reason for the trip was to raise money for charities, and encourage others to not give up in the face of adversity. I lost 17 pounds from my already lean muscular frame because in addition to rowing, sickness, and other challenges, I spoke to 76 churches, six military bases, five hospitals, and three rehab centers. As a matter of fact, I spoke 100 times within 120 days.
The adventures of the trip began in California as we began crossing 1200 miles of desert and the Southern Rockies. We faced forty to sixty mile per hour head winds as we went over Guadeloupe’ Pass in Texas (5685′ high). As we moved out of the desert into the deep South, we faced heavy rains, high winds and even hail. One night while bathing, my left foot was burned because I could not feel scalding hot water dripping on it. They were second degree burns. This is part of the problem with paralysis. An infection set in and threatened the trip, but I would not quit. One night in June my team had to fly home because of a medical emergency, this left me deserted. It appeared that the trip was over. My wife and I were very moved as we discovered that ministers, friends and relatives were flying in from all over the country to help me finish the trip. While traversing through Tennessee, I became very ill as the result of a 102 degree fever from a kidney infection. Once again, I could not quit. My motivation was my children. I knew that if I quit, I would be teaching them that it was acceptable to give up on the dreams God would give them. As a father, I could not do this. In Wheeling, W.V., I crashed the row-cycle and received a mild concussion, broken toe, deep scrapes on my elbows and back, and a deep puncture in my right leg. With only three hundred mile to go, I would not give up. The final challenge was the Appalachian Mountains with 10 percent grades and up. I finished at the Capitol in Washington, D.C. on July 30th. I was met by a Senator, several congressman, an Admiral and media (USA Today, People Magazine, Presidents Council on Physical Fitness, TV, radio and newspapers). On August 3rd, the US flag flew over the Capitol in my honor. My wife and I received letters from the President, Arnold Schwarzenegger and many other dignitaries. The “Row Across America” received a Guinness World Record. Soon after, I wrote the book, “The Impossible Made Possible”.
My third book is entitled, “Walking Through Adversity,” published by HCI. The premise of this book is simple yet profound. To accomplish a goal of any size, we have to: set the goal, visualize the steps, count the cost, pay the price, and not ever give up on our goals. This book uses several short stories and culminates in the two world records listed above.
I rose through the ranks at CSC and eventually retired as a Vice President of Quality and Six Sigma for CSC. I loved working for the company. After retirement, I earned a PhD from NCU and began teaching statistics, leadership, and management. I still speak to many organizations each year and teach Lean/Six Sigma around the country.
My latest Book, Fraud President (Defiance Press) will be released in November 2022. I conclude that I can sit in my wheelchair and feel sorry for myself, or I can concentrate on the things that God has given me the ability to do, and do them well. I have a brain (many would debate this – LOL) and two strong arms to use, and I plan to going as far as my imagination and determination will carry me. I can’t give up because I have set the goal, visualized the steps, counted the cost, I am willing to pay the price, and I am never going to give up on my dreams in the future. If I did it – YOU CAN TOO!!