Sebastian wachter sits on top of the stage, in his wheelchair. Right next to him a poster of a woman doing an aerial jump. Symbol of pure life energy. A contradiction only at first glance, as the visitors to the vlf women’s day in iphofen quickly realized during the 30-year-old’s presentation. For often it is not primarily the extraordinary circumstances that stand in the way of one’s own life’s happiness. It is the barriers in his head.
An 18-year-old goes on a trip with his brother. They jump over a creek. The brother arrives safely on the other side. The 18-year-old gets stuck on a root, falls into the stream. It is the moment that changes sebastian wachter’s life. His brother pulls him out of the cold water, saves him from drowning. The rescuers come, take care of him. But he has not yet reached the 5. Broken neck vertebrae, 95 percent of his muscles are paralyzed.
Silence reigns in the karl knauf hall as sebastian wachter revives the fateful day. And bass’s astonishment when, a few seconds later, he plays a film of a wheelchair rugby team racing across the pitch, wheelchairs banging into each other, one or the other tumbling out of the drive. Wachter knows this astonishment: "rugby doesn’t fit into the image a gangster has when he sees me for the first time."
What is the focus?
Fubganger, as the wheelchair user calls those who go through life on their legs. But that doesn’t mean that these fubgangers were living without barriers. They have a lot of barriers, especially in their head. You think you can stop them from changing anything in their lives.
"What happened to you?", fubgangers usually ask when they meet sebastian wachter. Rugby colleagues have a different perspective: "what else can you do??"Is their question. "Where is your focus??" The 30-year-old asked the visitors to the women’s day event, and at the same time provoked them a bit to change their minds: he wanted to know if they saw themselves in the role of victims. After all, people like to complain in the agricultural sector. "A farmer who doesn’t complain is not doing well," he said with a grin. He knows that very well, after all, he comes from a farming background.
Sebastian wachter calls for looking forward and not backward. Living in the past doesn’t get you anywhere. He can’t recover from his accident. He is paralyzed. But he has not come to terms with what the doctors told him after the accident: that he could never live an independent life. Seven years later and after long, hard training, he was able to do just that. He earned his high school diploma, studied business mathematics, and spent a semester abroad in the USA. He worked as a portfolio manager in a bank, has since set up his own business as a coach, and founded his own company – barrierefrei im kopf UG. He made it to rugby league player, won european speaker award in july. He can dress himself and take care of himself. His disability costs him three to four hours a day, he says, and it takes him 40 minutes just to get dressed. But he can live on his own, decide what to wear, what to cook, where to go. "I can do what I want, when I want to do it."
"Next play" is what rugby calls it when something goes wrong. It’s not about the mistake that happened, it’s about the next chance. "Where are you looking?" He wanted to know from the women. He experiences more and more often that people lose themselves in thoughts, in the past, which they can no longer influence. "Hardly anyone is in the present."
It took him a long time to accept his situation, says sebastian wachter. He worked like crazy, but the first years for the wrong reasons. "Accepting the situation means focusing fully on reality." He has not been able to do that. He was driven by the idea of proving to himself and others that he could do it after all. He denied his disability. "What do you deny? That you are unhappy? Overweight? That it is difficult in agriculture?" Thoughtful faces in the audience.
Acceptance of one’s own situation is the basis for change, the coach says. A change that we too often put two words in the way of: yes, but…. You don’t feel ready to do anything – to give up animal husbandry, for example. So you look away, away from what had to be changed, away from what had to be decided. In agriculture, wachter believes, people too often look the other way. At the handing over of the court, for example. On the question of how it should work with the care of the older generation on the farm, what about the other children when one takes over the farm, what role the woman should or wants to take in the company. Instead of talking and looking for solutions, they keep quiet and look the other way. "Then the tensions increase even more."
To achieve his goal of living independently, he has emotionalized it, asking himself what really drives him. "I am a speaker so that my stroke of fate makes sense. So that others can benefit.". The "why?" Plays the decisive role. "We need acceptance to get started. The why, so that we persevere."Which is important, because in life we always meet doubters, people who criticize, who drag you down. Wachter advises not to put too much stock in their perspective: "that’s just their way of looking at things."
He urged the women to set a goal, to think about how to deal with doubts, and if necessary, to seek help. Because support is important to achieve a goal – and that is often lacking in agriculture. "How do you support each other?" He wanted to know. Through cooperation, through division of labor? Asking for help is seen as weak, but that’s not right," he said. As a wheelchair user, he had to ask for help every day – and people would be happy to help him, for example, to get a jar of cucumbers from the top shelf when he was shopping. "If i go to aldi, i make five people happy – and i’m helped too."
No progress without change
Change takes courage and strength, but without change there is no progress. Some people don’t like change because they are afraid of making mistakes. So excuses must be made. In his case, it was initially the sentence "I am disabled." "This is a really good excuse." Others think they are too old for something new, too forgetful, too bad at math, too unattractive… That’s how we justified being inactive. "But often it’s an even bigger risk to do nothing."
Wrong focus, lack of acceptance, wrong goals, lack of responsibility – this is how sebastian wachter summarized the four barriers that stand in the way of changes. "No one asked me if i wanted the change," he said, and farmers are also faced with changes, some of which they could do nothing about, and therefore saw themselves in the role of victim. "I have also done this for a long time. But that’s where i didn’t make any progress," said wachter. His situation changed only when he became able to act. "Whoever becomes a victim is out of luck. If you remain a victim, it’s your own fault."
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