Category Archives: Stuttering

Communication Breakdown – My Stuttering Journey

I Once knew a boy…

  • Who was horrified to get called on to speak out loud in grade school class
  • Stood behind his mom or dad’s leg every time as a child when people tried to speak to him in public
  • Answered the telephone by saying “Yeah” at home and not “Hello” when he had trouble saying the word
  • Would cry himself to sleep on occasion as a child wondering why he was different and did not speak like everyone else
  • Once had a teacher stop him from speaking out loud in class, came up to him, asked him to open his mouth and checked if “there was an answer” to his speech issues in there
  • Would sit for what seemed like hours afraid to pick up the phone before calling a friend when he was afraid to stutter
  • As a teenager, would never go through the drive-thru to order food because he was afraid to mess up his words
  • As a young adult, would only order drinks at a nightclub only if he could say the word properly, even if he did not even really like the drink
  • Would get lazy and only say words that he could say smoothly throughout the first 18 years of his life, and not work on the difficult words
  • As a high school graduate focused on getting in to a profession where he would not have to interact with many people, and could keep to themselves

That boy was me, and growing up I felt like I was the only person in the world that was dealing with a stuttering issue. We have all dealt with stuff in our lives, and fought through adversity in our own ways. I look forward to sharing my entire speech journey at some point in the future but for today, you only need understand this.

I have not allowed these issues to take control of my life. I changed my area of study in school because I hated the courses that I was hiding behind when I felt scared to face the world. I have always been in a very relationship oriented professions, and speak in front of groups of people regularly. I have cold called face to face, in person, and been in pressure packed speaking situations more than I care to remember.

But you know what, I made it through every situation, some more easily than others.  Today I am involved with Toastmasters, doing video on my blog, and am not afraid to tell my story to the world.

We are not here to judge each other on what is, or is not significant in terms of what is causing issues in our lives. But we need to be there to support each other and aid in getting past these hurdles.

I am convinced that if I did not have those speech issues growing up that I would not have become as touch a customer as I am today. Perspective is a powerful thing, and when I attended an info session recently to volunteer at a stuttering clinic, I realized that I did not have it so bad after all! It just seemed like it at the time, because all eyes were on me as I struggled day-to-day.

  • What is holding you back?
  • Is there something that others can help you get through to become who you really want to be professionally and/or personally?

It may seem like a big deal now, but once you conquer it you can look back and say,

“That was a turning point in my life!”

If you have a story that you would be comfortable sharing, I would love to post them on my blog in the next couple of weeks. Please send them to:

TimMushey@gmail.com

Sophie Gustafson’s Acceptance Speech – LPGA Award

When I came across this video last Sunday I stopped in my tracks. I had to watch it immediately. Sophie Gustafson has a severe stutter, and pre-recorded this video for an awards presentation for the Ladies Professional Golf Association recently. It is very difficult to put in to words how I felt while I was watching it, and after. I felt many emotions for Sophie during her speech, and after I was just plain proud of her. As some of you know, I have battled a stuttering issue all of my life, but NOTHING compared to what she had to endure.

She is an inspiration to anyone managing a speech issue, and an inspiration for anyone battling anything for that matter! It is easy to let our challenges stop us from doing what we really love to do, but Sophie has proven no matter how difficult things may be, you can still do everything you want to in life. Share this blog post however you like, but please take a moment today to share it!

Rick Reilly from ESPN.com wrote a wonderful piece on this story and you can check it out here:

http://espn.go.com/espn/story/_/id/7782160/sophie-gustafson-courage