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:


About Tim Mushey

Dynamic and energized sales rep, mentor and leader since 1999. This blog will be about sales, social networking, personal branding, leadership, music and having some laughs! Don’t be surprised if I mix it up on occasion, and talk about something totally different! I thrive on being part of successful, forward thinking teams. I am ready to go from the moment my feet hit the floor each morning, with the expectation that new adventures will be coming my way. It is rare that there isn't a smile on my face, as I take it all in, and have some fun along the way!

Posted on February 13, 2013, in Inspiration, Motivation, Rewind, Stuttering, Success and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 26 Comments.

  1. Thanks for sharing Tim. What an inspiring journey and an excellent example of the potential each one of us has, if we can only find the courage and belief in ourselves to develop the potential.

    • Thanks Laurie! I appreciate you taking the time to respond. We have all been through “stuff”. I just got to a place in my life where it was time to share. I appreciate your support as always. Enjoy the rest of your day..

  2. Good for you Tim. Inspiring anecdote. 🙂

  3. Tim, what a touching story. I can identify with it. I didn’t suffer from a stutter, but I did suffer from painful shyness. I was definitely hiding behind my parents legs, as you were.

    I remember that turning point you asked about. It was on a bus.

    My shyness led to a lot of bullying issues at school, so I dropped out at the age of 16, even though university places beckoned. In an effort to help, my teacher arranged for me to go on a work placement to a local newspaper. I remember sitting on the bus coming back at night from my first day. It was late. I was alone on the bus, and I remember thinking “I’m meant to be a reporter now, I’ve got to be able to interview people.” I started right then with the driver of that bus. Thank God he turned out to be friendly! 🙂

    That bus ride was my turning point.

    • Hi Peter! Thanks for taking the time to comment, and your kind words! That is so awesome that you took the time to share “your turning point”. I am glad you can reflect back now and look fondly on that time in your life when things started to change for you. Very cool!

  4. Tim – thanks so much for the very inspirational story. I’ve had my issues and will probably always face an issue of some sort. I see my 5 yr old grand son having some speech difficulties – stories like yours are invaluable. Thanks!

    • Hey Dennis! You are so welcome. I wish your grandson all the best. There are many valuable resources available if it is needed for him. You know where to reach me and my sister is a speech pathologist if your family ever needs a little more insight 🙂 Take care and stay in touch…

  5. Powerful and inspiring story, Tim. Everyone has issues and challenges and I love hearing about people who have conquered theirs and turned it into an advantage. Using what you have is one thing, but creating what you don’t have is something altogether different. We appreciate and hold dear what we’ve had to work for and I think there is real power in that.

    It seems that one of the most powerful things is simply knowing we’re not alone in our challenges. Even on a much simpler level, I’ve conducted trainings for managers where there was this enormous sense of relief when people found out they weren’t the only ones struggling with a particular issue, that it was normal and common, and there were solutions available. I think your point about reaching out to others is so very valuable.

    • Thanks for the detailed response Broc! I really appreciate it. Conquering the issues and challenges has been quite rewarding for me, and I will continue to do so as I move forward. Great point about the managers example. There always seems to be a sense of relief when people know that they are not the only one dealing with a problem. My example always relates to my wife joining a new mom’s group a few years ago. You feel that sense of relief when you find out that other parents are dealing with some of the same things too! Take care…

  6. Love this Tim, thank you for sharing your story and how inspiring. My cousin’s daughter is 16 and out of the blue a few years ago began to stutter. It was very troubling to her father who is a professor. With help and encouragement she is doing better. When I saw her last year she was talking so much more and working through the stuttering without shame or lowering her head. Your story will inspire many!

    • Thanks Tina! I appreciate you taking the time to comment, and the supportive words. Well I am glad to see that your cousin’s daughter is doing better. As difficult as it can be some times with speech issues, a little help and encouragement goes a long way! Thanks again..

  7. By far, your best of the year….outstanding Tim.

  8. Today I enjoy writing and presenting, but I didn’t always. My first speech in school was supposed to be 5 min. After just 1min 37seconds; and 4 breaths; I sat down with a failing grade.

    My instructor took time to illustrate the numerous errors I made, and followed up with; “these are the same ones most people make, and they are easy to fix.”

    This event helped define my future. As speaking is a major part of my income.Thanks for sharing your background with the world. It IS a great foundation!

  9. Hi Tim,
    I read this a few days ago and have been chewing and chewing on my response. I identify greatly, and have been working on how to respond for a bit. Will email you directly.

  10. Tim, I’ve nominated you for the Very Inspiring Blog Award. See the nomination at Congratulations. Dave

    • Thanks Dave! Wow I really appreciate you doing that. I will have to nominate 10 other blogs and complete the task as soon as I can. Have a wonderful Wednesday, and thanks again!

  11. Reblogged this on Practicebetterbusiness's Blog and commented:
    What a true inspiration

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