Speaking up for stammerers!

Severe stammers can steal the voice of a person and badly affect confidence. As International Stammering Day approaches, Chris Webber talks to Jordan Hall, a young man with the condition

IT must have taken real courage for Jordan Hall to stand up on a stage in front of his friends, family, mum and dad, brother and sister, classmates, and try to speak.

But courage wasn’t enough.

Aged 17 this bright lad, full of enthusiasm for his history project about the Crusades, slides at the ready, opened his mouth… and nothing happened.

“I didn’t speak a single word, not one single word left my mouth. My mum was upset. Everything tensed in my throat. They just ended up showing the slides in silence. I felt really low. I think I might have cried when I got home.”

Jordan’s mother, Paula, took action after that night. After all, Jordan’s situation was becoming more urgent. He had a good set of friends at Conyers School, in Yarm, and in his home town of Ingleby Barwick, and – with some NHS-supported speech therapy – had got by okay.

But now university and the world of work, interviews, changing social situations, were on the horizon… and the stammer was getting much worse.

“There’d been a documentary about Gareth Gates, the pop singer, who had a bad stammer, and that’s when we heard about the McGuire programme.”

Six weeks later and Jordan was in Cardiff, about to start the four-day McGuire course, his parents having paid £700. There’s a physical side to the course based on breathing technique, encouraging stammerers to use a different set of muscles to talk.

But, of course, there’s also a psychological side: dealing with the fear and anxiety that make the situation so much worse.

Jordan threw himself into it. In one day he had improved. At this instructors prompting he walked into the street and started to ask people questions, directions, the time, you name it. “It’s something that would just never have occurred to me to do before, it just wouldn’t have crossed my mind to talk to someone on the street like that,” he says.

Then he had to a stand on a soap box and talk to a crowd of random strangers. Jordan was the last of the group to do it. “It was so nerve-wracking,” he says. “Lot’s of us couldn’t say our own names. I really struggled with mine. But that was my first word; ‘Jordan.’ I said it and it was exhilarating. It was an extra-special feeling. Adrenaline was going; everyone was buzzing.”

At the end of the course, everyone had to give a more official speech. Again there were family there. Jordan spoke well. Again his mum cried. This time from happiness.

But it was not the end of the story. The McGuire programme and other, similar, breathing techniques does provide a cure. Jordan must practice. He and other sufferers must push themselves their whole lives just to be able to speak.

Today, Jordan deliberately answers the telephone as part of dealing with his stammer. It is a device he would not go near for a long time. “Telephones are hard. People think you’ve just gone silent, there’s no visual, they don’t know what’s going on.”

Jordan was lucky in that he wasn’t bullied. Teachers were empathetic and helpful. At primary school, he had even managed to narrate a school play. But as he got older and life’s problems became trickier and more stressful, his condition became worse.

For other sufferers, about one per cent of the adult situation (of whom about 80 per cent are men), the lack of a voice can be excruciating and far worse than it was for Jordan. There are tales of bullying, isolation and heartbreaking frustration.

And not everyone can afford to join the course, or more accurately become a member of the McGuire organisation, which today costs £900.

Thankfully, as knowledge of the causes of stammering – there is now strong evidence that stammerers brains are “wired”’ slightly differently, although details are unclear – and there’s better help. An everyday, NHS GP will often refer sufferers to a speech therapist.

Jordan has a clear messages to fellow sufferers: “Do not let it prevent you getting on with your life. Get help. You do have a voice.”

Original Article featured in The Northern Echo

Group photo from our Public Speaking Event in Düsseldorf, Germany

Fear Is Fine – Embrace It, Don’t Dodge It.

As Susan Jeffers says ‘Feel the fear, and do it anyway’. Don’t wait for the fear to dissipate, it won’t. The longer you wait for the fear to go away, the more intense the feeling grows. Susan Jeffers states that becoming aware of your fears and your limitations can change your life as long as you learn how to deal with them. All through life we will come across situations that make us fearful but we need to learn how to approach these fears and move on with our life. People miss so many opportunities in life simply due to fear and anxiety; we need to approach these fears with simple steps each day that will allow us to take those chances and open doors that were previously closed. Fear can make your world smaller so don’t allow the fear to overtake you.

“Fear is fine – embrace it, don’t dodge it. Then, walk through the fire anyway.”

On the McGuire Programme we have the same approach to facing our fears and how to deal with them. We have techniques and strategies in place to deal with situations that make you feel less fearful. We learn more about ourselves when we take action, we don’t learn by sitting back and feeding the fear. By taking action and facing our fears we become less anxious and less fearful. On the program we take every opportunity that comes our way to talk and speak using technique. We take every opportunity to ‘expose’ ourselves for who we truly are. We are not our stutter. We are people who are working hard on controlling our stutters. We no longer hide our true selves. And it feels amazing. Once you break down that barrier, your outlook on life and your behaviour changes for the better. We can finally live without holding ourselves back from doing the things we’ve always wanted to do. This even includes the simple things in life, like ordering the food you desire, to giving your name when asked for it. These are major steps for a person who stutters.

I experienced a new student facing their fears head-on during our last course in Düsseldorf, Germany. I brought her out for the contact session on the Saturday of the 3-Day Intensive course. Once the new student started using the techniques and ‘exposed’ herself as a person who stutters, it removed the feeling of shame and guilt, it allowed her to free her mind from the stresses that a stutter can hold over us. It was also very inspirational for me to see the changes happening in front of me, and to keep doing what we do on the McGuire Programme. Helping people, like ourselves, to break free from the freezing, struggle and distortion, and from the many tricks and avoidances we all created to be seen as a ‘normal’, ‘fluent’ speaker.

No more ‘hiding’ for the 5 new students who joined us in Düsseldorf, who learned concrete techniques to turn passivity into assertiveness. And learned how to stop negative thinking patterns and reeducate their minds to think more positively. And how to turn every decision into a “No-Lose” situation.

“The more we do things that we’re afraid of, we are proving to ourselves that we CAN handle danger, uncertainty etc., the more we can feel confident that we will be able to handle similar experiences in the future. In other words, facing our fears is something we can practice and get better at, even if we can never completely obliterate fear from our lives.”

Did you find this article useful? Do you know someone who stutters, who would benefit from trying out the McGuire Programme and giving themselves the best possible start to controlling their stutter? Do you, yourself stutter? If so, get in touch with one of our representatives today. No need to be afraid to contact us, we all people who stutter, who have found a new lease on life via the McGuire Programme and it’s extensive backup support.

“An important truth: YOU can’t wait for the fear to go away before you do something!”

Our next 3-Day Intensive Course in Germany will be held in Frankfurt am Main in October 2017
Date: 18.-21.10.2017 – Don’t be the one who holds you back. Reserve your place today!

Attendees at a Refresher Day in Newry, Northern Ireland on 29th July 2017

Refresher Day In Newry, County Down, Northern Ireland

The day incorporated lots of drilling and presentations.  With courage we headed out on Street Contacts, to face the many fears associated with #stuttering, and this proved to be very beneficial with the support of coaches and grads.

It was a good disciplined day, working on our #stutter and putting time and effort into refocusing on technique.

Mary Moorehead, Coach on The McGuire Programme

Eddie Spiers & Sam Anderson receiving the Coaching Certificates from Rory West on the June 2017 course in Galway

Overcoming Stuttering In Galway, Ireland

The course was led by Rory West, whose disciplined, motivated and great sense of humour – captivated everyone in the room – from new students to returning refreshers / graduates / coaches.

One of the graduates who attended the June course said “This course has really helped me because I had a big presentation to do at work on the Tuesday after the course and from all practicing of the techniques on the course, my speech was very strong throughout my presentation.”

The 8 new students showed great courage, determination, perservance and gave a lot of trust to the coaches to teach this new technique.  The transformation from Wednesday evening to Saturday evening was phenomenal.

During this course Eddie Spiers and Sam Anderson were presented with their Coaching Certificates. Both Eddie and Sam have proven themselves to be dedicated coaches and committed to giving the best possible coaching, not only to the 8 new students, but also to members of the McGuire Programme in Ireland and abroad. They are a great asset to our support network which is the foundation of the Programme.

And….. the next course is in the City of Belfast from 25th-28th October 2017.  If stuttering is controlling your life – APPLY for that course!!

Contact Joe O’Donnell, McGP Regional Director, Ireland

Members of the McGuire Programme at the Refresher Day in Newry, Co. Down on 25th March 2017

Spring Has Sprung And We Had Fun!

After only one month on the McGuire Programme the new members showed character and determination in working on their own stutters. The focus of the day was to recap on the techniques that they had practiced on the February course and in doing so dedicating a whole day working on their stutters and supporting each other.

Members of the McGuire Programme at the Refresher Day in Newry, Co. Down on 25th March 2017

Members of the McGuire Programme at the Refresher Day in Newry, Co. Down on 25th March 2017

There were a number of presentations on the day from members, focusing on both the physical and psychological aspects of stuttering. We also took the time to have some social interaction activities and a fun session. Smiles radiated throughout the room and the sound of laughter penetrated the walls.

Everyone who attended put in a great effort on the day and left feeling they had achieved something worthwhile. A lot of people travelled from all over Ireland to attend and their effort and determination paid off. They left feeling empowered and ready to tackle new opportunities ahead.

Thanks to all who made the effort to attend and prepared presentations for the day.

Together we are stronger and wiser. For events and courses in 2017 please check the website.

– Kara McMahon, Course Instructor Intern

A strictly fairy tale ending . . . in Galway

As Fairy Tales have a happy ending, there was also a happy ending on our recent course in Galway (22nd-25th February 2017). A happy ending for 11 students who put their faith is us to help them overcome their life restricting stammer / stutter.

All 11 students took on board our instruction and pushed themselves over 3 days to begin to get control over their stammer / stutter.

They embraced our war mentality and on Saturday afternoon they went to the battlefield having learned, repeatedly drilled and practiced their weapons to face their fear – their fear of approaching strangers on the street and in shops.

And to crown it off, they each did a public speech on Shop Street in Galway in front of many onlookers.

Here are some happy endings from the students on and immediately after finishing the course.

“The course has changed my life and I can’t wait to go back to my family and tell them all about it.”

“I never thought I would be able to speak to over 100 people today, never mind doing a public speech in Galway.”

“My stammer has held me back so much and now I can finally get to grips with it.”

“I can’t believe that so many people have a stammer and they had much the same experiences as I had. I truly thought I was the only one who felt like that.”

“Now I’m going to live my life free from the fear of stammering.”

Over the coming months, through hard work courage and perseverance, they will kill the fear (of stammering) and gain control over their stammer.

They will then adopt a ‘sports mentality’ – looking at their stammer as a worthy sports opponent and hopefully reach the stage where speaking becomes fun!

A truly happy ending!

Dealing with a stutter in the GAA

In December 2015, Tiernan McVey was named on the Gaelic Life Team of the week for his performance between the posts for Moortown at the St Paul’s Ulster Club Minor Tournament.

It is a moment that he cherishes, as it represented a major achievement for someone who had managed to battle with and conquer a stammer.

How he managed to get that nomination was interesting in itself. The 16-year-old McVey hadn’t been named on the starting side who were up against Crossmaglen, but he was called into action when first choice keeper was black carded.

In this difficult situation one might have expected a lesser player to wilt, but McVey played admirably, pulling off a string of saves that kept Moortown in the game.

While they were not able to overcome the Armagh champions, however McVey had made his mark and he was duly selected as the number one stopper of that week.

He had enjoyed the success of winning a Tyrone minor championship as a team, but this was an individual achievement, and proof that sticking with playing football, despite the challenges of communicating with a stammer had been worth it.

When he was a lot younger Tiernan had ignored his the condition, and tried to deal with it in his own way. But he gradually realised thanks to input from family that he needed to take action, but he wasn’t sure what.

“I went to a speech therapist for a while, but they didn’t help,” he  said.

But he knew that he needed a solution. A keen footballer, he loved playing for his club Moortown, but having a stammer made it a challenge to take part and compete. He couldn’t communicate as easily with his team mates, and he also suffered some unwanted attention from opponents who would pick on him.

“Sometimes when you are out on the pitch it is hard to communicate.”

The Moortown minor team which Tiernan McVey is part of.

He moved schools, from St Mary’s Magherafelt to the Holy Trinity in Cookstown. More of his Moortown friends were there, and he felt more comfortable, but because of his stammer it was a challenge to make the switch.

“At the beginning it was tough, it was tough going into the football team.

“Because I was new people would ask a lot of questions and that could be tough.”

His solution was to join the McGuire programme.

The organisation was founded by David McGuire, who developed a system of managing the condition using a mixture of breathing techniques and psychology.

The technique very quickly became a great success. After five years, the programme had spread from Holland, David’s base, to the UK, Ireland, Norway, Holland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the United States.

Tiernan is a massive proponent of the programme, which he has been involved in for the past two years.

He was inspired by people like Gareth Gates who had used the McGuire programme successfully to deal with his stammer, and he went on to take part in X factor.

“The McGuire programme had intensive lessons in a new way to talk. It took a lot of work but it is amazing what I have achieved in such a short space of time.

“Before I joined the course I ignored my stammer, I just tried to deal with it myself.”

But after taking part in the programme, he began to understand that he had to face the issue head on.

Armed with the new techniques he managed to control his stammer.

“It’s about controlling it, rather than it controlling you,” he said.

McVey also revealed that he has had to deal with unwanted attention on the field in the past. Opposing players have made fun of his stammer.

He said that it has happened a lot less than if he were an outfield player, but that it has happened.

“When I was younger it annoyed me. But if it happens now I don’t care. If you have accepted it then you can deal with people calling you names. Name calling is not going to change my attitude.”

However, he does accept that it is important that he can control his stammer for the good of the team. And as a footballer on a minor team, and a goalkeeper at that, being able to communicate to his team is important.

“I now don’t have any problem chatting with team mates. I know that before hand it might have been a problem.”

He says that he has no issue with playing.

“I give out instructions all the time now. The odd time I want to give an instructions but it doesn’t come out.”

At the moment he is out of action. He broke his thumb and has been sidelined from schools and clubs action. But he has aspirations of playing MacLarnon cup football for Holy Trinity, and in the next few years challenging for a place on the Moortown reserves and seniors.

All this serves to highlight his passion for the game.

McVey said that he thinks that Coaches need more help with coaching players. He said that there are misconceptions about those with the stammer. He said he knows coaches who single the players out and try to encourage them to speak, while others ignore them completely. He says that the latter is best.

“It would be good if there was help for coaches. It would help if they just treated us the same as everyone else.”

So why did Tiernan McVey choose to tell Gaelic Life to get his message about stammering and the McGuire programme?

“I wanted to help others, but particularly those in the GAA, I think there are people in the GAA who may be unsure about playing.”

If you want more information about the McGuire programme, see the website: www.McGuireprogramme.com

Original Article Source: http://gaeliclife.com/2016/12/dealing-stutter-gaa/

McGuire Programme member, Puja Pietarila now living in Finland originally from Nepal. Puja joined the programme in June 2016 in Düsseldorf and attended her 02.McGuire course (Refresher Course) in Berlin in October 2016.

Why Was It So Hard To Get The Words Out?

After my second intensive McGuire course in Berlin, Germany, I feel energetic, gratitude, normal, loved, inspired.

I’ve been stuttering since I was around 7. I’m now 36 years old, mother of 2 girls: aged 8 and 6. Just to get it straight, none of my family members stutter, neither my siblings nor my parents. At school, I dreaded raising my hand to answer questions or give comments. I would rather take the beating. Reading English text aloud in the classroom was one of my biggest fears. Oh! Why was it so hard to get the words out? Why couldn’t I read fluently without blocks like when reading aloud to myself? I didn’t understand. I was lucky to have had great (girl) friends who never teased me during my school days. I studied in a boarding school for 9 years in Pokhara, Nepal.

Fast-forward – after working for 13 years in Finland as a software engineer, I quit my job last April. I really wanted to integrate my software experience with my business studies. But every time when some job description (non software related) excited me, one concern always remained – Can I speak?

I had heard of McGuire programme already back in 2000 when I was studying in Australia. Well, after watching how people spoke on the street, I was in denial. My stutter didn’t seem so bad like the ones in the programme! The thought of joining the programme didn’t cross my mind then.

Recently, one day I caught myself telling my husband – “I would do anything if I knew there was a chance and I really wanted it”. Then, at that moment I realised, how I was living in denial. I have had this stutter and hadn’t done much for it. It was even becoming a hinderance to my future job. Now, enough was enough. I was ready to face my challenge and take action. After all, I was doing it for MYSELF and not to someone else. So I started to google “McGuire Programme”. I also had another motivation to join the Programme. I was interviewed by a startup company for technical salesperson position.

Back then (around May – June) I really wanted that job. Coincidentally, during that time, I had also come up with a startup idea. To pitch my idea, I knew I had to speak with many people.

I am so glad that I contacted Emmet O’Connell. After knowing that the Programme will let me SAY what I WANTED to say without using tricks or filler words, I signed up. Finally, I was ready to let go of my shame and fear. Of course, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into but it felt so right!

My first intensive McGuire course in Dusseldorf, Germany last June has changed me in so many ways. It’s just been 4 months, but during this time many new exciting things have happened. I am now enrolled in Startup Program in Tampere, Finland and given 3 speeches in Toastmasters. I’ve made many phone calls and have had meetings with investors and prospect customers. McGuire Programme helped break down the walls I had built around me. I am so thankful to the coaches who gave me their time to speak with me. Especially, I would like to thank my primary coach, Bart van den Berg. Mary Moorehead (Ireland), thank you for being there when I was let down and for your presence. You are always wonderful to talk to.

“Anything that is usually a means to an end, make it into an end in itself.” – Eckhart Tolle. “The Power of Now”, book by Eckhart Tolle has helped me understand the deeper meaning of life and is helping me tackle the psychological factors of my stutter. In my opinion, it complements McGuire teachings perfectly. I highly recommend you to read this book, if you haven’t already. Anyone, including those who don’t have a stutter can learn to live in presence by reading this book.

In my second course in Berlin, I noticed some changes in myself. I was no longer asking questions like in my first course. I was comfortable practising deliberate dysfluency. I was thankful that I had decided to join the program in my “make up mind” session in Dusseldorf. I was inspired to see improvements of returning graduates. As a bonus, the number of Facebook friends jumped after the Berlin course 🙂 Emmet, it is really a great experience to take the class from someone who is so passionate about what he does! Thank you once again for the great course and the effort you put in.

Let us not get wrapped up in our own life situations. Let us not compare ourselves with others. Remember that “if ego can’t be the best it wants to be the worst” (Eckhart Tolle). So let us try to live aligned with our inner presence and practice McGuire techniques 🙂 There will be ups and downs but if the anchor is in the right place, we won’t get lost…

Kara McMahon receiving her CII Certificate from David McNally on the October 2016 course in Belfast

Kara’s Leap Of Faith To Deal With Her Stammer / Stutter

In February 2008 I took a leap of faith and joined the McGuire Programme, instantly I felt at home.  A room full of stutterers is a highly unusual thing, especially when they are all talking openly about stuttering and supporting each other. Therein lies the magic of the McGuire Programme.

In the days, months and years that followed my commencement on the programme I was on a rollercoaster of highs and lows. Ultimately it was the McGuire technique that got me through the bumps along with the immense support of the coaches and instructors. My perseverance and motivation to gain control of my stutter prevailed.

8 years later, here I am, a newly certified course instructor intern, wanting to give back to the McGuire Programme that has given me so much. Society is full of inspirational people and stutterers are no exception to this. On the McGuire Programme you meet people of all walks of life, each inspiring in their own right.

Articulate eloquence shines bright in these people and this is my ultimate goal.

Kara McMahon

How Embracing My Stutter Gave Me a New Lease on Life

Patrick Hanlon Food and travel writer, blogger, 1/2 of gastrogays, London by way of Dublin!

As I sat in a university lecture, my breathing was shallow and fast, my palms sweaty and my heart raced as one-by-one my classmates stood up to speak. This scene played out countless times before but the panic, fear and anxiety intensified each time this situation came around. I looked down at the book and the literature review I had written on the book. Nervously I agitated in my seat. Any semblance of confidence I once had in my own ability was on the floor and soon it would be my turn.

As my fear escalated, my focus and determination simultaneously vanished. ‘Just take it in your stride,’ I told myself. I was visibly uncomfortable, like always, and was consumed with the fear of being ‘found out’, of being seen as stupid and incompetent, of being pitied, of being a stammerer. Then it came: “Patrick Hanlon, you’re next to speak…”

“Ah…..muh……th….I….I”, I couldn’t even begin by stating the title of my report in front of my class, let alone eloquently broadcast the key points of the report like everyone else before and after me. My mind raced as I tried to conjure up different ways to communicate what I simply couldn’t get to leave my lips. Every trick and avoidance mechanism I tried to use failed me. If I could have physically run away, I would have; I was running away in my mind. After five excruciating minutes of broken sounds, non-words, speech blocks and facial struggle, I had to ask red-faced and humiliated to stop. I finished my 1,000 word report after one sentence.

As I sat in my college seminar waiting to be called to speak, I didn’t know it but that marked my lowest point. I was losing a lifetime battle I had to endure and at that point I was honestly ready to give up. I’ve suffered from a stutter my entire life and this was everyday life for me, and for so many others like me. Quietly fighting an internal war with yourself and avoiding situations, words and sounds. Choosing how to phrase things. Reaching for different tricks and coping mechanisms. Things as banal as saying your name at Starbucks, ordering a dish off the menu at a restaurant or answering the phone can be the most excruciating.

A stutter, or stammer, is a speech impediment that affects around 1% of the world’s population. You probably know loosely what it is and you might have come across stutterers every so often in your life. Maybe you’ve followed Pop Idol singer Gareth Gates’ speech difficulties or watched the Oscar-winning film The King’s Speech. You might have been glued to the Channel 4 fly-on-the-wall documentary Educating Yorkshire and cried tears at school boy Musharaf’s speech breakthrough.

Living with a stutter is really tough. I’m sometimes asked by fluent speakers what stuttering feels like and I explain it like being blind but with occasional glimpses of perfect 20/20 vision, or being deaf and having small, random spurts of crystal-clear hearing. A stutter is a beast and a real battle between physical and mental state. No two stutters are the same. There is a scale of covert (practically unrecognisable) to overt (incredibly obvious) but even day-to-day how a stutter interrupts your life can be drastically different from person to person. Good days and bad days come and go, but the constant is that your stutter is always there.

I’m a freelance writer, and I spent my entire life battling a stutter, sailing turbulently along and calling at many ports of speech therapy and different teachings and techniques. At 21, the same day of that excruciating scene described above, I found a lifeline in The McGuire Programme, an immersive, intense speech therapy programme run by people who stutter for people who stutter, combining a new way of breathing (from the costal diaphragm, not the crural – which we use naturally) and a transformative mentality. It works for some people, it doesn’t for others and it’s certainly not a quick fix or an easy ride.

Though, I need to assure you: people who stutter are some of the funniest, most intelligent, sharpest and confident people I know. I’ve met hundreds of them. Take it from me, they’re rarely shy, nervous or unsure of what they want to say and some even have comedic timing to rival the best in the business. Unfortunately, before they can communicate what their brain is thinking, their stutter interrupts the process, gets in the way and can often step them in their tracks. But you don’t have to live this out of control way…

I still battle my stutter every day, I will for life. You never lose a stutter. It doesn’t go away and there’s no definitive ‘cure’ – no matter what Google might lead you to believe. What you can do, though, is change your perceptions and mentality and take on board different ways to go about living with a stammer so that it’s no longer an issue that dictates the everyday. My life has been transformed and I live how I never thought I could, never forgetting where I’ve come from as I work hard and confidently on my speech every day in my quest for eloquence and a comfortable level of fluency. So, I want to share three insights on how you can too.

Lean In

So, there’s a common saying in social work: ‘lean in to the discomfort’, and the same applies here. Whatever makes you uncomfortable, explore it, pull it apart and understand it. When you see the sum of its parts, it’s not so scary any more. Sure, there will always be other scary things lurking around the corner, but having a mentality that you can tackle anything, that you’re bigger than what scares you, and that you’re a strong and confident person will ensure that you’re prepared for whatever comes your way. A stutter seems physical and it is – our diaphragm and speaking system freezes in the face of fear – but really 90% of it is mental. Re-assess how you approach situations, what your mentality is and how you relate to yourself.

Feel The Fear and Do it Anyway

Ask a person who stutters what makes them most uncomfortable and many will say something like ‘blocking and struggling in front of strangers’, ‘stuttering in front of my kids’, ‘being seen as stupid, inferior or incompetent by my work colleagues’ – always anxious and worried about how the ‘listener’ is perceiving you, yet the biggest focus needs to be on how you as a person experiences your own speech. Why are you speaking thinking about everyone else? The only thing that matters is how you feel when communicating. Susan Jeffers’ book Feel The Fear and Do it Anyway is well worth anyone reading.

Be proactive

To use another common expression, ‘play to win’. Don’t go through life dodging obstacles that get in your way and waiting for the next wave to hit. Power through the wave. Tackle opposition head-on. Look a challenge in the eye and see it through. You have no idea how much confidence you’ll gain from having a proactive, rather than reactive, mentality.

Do you see a common thread? It can be summed up in one word: embrace. Uncomfortable and difficult, I know, but when you embrace something fully it becomes less and less of an issue. Most people who stutter will tell you it’s the one aspect of their lives they despise and hate even thinking about or showing anyone. But here’s the crux: you need to break it apart, build up your confidence step-by-step and live the way you want to. You have to walk through that big scary door that’s stopping you and face your fears.

Don’t force yourself to live in fear when there’s a whole wide world out there, a world waiting to hear what you have to say.