We've had a couple challenges for the participants of the Improve Program recently, so we decided to talk about challenging yourself and how it may affect our stuttering.
Well, I picked not the best timing for this live stream probably (it was Christmas time) but we had a great discussion anyways :)
The first question we discussed was this: is it a good or bad idea to challenge yourself with your speaking? Because sometimes we feel like a failure and it can reinforce stuttering.
The consensus was that it's a good idea because it can increase our self-confidence and there's no way to improve without getting outside our comfort zone.
I liked the approach that it's a good idea, but we need to go gradually step by step building up our confidence.
For example, before making a real-life phone call using the hand stuttering technique we want to emulate it in the video call, we want to make speeches and play with phrases. So, we want to build up our confidence for that. We don't want just to go a leap we know we won't manage.
Some ideas for getting started:
- joining Free From Stutter Facebook group and being active there;
- participating in the video calls;
- speaking more or starting a chat with a close friend or colleague.
How to actually get yourself doing that first step? Well, we should say something to ourselves. I say something like, "With every skill, before getting good at it we need to be bad at it. And even before getting bad we need to start."
So, we just need to start and I'm getting prepared that it won't be all peanut butter. It'll be a mess first. But we can move from there improving the result. And I feel rewarded when the first score was zero, then I got one, then two and we can see we get better. We wouldn't feel the progress if the first time was good straight away.
I'm a big fan of using some stuttering technique because it gives a good reason for challenging yourself. You feel equipped for a challenge.
But what if you don't have a technique?
Well, the perspective is very important here. You can see the glass being half full or half empty. Both answers are right, but your overall feeling is totally different - it's either positive or negative.
By creating a speaking situation you destroy the core of the stuttering iceberg - avoidance behaviors.
So, I encourage you to see that positive side and feel good about creating speaking situations even though you might do not so well technically.
But again, I'm a big fan of doing both things in parallel: doing exercises for stuttering, using a stuttering technique to eliminate speech impediments and challenge yourself for more speaking experiences at the same time.
Please let me know what you think about challenging yourself - leave a comment!