I don't like typical stuttering "before and after" videos. As a person who stutters, I know that they don't say much. You can be fluent in the therapy room but stutter badly the next moment you do go outside to the real world.
This blog post is about the stuttering transformation that you might be looking for. It's not a typical "before and after" video and you'll learn why.
Let's dive into it!
It's week 1 and Vildan is doing his first short introduction. He’s just started learning the basics of the training speech. We go live in the Free From Stutter Facebook group where more than 3 thousand people could watch us.
In week 2, Vildan is doing a piece from the next short introduction. In week 3 we move from introductions to unexpected questions. At 5 weeks, Vildan is role-playing asking for directions.
It may well be the end of a typical “before and after” transformation.
But wait!!! We missed something!
As Vildan was approaching a real-life stranger asking where was van line #9 we can hear quite a solid stuttering. I didn’t ask him to do that approaching and to do that recording. He challenged himself to it and it was brave. Yet, clearly, he wasn’t quite “ready” for it.
That’s why a typical “before and after” transformation, a typical result in the therapy where you see improvements in the therapy room is just a tiny fraction of the story.
In many cases, unfortunately, it’s the end of the story.
We go to the therapy class and then back to real life and we stutter. We go to the therapy class and then back to real life and we stutter again. We feel the same helplessness in real-life situations. We don’t quite understand how to transfer that confidence from the classroom/therapy room to real life. We say to ourselves that it doesn’t work and we give up.
The real story goes behind the scenes. Not in the therapy room. It happens inside, in the dark of our minds and our soul.
1. Being very clear (like crystal clear) on what you’re doing
In our case, it’s using the training speech, being present, and feeling great about this moment of speaking interaction. Feeling great about the fact that you have nothing to hide. You're open about using the training speech. You embrace and accept stuttering without stuttering. :)
2. Not giving up
It involves being messy before you excel at something. And it goes for anything: for learning to play the piano, for learning to windsurf, for learning to do a headstand. And for sure it applies to feeling good about speaking interaction! We are going to be messy at first!
Here's Vildan approaching strangers asking questions about stuttering. Our task was not quite the fluency but being totally present. Our task was to enjoy this moment and to be fine with rejection. People don’t have to respond or fall in love with you. They might be busy or feel insecure, and that’s OK!
He managed not just to speak to strangers in the mall about stuttering, but to create a conversation in that group of people who were walking by in the mall and who were absolute strangers. Wow! That is taking the lead.
That is leadership.
Vildan also talked about achievements in the Free From Stutter Facebook group. He goes live emulating a public speaking environment. We emulate this feeling of talking to thousands of people.
Feeling security and ease in the structure of your speaking. I’m preaching about and I’m teaching my students the hand stuttering technique. It gives the alignment that our brain and speech mechanism need to feel support and security as we speak. It also gives ground for making our speaking relaxing, effortless and expressive. Again, we want to be very clear about what we’re doing, what the right thing is.
Being open, active, and positive about speaking situations. Creating hard speaking situations consistently using the training speech. Not fixing stuttering (not responding, being reactive, running away, getting through it). Going for it, proactively learning new skills. Learning to enjoy speaking interaction, learning to be truly present and belong here.
3. Not giving up
Give yourself time to automate new feelings about speaking interaction until it becomes a new emotional state that reproduces itself over and over again. I say to my students that it’s 1 year to take off and 1 more year to fly to the destination. Two years overall. We get out of the shell, we expand, we grow. So, we want to enjoy every step of the way. Even when we’re just getting started. Even when we’re messy.
The real story is not giving up.
Not giving up on the process. Not giving up on yourself. Trust the process. Trust yourself. This is the story of true “before and after.” Where “after” is actually not giving up. Vildan is still in the middle of the journey. But you know what? If he hasn’t given up so far, he’s not going to give up for sure.
No matter where you are right now in your stuttering journey, be aware that there’s a path waiting for you. The path of becoming truly open, active, and positive about speaking interaction. The path of learning to truly enjoy being in the spotlight. The path of learning to be truly present and to truly belong.
The first step on that journey is the hardest one. But it’s also always your biggest win.
Tell me about your stuttering journey! Leave a comment! I'd love to know!
See you soon!