Thanks To My Stutter, I'm Never Lost For Words

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Re: Changing Environment

From: Alan Badmington (to Mark)
Date: 07 Oct 2008
Time: 04:54:10 -0500
Remote Name:


Hi Mark, Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to my paper. Joining the McGuire Programme in 2000 provided the springboard for change. The tools and techniques that I acquired enabled me to deal with my speech blocks and the many words that held an emotional charge. That gave me so much confidence. After a lifetime of heartache and disappointment, I finally believed that I could deal with the issues relating to my stuttering. The positive experiences that I gained during those eventful four days of my initial McGuire course were so exhilarating. But I was under no illusions as to what I needed to do when I returned to the outside world. I knew that I had to challenge the self-limiting beliefs that were holding me back. If we do not challenge them, they will remain to shape our destiny. Our future will merely be a repeat of the past. I knew that if I wanted to change my mindset and stuttering behaviours, I needed to become pro-active – I needed to do things in order to make them happen. I genuinely believe that our ability to change our lives lies in our ability to harness the immense power of belief and thought. Either we shape our thoughts – or our thoughts will shape us. I had the desire and motivation to change, together with persistence and a major commitment to personal growth. When our belief in failure is greater than our belief in success, we invariably quit. Although I had acquired a wide array of techniques and tools that allowed me to speak with greater fluency, my mind was still being run by programmes that had influenced my behaviours for more than half a century. If I had not set about changing my beliefs; if I had not pro-actively and consciously challenged my fears, then the belief system that had run my life for more than 50 years would have sabotaged my progress. Without realising, I would have (unconsciously) continued to practise extensive avoidance – the behaviour was so engrained. I would still have believed that I was incapable of speaking before an audience; giving detailed explanations; or using 13 letters of the alphabet (there were so many other self-limiting beliefs). And, I would still have unconsciously succumbed to my long-established fears. I feel it is so important to appreciate that stuttering is not just about the mechanics of speech. It involves so much more than struggling to force the words out of our mouths. The way in which we speak is influenced by so many different factors. It’s about the beliefs that we have developed over the years; our self-image; the way in which we react with people; the emotional baggage that we have accumulated; and our reluctance to place ourselves in challenging situations because we cannot be certain of the outcome. When I decided to work on various aspects of my life, I found that my speech improved as a by-product of that holistic approach. Interestingly, the fact that I had retired from the Police Service had advantages and disadvantages. While I had greater freedom (and time) to concentrate upon my speech, I was denied the many speaking opportunities that I would have encountered had I still been a police officer. Consequently, I had to create my own challenges to utilise my new techniques. I shall be forever grateful to the McGuire Programme for changing the course of my life. It was the final piece in the jigsaw. I had worn an Edinburgh Masker for more than 20 years, although it had never made me particularly fluent. However, under the umbrella of that infuriating masking sound, I did things that I would, otherwise, have avoided. I expanded my comfort zones and, most importantly, I acquired useful interpersonal skills. It created a system that would support the greater fluency when it later became available. Taking action does not guarantee success, but not taking action is a certain guarantee that nothing will happen. In life, we have choice - do nothing, or do something. Only when we do something, do we give ourselves any real chance of success. Our self-image sets the boundaries to our accomplishments. Mark, I have very fond memories of my trip ‘Down Under’ in 2004, when I attended the World Congress in Fremantle, Western Australia. Please give my best wishes to those who remember me.

Last changed: 10/07/08