Class Reunions

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Re: My own biggest critic

From: Russ Hicks
Date: 11 Oct 2004
Time: 23:50:41 -0500
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Hi Martha, I can already tell that you're a lot smarter than I am! Ha, ha, ha! You hit the nail EXACTLY on the head! Your senior year in high school, huh? Man, you're a genius! It didn't occur to me till I was over 40 years old! There were really three watershed instances in my life that drove that point home to me... 1. That high school reunion and the conversation with my old girlfriend. That REALLY got me to thinking! I could scarcely believe what happened. That happened in 1983 when I was 43 years old. 2. My icebreaker (first) speech in Toastmasters in 1988. I was scared to death! I was absolutely certain they were going to barbecue me! But they didn't - and I was dumb struck. They said that I was good communicator and they enjoyed listening to me speak. That I had a lot of courage facing my fears. (Yeah right, they couldn't see my knees knocking!) They told me to quit holding onto the lectern so tightly (really!) and to keep on speaking. They mentioned my stuttering - of course - but only as point of inspiration, not as a negative. That encouragement began to change my life over the course of the next several years - and continues to this day. 3. When I won the US Southwest Region Humorous Speech contest in Toastmasters in 1996 over about 30,000 other (fluent) Toastmasters. I remember walking up on stage to accept first place - absolutely stunned. I remember thinking the famous Sally Field line "They like me! They really, really like me!" And it came crashing down on me that I had really be wrong all these years. I was NOT "the boy who stuttered." I was a champion speaker! Whether I believed it or not! I stuttered as I always do, but I had won that contest over thousands of fluent speakers who were absolutely fantastic. If I really believed that I had won, I would have to believe that I had been wrong in my self image my whole life. It was one of the most incredible moments of my entire life. Good question Martha! Keep up the good work. You're going to go far in your career. You've got your head on really straight. Your challenge now is to convince OTHER people, your clients, of what you already understand. Good luck! And please keep in touch. Russ -, Dallas, Texas, 972-881-1451 home, 972-489-6169 cell, My home page: NSA home page:

Last changed: 09/12/05