My name is Jorge and I live in central Mexico. I have studied philosophy, accounting, and finance. In my last twenty years I have worked in finance/controlling and right now I am a Chief Financial Officer of an industrial company. In the first years of my professional career as a financial person, my work did not demand a lot of speaking, but as I was climbing in responsibilities and higher positions, speaking in presentations, conference calls and meetings began part of my life. I managed to survive in this high demanding speaking environment reducing my participation as much as possible, being simple, concise, precise, and short in my messages and interventions. However, repetitions and struggling with fluency was a constant issue, sometimes in a more severe way than others.
I do not remember worrying about stuttering in my childhood. I do not recall embarrassing/humiliating speaking incidents in secondary or high school; it is also true that in those periods there were no formal speaking demands, or minor ones. I do not remember having school presentations during those years. Reading in public, reciting poetry, speaking with friends was not an issue. Digging into my memories, I remember my father making some funny comments about minor speaking incidents, but nothing relevant to me. The struggling with my speech began when I had to talk in formal situations, mostly to groups of people, something which occurred after high school.
I was in a seminar for around eleven years, trying to become a priest within the congregation of the Salesians of Don Bosco, which is focused on the education of the young. I was happy in all those years; it was a time full of studies, sports, and dedication to cultivate the spiritual side and learn the charisma of Don Bosco. I changed my decision at the age of twenty-four, after studying my degree in philosophy and devoting two years of practice in one of the Salesian colleges, being a teacher and educating teenagers. The decision to leave the Salesian congregation was neither quick nor easy. Part or my personality, of my character, is to be persistent, to be constant and end my projects. So, it took me a couple of years to come out with this decision. My stuttering was not the main driver of my decision, but it was part of the reasons; I remember the anxiety when I had to give a public speech to students, to their parents, or to give classes. As a teacher, I avoided as much as possible to speak, fostering the participation of my students, dictating, reading, and making my students read and write a lot; I also included a lot of interactive activities, which made my classes very dynamic, interesting, and funny.
I had several disgraceful incidents when being in the seminar, giving speeches to a big crowd or to smaller groups; I can still recall the bad feelings, the humiliation, the embarrassment, and incapability to continue with my message. I also remember when I wrote my entire Christmas speech to a big group of young people and read it before the audience; I did not stutter at all. One of my mates even told me: “you do not stutter when you read”. This made me think, along with the fact that I did not stutter when speaking alone, that there should be something wrong in my mindset, something which I confirmed after encountering Lee Lovett’s method. The cause of the problem was in my mind.
When I had repetitions, I got very embarrassed, I suffered a lot because I magnified these incidents, assuming that the others were laughing at me, thinking that I was uncapable to speak fluently, feeding my mind with negative/destroying thoughts. In fact, some of my teenager students laugh at me discretely when I had repetitions and I noticed some of the bad/lazy students mocking at me. Noticing this reaction in the audience, worsen my stuttering, which ended up in a very annoying disfluency memory and negative thoughts/feelings about myself.
Severe incidents, appearing speech disable, repeating syllables and blockings happened when I presented topics in front of my classmates during university, when I had to make public speeches, when I was explaining, etc. and this made me suffer in silence. I remember being in front of the group, trying to explain and struggling with the words, repeating, blocking, unable to advance fluently. A real nightmare! I tried to hide my problem, attempting to appear normal, but the reality was undeniable: I was a PWS, without any tool, any methodology or any help to overcome this problem. For many years I struggled with my stammering alone, dealing with negative thoughts, being hit constantly in my self-esteem, and feeling bad, uncapable to express what I wanted in the way I wished.
I never had somebody interested on helping me and able to do it, neither I asked for support. Embarrassment about this aspect of my speech and avoiding touching this topic were two constant elements in my life and in the people around me. In general, all people I was in contact with, including my superiors in the seminar, teachers, colleagues, and classmates, tried to avoid speaking about this issue. I talked very rarely about this problem with the others. In more than thirty years I spoke about this just a couple of times, with a very close friend and with one of my superiors in the seminar. Nobody could help at those times. I never had any therapy, any professional advice, any attempt to cure my stuttering. So, I had to learn to live with it, accepting it as part of my life.
2020 and 2021 were years of a lot of stress in my job, due to changes and significant challenges in my professional life. This affected my energy level and my emotions and, consequently, increased the severity and frequency of stuttering incidents. I noticed that being positive, optimistic, and feeling good about myself had a positive impact in my speech abilities. On the contrary, when I felt insecure, stressed, tired and worried about something, including my lack of fluency, I anticipated the stammering, reinforcing this bad habit and creating more disfluency memories.
So, in one of these critical moments I decided to search for help in internet. I found quite quickly Lee Lovett and watched a couple of his videos in YouTube and found the third edition of his book “Stuttering & Anxiety self-cures”. I wrote him an e-mail asking for help, explaining my situation and willingness to fight against this issue, which interfered in my life, injecting unhappiness at certain moments. The answer of Lee was quick and extensive, as it has happened in all people who has contacted him. Lee has been very approachable, very helpful and friendly.
He recommended me several steps to start with the path to fluency: 1) Join SAC (Speech Anxiety Cures), which is now WSSA (World Stop Stuttering Association), 2) to read a dozen of the ~150 success stories included in SAA (Speech Anxiety Anonymous), 3) to read aloud the latest edition of his book (How to stop stuttering & love speaking), 4) to watch his 21 video-lectures on his book, included in WSSA, 5) to subscribe to his You Tube channel, and 6) to contact him again.
I noticed immediately that he knew how to help and that it would imply to invest myself in this project. So, I started with enthusiasm my recovery path, embracing the four goals expressed by Lee in his mail: (1) stop stuttering, (2) learn to love to speak in all venues, (3) adopt a life-long regimen of mind-training to elevate one’s life and (4) join a support system of ex-stutterers that help me, and others maintain fluency and elevate lives.
I was astonished by the clarity of Lee Lovett regarding the targets and methodology to defeat Satan stuttering, as he called it. He showed his experience not only in overcoming stuttering, but also on the way of helping others to overcome it as well. He is a person who has defeated the stammering and who has developed a method to gain fluency.
The simplicity, clarity and effectiveness of Lovett’s method is amazing. Also, his explanation about the common causes of stuttering made full sense to me: extreme perfectionism and excessive concern about others opinion. I confirm this. Also, the approach of focusing the attention on the solution, not on the roots, is something which I applaud. It is common investing a lot of time searching for causes, digging into the past and, at the end, wasting time and resources which should be invested on building fluency, looking at the present and the future.
I have followed the method of Lee Lovett with fantastic results in a short period of time. I have been working on building fluency memories, replacing the non-fluent ones, and generating a new speaking habit. I take advantage on the daily meetings, calls and conferences in my job to apply the Lee Lovett’s methods and extend my comfort, fluent zones. I have handy my ESP (Emergency Speech Plan), ready to be applied when I need it; I apply the auto suggestions and positive affirmations. When negative thoughts come to my mind, I identify them quickly, being a speech cop of myself, and drown them into opposite, positive affirmations.
A good benefit of joining WSSA was to know that I was not alone, that there were thousands of people all over the world, at all ages and professions, suffering and dealing with this problem, that there were many severity levels in stammering and that, despite of that, it is possible to overcome it when there is the willingness and a clear path to follow, a coach, a book, specific tools and a practical manual that guarantees success. It has been a big surprise to see the number of people who stutter, but who are working diligently on defeating this issue; it is also very motivating to see how many people have struggled with disfluency and who have overcome the issue.
Now, following my speech transformation, it is time to claim my victory on the first objective, after passing one month without any bad incident, reaching the first base of the method, which is to stop appearing speech disable in the eyes of a stranger. I will continue my speech journey to reach the second base: to love speaking in all venues and, at the end, to enrich my style of living or, as mentioned by Lee, elevating the quality of my life with mind-training, enabling me to say that “stuttering was a blessing in my life”.
A big thank to Lee Lovett and my admiration to him for his great contribution to the world and his passion to help people. I have expressed my recognition to him several times in written and in coaching sessions. I end my story with the same message, which he well deserves. I hope and pray that he remains in good health conditions for many years to continue working on his project of eradicating stuttering from the planet. I know that WSSA was smartly founded to do this, but hearing Lee in SAM meetings, witnessing his passion, conviction and energy is inspirational. I can perceive his charisma and the motivation that he injects in the audience when he speaks.
Jorge, Mexico, March 2022