2 minute read

Do you have the intent to stop stuttering?

Intent. It is an important factor in becoming more fluent, without it there will be no change. And with intent I mean the energy and meaning behind your words and actions. Whether it is speaking or speech exercises, they all need the right amount of intent.

Intent means leaving doubt behind and doing what you want to do: express yourself.

But it can be difficult to do such a thing and here’s why.

SOCIAL PROGRAMMING.

From our childhood on we have been social programmed. Your parents, your teachers, your older brothers and sisters and other people around you have continuously told you what to do and what not to do.

Don’t do this, don’t do that, be quiet, don’t jump, don’t run, be nice and so on. You learn that your actions have consequences, and most often that consequence is someone telling you how wrong it was what you just did.

For fun we can add stuttering to the mix. Through the years we have also learned that stuttering is something weird, hence why most PWS are trying to hide their stutter from others. Maybe you’ve been bullied or laughed at. Whatever it may be, you think stuttering is something wrong and it adds fuel to that social programming.

This creates what psychologists call a socialized mind voice.

SOCIALIZED MIND VOICE.

In your childhood, before all this, your voice was free and uninhibited. It was loud and powerful and full of meaning. You let people know when you were hungry, sad and when you were excited.

But that voice got boxed in by opinions from others, by the “you can’t do that”. At some point you stop fully expressing yourself and start thinking of possible consequences that might come out of the things you say. What you have now is a socialized mind voice and it leaves you stifled when you’re in conversations.

STIFLED.

This socialized mind voice leaves you stifled. You are very careful with what you do and say around others. You are continuously asking yourself if what you’re going to do or say is good enough for the person(s) you’re talking to.

In high pressure situations most PWS stutter more. Why? Because they do want to say what they want to say, but they are afraid to say it because of the possible consequences.

I have experienced this myself often. I always felt the need to impress certain people, especially people who I saw as more successful or ‘above me’ on the social ladder. It was in especially those times that I started doubting everything I wanted to say. “Is this going to be good enough?” Instead of having intent behind the things I wanted to say, I had doubt behind my words. And that doubt played right into my stutter programming. It distracted me with all kinds of negative thinking, it triggered my emotions and so on. I would start stuttering, badly.

INTENT.

In order to break through that downward spiral you have to use intent when you start talking. The energy behind your words should be of certainty, clarity and fully focused to do just one thing: expressing yourself.

Intent is not just speaking up, though it is part of it. But there must be meaning behind the things you say. When you’re talking to someone, project your voice, your energy, outwards at that person. When you’re talking to a room full of people, project your energy on that room.

Intent means leaving doubts behind and doing what you want to do: express yourself. You get your foot off the break (doubt) and on the gas (certainty). Think about it and start using it.

Leave your thoughts in a comment below!

Talk soon,

Hille

P.S.

If you haven’t joined our online community already you’re breaking my heart! Seriously, go here. You’ll get all kinds of good stuff over there.

2 minute read

The Self-Deception Series: “I don’t need this.” (1 of 3)

In this article series I will talk you through the three-part barrier you have to crush in order to reach your fluent potential and become your best self: self-deception. 

Self-Deception

“Self-deception is a process of denying or rationalizing away the relevance, significance, or importance of opposing evidence and logical argument.”. Self-deception is the art of lying to oneself. It is your mind tricking you into a false sense of reality, with many possible negative consequences as a result.

This first article of the series will aim to tackle the first part of self-deception: your mind being antagonistic toward change.

Because before you can decide to commit yourself to change, you have to realize that change is necessary.

Before you want to become a fluent speaker, you have to realize that you don’t want to be lead around by your stutter anymore.

You have to tell yourself “No more of this”.

Change

But getting yourself to take that first step toward change is all but a simple one.

We have said it before. There are parts of you that don’t want you to change. Your mind wants you to stay in homeostasis. It wants you to remain the same person you’ve always been.

Once you have constructed a certain identity, your mind will hold on to that identity, especially your ego. This holds for both positive and negative identities.

If you identify with being a person who stutters, your mind will do everything in its power to reinforce that identity. To reinforce your belief that you will stutter for the rest of your life and apply all the stereotypes that come along with it.

Evolution

The reason is simple: we are all lazy. Our instincts that we inherited from our ancestors tell us to preserve as much energy as possible to save it for situations we need it most, to increase our chances of survival.

And you might have seen it coming: change is effortful. Change costs a lot of energy, especially change that needs to happen on a deep level, which is the case for stuttering.

And all these forces that make us believe that change is not necessary will lead to one core thought:

“I don’t need this.”

Excuses

It appears in every way, shape or form.

“I don’t need to become a fluent speaker, I stutter and that’s just who I am.”, “I don’t need to exercise more and lose weight, society should stop having unrealistic expectations.”, “I don’t need to work on my social skills, I like being by myself anyway.”

You can probably come up with other examples of how the mind rationalizes itself into inaction.

Sure, if you really think that you don’t need to become a fluent speaker, fine with me. I fully support you and stutter on!

But if you choose to not work on it, I don’t want to hear any complaining.

Don’t let your stutter control your life. Don’t be scared of giving a speech. Don’t let it keep you from speaking up and making friends.

My mother always says “If you don’t vote, you don’t have the right to complain about politics.”. It’s the same principle. If you don’t take action, be ready to accept the consequences that come with it.

The beauty of change

“I don’t need this” is one of the most common excuses that is used to convince oneself to stay in his or her comfort zone, and I get sad of the thought of this excuse destroying so much potential, day in day out.

Change is beautiful. Development is beautiful. There is no such thing as discovering who you truly are. And in a way we should be grateful for having a stutter. Because having a stutter and being able to overcome it is one of the greatest tools we can use to work on ourselves and become our best self.

But it is no easy task. It takes honesty. It takes clarity. And it probably takes a lot of pain before you can look at yourself in the mirror and promise yourself ”no more of this”.

Pain

For me to decide to work on myself took a lot of pain as well. It took a lot of negative experiences. It took a lot of rejections. It took a lot of hard moments in which depressive thoughts started to take over.

Oh, yes, I had my excuses. “People are assholes.”, “People just don’t understand me.”. But maybe there was something wrong with me. Maybe those people were right. Maybe there was something off about me. Maybe I was pretending to be something I wasn’t. Maybe I was lying to myself, maybe I was deceiving myself…

And I was. So I decided that it was enough. My life took a 180 degree turn.

Honesty

I want that for you too. I want you to experience the freedom and control over your own life. I want you to be able to get out of life what you want. I want you to develop loving relationships. I want you to be able to share your life by speaking up. I want you to express yourself. I want you to be honest. I want you to crush your stutter.

Honesty is the first piece of the puzzle. Next week I will talk you through the second part of the self-deception barrier: “I don’t want this”. Make sure you don’t miss it by joining our community here.

Much love and appreciation,

Stuart

2 minute read

Your health and why it matters to overcoming stuttering.

In retrospect, here’s the one thing that completely held me back from changing my speech around: not having the energy that is needed for that change.

Energy

In order to transform your speech, a great expenditure of energy is needed.

I didn’t have the energy to stick to practicing my speech. I tried becoming more fluent for a week, then stopped for three months until I recharged myself a little to try again. This went on for years! I was always tired, distracted, had low self-esteem and felt slightly depressed. Little did I know, but a huge contributor to those 4 factors was how I treated myself health wise.

Being tired makes you lose

If you want to build a business, date cute girls, get good grades or overcome your stutter: you need energy, otherwise you lose. When your energy is low it gets difficult to focus and to stick to your goals. It becomes easy to slack off again. I believe this is the reason why PWS stutter more when they are tired. Your stutter program benefits from you being tired, your defenses are down and it pulls you back into stuttering.

If you keep trying to become more fluent and you keep failing, I believe it is time you prioritized taking care of yourself.

Prioritize your health

It is so unbelievably simple that I can’t wrap my head around why not everybody is doing this! Drink water, eat healthy foods, sleep well, breathe and exercise. Throw away your cigarettes, your sugar drinks and your fast food. Prioritize your health!

You are gifted with one body only, there is no spare, this is all you got! If someone gave you a car and told you it was the only car you’d get in your whole life, you would treat it with all the love and respect you have in you. Why not treat yourself like that then?

Prioritizing your health can give you that boost of confidence you need in order to overcome your stutter. And it is surely going to support you in the long run.

The benefits of taking care of yourself

There is one benefit that is going to change everything for you: self respect.

When you take care of yourself you develop respect for yourself. You start to see yourself as a worthy person because you’re taking the lead. Out of this flows confidence and more self-esteem. Next to that you become sharper, more focused and energized. You are able to handle your thoughts and emotions better. It becomes easier to dedicate yourself to what you really want and finally you become a better speaker because of all this.

live a long, happy and expressive life.

This is what we all want: live a long and happy life in which we are able to fully express ourselves. You can get it, it is so super simple. Start with drinking water for a week and you’ll notice change.

Prioritize yourself, your health and your well being above anything else and let us know what you think about this by leaving a reply below.

Thank you for reading.

Hille

3 minute read

The Dangerous act of Labelling

A couple of days ago during one of my psychology classes, we were talking about faulty thought patterns.

One of them is called labelling: describing someone or something in a word or short phrase.

Labelling

This description seems pretty harmless, as if it’s an important part of how we communicate. But when I heard the examples given I immediately had to think of people who stutter.

“I am a stutterer.”, “I’m just not very outgoing.” and “This isn’t for me.” are all examples of labelling, some more harmful than others.

Again, it seems pretty harmless at first. Seeing yourself as a person who stutters doesn’t have to have negative consequences. Seeing yourself as an introvert might be an accurate view of reality.

Problems arise, however, when people put labels on themselves too fast, when they come to conclusions without the neccesary evidence.

Stuart the introvert

I always thought of myself as an introvert. Being shy, being quiet.

I told myself that I just liked to be alone. Until the point when I realized that I might be lying to myself.

I wanted to try out this “extrovert” thing.

I started throwing myself into the scariest social situations possible. Talking to strangers. Talking to groups of people. During broad day light as well as while out with friends.

Slowly but surely I started to change. I enjoyed meeting new people. Putting myself out there. Expressing myself. Being in the center of attention for once, instead of being a pretty wallflower.

I liked being extrovert. 

Unjustified

I realized that I was too quick in labelling myself as an introvert, as being shy. How could I ever call myself that if I didn’t even try the other side of the coin?

I see this kind of faulty and limiting thinking a lot among people who stutter. “I stutter, and I always will.”, “I’m just a shy person, it’s how I was born.” and “These exercises aren’t for me.” get thrown around daily.

I’m not saying those people are wrong, that they aren’t speaking the truth. But what I do want to call them out on is: Have you even tried? 

Have you even tried overcoming your stutter? Have you even tried being more outgoing? Have you even tried those exercises?

And with trying I mean trying it out for more than two days. Actually trying, putting in the effort.

If your answer is yes and you end up at the same conclusion: fair enough. You gathered evidence for both sides of the story so your conclusion and label should be justified.

But if you can be honest to yourself and your answer is no, then please don’t rush to conclusions. Try it out first. You never know what you might discover.

The biggest regret of elder people are about things they didn’t do, not about things they did do.

Try it out. Discover and experience.

You also don’t want to regret missing out on our content by not signing up to our newsletter.

Much love,

Stuart

2 minute read

Attack your stutter: how to become more confident.

A lot of people who stutter want to, next to becoming fluent, become more confident.

But how do you become more confident? I’ll guide you through two approaches you should consider.

Act as if you’re already confident.

Look up a person who you feel is confident and study that person.

 

The way they talk: how fast? What’s their pitch? How loud? How clear?

The way they walk: how fast?

Their eye contact: how strong?

What they’re doing with their bodies: how do they position their feet? How fast do they turn their bodies when reacting to something?

How they breathe: how fast? How deep?

 

Find your answers on those questions and start copying their behavior.

 

Act through your own intentions.

 

Acting as if can kick start your growth of confidence. The behavior of a confident person will come more and more naturally to you, but it won’t be sufficient in order to develop that real certainty you want to have as a person.

You get that certainty, or core confidence, by acting through your own intentions.

Doing what’s right for you.

Yesterday I coached a couple of students life. We were on the streets and everybody had to talk to a number of people.

Before we got into town we wrote down our goals, things we want to have accomplished in a year from now.

I asked them to take steps in the direction of their goals. I explained to them what the importance is of talking to strangers and I gave them some missions: simple ones like asking what time it is, but also talking about stuttering.

The students had to push through their initial fear of doing such a thing, but I explained to them how fear is holding them back from becoming more fluent and reaching their goals. Once they understood this, there was no holding them back.

They ran after people to stop them and talk to them. One student stopped a woman while she was cycling and sat down at a table where three strangers were drinking some coffee while enjoying the sun. We all loved it, we applauded each other, we gave high fives and we laughed.

They were stepping up because they were inspired by their goals. And because of their goals they started acting through their own intentions.

They did what they had to do to get closer to their goals and after each approach their fear became less and less. They started smiling, started holding themselves differently, speaking better and their eyes started sparkling.

Build real confidence by doing the things you have to do.

Make a list with goals and act upon them.

Real confidence comes from within. And that confidence is created by doing what is right for you.

In the past we made a cool video about it. Check it out.

Good luck!

Talk soon,

Hille

P.S.

You can receive Part 1 of our Online Stutter Course for free now! If you’re looking to improve your speech: do yourself a favor and try it out! Go here.

4 minute read

How to become ready to overcome stuttering.

Our mother told us that she has always believed that if we wanted to really do something about our stutter, we would.

She was a 100% right.

Our parents never pushed us into doing anything, with the exception of speech therapy when I was a kid an not quitting guitar playing, but that´s alright.

But why did it take 20 years of stuttering before we could say “enough is enough”?

Well, we weren’t ready for it.

Not ready, yet.

But what does ‘being ready’ even mean?

It’s when what you want is so unbelievably compelling that there’s no other option than to get it. You fully commit to becoming more fluent, because you feel the necessity to do so, you completely understand why you have to do it. You have strong reasons and powerful beliefs that dedicate you to doing this.

A lot of people who go to speech therapy are in the opposite state of mind. Not really sure why they´re there. They will tell you that they want to get rid of stuttering, but you can immediately see that their energy and body language does not match the meaning of the words.

Why is this?

They haven’t made the right connection yet to what they want. There is not a clear distinction between what they want to move away from (fear) and where they want to move towards (pleasure).

Obviously they’re tired of stuttering, but the prospect of having to work on their speech is also tiring. Working on your stutter can even produce feelings of fear, because you know you have to get out of your own way and start doing things differently. Change is always scary!

There’s an immediate paradox: becoming fluent and keep stuttering both produce feelings of fear ánd pleasure. No wonder why you’re stalling.

Where to start.

We often get the question: “where should I start?”

You should start by taking a close look at yourself. What is it that you want for yourself?

And an answer like “become a fluent speaker” doesn’t cut it.

Getting rid of stuttering must have more meaning to you. Like being able to fully express yourself, letting people get to know the real you, not being held back anymore, enjoying a life free of worrying about stuttering, creating a bright future for yourself, getting the job you really want.

When Stuart and I decided to overcome our stutter it was because the thought of having to deal with it any longer was just too damn disgusting. We couldn’t handle that thought anymore, we reached a point where we could genuinely say: enough is enough.

Change happens in that instance. Change does not take long, change is immediate. What does take long is the road you have to walk before you’re truly ready to commit to change.

When you’re ready to commit you’re open minded to your limiting beliefs. We too had been told we would stutter forever and should learn to live with it, we too had heard that stuttering is neurologically and that you can’t change the brain so why try? We also have been told that we’re probably born with it and that it was a part of us.

When you’re truly ready you’re willing to question everything you have been doing and thinking up to this point. “Do the beliefs I hold really support me?”, “The things I’m doing, are they working for me or against me?”, “Is there the possibility that my current beliefs are false?”

How many times in human history have our beliefs about something been shown to be false? No one thought of space travel to be possible, at some point in time Europeans thought the earth was flat, and even today medical literature is changing with an ever increasing rate because of all the new discoveries that are happening.

Don’t take the things that you have been told, that you have read for granted.

Ask yourself the questions above too, right now!

After you have done that, there’s something else.

fear.

“Fear is a friend who’s misunderstood” (John Mayer – Heart of Life). And that’s super lame corny and all, writing it in a blog, but it is the truth.

Few people appreciate the role fear has in their lives.

If you want to change, use fear in this order:

First: fear leading your life like you’ve done up to this point. Look back on all your experiences, think about your worst ones and then look at the years you have in front of you. Are you really going to live those years the same as you have done in the past?

And then secondly: start seeing fear as your best teacher.

I’d strongly suggest you do this.

You’re missing out when your stutter is holding you back from living. So many great and positive things are happening around you and you’re shutting yourself off from that.

You’re missing out on things!

Personally, the fear of missing out on things is strong in me. I don’t want to, I want to know everything, I want to experience everything. Pretty annoying sometimes, but it helped me tremendously too.

When you convinced yourself of no more of this.  Then use fear as your teacher. “Do the thing you fear most and the death of fear is certain.” – Mark Twain. (look at me, quoting everybody today..)

Start with doing the things you fear most!

Because fear is telling you where you have to work on. If you fear walking up to a stranger and asking what time it is, you should do that. Because, honestly, that shouldn’t be something you fear or should it?

If you leave stuttering and all its negative experiences out of the occasion, if you would throw away all your negative and limiting beliefs, if you’d stop your emotional thinking for a moment, there are few situations that should make you feel fear.

Maybe jumping off a high bridge, but certainly not speaking.

Fear is your teacher, and I’m talking fear that arises in social situations. Fear says to you: “hey, hey! Pay attention, there’s something here that isn’t natural and needs your focus! You can fix this and I’m pointing it out to you, I’m here to help!”

We’re all running away from fear and thus we’re all playing the wrong game. It’s not the way to grow, facing your fears is. The most grounded, positive and supportive people you’ll meet are those who have been through hardship and overcame their fears in a healthy way.

You are on your own journey

But it can happen you’re not totally ready for it. Then a blog like this might even feel a little surreal to you. “hah, fear is my friend? LOL.”

But it’s OK. Everybody is on their own journey.

A lot of people need some drastic event before they’re ready to change their life. Their doctor tells them that they have a couple of months to live, and it’s only then that they change course completely and start doing what they’ve always wanted to do. A man who nearly died in a car crash comes to terms with the fact that life can be over before he knows it and makes plans to get more out of his life.

But life already sucked before those tragic events.

And you shouldn’t wait on such a tragic event to finally step up and take action towards the change you crave for.

Ask yourself what it is that you really want.

What is it that you REALLY want?

Not the bullshit answer of: speak fluent.

Dig deeper.

I know you want to become confident, take responsibility for your own life, step up, don’t miss out, let people hear and see who you really are. You want to be able to fully express yourself. Be respected by people.

You want to take care of your kids, maybe treat your girl or boyfriend who you really love in the best way possible, be there for the ones you love and being able to help them when they need you.

You want to stop shying away from life. Letting others do your dirty work. You want to be able to pick up that phone and saying “Hello, (your name) speaking, who’s this?” with conviction.

You are ready when you’re ready, but don’t use that as an excuse not to think about what you really want out of life, what you really want for you, what you want to be for others and how you can contribute to make life great for yourself and those around you.

It is in your hands.

Use fear of continuing to stutter for the rest of your life as motivation. Dedicate yourself to step up and take action.

Question everything you’re doing whether it’s helping you or holding you back.

You know you’re ready when you start changing.

Hille

P.S.

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