From Stuttering to Public Speaking: Seay Stanford
As a child I STUTTERED. Badly actually. I felt embarrassed to SPEAK what I thought because it caused embarrassment most of the time. That was a problem, because God gifted me with a creative mind and perspective but gave me this challenge—-I couldn't SPEAK it. Even when I wanted to. Second- sixth grades were the worst for me. I got to the point where I would find OTHER words in conversations as to not use my stutter “trigger” words, which were basically anything with “W” and some “H”s. The most embarrassing for me was out loud classroom reading when I was called on by my teacher. Imagine my agony- a ten year old kid WANTING to speak but couldn’t get out the words in front of 30 of her peers in a silent VERY class room. I’d scan for those words approaching and my throat would literally swell and my heart would RACE. “Oh GOD, please don’t let the teacher call on me.”
You know what else though? When I was in fifth grade I discovered THEATER. And I freaking LOVED everything about it. I was cast in a small role as Thomas Edisons’s teacher and truly was left wanting MORE. I wanted freaking LEAD roles. But to continue my enjoyment in theater, I HAD to figure out my stuttering disorder. Stutters are not casted in quality theater roles. :-(I had no option but to face my biggest fear and figure that crap out if I were to continue theater and be considered for big roles. Theater taught me that I WANTED to speak, I just didn’t know HOW. But with anything you desire badly enough in life, you will figure out the HOW once you feel your WHY…..
What is DIFFERENT about me speaking in Calgary Canada today, compared to other times I’ve been asked to speak? This is not Beachbody “Corporate” asking me to present on the company behalf (which with 400,000 people to choose from is an honor in itself, I’m ALWAYS grateful for). This presentation is for is a group of Beachbody coach peers in my own network of coaches that out of 400,000 peers, requested ME. Not once, but THREE times. (I declined in July and October due to family obligations). So much to the extent that they have pooled their local money and effort together to pay for my international flight and hotel and are making time on their weekend to host this community event. These are the COLDEST temperatures I’ve ever traveled to. I’m spending two full days of my weekend traveling away from my family. And my HEART is FULL- because no matter how many times I speak, I remind myself of the 10 year old kid that stuttered horribly. The one that WANTED the opportunity to speak to others but COULDN’T. The gratitude is MUCH MUCH deeper. Often times I’m still a ten year old little kid and I don’t understand why people would WANT to hear me. I am humbled. Anytime I am asked to speak for ANYONE now, I take it to HEART to be GREAT for them (and for me) and be thankful.
So to the Calgary market council, as well as the England council that asked me to speak for them last year, Thank You. Thank You for believing in ME.