Kate is a person who stammers. She has been stammering since she was 9 years old.
Now, at the age of 21, Kate has made a brave decision, and decided to do something about her speech difficulties.
She is undergoing speech therapy with a speech and language therapist. She has learnt a few fluency techniques, which are helping her speak more fluently. Together with her therapist, Kate has created a realistic plan of how to use them in the real world.
Kate has been trying to use these techniques when she is out shopping. She is finding it difficult. She finds it a challenge to breathe at the right times before speaking, and so gets the timing of the technique wrong.
However, Kate isn’t too worried about this, because another part of her plan is to go into challenging speaking situations to get over the fear of stammering. One of these is talking to her uncle Richard, who she usually finds difficult to talk with. Unfortunately, she hasn’t been able to pluck up the courage to speak with him. She isn’t concerned about this situation.
She has also found that she continues to substitute words that she stammers on. At work on Monday morning, Kate is swapping the word ‘did’, for ‘went’, when telling her colleagues what she did over the weekend.
However, Kate doesn’t get too anxious about this.
Previously, Kate would have become pretty depressed after experiencing the above situations.
So what is she doing that is different?
Here’s what she is doing: Kate has adopted the attitude that ‘there is no failure, only feedback’.
In the cognitive therapy field of Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP), there are plenty of empowering beliefs a person can adopt to help them re-think about experiences happening in their daily lives.
One major statement is that ‘there is no failure, only feedback’.
So what has this got to do with stammering, you might ask?
Well, by adopting the attitude that ‘there is no failure, only feedback’ can do a number of things. Here are some of the main ones:
- A person who stammers can choose to think about themselves differently, without self-contempt and negativity, if things don’t work out as fast as they would like.
- Instead of becoming fearful and anxious, a person who stammers can become curious. Doing this enables them to think more rationally about what is causing them to behave in a certain way, and choose alternative ways of thinking, and behaving.
- By viewing speaking experiences as only feedback, a person who stammers can determine what they are doing right and wrong. In the future, it can help them to ensure that they do more of the right; the next time round they are in a similar situation.
If you find that you have stammered in a difficult speaking situation, try and become more curious, rather than feeling bad about the situation.
Why not view it as feedback? What was it about the situation that caused you to stammer? What were you thinking? What could you do next time, instead?
If you’re interested in finding out more about NLP could help you, you might want to check out my online coaching program Stuttering Mentor, which has been designed to help people who stammer increase their self-confidence, and reduce the fear associated with stammering.