Now that we have gotten the food and exercise stuff over, here comes the personal.

I wasn’t always as the confident speaker I currently am. I do not give speaking on a stage, teaching an exercise class, hosting a live video talk, leading a large meeting to a crowd that I know isn’t happy with me or going on Live TV like I did yesterday, a second thought. ( Link in the comments)

The reason, I did not always have this confidence, goes back to where a lot of our things lie: childhood.

I had a long list of speech impediments as a kid, the biggest one being the letter “R”. This was particularly a giant bummer when your name is Erin and I would say it as “Ewwin ”. I can still remember the frustration I felt when a teacher or a parent would ask me my name and they would think I said “Ellen” instead of Erin.

So how did I go from being “Ewin” to not having any ounce of angst about speaking in public?

My parents enrolled me into an intensive speech therapy the Summer I was going into Kindergarten. I practiced my letters and sounds over and over and over again.

I was an early reader, but yet I couldn’t clearly pronounce my own name and and many other words, so I couldn’t share what I was reading to anyone outside my own family.

It was a very humbling experience for kid who had many things come naturally to her, and yet I had to work very hard at something that many of my classmates never gave a thought to.

During this time, I never had any clue that I would one day be grateful of this learning experience or that I might ever be sharing it with others. I just wanted to be like everyone in my neighborhood in Portland, Oregon.

1) Looking back it taught me a great deal about hard work and repetition. My speech impediment taught me that I never knew what was going on at someones house or how much time they might be putting in at home to be in the reading group I was in without a second thought.

2) My speech impediment let me to learn that working hard day after day will make a lot of difference.

Sure, going to intensive speech therapy over the Summer was one things, but doing my letters and words at home with my Mother made the difference. It reinforced the lessons. Did I always want to do this? I distinctly remember wanting to rush them to watch Mork and Mindy but my Mother wouldn’t let me and these were the days pre DVD, so I either caught the show or I didn’t.

3) Things aren’t always fair and why waste time complaining about it.

My younger brother spoke perfectly without any effort. This didn’t help matters at all to my older child “you stole my Mommy” self. However, sitting around stewing about it wasn’t going to get the job done now was it?

So, I might as well go practice saying “rooster” slowly than pouting about how unfair it is that my younger brother was watching tv and I had homework. UGH

4) There was no judgment attached to this, it was simply a situation I needed to work on.

My Dad had a speech impediment as a child, so he could talk to me about his. I still remember helping him stack wood one cold Oregon day as I was particularly frustrated with how things were progressing at speech therapy. He gave me a talk I will always remember about how he got over his with hard work, repetition and time.

A few years ago, I gave my own son a version of this same talk, as he was annoyed at having to go to a speech therapist while his older sister did not.

Sometimes, things aren’t fair in families even between brothers and sisters but having a parent who has truly been there- is worth a great deal.

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