Acceptance – Tools and Techniques

Another installment in the Acceptance series. What I said during my talk:

I have accepted that there are tools and techniques to use when I feel like I’m having a bad day. That there are things that I can control. I take a deep breath before speaking. I speak more slowly. I prepare myself and rehearse what I need to say. I’ve accepted this because these are things that work for me, and I’ve seen people who are fluent do similar things before talking.

The thing about stuttering and how I feel about stuttering is that it’s … complicated. On the one hand I want people to accept me for the way that I sound and come across. And I’ve written about not being perfect. On the other hand, there are those days when I just want to be fluent. When I want to say what I want, exactly what I want, but not stumble or get stuck on my words.

It’s really a question of energy then. Do I want to spend my time trying to educate someone about stuttering and acceptance and patience, or do I want to spend energy on technique and breathing and preparation?

I think it’s still both for me. And that’s just where I am on my journey.

So I do use those tools and techniques. I use things that have worked before in the past, that are reliable and helpful. They help me reduce my overall stress when speaking. They allow me to speak on my own terms instead of being rushed. I’ve recently been changing the cadence of my speech as well, and that’s helped with fluency. I’m not sure how it’s coming across to others — or if they even notice — but it’s helping me in some ways.

Maybe in some ways these tools and techniques have made me a better speaker overall. There are people who don’t stutter at all who don’t work on their speaking. They fear public speaking and getting up in front of others. At least as someone who stutters I have these tools available and have used them frequently. So the fear of being in front of others is lessened, allowing me to focus on the content.

Let me know your thoughts. This one is tricky.

Started a new job!

Clearly I need to share more. I mean, I started a new job back in October and still haven’t written about it. I was at the food company for three plus years, but realized it was time to move on. I didn’t feel great about where the company was going, projects being cancelled or postponed, and overall capital being reduced. As we all have seen, the market is really good for finding a new job. I wasn’t looking too hard, but when a former colleague reached out to me, I ended up pursuing it.

So now I’m at a smaller engineering firm again. I started at a smaller engineering company when I was just out of college. And now I’m working for the same boss who I had out of college. A small world indeed. The part of it has helped me with my overall comfort, but I’m still having to go around and introduce myself to people. It’s been … ok. I think after three years at a company you get to know everybody who you need to know. So anybody new is really introducing themselves to you.

I was put on an assignment for the past few months at a client site, but that’s now ending. So I’m transitioning back to the office in Philly. I’ll talk about the client part in a later post. But for the past few days I’ve been going in. I got a new desk which was near other people. So instead of letting the awkwardness build up, I just dove right in and started introducing myself when people were around.

I didn’t advertise. Eh. I forced out my name and just got right into it. They didn’t say anything about it. Maybe this is a good thing? Maybe I need practice telling people well after the fact. I don’t know. My speech has been pretty good, but I’m still not fluent here and there. One lousy excuse is that my boss took me around to introduce me to a few people, and he said my name, not me. But I’ve been on my own for the past few days.

So yes, advertising is hard. And I’ve said before how much it has helped. Maybe for me it’s easier to do in a group instead of one on one. Which sounds pretty crazy.

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