Instead of treating my stammer as an enemy, I allowed it in

The article's author, Hass Draper

25th May 2021

Hass Draper writes about how putting himself in as many speaking situations as possible has helped him find career success. 

I've found in life that, typically, when something big comes along, it's inevitably never one thing but a combination of things coming together to create something that at the time, you perceive to be bigger than you. 

My stammer originated when I was 5 or 6 years old. I didn't know at the time that I was also dyslexic. Thankfully today there are far better support systems in place for anyone diagnosed with dyslexia. However unfortunately, back in the stone age you were seen as not particularly bright and inevitably ended up at the back of the room. 

In my personal experience, anyone with any type of speech impediment has an overwhelming desire for their voice to be heard. You wake up thinking about it and you go to bed thinking about it. And now, looking back over my work career, everything I did was to put me in as uncomfortable a place as possible so I would have to face my demons and just simply speak to people. 

Looking back over my work career, everything I did was to put me in as uncomfortable a place as possible so I would have to face my demons and just simply speak to people. 

With the personal experience I have, I can confidently say that any form of disability does not determine who you are. However, what I do know is, the faster you're able to face it, the faster what you perceive to be a colossus decreases with size.

This 'thing' that we have in common, stammering, makes us different to most, which I actually believe is a good thing. We're more likely to think about the words we use, and without doubt excel in different areas as a result of being slightly different. I learnt that instead of treating my stammer as an enemy, I allowed it in, and it actually became part of my personality. I'm in the financial services industry and talk to dozens of people on a daily basis with the interesting factor being had I not had a stammer, I probably wouldn't have a career in financial services today. 

As with all things in life, surround yourself with people that love you, care for you, want to spend time around you and value who you are. 

Go to Your Voice to read more articles from people who stammer. Want to write something yourself? See Share Your Story to find out how.