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Your Mess Can Be Your Success

Last week, I was at a fancy Hollywood studio recording the audio version of my new book, "The Message of You" -- when I was suddenly overcome with anxiety.

Has this ever happened to you? You're an adult with a wonderful career, a life, and even a dog who loves you - but all of a sudden you feel like a scared eight-year old.

Here's the thing: many of you probably know me as a successful speaker/comic, so you might be surprised to find out that up until I was ten years old, I had a severe speech impediment. It was so severe -- that I couldn't say the word "Im-ped-i-ment."

(Isn't it cruel to name something a word that the kids who have it can't pronounce?)

So, as an adult, with a high tech microphone in front of me, and a room full of professionals watching and listening to me, I freaked out when I couldn't say the word, "tumultuous." The harder I tried to say it, the worse it got. I felt like a fraud.

Thank God I had a wonderful director, Scott Sherratt, who came out of the control booth and told me the story of James Earl Jones. He also had a speech impediment and in spite of it, he now makes millions of dollars as the voice of CNN. (That's him every time you hear that super deep voice say, "This is CNN.")

He stuttered so badly that at age five, he stopped speaking at all for the next eight years. Luckily for all of us (especially if you enjoyed, Field of Dreams, The Hunt for Red October, the Star Wars movies, and more) - he didn't give up.

What a "Eureka Moment!" The very thing that humiliated me throughout my childhood became the very thing I get paid to do: speaking. Would I have become a professional speaker if I didn't have that defect? (And, if that's true -- then did getting D's in high school English pave the way to becoming an author?)

So many of my comedy friends - especially the funniest ones -- have come from a difficult childhood, that it makes me wonder if our difficult past becomes the motivation for our success.

Most of us are so busy living our lives that we don't stop to notice how much we've grown by dealing with our disasters. That's why I wrote, "The Message of You." I wanted to remind each of you that your personal journey from mess to success can not only remind you of how far you've come - but it can also be a message of hope for others.

Share your message.

I love to read your comment!

17 comments:

CarlitoTheMan said...

I'm a comedian brand new at it as of Nov.14th 2012 I'm learning each 5 min set I get ~ I'm stull in the "mess" of my career and when doubt sets in and fear it really effects or affects ( idk) my performance ! I'm working on ways to overcome ! This post really helps
I am
CarlitoTheMan (all one word)

Cathy Ladman said...

Hi Judy! Just briefly, I am finally developing a show ("Does This Show Make Me Look Fat?") about my struggle with anorexia, which probably had its roots in my childhood but really began to flourish (so to speak) when I was about 19. We will begin rehearsals in the next couple of weeks. After doing comedy for over 31 years (yikes!), it's time to dig deeper.

Maggi Kirkbride said...

I recently tripped (not to be confused with vacationed) and fell face-first on concrete to knock out all my front teeth. My smile was gone. A lot of my vocabulary too because I had to lisp. But I couldn't say lisp to tell people why I was lisping. Who invented that word?!

Dorullbrett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Harald said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Harald said...

have had a stutter problem since I was a boy (46 years old today) and this led me in to standup and speaking. I wrote a 15 minute set on stuttering (took 30 minutes to perform of course :-) ) and now I do standup on regular basis (without stuttering) and one thing I experience is that I get more laughter the more personal the topic is, being that people can relate to it. I had the pleasure to do a little presentation on a humor conference in US i 2012 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBDz7Q5MI7Q&feature=share&list=UUaMt1UrxvpV1xp6TOmy0UPg).
And Judy, I will be at the conference i San Diego, looking special forward to your speech!
Harald, Norway

Jim Taylor said...

Hi Judy, I too have/had a speech impediment. Stuttering. Almost nobody can tell anymore, but every now and then some astute person picks up on it. Never stuttered on stage though. It always seems to be when my brain is farther along in the conversation than my mouth is.

Ron Rigby said...

I never had any kind of a speech impediment as a kid, unless you can call being a fat kid a speech impediment. I probably spent a lot of time talking with food in my mouth so it may have seemed that I had trouble speaking.
But I did run into a very awkward situation recently when I was talking to this guy that I've known for a while and all of a sudden he started to stutter....badly! I didn't know what to do or where to even look. He had his eyes closed and he was trying to get a word out that just wasn't going to happen. I eventually just blurted the word out because I knew what word he was trying to pronounce. Then we just finished our chat and never said a word about it. It was crazy because I felt as if I was hanging off a cliff while he was trying to get that word out. He was embarrassed and I was trying to act as if I wasn't noticing the fact that he looked to be having a seizure while he was trying to speak. Very awkward! Kind of a funny story but I certainly wasn't thinking "funny" at the time. I just wanted to disappear.

Anonymous said...

Judy, you look fantastic! Really stunning. Stay great!

Jon Champion said...

way to go Judy! I had a friend with a speech impediment in high school. when we got around girls...not ever a stammer. The mind is something else! Proud of you both! Very inspired.

Otis Bradley said...

Great story Judy - love your stuff - was given your book in Carey Odes class!

Edwin A Keever Jr. said...

Hi Judy, on Saturday May 14,1977 I was in a car accident, I recieved a sever concussion, sever fractured skull, multiple contusions of the brain, two blood clots on the brain, epilepsy, I went permanently deaf in my right ear due to nerve damage, lost some of my eye sight, and so on and so on. I could go on but I think you get the point. I got banged up just a little bit. Those were the cards that I was delt and I have accepted my problems a long time ago. When I have a bad day I am happy. At least I'm alive to have that bad day. Do you think I have a message of me? Oh, I'm getting your new book on Frb 19th.
Mr. Ed The person not the horse.

Sally Baucke said...

I agree with the earlier comment, you look great Judy! Very hip!
I love your combo of comedy with a message. There's no better way to deal with life than to see the lighter side of the disappointments. By the way, lisp is a cruel joke. Couldn't they have come up with a word that didn't include an "s"?

Emiko said...

Hi Judy! Congratulations on your "The Message of You"! I ordered it the day of your BIG announcement and cannot wait to read it! In my case, it was not a stutter; rather, my language barrier with strong Japanese accent on top of my shyness. You continue to inspire me with your great enthusiasm. Judy, I truly want to say million THANK YOU'S!!! Your warm encouragement led me to overcome my shyness and I'm now publishing my own book at the end of February from Amazon. Judy, you ROCK!

lisa j said...

Judy thank you for sharing your vulnerability. Can't wait to read/get your new book at the signing next week!

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