In Sept 2018, I was given a chance to fulfill a life long dream — give a TED Talk. In Florence, Alabama, I was chosen to speak at the inaugural TEDxWilsonPark event. This was an exciting time, a TED event being held in the Muscle Shoals area. I chose to talk about my stutter, a speech impediment I have had since a child.
I cannot tell you how many times I practiced this speech; I must have rehearsed it 70 times, sometimes three times a day. Arriving at practice and seeing the TEDx sign was surreal; I said to myself, “Wow, this is really happening.”
At the day of the talk, I was nervous. I went on in the second half. I had been watching my co-presenters give their speeches as I played my speech back and forth, and listened to Hamilton’s My Shot and Queen’s Don’t Stop Me Now. I was getting into that mode.
When it came time to speak, I took a deep breath, went on stage, looked at everyone, and did it. After the talk, I felt good. I knew I conquered something. I did it. I accomplished something I always wanted to do.
Here is my TEDx. Please watch it. This is for everyone who has a stutter, who has a speech impediment, who is struggling with something, who has been knocked down, and thinks that they cannot get up. This is for people who have failed, are faced with a challenge that they feel that they cannot overcome. I, LeRon L. Barton are here to tell you that you can overcome this challenge. I want you to stand up, keep going, and never let anything get in your way. I did it, a man with a stutter was able to get on one of the world’s greatest stages and talk about my story. If I can do it, I know that anyone can. Don’t let anyone stop you. We must rise up! Believe in yourself and go for it!