5 Things My Lisp Taught Me About Overcoming

My older brother and I

My mom took me to Scarborough Grace Hospital when I was 5-years old, to see what I called “the S doctor.” I got so mad at my mom and told her that I never wanted to go back. How dare this “DOCTOR” woman try and say that I am saying my S wrong. I watched Looney Tunes Regularly and in my eyes if Sylvester could get away with it so could I.

It was not until I got to elementary school that I started to regret not sticking with the “S doctor.” I quickly learned that I did not speak the way I was supposed to, and I was constantly made fun of. Don’t worry my story is NOT is not a sob story either because there is only one incident I can remember of it getting to me badly.

In 2015, I was home to do some public speaking in Toronto, and my dad mentioned to me how he can’t hear my lisp anymore. In the journey of overcoming this speech impediment, I learned some real life lessons.

Compensation Is a Funny Thing

All my life I spoke so fast that I often have to remind myself to slow down. People always thought it was because I was so full of energy but that was far from the truth.

I spoke fast to hide my lisp. I realize that if I talk quick enough, I roll over the S before you can even realize that there is an issue with the way that I was saying it.

In the process of doing this, it made me seem like this energy freak and because of that people enjoyed talking to me. The guy who felt inside like he spoke and wrote like an idiot ended up enjoying both.

I learned this in sports and life, our minds and bodies are amazing at compensating for issues. In the first Jurassic Park movie, Dr. Malcolm tells John that “Life will find a way” and that line is so fitting.

Be Comfortable With Who You Are

Learn to accept and love you as you get better. I loved to speak and write, and everywhere I turned someone was trying to stomp that fire I had inside.

I recently read an article that spoke about how maybe loving yourself is not the answer. It goes on to say that in the act of loving ourselves, we take away our drive to improve. I think there is a lot of truth to this. You can have someone overweight for example who convinces themselves that they love everything about themselves, so they have no reason to lose weight.

Here is where I disagree. Most people don’t love or even like themselves. They act like they do but they are deep down insecure as hell. The ones that take the most selfies we often think love themselves the most but when we dig in we realize this is not true.

They search for approval from others that is never coming, they are lonely, hurting and they use social media to build themselves into something they don’t feel inside. If you don’t believe, spend some time in a high school, and it is more evident than ever. This matters because though people say to love themselves and it sounds good most have lost touch with how to do that.

I have met so many young people in the day and age that are clearly so uncomfortable in their skin. They feel like they are

too dark

too light

too tall

too short

too much acne

too much forehead

too many crooked teeth

too little muscle

too much muscle

too smart

too dumb

too little accomplishment

too unimportant

the list goes on and on…

One thing my lisp taught me was just to embrace it all because people were going to make fun of me anyway, so I had to love who I was. This never meant that I was not going to improve, but what if I was not able to, should I just have called my life a waste?

It is all about how you decide to look at life.

Keep Getting Better On Your Own Schedule

If you want to get better then get better for yourself. They say focus on your strengths and not your weaknesses, but the issue is that most of us have no idea of either.

We think we are strong at some things, but we find out that we are not as good as we thought. Then something like public speaking comes along, and we believe that we suck at it because of a lisp, and the truth is that we just need to work at it.

Don’t be scared to roll up your sleeves and work at something that you may not be the greatest at.

You Decide What is An Obstacle

The problem with this world is we place limitations on other people, and I hate that. If you can’t do something, don’t put that crap on me. I had a teacher try and correct my lisp, and I would not change it. She then implied that I would have issues with speaking. Why?

I never had any issues speaking in front of people my entire life. I don’t know where she found that limitation but if you believe something will not be a problem for you then it won’t.

If there is something that you want to do but you just can’t seem to pull the trigger, ask yourself why. Dig deep into your mind and figure out who put a limitation on you.

Kids don’t have limitations. Watch a 3-year-old play. They feel like they can do whatever, however, and they don’t worry about the repercussions of their choices at all. Time passes, and we grow older, we hear the voices, the haters, the doubters, the liars, and we get scared to do what we were meant to do.

In Overcoming You Build Strength

In our sports-crazy world, we forget that losing builds character. When you win a lot, you don’t learn a whole lot. You don’t need to. Find the person who is down and out though and they could write a book full of lessons.

When my parents had told me I had overcome my lisp, it got me excited for two reasons. The 1st being that I was that all of those years I never let it bother me because from day 1 I never really thought it was an issue to say the letter S with your tongue between your teeth. I knew I could speak better and year after year I just worked at it.

The second reason though is because it was a weird personal victory that I took pride in. Something as simple of a lisp and an I had a mini celebration in my mind.

You feel unstoppable in those moments that you overcome.

Overcome more and you will be more confident in yourself in any situation.

PS. The more transparent I am about my personal shortcomings, the more I genuinely love myself because no one can say anything about me that I have not already told people myself.

Double PS. I still have a lisp and I am still speaking and writting baby!