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Success Newsletters

Volume 6, Number – September-October 2006 Issue

In this Edition
1. Success In The Face of Adversity
2. Inspirational Quotes
3. Recommended Reading

Many of you have asked me to share my personal story and journey with you over the past six years of me writing these newsletters. I was just recently honored to be asked to submit a story for consideration to the famous New York Times # 1 Best-selling Series of Chicken Soup for the Soul books. I thought I would share my submission with you. I hope you enjoy reading it. Please let me know your comments and feedback to

I started stuttering when I was four and a half years old. It would sometimes take me several minutes just to say my own name. Some experts said my stuttering was a result of being lost in a forest while out on a day trip with my parents. During the course of the day, I somehow got separated from my parents and ended up wandering in the vast forest for many hours before being found. That traumatic experience, the catalyst for my stuttering, would affect my life for the next 30 years.

I always felt inferior to other people, always trying to overcompensate because of my stuttering, wanting to please other people, to be liked and accepted. I guess today you would call that low self-esteem, a lack of self-confidence. Growing up I felt I missed out on so much because of my stuttering, suffering much rejection and ridicule because of my speech. Kids at school were tough on me, teachers ignored my hand when I tried to answer questions in class, job interviews challenged me.

I eventually took a job as an apprentice hairdresser, because it seemed like a job where speaking would not be a prerequisite, and I went on to become a very successful hairdresser, training at the world famous Vidal Sassoon Company.

The time at Sassoon’s was very exciting for me. I learned so much there, not just about hairdressing, but about life and serving others. I also had the opportunity to meet the great Vidal Sassoon himself, who has had a lasting impression on me. My speech even improved while I was there because I became more confident. It wasn’t perfect, but at least I could communicate. The people at Vidal Sassoon’s were the first people who saw beyond my disability and were willing to give me a chance to prove myself.

I went on to open my own hair salons, however just when things seemed to be going so well for me I had a relapse in my speech. It was the worst it had been since I was at school. I could not control it no matter how hard I tried. The setback was devastating for me. I realized that drastic action was needed.

As if intended, around that time I was surfing on the television and came across a program on the BBC about a man in Scotland with an alternative approach to helping people who stuttered. I was fascinated and intrigued by what I saw. . After several times of booking the course and then canceling, I finally found the courage to go. I knew I finally had to step up to the plate, grow up and take full responsibility for my speech and for doing something about it.

In 1986 I enrolled on that one week intensive speech course in Scotland run by a man called Andrew Bell. I remember standing in line at Manchester’s Victoria Train Station on a cold Sunday morning waiting to purchase my ticket to Edinburgh, Scotland. As I approached the ticket agent I tried to give him my destination, but no words would come out. I was paralyzed with fear, my head was shaking from side to side in an attempt to get my words out and I was stuttering quite badly. People behind me were getting quite impatient, shouting unkind words to me, so I took a piece of paper from my case and wrote down what I could not say and handed to the agent. I promised myself there and then I would never allow myself to be humiliated like that again and in that moment I knew there was no going back for me and that I would succeed in overcoming my stuttering no matter what it took. You see, I had struggled with my speech all my life, but to be fair and really honest, I had lacked the courage to do something about it. I kept waiting for someone to come along with that magic bullet, or instant fix that would make everything right. To this day I keep that note I wrote to the ticket agent as a reminder of the past.

Mr. Bell’s methods of teaching were unorthodox, tough and uncompromising, but I personally felt were totally necessary for success and I have nothing but gratitude, admiration and respect for Andrew Bell. Total discipline and 100% commitment was required at all times. Different though his approach might be, his methods worked for me, and at the end of the course, although I was speaking very slowly, I was not stuttering for the first time in over 30 years. My confidence was sky high and I had new hope for the future, but I was under no illusions of the task ahead. I knew old habits die hard and I was going to need all my resolve and discipline to use the techniques I was taught and to do the 2 hours of practice necessary each day to reinforce my new way of speaking and thinking. I enlisted the support of family and friends to help and encourage me along the way because I knew it would be far from easy. This network of people helped me tremendously along with Andrew Bell and my fellow course attendees.

It took me a couple of years to learn how to use my new voice and find my comfort level. There were setbacks along the way, but I was determined to maintain my fluency and succeed. I refused to let these setbacks defeat me as they would have done in the past.

Once I found this comfort level, to challenge myself, I went on to a new career in sales, working my way up from sales representative with my company to National Sales Manager within 18 months. I was pretty good at sales tripling sales in my territory, and earning several prestigious awards along the way.

When I was on my way to that speech course, many years ago, I visualized speaking in public. I used to close my eyes and imagine myself on a stage, speaking in a way I could only dream about, looking at the smiling faces in front of me, and hearing the warm round of applause from the audience. I set this as my goal, and never let that dream go. Today I am living my dream. I am president of my own company and make my living as a professional speaker. Ironically my voice and my speech have now become my best friend.

I look back now at my struggles with my speech in a strange way as a blessing, as it has taught me to be more tolerant and respectful of other people with differences, and has made me very grateful and appreciative of everything I have in life, I take nothing for granted. I say to people, whatever challenges you are facing, you can overcome them. The only limitations are those that you impose on yourself. Believe in yourself, find your inner strength, have courage, and dream big dreams, they really do come true.


“Inside of a ring or out, ain’t nothing wrong with going down, it’s staying down that’s wrong.
Muhammad Ali

“There are no shortcuts on the road to a great experience”
Fast Company Magazine

“If you are on the road to nowhere, find another road”
Ashanti Proverb


Treat Your Customers by Bob Miglani
I picked this book up at Orlando airport recently on my way home from a speaking trip. The subtitle actually caught my eye: ”Thirty Lessons On Service and Sales That I Learned At My Family’s Dairy Queen Store”. There may not be anything new about customer service in this book, but the way it is written with personal experiences from the author’s time working at the family Dairy Queen Store as he was on his way up in the world, makes it a very interesting read. Today Bob is a senior executive with a Fortune 500 company, and his observations on how he has applied his learning’s from his Dairy Queen days to his current world of work makes it an intriguing read. The chapter titles are also very well done and cute. I read this small hardback book in the three hours it took me to fly from Orlando to Toronto. The lessons apply to any business. Click here to order this book

Little Black Book of Connections: 6.5 Assets for Networking Your Way to RICH Relationships by Jeffrey Gitomer
Jeffrey Gitomer is not everybody’s cup of tea. His style is brash and in your face both with his writing and if you see him speak live. I, however, am a big, big fan of Jeffrey and his best selling books on sales and customer service, I like his style. If you get an opportunity to see Jeffrey Live at one of his public seminars…make the investment. This latest book is about making connections. It is a fresh take on networking and connecting your way to success. Jeffrey Gitomer is a master at sales and business and in my opinion one of the very best and most knowledgeable people around on the topic of sales and service. Sales people especially, but really anyone involved in business will learn much from this very colorful and informal book. Highly recommended. Click here to order this book

Success Magazine
Terrific re-launch of one of my all time favorite magazines. I am so happy to see it back. This magazine is tailor-made and dedicated for anyone interested in achieving success in business and life. It has lots of great content and articles, including success stories showing the faces of real people who have achieved success in business and how they have done it. This is a very well put together and classy magazine. .. Buy a copy at your favorite newsstand, at any airport or go to for more information.

Permission is granted to reproduce this newsletter in whole or in part provided the following byline below appears along with the article and that a copy is sent to me after publication. Thank you: To check previous issues for publication, please go to and click on articles/newsletters.
Charles Marcus is an international motivational speaker. To subscribe to his FREE success newsletter, please send an email to An electronic copy will be sent out to you every month. For more information on how Charles, his book and his programs can benefit your organization or group, please call 905-847-2323. Toll-Free in North America at 1-800-837-0629, or visit his website:

Date Added: September 30, 2006 | Comments (0) | Filed under: Newsletters

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