"Char! I need you to make some phone calls."

      I was minding my own business, working on an article when I heard my boss yell the words from across the room.

     "Char will get a good quote," he continued.

     A colleague of mine was working on an article and my boss rushed over to my desk excited, asking me to do some reporting for the story.

      Hmm, I thought. Out of all the fluent speakers in the office, my boss picked lil 'ol me (a stutterer) to conduct a few phone interviews

     I swelled with pride.

       *****

        This isn't the first time one of my bosses has tapped me to flex my verbal skills and work my charm in an interview. But in this particular situation, I could not help but recall one day during my first month on the job nearly two years go.

     My boss once asked me if I was physically able to conduct phone interviews, (you can read about that here😊 ) he began with a “please forgive me for asking this,” of course. Now, more than a year later, that same boss is excitedly declaring that I "will get a good quote." 

    I was surprised to hear him make such a declaration. It seemed that, inherently, I believed my bosses were as apprehensive about my stutter as I sometimes am. 

   A few weeks before this, I was speaking with one of my editors. She revealed to me a conversation she had with another editor, he had bragged about how I "power through" interviews, phone calls, meetings etc. with my stutter. He had even told her that they are my "specialty."

   Hearing that warmed my heart. I didn't know my bosses thought of me that way, or that they had voiced those opinions to the other higher-ups. To be honest, I did not believe they thought so highly of me in regard to my speech.

   As if these experiences weren't enough to boost my confidence, another editor, in a mass email, asked me to do some investigative work, remarking that I could "find a polar bear in a snowstorm."

   Among many lessons, these experiences have taught me this: Sometimes other people see things in us that we don't see in ourselves.

   When it comes to my stutter and my work, I've spent a lot of time "overcoming," "powering through" and believing that, because of my speech, my efforts were always just enough to be just as good as everyone else -- nothing special or extraordinary.

   But I've come to learn that to my colleagues and editors, my skills and abilities are extraordinary. Without even realizing it, I had come to believe that because of my speech, my skills would always be and would always be viewed as mediocre -- or just good enough.

   Now, I wonder what would happen if I believed I could be extraordinary even with a stutter. I've been working on that lately. As wonderful as it was to receive these compliments from those that I work with, I want to believe in myself just as much -- if not more -- than the people around me do.

   I don't want to wait on others to confirm my skills, gifts, talents and value before I do so myself. And I believe everyone, both  stutters and fluent speakers, should do the same -- stop waiting. Stop waiting for permission to believe in yourself.