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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.

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Judy's Blog

Judy Carter blogs on comedy, storytelling and public speaking techniques, using personal stories and her adventures as a stand-up comic turned motivational public speaker. Her weekly blogs are read by fans of her books, “The Comedy Bible” (Simon and Schuster) and “The Message of You” (St. Martin’s Press), which include comics, speakers, and entrepreneurs. She is also known for teaching the value of humor and storytelling to businesses as a leadership and stress reduction tool.