Thursday, April 8, 2010

Speaking for Others; Finding Your Voice

Listen to this remarkable story on the Moth (5th one down). Zoologist Alan Rabinowitz tells the story of how he overcame a debilitating stutter through his determination to be a voice for endangered animals - and jaguars in particular.

Alan describes how he worked intensely for years to train himself to speak without stuttering. He explains that although technically his hard work paid off, and he could speak fluently, he still hadn't found his voice. He may have sounded fluent, but inside, he was still the stuttering, broken child.

As the story continues, Alan describes his determination to speak on behalf of animals - the only living beings he could speak to as a child without stuttering. He recalls a moment on his journey when he was given a once in a lifetime opportunity: to speak to the Prime Minister and cabinet of Belize to persuade them to take action to save the country's jaguars, who were being killed at an alarming rate.

By all accounts, this would be the most difficult and terrifying speaking experience of his life.

He recounts, "I had 15 minutes. I couldn't stutter. I couldn't distract them from the message of saving jaguars."

What happened? His speech was a rousing success. An hour and a half later, the cabinet voted to create the world's first jaguar preserve.

For the first time, Alan used his voice, not as a way to gain acceptance, but to be a voice for others. Alan finally found his voice by being a voice for those who could not speak.

From the Green Room: You can spend years learning how to become a better speaker. But until you speak from your heart, you will never truly find your voice.


Anonymous said...

A fascinating & inspiring story.

Sarah Gershman said...

Thank you for stopping by!