Hayden Mischefski
New Zealand

First Course:
Wellington

My name is Hayden Mischefski, and I'm from Wellington in New Zealand.
I've been in the programme for about 12 years and since my first course I've developed both personally and professionally.
 
My first course was a "eureka" moment for me, when suddenly the thought occurred to me that this programme works and is right for me. That first powerful costal breathe I took felt liberating. Since that day I haven't looked back. I made my first public speech in Wellington's Cuba Mall, and I like to think that's where I left my old self behind. Today I am a very different person thanks to the programme.
 
My first memory of stammering was when I 8 years old, I was trying to explain to my teacher my absence from class. I had been to a funeral, and it became apparent to me I couldn't say "funeral" or "coffin". I immediately felt out of place and embarrassed. Over the years the fear of speaking developed to the point where I couldn't speak in class or use a telephone. Asking for directions, ordering food or general conversation was avoided and I developed coping mechanisms to help get by. I started to substitute words, avoid people, sounds and situations.
 
I was in my 20's when I first joined the programme. Up until that point I had held down jobs that involved little to no contact with people. I wanted to expand my job options and become more confident. Stammering wasn't helping me get anywhere, and I wanted a way out. Although I was overt in my speech, I was deeply ashamed and not proud of it.
 
The Programme has helped me to achieve many goals in life, and I don't want to be back in that space where I used to be. The Programme offers the right combination of confidence and assertiveness skills, with the right breathing techniques to help overcome the struggle. I now want to focus on helping others through coaching and support, and offering others the opportunity to regain some control and freedom over the stammer.