Defying the odds

cassells William Cassells

At sixteen, when applying for my first job, l was told by an employment officer that due to my stuttering, I would never be employed, never have a social life, never be married and  never have children. He could not have been more wrong. It was never easy, though. I tried every company in my own home town and when I did not find any employment there, I tried every company in an ever widening circle.  Finally I secured a position as an apprentice draftsperson, 10 kilometers from my home town.

After serving my apprenticeship, my supervisor told me I should stay with the company for the rest of my life because no other company would hire me with my speech impediment.  After that I change my job every six months.

Don't let anyone tell you that you are not good enough because of your stuttering! I found out my stuttering was an advantage.  I didn’t stand around talking all day. I worked. I produced more drawings. I had more time to think of solutions. It wasn’t surprising that I was paid more than some draftspersons without a speech impediment.

I was never unemployed, even for a day, after I got my first job in Scotland. After arriving in Canada decades ago, I got my first job here in less than twelve hours, after my arrival at the Toronto train station. In Canada people with guts were in high demand.

I have always had an active social life, and why not?  I was married 43 years to Christine, my late wife, and we have three children and 6 grandchildren.

Laugh at yourself! If you can laugh at yourself and your speech impediment, no one can hurt you. If you are not afraid to be hurt, you can try something extraordinary.

When you try something extraordinary you surprise yourself.  When you surprise yourself, this world can no longer impose its limitations on you.

After many years of persistence my stuttering is now under control. Today I speak to audiences as few as 10 and as many as 500. In a few weeks I am speaking in New Jersey.  I am negotiating speaking engagements in New York city and Niagara Falls.

We have no idea what we can do, until we leave our comfort zone.


William Cassells lives in Cambridge, Ontario.

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