The King's Speech


Laura L. Reeves,

Founder & CEO

Common Sense Practice, LLC


I just watched a marvelous movie that won several Oscars earlier this year---The King’s Speech.  Aside from the fact that two of my favorite actors (Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush) are in the film (love those British/Aussie accents!) I was struck by the underlying message of the movie.  Guts and perseverance will overcome any obstacles. 

In brief the story….in 1936 the Duke of York becomes King George VI when his brother, King Edward VIII abdicates to marry Wallis Simpson, an American divorcee.  He has spent his life in the shadow of his older brother and never dreamed, and certainly hoped, he would ever have to be King.  He has had a persistent stammer since early childhood and spent most of his adult life trying to find a ‘cure’. 

In 1939 after Hitler has invaded Poland and his government has declared war, the King is required to give a speech rallying the troops and encouraging the British people to unite behind the war effort. 

Think about that for a moment.  Can you imagine having a severe stutter during wartime when the primary media of the day was radio?  How horrifying!  Forget the indignities and ridicule that the King must have faced growing up at home, in school and in the Royal Navy, he was now King and had to address his subjects around the world via the most powerful and prevalent medium of the day. 

However, the King has two things in abundance—good old-fashioned guts and the perseverance to see it through to the end.  With the help of his speech therapist, Lionel Logue, he has incorporated punishing physical exercises along with a variety of speech techniques that allow him to deliver a speech that is both regal and inspires his subjects to hunker down for the trials of war. 

The triumphant aftermath of that speech and the quiet acknowledgement of grateful friendship between the two men is truly heartwarming.  Now I am usually a sucker for the warm fuzzy movie experience (I cry over Publix Holiday commercials for heaven’s sake!) but this particular story really left me with something solid. 

Many of us have the guts to accomplish a goal, but how many of us follow through with persistence to make it a reality?  I know I set and change goals/objectives on a daily basis!   And, I’m sure I’m not alone… 

What can we do to make sure we have our own ‘King’s Speech’ moments?  I believe there are two essential ingredients necessary.  

First, conviction.  The overwhelming and utter knowledge that your goal, dream, aspiration, etc. is right for you and that it is beneficial to others.  Regardless of who the ‘others’ may be, you know that what you have set out to accomplish has larger ramifications than merely the successful completion of a stated goal.  Nothing, or no one, can stop someone with conviction of purpose. 

Second, fortitude.  Yes, a decidedly old-fashioned word but very appropriate. This is a steadfastness of purpose that will not waiver.  It is courage in the face of overwhelming fear. It is gumption when confronted with obstacles. It is being nervy when others shrink and it is showing your pluck and backbone when others fail to try.  Everything is possible with fortitude. 

Yes, I am inspired by a movie.  I take my inspiration where I find it because the world seems to conspire against us to drag us down.  Today and every day I am holding fast to my conviction and arming myself with fortitude.  Do the same and you too will be able to deliver your speech of a lifetime.