Published 12:00 am Friday, January 24, 2003

Encourage instead of confront

By Tracie Troha / Selma Times – Journal

At the 150th Chamber of Commerce banquet Thursday night, several members of the business community gathered to enjoy a good meal and listen to the energetic Stephen Gower.

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Gower, a renowned motivational speaker, was there to teach people the importance of &uot;assumption avoidance.&uot;

Throughout his entire speech, Gower rarely set foot on the stage. Instead, he chose to walk among the audience and speak to people directly.

This unconventional style seemed to work really well with the crowd. Everyone laughed as Gower made his way across the floor with silly walks and arms waving about.

The speaker later confided that his unusual behavior was due, at least in part, to his obsessive compulsive disorder and bipolar depression.

Gower said his problems were part of the normal detours everyone experiences in life. He stressed to the crowd that despite our skin, people are very transparent.

Also during the banquet, chamber chairman James Bearden read letters of congratulations from President Bush, Gov. Bob Riley, and U.S. Rep. Artur Davis.

The chamber is the second oldest one in the state. The Mobile Chamber of Congress celebrated it’s 167th anniversary a few months ago.