Risking Failure to Succeed

A little-known fact:

I was on the debate team in high school. I had to write a speech and memorize and present it as part of a team of students who traveled on Saturdays to other schools to compete.

Yes, I gave the speech from memory without looking at notes.

The students were ranked from 1 to 5–5 people the lowest–and the students with the most #1s took home the trophy.

I wasn’t an honors student at the time–I was in the regular classes. Yet I had gotten the ideas when I was a freshman in high school that public speaking was an important skill to have.

Readers, I routinely scored at a 4 or 5. That’s how I know that you can succeed at something even though you failed big time in the past.

As a junior in high school I got a job as a cashier in a supermarket using an old-fashioned cash register. I was fired five days later because I wasn’t any good at it. In college I had the chutzpah to apply for a job as a cashier in a supermarket again.

This time I succeeded.

I write about this because failure is often the cost of doing business in the real world. I write about this because it’s a reminder that for a lot of us success won’t come easy.

Giving up isn’t the answer. Seeing how we can do things differently or do different things so that we can succeed can be a better option.

The solution is to keep risking trying to do things.

Right now I’m writing fiction–my first novel. I have no idea whether it’s any good yet I want to perfect it so that I can start to publish fiction too.

I write about failure because often just starting out in recovery it isn’t going to be easy taking the risks to do the things you want to do.

Most of all, I wanted to be a cheerleader because I didn’t have a lot of cheerleaders when I was involved in the community mental health system.

There’s no shame in wanting to have a better life. There’s no shame in wanting to do better for yourself.

I cannot and will not be complicit in reinforcing that people with mental health conditions are helpless and that our future is hopeless.

So I dare readers: set a goal. Take a risk.

Believe in tomorrow because the future can be better.

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Author: Chris Bruni

Christina Bruni is the author of the critically acclaimed memoir Left of the Dial. She owns a resume writing and career help business. She contributed a chapter "Recovery is Within Reach" to Benessere Psicologico: Contemporary Thought on Italian American Mental Health. As well as an author and activist, Bruni is an artist and a fitness buff.

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