What if I try… and don’t fail?

At a popular restaurant, a young man with Down’s Syndrome has an important lesson to teach.

Several years ago, he wanted to find a job. He asked an agency that supports people with barriers to help him.

And they did.

His career advisor helped him write his resume, develop and practice his interviewing skills, worked with him on improving his ability to handle human interactions, change and conflict in particular.

The agency also works with employers on diversity hiring and best practices in accomodating special needs and had a roster of opportunities for him to apply to.

After several months, the young man went for an interview and got a job as a dishwasher in a busy restaurant kitchen.

His career advisor stayed connected, helped him adapt to a busy workplace and worked with the employer to develop their comfort in working with the young man’s ‘style’.

After 4 years as a dishwasher, he is a valued member of staff, one of ‘the family’. Well-liked, he is included in all social activities, has made friends and is considered an essential worker, so vital to the organization that even with COVID’s downturn, the organization didn’t lay him off.

One day, the young man announced he wanted to work front-of-house, in particular, the cash register. This is a big move and everyone, including his career advisor who has stayed connected, tries to dissuade him.

“I can do it,” he says. His persistence finally convinces management to give him a chance. They move him to front-of-house as a busyboy. He excels.

After several months, the young man still hasn’t given up on his dream. He wants to work the cashier register and serve customers at the counter.

Several months ago, he got his chance.

He’s a star. Friendly. Always accurate in his work. Steady and solid in his service. Customers love him and the rest of the staff, along with his family and support team and career advisor… They learned a valuable lesson.

Barriers are limitations that haven’t been tested.

Our human minds perceive barriers to be concrete. Immovable. Insurmountable. So why bother testing them?

Everyone involved wanted to protect the young man — taking on such a big challenge left him exposed. “What if you fail?” they asked.

His response, “What if I don’t?”


Next time you face a new opportunity, experience, barrier, ask yourself… What if it’s not about protecting myself from failure? What if, it’s about giving myself the opportunity to succeed?

What if instead of fearing falling, I chose to believe in my wings?


14 thoughts on “What if I try… and don’t fail?

  1. Thank you. Allow me to share a story about a young friend in Toronto, the niece of a good friend of 40+ years. The young lady has Down’s Syndrome. She is surrounded by family and friends who look out for her while ensuring she is in control . In high school she got a co-op gig at Swiss Chalet Chicken, filling coleslaw containers, preparing containers for take-out orders. She was 16. Today she is a valued staff member who has been trained on a variety of prep work, etc. When she turned 25, the restaurant staff and regular customers gave her a surprise birthday lunch. When the lunch was over, she rose from the table, thanked those present, said her lunch break was over and she had to return to work. She does not get “paid” so as not to impact on her disability pension. She is rewarded through special events, etc. She is not a burden on society and will probably work there for many years. It is because of her smile and dedicated approach to work that this particular location is a favourite of seniors at lunch time.
    Namaste ❤️

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Kudos to the agency for believing in him and supporting him throughout. Too often people are judged for whatever reason and never given a chance……this young man believed he was capable and never gave up on himself – such an uplifting blog today💕

    Liked by 1 person

    • I find the invisible barriers harder Bernie — people end up feeling like they are totally alone in them – and because no one can see the barriers, they look at the person as if there’s something wrong with them…. it’s a vicious cycle.


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