One of the cool things that social media provides us is access to our friends that we may have lost touch with. Over the last several years I have re-connected with my former high school Speech and Drama teacher.

I’ve written in my book about auditioning for the Jr/Sr play. That audition, and receiving a leading role in the play was a pivotal moment for me early in life. When I stepped on stage for the first time, I felt like I was “at home.” And when I was performing in front of an audience, the tics and twitches of my Tourette Syndrome just vanished.

In the role of Joe Shimko of the play “Don’t Tell Mother” by Monk Ferris.

In the role of Joe Shimko of the play “Don’t Tell Mother” by Monk Ferris.

And while I was more excited, than fearful or worried, to audition for a role in the play, choosing to step out on to a stage, where there was an audience of people focusing all their attention on me, was certainly taking a risk.

After all, what if I had started twitching or making strange noises. I could have easily brought the entire show to a screeching halt. Maybe I would have been made fun of by other students. Fortunately, none of those things happened.

Interestingly enough though, I wasn’t the only one taking a risk that day at the audition. Mrs. Kimberley Reed-Bracey Johnson was that Speech and Drama teacher. And she recently sent me a note through Facebook.

I was touched by what she wrote because her decision to cast me in the play helped form the direction that my life has taken.

She told me that there were some other people in the audition giving her feedback that mentioned to her that it may not be such a good idea to give me a role. Obviously they thought the same thing that I outlined above, “What if Jason can’t pull this thing off!”

I am so very thankful that Mrs. Reed-Bracey Johnson took a chance on me. Her note to me said that she told the doubters that I would be just fine.

If I took a risk by auditioning, she took a risk by casting me. After all, hindsight is 20-20. There was no way that she could truly know that I would be okay onstage until after it would be too late to make any changes. And she didn’t cast me in a small role to test me out, she gave me the main role of the play.

If you consider that I had never performed in a play before, it’s easy to say that she took more than one risk that day. She gambled on me and I’m the one who won in the long term.

I share all of this with you for two reasons. First, to thank Kimberley Reed-Bracey Johnson for taking that risk and for believing in me. And second, to ask you, dear reader, what kind of risk you can take today.

I’m sure there is something you can think of that represents a risk. I’m sure there is something you could do that would take you out of your comfort zone.

And while it is wonderful to succeed when you take a risk, success isn’t really the point. The whole point of taking a risk is to tell yourself that you aren’t afraid of living life. The point is to show life that you are willing to live to your fullest.

It doesn’t matter if your risk ends in success or not, what matters is that you take the risk and show yourself that you are so much bigger than the things in life that challenge you.

Because you are.



Growing up with Tourette Syndrome was hard - very hard, but I learned that it wasn’t impossible. If you (or someone you love) has Tourette Syndrome, or another challenge that feels “impossible” to live with, and you need a shot of inspiration - enjoy the first five chapters of my book absolutely free by providing your name and email below.