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I'm a Keynote Speaker on Suicide Prevention. When I Feel Like Quitting, I Reach for This File.

Do you have a place where you keep positive feedback? Mine keeps me going when I want to give up.

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This story appears in the January 2022 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

At age 52, I felt like a complete failure. My marriage was dissolving, I sucked at my sales job, and every financial opportunity seemed to slip away. Then I spoke at a fundraiser for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, because I lost two brothers to suicide 11 years apart. It hurts to type that sentence. It was even more painful to speak about it. But people responded well to my talk, and invitations started arriving for me to do it again. Delivering this talk seemed to be the only thing I was good at. So despite my ­discomfort, I became a keynote speaker on a really tough topic.

Courtesy of Dennis Gillan

I started a foundation dedicated to suicide prevention, called the Half a Sorrow Foundation, which I now run. The name comes from the old proverb, “A shared joy is a double joy; a shared sorrow is half a sorrow.” We are all our own harshest critics, and I often have days where the toll of the work I do has me thinking of packing it all in and returning to a “normal” job, if there is such a thing.

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