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A Guide to Fulfillment. -my views on sam thiara's personal branding seminar

Updated: Jul 13, 2021


Hello everybody! My name is Kangan Bansal and I’m a grade 10 drama student at Cawthra Park Secondary School. I’m a first-time student at Illuminate Universe and already so far I’m learning and enjoying so much from alongside my peers and with the help of our leaders guiding us! This week, I had the pleasant opportunity to attend a guest lecture by Sam Thiara at a welcoming orientation to the academy, where he spoke about self-branding and many insightful opinions and experiences of his own. Today, I’m excited to talk to you about some of the things we learned, my favorite parts of the lecture, what I learned about myself, and more!


A glimpse of the experience:

From the moment Sam captivatingly introduced himself and his many pursuits, I was hooked and so impressed, and the pages upon pages of notes I scrambled are proof! In case you don’t already know, Sam Thiara is, in his own words, a “speaker, storyteller, mentor, coach, author, blogger, applied academic, entrepreneur and intrapreneur, problem solver and a community do-gooder”. Woah, that's a lot- but not a single false word as he has the knowledge and experiences to back them all up! Now, let's go over what exactly it was that was learned from Sam’s workshop and lecture.

First and foremost, he introduced the acronym “CARE” which reflected how we should act during the tough time being experienced in the COVID-19 pandemic. It stands for:

Collaborate- To remind ourselves we are not alone in this, and that there are so many people to help us, as well as the ways we can help others.

Adaptability- In order to be more agile and quickly shift to new circumstances, rules, environments, and emotions.

Resilience- As we know this challenge has been going on for nearly 2 years and will not be over anytime soon, so we must face it and pull forward.

Empathy- Since we must remember to show care and compassion to the people around us, as they too are struggling and being inconsiderate of that is only going to bring us down as a society.

Secondly, he compared the differences between high school and university, alongside some advice to transition between them, as well as 8 tips to remember in the first semester of university (all found in the photo on the left!)

Next, Sam talked about branding. He mentioned how there's a product and personal branding, and that everyone has a brand, as it’s what others would say about you if you left the room. He went into great detail about the significance of self-identification/branding and suggested many tips along the way.

Afterward, he discussed understanding perspectives. Seeing all sides to the story is a crucial thing to do as it's important to have different perspectives so you could possibly have a solution you never saw with a differing perspective. Also, perspectives lead to the development of an opinion, opinions lead to our truth, and can often help up see positives.

Then, we learned a bit about leadership and how you don’t determine if you’re a leader, but your followers do. The opinions and perspectives of the people you're leading obviously define your leadership skills and not your own biased opinion. Also about leading/mentoring, he states that you can always be a mentor, but you have to know who you are, know your mentor, and know some of the best ones are not in your area, and that you are never confined to one mentor/coach yourself.

Finally, Sam ended off with many important life lessons explained with detailed experiences he’s had that taught him a great amount and what to live by, as seen below:

  • Transaction vs transformation- often our interactions are transactional, but transformations are shifting it in a way for both parties. Use the words relationship building over networking.

  • Purpose over passion- passion can not be sustained, the reality is that purpose is hard to find, passion ignites purpose, and purpose is where fulfillment goes, use 5 cores

  • Goals vs intentions- have intentions, not goals, which are linear and absolute. Goals are restrictive and make you eliminate opportunities that you wouldn't with intentions

  • Problems and solutions- people can tell you what the problem is but very few can give solutions. Look and understand the problem, but look for you're opportunities that can outcome in a solution

  • Who is the employer?- think of an employer as who they’re looking for, everyone seeks something different from the employee

  • Teacup- the biggest impacts come from the smallest actions, do because it's right not for something.

  • Winning the lottery, losing the ticket- many tickets in life, interactions, and situations. Follow up and take action, utilize opportunities.

  • Connectedness- what can you do with one puzzle piece? Not much, but think of the satchel from which the piece was given. Someone else cant finish their puzzle without your piece. Remember how important you are. Stop trying to solve your life puzzle, find the singular connecting pieces, (stories, people, and experiences) who help you solve it, and start to make sense.

  • Toothpaste- The last little squeeze of toothpaste is always there. For the mentors and coaches in your life, squeeze them like a tube of toothpaste, as they always have a little bit more for you.

  • A quote to end off with and remember: “Everyone's life is an autobiography, make yours worth reading.”


My key takeaways:

So much to learn from so little to be able to choose! If I had to choose 2 key takeaways from Sam’s lecture this week, they’d be, number one, his advice of seeing who you are, rather than what you do, and secondly, his life lesson on purpose over passion.

Thinking in the perspective of who I am/become by action rather than the action itself, (sort of with you must judge the sinner before judging the sin itself) allows me to take accountability that my actions define me and motivate me to be who I want, rather than checking something off a list, which is not nearly as appealing. For example, if there's a job I wish to have, and I look at the tasks to complete such as my resume, going down to the office, interviews, etc. it may seem overwhelming and boring. However, if I picture myself in the job and being someone who jumped over those hurdles and is now enjoying the fruits of my effort, it puts a skip in my step to get started. This mentality has certainly changed my perspective on almost everything I do (-or should I say who I am) now and I’m certain it’s going to help me greatly in the future as I know now by this simple personal branding tip that I am not defined by what I am going to do, but by who I am.

University, the future, careers, it’s all always been so scary and overwhelming for me to think about. I never want to sit down and think of whether I should choose passion or practicality, money or fun, both or none, what I like or don’t like- so much fear! With Sam's lesson of purpose over passion, (alongside a lot of helpful university transitioning tips) I feel as if it’s a weight off my shoulders. He says that passion can not be sustained, the reality is that purpose is hard to find, passion ignites purpose, and purpose is where fulfillment goes. He also says that you can always switch your career path no matter how far down the line you are, and these things made me feel so safe about how to make a decision in the future, and what to prioritize, as well as not to over-stress about it. I know that I will know my purpose clearly when the time comes, and it will be ignited by my passion if not consumed by it, to find balance and satisfaction in my future, which I am looking forward to identifying, and forever grateful for knowing how to.

My 5 core elements:

When discussing personal branding, to help guide our way to fulfillment Sam stated that we should start with 5 solid elements to build our foundation, as you would a house or a life, and asked these questions to help us get started with identifying those elements. With these questions and various other helpful suggestions, I identified my 5 core elements to be: organization, relationships, creativity, priorities, and initiative.

Organization- I am a very routine person who knows what I want to be done when, and how, and organization is a huge aspect of my personality and life. It allows me to have a sense of control and stability while enhancing my ability to take on more and more tasks over time.

Relationships- I am a believer that no matter how successful you are if there’s no one to celebrate it with, it is worth nothing. Being alone is a huge fear of mine as I am the most social butterfly there is to be, and improving my relationships with my family and friends is always on the top of my list.

Creativity- One of my most significant traits is my creativity. Something I’m never willing to lose or compromise on is my love to take the different route in the fork in the road and use my mind to constantly challenge myself and surprise myself and the people around me.

Priorities- Sometimes important things can slip out of mind or be overseen such as mental or physical health, dreams you wish to accomplish, etc. by the more apparent tasks at hand, and being someone who’s struggled with slipping up on many priorities in my life in the past, I want to make sure what's needed to be given attention is always properly seen to, and I don’t have great regrets down the line.

Initiative- I always want to go the extra mile, be the one pushing boundaries, and achieve the greatness I strive for. Without the initiative to do so, I don't think I would be able to be the person I want to become, or even who I am today.


My personal statement:

Taking a step into Sam’s shoes, a personal statement I’d like to share with you to take away that is important in life is to do the best for yourself. I’ve been pushed around and gullible for a significant amount of my life, whether that be by my family, my friends, my peers, my educators, I always accepted whatever came at me even if it was mentally/academically inconvenient or burdening. It is important to set boundaries between what people are asking of you and what you want. Be okay with saying no once in a while, never settle for less for yourself, and put yourself before others every now and then, because although it may not seem like it, it’s not selfish, it’s self-care.


Thank you for reading through my many things to say about the wonderful Sam Thiara. Make sure to check out his socials and I hope something sparked you reading this today, so that you too, can one day find ultimate fulfillment in your


(sources- Sam Thiara, Google Images (copyright-free), Pexels)

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