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Someones puzzle is incomplete without your piece! What I learned from Sam Thiara's Lecture

Updated: Jul 29, 2021

Hi everyone! My name is Thamira Seralathan and I’m a grade 11 student at Lester. B Pearson CI. Today I had the pleasure to attend Illuminate Leadership Academy Lecturer Sam Thiara’s presentation on Personal Branding. Here are my thoughts highlighting what I learned.

First and foremost I’d like to mention it was an honour meeting Sam Thiara and listening to his wonderful lecture where we learned about focusing on who we are rather than what we want to be. That really stuck with me because usually everyone asks us the question of “what do you want to be when you grow up?”, but he didn’t. Not only did he help us figure out our personal branding and core elements, he also gave us insight on what to expect in post secondary and useful tips for life in general.

In his lecture we were told to figure out our Five Core Elements which are things we aren’t willing to compromise by using these questions.

My Five Core Elements

Connections: I am a social person and value those who are around me since they’ve helped me become who I am today. Like the saying "The people who are around you help others determine who you are" they've helped me build my character and this includes family, friends, and mentors.

Reliability: If I’m working with someone I expect them to take their responsibilities seriously and be able to trust them. Reliability falls under the categories of punctuality, honestly, and trust and these are all factors and value and uphold.

Determination: When I put my mind to something, I give it my all to finish in the best way possible. This encourages me to believe in myself and others to believe in me.

Open mindedness: Open mindedness is important to me because with a closed mind you cannot think outside of the box and that limits creativity. It also allows you to view other people's perspectives with an open mind.

Leadership: Leadership is Important to me because like everyone you would always choose a role model to follow, therefore I would like to be that person to provide an example for others to follow and strive for success.

Personal Statement

Covid had an impact on many people's lives including mine, for the better and the worse both with school and my personal life. For safety reasons I decided it would be a better alternative to do school virtually than go in person, but that had its own challenges as everything was brand new and technical difficulties occurred. However, the pandemic did have some benefits in terms of my personal life. I was determined to become a better version of myself, and in order to do that I had to cut out anything and anyone who was holding me back. This made me realize that having a smaller circle with people who actually care about you is better than having a larger circle. After making the needed changes and working on myself here I am today a part of the Illuminate community with wonderful individuals who I can’t wait to get to know better.

I’ve learned a lot from this lecture that I can apply to my personal life, but to mention a few, I’d like to talk about the 3 lessons he mentioned as he told us about his experience after graduating university and trying to get a job, as he got rejected from many companies at first. He worked as a janitor and he learned that (1) whatever you do, do the best job ever, (2) you can get ignored, don’t ignore others, and (3) anything you do in life, if you're open to it you can get lessons out of it. He said that these three lessons changed his perspective on a lot of things and I believe it’s changed my perspective as well. Two other things that stuck with me as well are “obstacles are the necessary bricks on your road to success” and “everyone’s life is an autobiography, make yours worth reading”. These two phrases will definitely be applied to my personal life because it allows me to think in a more positive light regardless of the situations that are to come and could bring me down as obstacles are sometimes necessary.

Overall, I’ve taken away a lot of useful tips that I can apply in my personal life and I believe one key takeaway that everyone should remember from Sam Thiara’s time with us is that question and figure out who you are before what you want to be and remember that if you have a puzzle piece, the whole puzzle in incomplete without you!


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