The Art of Storytelling

Isn’t it cool to know that everybody’s life is different? Everybody has their own history, experiences, memories. Everybody has a story.

In my Branding of Me class, we focus a lot on developing our personal brand. When I first heard that we would be doing this throughout the semester, part of me became super uncomfortable. I don’t like talking about myself nor do I like showing off all that I’ve done or all that I hope to do. Part of that is personal to me, and I sometimes don’t like to be vulnerable and share my life with just anybody.

What I’ve learned though is that by developing and understanding my personal brand, I’ve been able to learn so much more about myself and truly understand what I want to do with my life. A couple classes ago, my class had the pleasure of hearing three very different, very riveting stories from people confident in their personal brand.

First, we got to hear the story of Joshua Prager. When Joshua Prager was 19, a devastating bus accident in Israel left him a hemiplegic. He returned to Israel twenty years later to find the driver who turned his world upside down and confront him about the last twenty years. In his mesmerizing tale, Prager illustrates a heart-wrenching story of hurt and introduces themes of mindfulness, empathy and forgiveness.

Next, we got to hear from our professor, Gary Kayye, and listen to his story about his life and the life-altering moments he faced. He talked about being present, strengthening our emotional intelligence and being okay with where we are in life.

“Be okay with the present moment and be okay with not having plans.”

As a college senior with a little more than a month of school left, this hit home with me. I find myself worrying about finding a job and stressed that I don’t have a job right now. I also find myself just wanting to be done with school — done with classes, done with professors, just done. But, Gary’s words made me realize that I’m never going to be in this exact moment ever again. So, why would I spend my days worrying and wishing that I could just get to the next best thing? I miss all that’s happening right in front of me.

Finally, we got to hear from special guest, Apollos Hester. You might know him as the guy who gave the most inspirational speech ever after winning his high school football game. I know him as the guy who dreams of helping people. His authenticity when speaking to my class was tangible — he was so passionate about what he was saying that you couldn’t help but believe him. When talking about his own passions, he explained that all he wanted to do was help people.

“If I can help someone, that’s better than no one.”

For somebody who has a ridiculous amount of social media followers, Apollos does what he does not to further his fame. For him, it’s God and his parents. That’s why he does what he does.

I think we often try to live our lives based on others — what society thinks is right, what our parents think is right. Hearing from these three made me realize that I need to do things I’m super passionate about and do things with authenticity and transparency. Their stories have inspired me to tell my story with more vulnerability — to be completely honest with myself and with others. With that being said, from now on I will do my very best to lay it all out in my blog posts. Now, more than ever, will I be writing for myself — not for others. I will be writing about what I’m passionate about and be content with where I am at this very moment.

As Apollos said, “Sometimes in life you’re going to start slow. That’s okay.” There might be a beautiful, wonderful story along the way.

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