The uLead Podcast, brought to you by the Council for School Leadership of the Alberta Teachers' Association.
Corey Haley: All right, Brandon farbstein. Thank you so much for joining me today to talk a little bit about our upcoming conference. You lead. How are you today?
Brandon Farbstein: Hey, Corey, I'm doing awesome. Thanks so much for having me.
Corey Haley: Yeah, it is really great to catch up. We are getting really excited about you lead which is coming up fast and furious and really excited to talk to you and introduce you to our delegates. And so why don't we start there Brandon? What do you tell us a little bit about yourself and tell not only me but the other people coming who you are and some things some aspects about you and why you might be coming to Keynote at our conference in math.
Brandon Farbstein: For sure, I would love to share a little bit about my story. So as Corey mentioned, my name is Brandon farbstein. I am 24 years old and
Brandon Farbstein: Currently live in Los Angeles, California, you probably won't be able to tell this on camera right now, especially depending on the size of the screen that you're viewing this on. But I am three foot nine. I don't know exactly how that converts to meters will have to put that on the screen, but that basically means I'm this size of the average seven or eight year old and this is the size that I'm gonna be for the rest of my life and that's because I was born with a very rare form of dwarfism called metatrophic dysplasia, and it's so rare. In fact, there are only 84 reported cases ever in medical history. Not just people living right now, but ever so for me that has meant a life of uncertainty not really knowing what the next phase or chapter would bring and also that very much translated into a very rough childhood and having to not only find myself but really find the
Brandon Farbstein: sources and support that I desperately needed especially as a kid to get through some of my toughest adversities and I will talk a lot about that. Not only what I had to go through but how I was able to get out of that as well and really it was that process of going through counseling where I had to address a lot of the things that were constantly occurring in my life. And I realized that I couldn't control anything or anyone around me.
Brandon Farbstein: I really only could choose my response or the thoughts that I had inside my head. Obviously a lot easier said than done but for me, especially as a teenager that changed my life, especially knowing that I had this kind of weight of the world the adversity that I had to face living in a world that wasn't really built for somebody like myself and very much so needing to navigate that and so that allowed me to really find my voice and find what I feel like my mission ultimately is which you will hopefully live on stage and that was in the way of giving a TED Talk at 15 years old for the very first time I shared my story and I put myself out there and I discovered the power of using your voice so the power of authenticity showing up as yourself.
Brandon Farbstein: And how much that rubs off on people and it showed me this purpose that I didn't even know I had and I've been following that ever since as a motivational speaker author and influencer and I'm just so grateful to have this platform where I'm able to share a lens on what it is to be different and hopefully shift the way that people see themselves and those around them too and I'm hoping that's exactly what my talk will be at you lead.
Corey Haley: It is an incredible story and I'm so glad that you're sharing that one of the things that I have of our questions I have is when you're sharing your story particularly to teachers or perhaps to educational leaders What do you think some of the main points with your experience with schools that you think is important for teachers and for school leaders to know and to hear?
Brandon Farbstein: I have found myself in front of so many different whether it's Educators or superintendents. people that are truly in charge of The community that are reliant on them and the through line that I have found is that we're putting so much emphasis on everyone else our colleagues. Our stakeholders are Educators, but what about that emphasis on ourselves first and foremost because that's often forgot in all of the chaos all of the to Do's that are on your list on a daily basis. But what about in my opinion the number one thing that
Brandon Farbstein: Kind of sets the foundation to that which is having empathy for yourself.
Corey Haley: Yeah.
Brandon Farbstein: And not only did I have to discover that on a very visceral level because I truly had the worst self-image. I had no confidence the talk that was inside of my head was al very negative. I had to realize that it starts with me and if I'm not showing up for myself first and foremost, how am I supposed to tell everyone around me go be the best version of yourself go have all these.
Brandon Farbstein: Goals of being this optimistic person of staying motivated all the time whatever that is. But not recognizing that if we are neglecting our own mental health our own. Truly self-care on any level then. We cannot be the leader that we are supposed to be. And we can't be the person that we're supposed to be.
Corey Haley: Yeah.
Brandon Farbstein: So that's a message that I think sets the foundation but it's also my experience of being very severely Cyber Bullied and having absolutely no support from my own Administration when I was in high school and it got to the point where I started receiving death threats from my peers almost on a weekly basis and it truly was the most toxic environment as you can imagine, especially not knowing where these threats were coming from. It was all Anonymous. It was all on my phone. And so there was no tracking there was no the police also refused to get involved.
Brandon Farbstein: but I really think that experience allowed me to recognize that empathy component as well because if my peers had an understanding of the power that their words and actions had before pressing send or post or tweet, then I bet it would have stopped a lot of it not necessarily saying that's gonna put a blanket over hate or negativity or bullying or any of these Universal things that unfortunately will always be a factor but genuinely, its empathy that is the key to human connection and the key to genuinely becoming diversion of us that we are meant to be in this world.
Corey Haley: Absolutely. You've talked a lot about maybe some outcomes are some messages that you'd like the participants to go. But maybe when you're thinking about what you really hope Educators leave with your keynote with when it's all said and done and they return to their schools. What do you think? Some of the last impacts will be from your Keynote?
Brandon Farbstein: one of the messages that I really hope all the attendees get is recognizing that no matter who the person is with what they're coming to the table with in terms of the label the life experience the condition any of those things. There are a human being first. And I also recognize that sometimes it takes somebody that is different from you to share their life experience again to give you a lens that may be a little different than yours.
Brandon Farbstein: To see the world differently but also to see yourself in a new light as And I think that's gonna really change the game with how they are interacting with their communities again, whether it's the students the Educators the people that rely on them on a daily basis. I think that's going to change how we show up for ourselves as well. Because if again our neglecting that component of self-care of being there for ourselves Then it's going to be really tough To do that for other people. So I'm very very optimistic that there are going to be a lot of tools and takeaways that are tangible where you're not just going to feel something you're going to be able to do something as well.
Corey Haley: Thank you again so much Brandon for taking a little bit of time before we get to you lead. I'm so looking forward to meeting you in person in band and…
Brandon Farbstein: Me too.
Corey Haley: just really looking forward to engaging with you and I've heard that you're gonna be around for most of the conferences. so that's amazing. I'm looking forward to seeing what you have to say about but all the other different activities and speakers as well. So, thank you again so much.
Brandon Farbstein: Absolutely. Thank you so much Corey. Can't wait to meet you all.