The Bullying Story of Teenage Motivational Speaker, Shelomo Solson (See a video preview of his message)
3rd Grade to Senior year of High School (1999 – 2009)
In the 3rd grade, the other kids started to bully Shelomo. He dreaded going to school for ten years because of it.
Sometimes he would come home with bruises crying. Because he didn’t want to be called a snitch or get beat up more, he didn’t defend himself or tell an adult. He made his parents not say anything.
Some of the other boys pushed him around telling him to defend himself. He didn’t defend himself because in his mind, he was weaker than everyone else.
When people made fun of him in front of people, he would try to have a comeback, but every time he did, the other kids would laugh because it wasn’t a good comeback.
When he would get up and give presentations, the first 15-20 seconds people would laugh because of the way he spoke. He became self-conscious of speaking in front of large crowds because he always thought people were laughing at him.
He never had a girlfriend or kissed a girl during those years. When he would express interest in even liking a girl, they would laugh at him or reject him.
He remembers playing sports with his friends. The other kids chose him last because he wasn’t very good. He even received last place in a couple of cross-country and track races in high school.
He was born with Indian/Pakistani descent and Judaism as his religion. The other kids would always mock him with an Indian accent and call him terrorist because of his Asian descent. They would always make harsh Jewish jokes like I am going to shove you in an oven, or all the Jews should have died in the Holocaust.
One of the most common things people would pick him on was the way he spoke. English wasn’t his first language. Shelomo had a pronunciation issue with his words, and people wouldn’t understand what he was saying half the time. He got self-consciousness speaking around big groups of people because he was afraid people would ask him to repeat himself or they would laugh at him.
Shelomo joined a fraternity to become more social in college. Some of his high school friends couldn’t see him in a fraternity. His college goal was to become more confident.
College (2009 – 2013)
Shelomo was young and naïve entering college. He attended the University of South Florida with one goal in mind: to become confident. He started looking into fraternities when he came across a South Asian-based multicultural fraternity. They seemed welcoming and nice.
When he joined, he decided to run for a couple of available leadership positions. Shelomo clearly remembers how some members laughed throughout the speech for speaking funny and lost several positions, including the External Vice President position, because they thought he wasn’t social enough. He even remembers someone telling him they couldn’t envision him as a leader. He became even more self-conscious.
Shelomo knew he had a long journey ahead and the only way to change his circumstances in his life was to level up his skills and earn respect. He started getting advice from the more social fraternity brothers, observing how they interacted with others, got outside his comfort zone, and began making friends with strangers at events. He began taking big positions in the fraternity and at his university.
For the first time in his life, he felt wanted. He hung out with a group of people who cared for him. It was easy for him to talk to people, and he became more comfortable speaking in front of large groups of people. People respected him in the fraternity. And he was finally in a serious relationship. The first three years of college seemed like a fairy tale for him.
Then senior year and 5th year senior year happened. Everything went downhill for him. His GPA was falling, he couldn’t find any college internships, he went through a break-up with his long-term relationship, he didn’t know what he wanted to do with his life, and worst of all, 4 of his closest fraternity brothers died in a car accident.
He fell in a depression and the sad part was no one knew he was going through it. He went to get therapy, and there were many nights where he didn’t feel like getting out of bed.
Yet, Shelomo dug deep. The summer before his 5th year of college, he read a book called The Success Principles by Jack Canfield. Then he discovered he wanted to become a speaker and inspire millions around the world.
That goal gave him a purpose and a whole new meaning in life. After his fraternity brothers died in a car accident the semester he graduated, he rekindled that purpose and surrounded himself with nothing but positive content.
Post College (2014 – 2019)
Shelomo knew he wanted to become a speaker and inspire millions but didn’t know one thing on how to do so.
He knew he had to up his skills in sales, public speaking, marketing, leadership, networking, and other business areas.
The last semester of college, he took a job selling alarm systems door-to-door in Baltimore. After college, he helped build his sister’s start-up, joined Toastmasters, took regional and national leadership positions in his fraternity, hired public speaking coaches who have spoken around the world in almost 200 countries, and led youth public speaking programs for a couple of years.
He was working on himself and his side hustle every day after he got out of his full-time position at 5 PM.
Everything seemed to go well in the beginning. At 23, he won speech competitions against people who had decades of experience over him, became the Dale Carnegie Sales Champion against 11 other adults who were older than him, and was awarded the National Alumnus of the Year award for his fraternity during its National Convention.
During his highs, he also started encountering failures. He worked on several projects in the startup that didn’t pan out the way he wanted to, started a Youtube Channel called Public Speaking Guy that barely got any views, and pivoted to Purpose Creates Impact where he realized he wasn’t really passionate about its mission. Through it all, he felt burnt out, suffered from major anxiety, and was lonely because he felt none of his friends were on the same path.
After feeling empty and putting a lot of pressure on himself, he realized many people around him were unhappy with their lives as well. It disturbed him how many people were facing inner battles. He paid more attention to his mental health and realized how common mental health challenges were. Suicide is on the rise, especially for teens.
That’s how he started his podcast, “Teenage Impact,” started writing his book, “Never Fight Alone,” and began pursuing his dream as a teenage motivational speaker. Shelomo combined his own experience with bullying and mental health challenges with the desire to help the next generation. He was confident that he could make a difference.
Full-Time Teenage Motivational Speaker (2019 – Present)
Shelomo started building momentum fast. In seven short months, he conducted 51 interviews. These were people from around the world like the United States, Canada, South Africa, Nigeria, United Kingdom, Australia & Indonesia. They had various teen struggles. His podcast received thousands of downloads, and he received messages from teens on how Teenage Impact content changed their lives.
In December 2019, he took the leap of faith to pursue his youth motivational speaking business full-time. Shelomo moved to Philadelphia, PA with no professional connections. After getting some speaking engagements lined up in the Philadelphia area, the pandemic messed up everything. All of the schools canceled his engagements. The last thing on their mind was to book a youth motivational speaker.
At that moment, he had two decisions to make. The first option was to get a job and put his youth motivational speaking business on hold. The second is to continue his journey to impact students.
Shelomo chose the second option. He continued to perfect his message to students to take their struggles in life and turn them into opportunities for greatness. He continued to contact schools. After hard work and persistence, he started speaking for different schools and organizations worldwide. Countries like Thailand, Canada, China, and other cities around the United States invited him to talk to their students.
How does his story relate?
Our students have so many insecurities and facing a variety of struggles. The story of teenage motivational speaker Shelomo Solson shows that your past or current circumstances don’t have to define the type of person you will become. Shelomo wasn’t good at speaking as a kid. The other kids laughed at Shelomo for 15-years, and now he speaks for a living.
Your students can also feel inspired to do the same. We should push our students never to give up regardless of what they are going through.
Anyone can turn their insecurities into gifts and write their underdog story.
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