Kalyb Ward Faced Bullying Head-on to Find His Inner Strength!
I originally met Kalyb Ward when he attended one of my goal setting workshops at TAFE Bundamba. He’s a talented and inspiring 17-year-old young man, who’s well on his way to a bright future in hospitality and events. Kalyb has overcome some personal challenges that would test the best of us, and he’s kindly agreed for me to share his story of success as part of my series: ‘Stories from the pot of gold’! Everyday people, doing everyday things, that are extraordinary for them!
When I began my interview with Kalyb I was immediately impressed with his positive ‘can do’ attitude. I started by asking him what initially motivated him to study hospitality. He said; “I like serving people and I want to travel the world, but I don't have money. So, I figured hospitality is a great way to mix two things that I love.”
Kalyb’s study journey with TAFE originally started at High School when he enrolled to do a Cert II in Hospitality. He achieved this qualification and then went on to successfully complete a Cert III. Encouraged by his Teachers, he is now studying a dual Diploma in Hospitality and Events. Kalyb said; “These qualifications will further me in my career and it’s been really good!”
I asked him what particular aspect of his course he liked most, and he said; “I enjoy the hospitality side because you get to meet a lot of people, but I also really enjoy events. I have lots of different ideas and I don't usually get to put them out there that often. Most people shut me down because of my age.” He continued; “The Events Teacher here at TAFE doesn’t do that. I can have the worst idea in the world, but she turns it around, encourages me and we brainstorm, so it can be tested.”
Kalyb has helped create and run some great events, as part of his course and the feedback he has received spurs him on. He said: “Some people have been coming to TAFE since the restaurant opened, so to get praise from them for what I do, well, it's absolutely amazing! It's the best feeling! It makes me very happy and excited when I realise I've just done something that's impacted someone. They're not going to forget this.”
Studying for a dual Diploma is no easy feat given the high volume of assessments that need completing. Kalyb is doing this while supporting his parents. Despite everything he has on his plate, he lives life from the perspective of a glass half full. This positive outlook is even more impressive when he opened up about one of the biggest challenges he faces.
Kalyb shared with me his journey with bullying. He said; “I was bullied a lot at school because of my size. It started from the first day of prep and I still cop it now. Most people don't understand! It doesn't matter what you look like! It doesn't matter how big you are! You're still you and you're not going to change because of your size or how you look.”
He added; “I think people pick on me to make themselves feel better, but it doesn’t work. It got to the point where I had to ignore the bullying and say to myself; I don't care what you have to say anymore! I want to be me! I'm going to do what I want to do! I’m going to push past all the negativity, the rude comments and just focus on my life, instead of what other people think of me.”
He continued; “It's definitely hard to overcome! But once you do, it’s the best thing in your life. It will push you, but you'll be able to say, well, I've dealt with this! I’m going to be a better me and I don't care what they think or say.”
His experience with bullying means Kalyb has a strong empathy for others in similar situations. It’s not uncommon for him to approach students who look down in the dumps to ask them how they're doing to try and get them back on track.
He’s also built a strong support network of friends who have experienced bullying. He said; “I had to surround myself with people that didn't care I was big. They’re the nicest people you will ever meet. They like me for me and we support each other because we all understand what it’s like.”
In fact, Kalyb and his friends have recently joined a gym to help better themselves and their overall health and wellbeing. While the thought was initially intimidating, they agreed to go as a group and they soon realised that most people in the gym don’t judge you. They’ve all found it a challenging, but positive experience. Kalyb said; “My goal is to get down to 80 kilos. Any further than that would be absolutely amazing!”
In addition to his new health regime, Kalyb’s main focus is to find a job in either events or hospitality. He wants to use his new skills to earn enough money to travel the world, but this is currently proving hard to achieve. Most establishments are looking for staff over eighteen years of age or they want experience, which is difficult to obtain if you’re studying at TAFE.
Kalyb’s big goal is to open a bar or restaurant. He wants to give people like himself employment, so they can get the experience they need and ultimately the job of their dreams. The venue of that bar could be anywhere in Australia or the world. In fact, he’s happy to explore and consider just about anywhere, with particular aspirations to visit Hawaii, Fiji and New York … a city he would love to make his mark on!
Kalyb has courageously turned a bad life experience around in to something that has enabled him to build resilience. That resilience is serving him well as he progresses forward in life. Especially when faced with some of the Dream Breakers that impact us all, such as Overwhelm and Procrastination. In particular, his assessment workload is challenging and he admits it can be difficult to keep focused. He said; “I begin to have doubt and say to myself; Why did I do this? I can't do it! It gets me down for a short time, but then l think, I chose this! It’s going to help me for the future and this positive self-talk means I get back up again and my self-belief returns.”
I asked him if anyone or anything had inspired him and after some reflection, he turned to me and said; “No, not really! I didn't have very many heroes growing up. I kept to myself! I realised that the only hero I needed in my life was me. I want to live life for me and I don’t want to model myself on someone else. I want to be my person!”
Kalyb talked from a very strong foundation of self-belief and self-worth and his response took my breath away. He continued; “People are all different, but they just need to believe in themselves and not in others. A lot of people don't get to that stage and I try and help as many people as possible. I'm a person that will trust very easily and try and help you as much as possible because I know what some people go through.”
Kalyb believes you need to build yourself up and get the confidence to be able to do what you want to do. Wise words from someone so young and for that reason I don’t believe this is the last you will be hearing from Kalyb Ward. I have a strong feeling he will make his stamp in this world in his very own unique way.
I wish him all the best with his study and health goals, and any other dreams he aspires to. Thank you Kalyb for sharing and if you’ve found his story inspirational, then please like and share it. It may just inspire someone else you know who is going through challenging circumstances. Also, if you’d like to share your own story of success, then I’d love to hear from you - firstname.lastname@example.org
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Enjoy your journey until next time!