Stories of Excellence–BJ Stockton
Brian Eugene “BJ” Stockton knows what it means to overcome. From a very young age, he was determined to overcome his circumstances, creating a better life for himself. Now he encourages others to challenge their beliefs and to pursue their best life. And he is proud of the path that led him to where he is today.
Stockton was born in Seattle Washington and moved to Mooresville when he was four years old. From a young age, he was very involved in school. He attended Mooresville Senior High School where he was the president of several clubs including Student Council, Reach Club and French Club. He also played sports, receiving several awards for basketball, football and track. Beyond his natural interests and talents, his dedication to his education and extracurricular activities was driven by his circumstances. Stockton grew up in poverty and with little support from friends and family. Yet he was determined not to be a product of his environment, repeating the mistakes he saw others around him make. To avoid spending time at home, Stockton would go to school several hours early and stay until late in the evening participating in many sports and clubs. His natural leadership ability helped him overcome many challenges. After high school, Stockton attended UNC Charlotte on a Football scholarship. During his second year, he left due to family hardships, deciding to return home to take care of his family and to help with their medical care.
Stockton decided not to forgo his education during this time, enrolling in Mitchell’s Marketing program. He chose Mitchell because it was local and affordable. “It was smart,” he said. “I didn’t realize how genius of an idea it was then.” Like many Mitchell students, Stockton worked several jobs while going to school in order to support himself and his family. To stay even closer to family, he took the majority of his classes at the Mooresville Campus. The instructors at Mitchell made the greatest impact on Stockton, with Phil Holleran being the most memorable to him. “Mr. Holleran made class interesting. He truly cared about his students.” Lessons and skills learned at Mitchell, Stockton noted, have made a greater impact on him than those learned elsewhere.
In 2014, Stockton transferred to Western Carolina University after completing his first year at Mitchell. Stockton is currently pursuing his passions of public speaking and marketing. He has recently started a digital marketing company – SkyStreet Social Media Marketing Agency. Stockton has several speaking engagements already lined up for 2019. A skilled magician, Stockton also incorporates his tricks into his public speaking.
One outlet he utilizes for public speaking is YouTube. Putting his work out there has not always been easy. “I made my first video and I waited over a month to post it. I was terrified. I didn’t want to put my heart into something and people not like it.” After some introspection, Stockton decided to take a chance. His video–entitled “Who are you and what is your story?”–received over 5,000 views in the first two days. In the video, Stockton states, “Everybody has a story to tell but it is up to you to choose which story you want to tell. You can tell a story of hardship or you can tell a story of overcoming.” Stockton has repeatedly chosen to tell a story of overcoming.
The positive reaction to his video further fueled Stockton’s love for public speaking. Nicole Greer, full-time professional speaker, principal coach and CEO of Vibrant Coaching, has mentored Stockton and helped open doors in the public speaking market. “BJ is passionate, driven, and uniquely talented to motivate others,” Greer said of Stockton. “His struggles have become his fuel for a VIBRANT LIFE!”
Stockton has sound advice for Mitchell students. “It is hard knowing what you want to do with the rest of your life, but, if you can have some focus and follow your passion, it will work out.” Deciding on a career path can be a daunting task, but Stockton encourages others to put it into perspective. “Ask yourself what would you do for the rest of your life if you never got paid for it? You have to have a job that provides you with more than just money. If you already had all the money and material things you wanted, what would you do that brings you inner joy? What would fulfill you then? Figure out what that is, and then take steps to make it happen.”
As one might expect, Stockton has big goals for himself. He plans to continue to pursue his passion for public speaking both in person and online. He hopes to one day have the opportunity to travel all over the world speaking professionally. Stockton wants his son Justin to have more opportunities than he had in his youth. He plans to one day write a book. But most importantly, he knows that he will never stop pursuing his goals, and he never stops trying to make the world a better place. “You are what you put out to the world,” he shared. “You are what you think about constantly. If you want to be successful, you have to think successfully.”
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