Stuart Knight has carved out a solid career helping to inspire people to reach new levels of personal and professional success. A graduate from the School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University, today at age 39, he is an entrepreneur, a speech writer, and the producer of the wildly successful Top Ten Event – a live show that presents ten successful Canadians from various industries to speak on stage for ten minutes each on the topic of what you should know before you die. Speakers have included: former Toronto mayor David Miller, journalist Hana Garter, War Child founder Dr. Samantha Nutt, radio broadcaster Allan Cross, and songstress Julie Black.
Here’s The Skiny on this natural born leader.
Your name and a sentence that defines who you are: Stuart Knight, a man who dreams it then does it.
Birthplace: Ajax, Ontario
Where you call home now: Downtown Toronto. Corktown/Leslieville.
What drives you in a positive way and in a negative way?
I feel extremely lucky to have a job that directly influences people’s lives in a positive way. I sometimes have to pinch myself when I look at the flood of emails I get from strangers telling me they quit their dead end job, left a draining relationship or took an exciting risk because of something I wrote or said on stage. The second you get even one of those emails you’re hooked to the drug of making others feel good. With every new project, speech, book or show that crosses my mind, I can close my eyes and see the people at the receiving end and I’m instantly driven to make it the best thing ever.
On the other side of things, I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you that sometimes I’m driven by the negative influences of proving the naysayers wrong. Just the other day I was reading the theatre reviews in Now Magazine and saw that when a critic gives a show five NNNNN’s it equates to a standing applause. It took me back to the first show I produced over ten years ago when a Now Magazine reviewer slammed my face in the mud saying our show was one of the worst things he had ever seen. That show received a standing ovation. I guess he forgot to read his magazine’s rating system. Things like that also drive me to be the best.
Describe a typical day for you (from bed to bed).
People often say to me, “Stuart, as an entrepreneur, what time do you wake up every day?” My response is always the same. I say, “Eight hours after I go to bed.” I believe in the power of rest and sleep so I always do everything I can to get at least seven to eight hours. From there most mornings start off slow. I listen to what my body wants and if I don’t have to rush out the door to do a speech, I take the time to relax and ease into my day, no matter how much work I have ahead of me. This almost always starts with a cup of organic, decaffeinated tea and a couple of chapters of whatever book I happen to be reading. This takes about 45 minutes in total and then I’m ready to work. Starting this way puts me into the right frame of mind.
Mornings are usually taken up with conference calls with clients, getting back to emails, tweeting, responding to questions from my staff, reading industry related articles and getting on the pulse of what’s happening in the world. I free my afternoons up for writing, face to face meetings, lunches with friends, journaling and almost always I’m developing a new business on the side if not many. Evenings often find me in the company of those I love, drinking wine, while discussing issues that go well beyond who got kicked off the Bachelor.
Of course, none of the above happens on days when I have speeches or workshops. Those days have me running out the door, jumping into either a car or onto a plane to arrive at a location where I stand up in front of anywhere from 30 to 1000 people to deliver one of my 75 minute keynote speeches or a half day intensive seminar.
Either way, the best thing about being an entrepreneur is not knowing what tomorrow will look like. Even as I answer these questions I don’t know what tomorrow brings and that’s perfectly fine and exciting for me.
What’s your healthy life maintenance routine for:
I’ve played competitive soccer my entire life and I try to keep up with that by organizing a league of friends who play on Monday nights. Other than that, I jog as much as possible, do yoga when the feeling hits me and aim to do push ups every day.
I recently did a food sensitivity test and there were no surprises there. Eliminate the gluten, sugar and alcohol. Since then, I’ve done everything in my power to eat natural and organic food and have tried to put as many greens as possible back into my diet. It makes a huge difference. Luckily for me, I’m not much of a sweets guy so that helps.
iii) Beautiful skin
I’m lucky, I have pretty good skin without much effort. I find the best thing for my skin is plenty of water and to sweat as much as possible. As gross as it may sound, I love to get a good sweat on while playing sports or jogging. It opens my pores and makes my skin glow after the shower that follows the workout.
Sometimes, it’s jumping on my motorcycle and going for a ride in the country, while other times it’s jumping on a plane on going somewhere new in the world. To me, nothing is more fun then having a powerful conversation. People are so damn fascinating and if you ask the right questions you can be taken on an adventure.
Follow him [gn_fancy_link color=”black” link=”https://twitter.com/Stuart_Knight”]@Stuart_Knight[/gn_fancy_link]