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Optus | Luke S. Kennedy | Business Motivational Speakers Sydney



Australia's best Corporate Motivational Speaker, Luke S. Kennedy, presenting to top 50 leaders at Optus.

The last time I was in Macquarie Park I was at an underground rave and hadn't slept for 3 nights. The night was filled with craziness - fights, robbing people, and drugs.

That was then...

This time I'm presenting to the Top 50 from Optus. 

When you dedicate each day to bettering yourself, you can achieve whatever the hell you want.


The event was for 50 top leaders of Optus. They were doing workshops and activities in an effort to bring about innovative ideas, and to work and connect together to bring about an improved customer experience.

As a corporate motivational speaker, i receive a brief and discuss with organisers what angle they wanted me to go with, and any underlining issues that needed tackled. For this event, along with my story and messaging, I needed to highlight

  1. The importance of being open to feedback

  2. Embracing progression & change.

These two topics fit right in with the style of talk I did alongside John Mcgrath & Naomi Simpson at B-Xponential. My talk was What Gang Life Taught Me About Business & Entrepreneurship. 

Arriving at Optus Centre, Sydney, I was blown away with the facilities - It was like a small city. Restaurants, bars, cafes, and of course people working and having meetings. 


I'm not just a regular business motivational speaker, my presentation takes the audience on a journey - I explain the 4 elements I used to get from being a normal kid, to becoming the leader of a violent street fighting gang. There was one key element I failed to implement when at the top, which soon saw the gang come crashing down.


I then demonstrate how I used this same process to start, run, and succeed in business. I learnt from my mistake at the top of the gang and implemented that missing piece of the puzzle. This has allowed me to constantly increase business and most importantly my happiness.


The first element;


Where it all starts. After witnessing how the leaders of this gang were treated and respected, my idea was to become the leader. I was a 15 year old kid and most of the guys were in their 20’s with criminal records the length of my arm. Besides being in a few fights at school, I was pretty tame. But I turned it into my obsession.




 I was willing to risk it all for my next move. I still hadn’t been put into the crew and we were sitting around watching the boxing with all the boys. Both leaders of the crew were in the room and I commented on one of the boxers abilities.


“What you think you can fight?” One of the leaders asked.


“Yeah I go alright.” I replied


“You think you can beat me?” He shot back. Everyone stopped what they were doing in the room to see what I would respond with.


“I don’t know, I’ve never seen you fight.” I responded, hoping my neutral respond would prevent a knife going through me. One of the other boys in the crew butted in “Why don’t you get the boxing gloves and go across the park.”


“Yeah sweet, I’ve got some at home.” I said.

That night I was contemplating not going. I thought back to my obsession and what I wanted – I pushed through my doubts. I ended up beating him badly in front of everyone!


From that day on I was treated differently.


It wasn’t long before I was put in the crew and progressed in status. I made an impact now I needed to spread the word. So with the early impression made, I had to spread the word. I wanted to be in everybody’s mind. I started getting into endless fights. It was all just a popularity contest. Getting in people’s minds, I knew that it wasn’t long until I was at the top. I not only had to spread my name, but I had to spread my name to the people I was after. To the people I wanted to dominate. I had to find out who my enemies ('my targets') were and where they hung out. They’d frequent hip hop gigs in the city, raves, and other specific areas. So I would go there to progress my image by fighting.




The main leader of the crew was sent to jail and I saw that as my chance to take over. I visited him inside and told him I would look after the crew while he was away. I was leading the crew. What do I do now? How do we get even bigger? The crew was a bunch of staunch people with two at the top that were jostling for a higher position. There was really no structure. Sure, we would back each other up in fights and stuff but it was still like everybody was out for themselves. I needed to create a stronger crew. Not the individuals, but to work as a unit. We did everything together. If one boy was going to an organised fight, we would all go. If a couple of boys were heading out to the pub, we’d all go. If you saw one of us, you saw 20 of us. We did anything for each other. Anything.

One out we were strong, but as a unit, we were unstoppable.




The difference between being at home safe in bed, or in hospital fighting for your life was that your crew of boys backed you up or not. If they didn’t they’d be cut from the crew straight away. Left out in the cold like a lost puppy. The things we were getting up to, you had to have complete trust in your boys, you had to know that if the heat got put on them by police, they wouldn’t say a word. If there was ever a slight chance that someone would not be loyal, they’d be cut. They too would be left out in the cold. We couldn’t risk having fake people in the crew so they would be thrown out, immediately.

So with what started as an idea, getting noticed early, spreading my name like wild fire, I created the strongest crew, and totally cut the dead weight. I now stood at the top. The pinnacle. But… at the top of this pinnacle there’s one more key element which was the most important. One that I didn’t apply. And soon, it wasn’t long before it all came crashing down.

What was that key element? I will tell you soon.

I then go on to show how I used all of these elements to start, run, and succeed in business. I tell the journey through funny and motivating stories. There were a lot of set-backs along the way, but I knew what I wanted and kept marching forward.


Where it all starts. I explain how I turned my ideas into realities. I did this by making them an obsession. I did this by hustling and creating my own coincidences.



 An early impression doesn’t have to be in the market place. It can be your first impression, your first point of contact. How are you being perceived in your first 10 seconds? These initial seconds in a meeting, to a prospect, at a networking group, to a client, are absolutely crucial.



You are your environment. Who are you spending the majority of your time with? Do they life you up? Allow you to bounce ideas off them? Give you feedback? Help with connecting you to their network? OR... Do they bring you down? Laugh at your ideas? Say you’re not good enough? Criticize others for taking a shot?

YOUR NETWORK IS YOUR NET WORTH. If you aren’t connecting with like-minded and driven people, you’re bloody mad. Get into your networking and mastermind groups.


Dead weight for me in the past was someone that wouldn’t back me up or would not be loyal to the crew. Dead weight for me now is absolutely anything that isn’t serving my business. It can be wastage, a person that constantly disrupts me, it can be time wasting, checking my phone, social media, electricity! All of these thigs can be looked at and reduced. Cutting dead weight will see business and productivity explode!

So.. I’m at the top. What was the key element that I left out in the gang that soon saw it crashing down? What is it?



Being open to receiving feedback., To adjust when the market place changes. To being open to receiving constructive criticism. In the past in the gang life if someone said I was doing something wrong. Whack, I’d knock them out. Obviously that creates a bit of friction.

“Anything that is led by ego eventually self-destructs.”

It’s true. Anything that is led by ego will soon self-destruct. Wherever you are in your specific role. Whether you’re a top performer or you’re still building,  if you let your ego get in the way and pretend you know it all. Anything that is led by ego will soon…

There’s two types of feedback; negative and positive.

We love to soak up the positive; Good result, money, praise, happiness, an award, satisfied client. As humans we like to feel like we are kicking butt. We are on track. Getting positive feedback lets us know we are on track. It makes us feel powerful, like we are in control.

Most times though the negative feedback is more beneficial to us. It helps us grow, if taken on board.

Feedback doesn’t have to be verbal. Feedback could be that a customer doesn’t say anything but never comes back. If I stand there and kid myself by saying it’s not me, they must be screwed up, then pretty soon I’m out of business.

 I have to change something that’s not working. We see it far too often business owners being stuck in their own ways and not changing. That’s where you see all those boarded up shops. Businesses are going out of business because they’re not open to change and they’re not listening.

When hiring new staff, and training them, I always make a comment that could be seen as criticism about an improvement to make on something they really don’t need to improve on. Just to see how they respond. If they know their shit and step up with a strong response, great! It’s how they handle the feedback and criticism. Most people can be trained into certain roles. So if they’re lacking in certain areas, but they’re a great personality with drive, then I’ll bring them on and teach them. If they can’t take feedback, it’s a loss cause.


Be open to info. Don’t take things personally. Separate yourself from it. It’s business.

I then show the successes that being open to feedback has brought into my life.


Speaking at Optus was a great experience. It’s always motivating to speak to a room full of driven people. Looking forward to hearing what those at Optus think of my first book, Stabbed Ego.

I love my life.

Do you have an audience that need to be inspired? Let Luke present at your next event.

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