Interviews

Stuart Knight

IMG_4700He’s a world traveler, international blogger, renegade visionary, award winner critically acclaimed author and has spoken to over one million people. In October, we’ll have the distinct pleasure of hearing from Stuart Knight at our exciting Annual Symposium. This is an exclusive event which includes a Stylist Connection with elite Redken Education, plus a Corporate Conference with business sessions and program launches. Approximately 700 hairstylists will be in attendance at the Stylist Connection event.  Members of the Chatters Corporate team, plus manufacturers and Franchisees from across Canada will also attend the Conference.

We had a quick chat with Stuart, to learn a bit about what makes him tick. You can find out more about Stuart by clicking here www.stuartknight.com. Check out his blog too!

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C:  We couldn’t help but notice your slogan, “Boycott what you thought”. It sounds exciting, daring and we’re curious how you decided on this phrase.
S: There was a recent point in time when we went through a rebranding period. We were really looking for a phrase that captured in the smallest number of words what we wanted people to know and understand about us. Boycott what you thought started with an idea that I think most people are influenced by things from childhood. We’re told things like what job to have, what friendship looks like, what adventure looks like, who to love and what you must do to look good and be accepted by society at large. I think we identify with our thoughts and all that we think we are is not actually our full identity. So as we were planning our re-branding I decided that we need to boycott what we knew and start fresh to take a new deep look at ourselves and what will make us happy.

C: This is excellent! Have you met many people in your life that actually do boycott those standard norms and follow their own compass?
S: I have been very adamant about ensuring I associate with people who think this way. We are all a product of who we spend time with. I seek out people who are more successful or smart in these areas. I have often said that most people die and never see themselves as being as amazing as how other people see them.  So spend time with people who see you and the life around them as the amazing things they are!
 
C: So in your speaking circuit you have presented to beauty professionals before. What observations do you have on “us” as a group?
S: Absolutely I have. My main observation about people in the beauty industry is that they love to learn about the world. They are curious.   They like to have a lot of fun and seem excited about change. When I speak to the salon industry I always see people in the audience taking notes. This is just an honor and it shows me in this industry, people are willing to recognize and embrace the fact that fashion and styles change. And if you want to separate yourself from the pack, you have to learn and engage new ideas.
 
C: Why do you think specifically it’s so important to engage new ideas for a beauty professional?
S: People in your industry have to communicate daily with different types of people.  More than most industries. It’s rare to find a career like a salon beauty professional where people are given an opportunity to engage human beings in a way where they get to talk with them in a meaningful way over an extended period of time. Stylists in particular get to touch these people and spend intimate time with them. It could be 20 minutes or 2 to 3 hours. Let’s face it, that’s more time than most people get to spend time with strangers and if you want to be the best in this industry you have to know how to engage those people in powerful conversations.

C: Being authentic and personable and in the moment really does come into play then, especially in light of your advice to “rethink” how you see yourself and others, right?
S: Absolutely!  The guest is not what differentiates one salon from another. The stylist is the differentiator. And the stylist who goes above and beyond the hair service by making that guest feel like they matter are important is the one that will be most successful. Can you as a stylist help your guests feel intriguing or that they are an exciting person?   Do you make them feel like the most interesting person on earth? This type of sharing and your ability to make it count is an experience people are yearning for. We used to enjoy strong human connections with our fellow humans on this planet and now those connections are becoming few and far between. I’d say it’s even becoming an epidemic.  Stylists around the world have the opportunity to give these people these connections and feelings on top of the great styles they are providing. They will be the best stylists and colorist and the most successful too if they make this connection part of their daily practice. I feel strongly about this topic and really connect with it, because I genuinely feel that every problem we face in the world is because people don’t know or understand each other. They don’t even understand what they have in common with each other.  I believe the more that we got to know each other, the less problems we would have.

C: Where does all your incredible motivation come from?
S:  What motivates me to run out the door are the stories I get from people who have taken the message I have provided and actually used it. We’ve all sat in the speeches and then gone home and not tried what was suggested.  It’s exciting when someone messages me out of the blue and says they tried that one thing I told them to do and that it changed their life! I love this!

C: So what’s our core problem? Are human beings afraid of each other?
S:  We have been conditioned in life from all angles. Don’t be too personal, maybe I shouldn’t talk to this person or show people what I’m about. The media tells us that we should be afraid of strangers or people that don’t look like us or believe in the same things. It’s one of the biggest jokes of all time and we fall for it. When you see babies sitting together it’s so interesting to watch as they instantly try to touch each other’s faces, or hug each other or hold hands or stare into each other’s eyes.  It’s a natural thing for young children and babies to be so fascinated about each other and to spend time together. But then things change. Eventually, we’re told that being this way is a “bad thing” and we end up carrying these thoughts into our adulthood. We believe it! The ones who wake up and realize this mindset is a joke thus seek powerful human connections by having powerful conversations. They tap in the secret and life and things become so much easier and fulfilling for those people.

C: How do you imagine evoking change?
S: When I talk about success, I touch on the fact that people may be misguided on what success looks like. Don’t compare yourself to other’s level of success.  I believe that you need to do what makes you happy in order to be happy.  In the salon if that means giving a bit of extra service to someone sitting in your chair or taking the risk to go to a networking function to attract new customers, then do that. Whatever it is, I just to know that you’re going to to bed every night knowing you stretched yourself in a way that makes you feel like you got one step closer to your true potential. The truth is, there’s not enough room in the world for everyone to be big time entertainers, janitors, politicians, teachers or stylists.  So choose what works for you and be the best at that as opposed to being the best at something you never wanted in the first place.

C: What if we are already happy and we just don’t realize it?
S:  People will say: “I have to go find myself” As if there is some magical place that exists where a person can go to discover who they truly are. Happiness follows you wherever you go. It’s where you are at all times and whether you see it or experience it is your own daily choice. It’s not about discovering who you are, it’s about remembering who you have always been.