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Untying the knot

Mon, 2012-01-09 15:45

I remember going through the buildings at our Pigeon Lake camp the first time we actually owned it. I remember seeing so much junk in every building. We ended up throwing out over 30 tons of “stuff”. Yes, over 30 tons. Although, amongst that junk there was something that really struck me when I entered Cabin 17, one of our larger cabins. It was an old plastic sign made to look like wood. It had a monkey holding onto a vine with a determined look on his face. There was a quote underneath that said, “When you come to the end of your rope, tie a knot and hang on.” It made me laugh. I thought I really agree with that mantra. In fact it was perfect for that moment. We had bought Pigeon Lake as a back up plan because we thought we were going to lose the Orillia (Lake Simcoe) camp. This new camp was kind of like the knot and we were holding on for dear life.

I can tell you that I have lived by that saying throughout my adult life. Since I was 21 and started speaking and created the camps there have been a hundred knots I have tied and held on for dear life. Sometimes, despite my best grip, I slip off the rope and fall. It hurts sometimes really bad. I would even say it stings. The key of course is to find a new rope and start climbing again.

But what if you untie the knot and jump off? You intentionally let go of the rope. You might say that goes against everything I teach and the exact story of our success. That’s true and it’s false. Here’s where maturity and experience come in. Sometimes in life you have to recognize when the knot needs to be untied. Even if we want something really bad or believe in an idea or want someone so much it hurts. There are signs the Universe will give you. Signs that say look again, try again and begin again. It’s the ability to have the wisdom to know the difference that matters most. Untying the knot doesn’t mean you fail, it means you know you need to move forward.

I remember a program I had created to help transition students into high school. I really believed in it. People doubted me and told me why it would fail. I believed in the potential so much that I stuck with it. Ignoring the comments and the reality of how poorly it was going. In the end the rope broke, I fell and I fell hard. We lost over $80,000 and I was terrified I would get the “I told you so’s”. I thought for sure it was going to work. The students that went through the program loved it. I just needed to hold on! Right? Tie another knot!

In the end when the dust settled we were still in business and what was most important we learned. We learned what we were good at. We also found a new rope and began climbing again. The Universe (friends, colleagues, family and even strangers) wants you to succeed. Don’t live your life to prove people wrong, live your life to prove yourself right. If that means untying the knot, so be it. Learn. Grow. There are lots of ropes to climb.

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  • Stu Speaks

    Students were very engaged, enthusiastic and excited. Stu is hilarious…seriously. “Humour is never a bad thing” said one student.

    ~Annalisa Varano - Vice Principal - St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Secondary School
  • Stu Speaks

    They say a great presenter “leaves them wanting more”. Well, we loved your presentation and the entire team asked me when you will be back! You are truly STUpendous!

    ~Nancy Klensch - Founder of Summit Kids
  • Stu Speaks

    Stu is an energetic, entertaining and dynamic presenter. He captures is audiences’ attention and keeps the room engaged for the entire presentation! His stories in his presentation captures everyone at different points, even the teachers!

    ~Sara Meaney - Cobourg Collegiate Institute
  • Stu Speaks

    Stu was great! Staff and students felt it really broke the anxiety in the building and we even got cupcakes today from one of the students.

    ~Carrie Rowlandson - William Aberhart High School, Calgary Alberta
  • Stu Speaks

    Stu was fantastic. There is nothing better than seeing 600 adolescents laughing their heads off. He delivers a terrific message and has the entire audience engaged, thinking, listening and most importantly laughing within seconds, and he keeps it going for over an hour. Thanks again on behalf of the Shores!!

    ~Doug Woods - Vice Principal, Nantyr Shores Secondary School
  • Stu Speaks

    Stu’s speech did exactly what I hoped it would do when I tried to bring him in: it brought the school together for a good laugh while empowering the student body to be the change they wish to see in their classroom. I feel he hit this goal perfectly.

    ~Steven Fotheringham - Oakville Trafalgar High School
  • Stu Speaks

    I really liked how the speech really just seemed like Stu was telling us funny stories, but he always related it back to the overall message. It didn’t sound like a speech at all, it was as if he was just talking to the crowd. I would say that he is excellent in connecting with the audience and keeping them entertained. There was not a two minute period in Stu’s speech were nobody was laughing. He kept us amused throughout the entire presentation. I thought he was perfect.

    ~James Palloto
  • Stu Speaks

    I would highly recommend Stu, his engaging personality was a real hook for the students and his messages were ones that many of them could identify with. The humour was great and the students shared that they enjoyed the presentation.

    ~Teresa Fowler - W.H. Croxford High School, Airdrie, Alberta
  • Stu Speaks

    Stu is personable. Students are willing to listen to him. They enjoy listening to him. He has a message, but he is also entertaining. He is fun to listen to and students don’t feel talked down to or preached at.

    ~Tanya Lacey - McKinnon Park Secondary School, Caledonia, ON
  • Stu Speaks

    I was at the OCA conference on May 6th, and I just wanted to thank you on being such a wicked keynote… you definitely put me back in the camp mindset and reminded me of what’s truly important about the up-coming summer. Once again, a job very well done.

    ~Emily Summers
  • Stu Speaks

    The students really enjoyed Stu’s humour and low-key but critical message about getting involved and getting the most out of their High School experience. I would recommend Stu as a speaker who relates well to students, is funny, and gets the message out without preaching.

    Thank you,

    ~Lynn Toye