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For eight years of his life, Luke was an obese alcoholic and drug addicted thug. Leading a violent street fighting crew, he was stabbed on two separate occasions; once in the lung, the other time in the head.
On the outside he looked strong and confident, on the inside his thoughts would come to haunt him. He was incredibly scared, depressed, anxious, and awkward in social situations. Luke always worried what other people thought about him which led to him committing some harsh acts and missing out on many positive opportunities.
Becoming a successful business owner, mental health advocate, and one of Australia’s top motivational speakers, his purpose is to now use his experience to inspire, motivate, and enlighten others. To stop worrying what other people think. To develop personally & professionally. To shed the labels. To be free.
I was born in Liverpool, Sydney’s Western suburbs. I grew up in Hurstville in Sydney’s South.
My first ever job was at the age of 22 where I worked at a ladies handbag factory. It wasn’t the career of a lifetime but it was the start I needed to get some discipline in my life.
After losing 47 kilos I left the factory to become a personal trainer. My personal training business exploded with the help of my business partner (who is also my stunning wife), and we now own a gym, which won best start up business in the Asia Pacific region 2013.
Winning the award for our gym was a huge highlight for my wife and I.
Writing my book Stabbed Ego was, so far, the best experience in my life. I loved writing it. Once it was published and in stores I couldn’t believe it. It was surreal seeing something I put so much effort into being displayed on shelves.
Since the release of the book another big highlight for me has been the requests to speak at schools. I have a ball with the students and after each talk I arrive at home to countless messages on Facebook from the students telling me how much I’ve helped with their mindset. There’s no better feeling.
I also won a light heavyweight boxing title and NSW amateur boxer of the year in 2010.
It was first published in Australia but since the book has spread into the States via social media and I’m currently in talks with agent in New York to get it published there.
I feel people from all walks of life are missing out on life through worrying what other people think. I was an obese child through to my early manhood and I didn’t do a lot of things as a kid because I was self-conscious about my weight. I want to bring some realization to this issue in the hope of getting rid of it. We all need to start living a full life, without worrying about being judged by others.
You only have to look around a playground, or youth group, to know that there’s an obvious disconnection between our youth, and happiness. This disconnection between who these young people really are deep down, and the false-self that they’re trying to live up to, is the main cause of unhappiness. This ‘lost’ feeling leads to depression, trying to impress other people, social anxiety, drug & alcohol abuse, and bullying (self-bullying).
When I’m ask to be speaker for a schools event, I help the students to understand, through ‘cool’ stories, the effects of not being yourself, and show them ways to reconnect to this true self.
My raw and capturing story gets their attention, and my explanation of mindset teaches them a lot about themselves. My talks have impacted a wide range of youth audiences, from Primary Schools, High Schools, Behavioral Students, and Kids with Special Needs.
I’m sure you’ve felt lately that young people are searching for something. They’re looking for acceptance while trying to understand where they fit into this forever changing world.
I give chilling examples of how worrying what other people think severely impacted my life, and trying to live up to certain labels, crushed my happiness.I feel we’re reaching a breaking point, and self-care and self-awareness is what’s needed. My 50 minute presentation (plus Q&A), has created a massive impact all around Australia, and I would love to increase this impact by spreading my message to even more schools and youth groups. After I speak to your school or youth group, you will see a positive change in your students.
“Your talk has saved my life, I thought I was the only one with these thoughts. I thought I was crazy. I’m going to stop worrying what other people think and start being myself. Thank you again!”
“I thought the drugs made me happy but now I know how to be happy without them. I’m never touching drugs again.”
“…It was the best bit of extracurricular I’ve witnessed in over 15 years!”
Luke made a huge impact on our team here at the NRL.
Luke delivered his What Gang Life Taught Me About Business & Sales presentation at our Annual Changemakers Gathering, held at Sydney University. His presentation was entertaining, shocking, funny, but most importantly it left our room of entrepreneurs inspired to take on Luke’s key message of ‘be open to taking feedback’.
Luke was absolutely incredible to work with from beginning to end and willing to accommodate and tailor his presentation to suit the audience and environment of a maximum security prison.
Not only was his message heartfelt and inspiring, it completely hit home with our young prisoners as to how the decisions they make when they’re young can affect the rest of their lives. Luke’s ability to present his real life experiences while weaving messages of hope and inspiration is truly incredible.
Luke went above and beyond on the day, and instead of just presenting his speech and leaving, Luke took the additional time and had one-on-one chats with these young prisoners and took on informal mentoring conversations with them. It was an absolute pleasure having Luke speak to our young prisoners and look forward to a future opportunity of engaging him again in the future.
Hey mate you spoke at my school today, it was so good to hear from a person who felt how I feel sometimes. I feel like people are always judging me and I’m scared of what they think. I’m in the middle of reading your book. I don’t normally read books but I’m really interested in this book. You have made me think: “Who cares about what people think of me? Just be me.” All afternoon I’ve been telling Mum and Dad about your speech today. Thanks heaps, you’ve really touched me!
Luke spoke to our Year 10 and 11 students, the boys were very receptive of what he recounted. The reality of it all made the students really stop and take time to reflect on the choices they might make and the expectations they need to live up to.
Luke spoke at their level and was ‘on the mark’ in terms of his delivery. As for his book, well, I have never seen so many students who wouldn’t be caught dead with a book in their hands, literally run to my office to grab a copy for themselves!
I would highly recommend Luke to any school.
Luke Kennedy was asked to attend and speak with 8 troubled youth who have been engaging in criminal behaviour. Luke presented well and educated the youth on how to stop themselves from conforming to labels that were placed on them by society. The youth loved hearing his story and could not believe that Luke had been through these things. A truly inspirational story that makes youth think carefully about the decisions they make. Thank you Luke for allowing us to learn from your story.
Luke is a fantastic speaker that captivates his audience young & old. He is also a very passionate & dedicated man whom shared his incredible story about how he turned his life around from a street fighter, drug user & gang member to now successful entrepreneur, motivational speaker and author.
Luke’s presentation to our community was tailor made to fit the subject “See the person not the Drug”. His story gave hope and generated great discussions! Luke spoke about the importance of ‘family connection & support’ being key factors in Luke’s inspirational recovery story!
We are excited to have had Luke guest speak at our event’s this year. Highly recommend Luke as a motivational guest speaker!
Luke made a huge impact on our team here at the NRL and captivated the audience with his story and messaging. Luke is a bright, energetic and positive individual and the way he has turned his life around is inspirational.