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From the heart of the den

Most of us know Brett Wilson as the “dragon with the heart” from CBC’s popular reality show Dragon’s Den.  Brett has now branched off on his own with his new show Risky Business premiering on the Slice Network on September 12th.

As a definite member of “Team Brett”, I was thrilled when I had the opportunity to speak with him to learn what was behind the million dollar smile and charm we’ve all come to love from watching him wheel and deal in “the den”.

J: “How did your health scare with prostate cancer change your priorities?”

B: “It completely changed my priorities. I was 43 years old with three young children and an advanced case of prostate cancer. This was a battle I didn’t want to lose, and I knew it would take a radical shift in priorities. I rebalanced my workaholic lifestyle to focus on the things that matter most. I made my health my first priority. I also put spending time with family and friends at the top of my list – and worked hard to establish relationships with my children. I have always been a lifelong learner, so I maintain that as a major priority, as well as my passion for entrepreneurship.  Some people are surprised that, despite all of my charitable efforts, community is the last of my six major priorities.  For me, focusing on health, family, friends, education and career come first because they provide the leadership and resources from which I am able to give.”

J: “We all find it difficult to find a good balance between our careers and time with family and friends. Do you think you’ve achieved a good life/work balance?”

B: ”I have a number of close friends and colleagues who challenge me to think through my decisions based on my stated priorities. Am I perfect? No. It’s something I constantly manage.”

J: “You were known as the ‘dragon with a heart’. How do you feel about this nickname?”

B: ”I love it. A lot of people think people have to be ruthless to succeed in business. In fact, when I was first being considered for Dragons’ Den, the producers thought I wasn’t mean enough. I said if being mean meant beating down every person who came on stage, then I wasn’t interested. But I could be tough when it mattered. My approach to investing isn’t about being nice. It’s about paying attention to people. I’m looking for people who know their stuff, who are one-hundred-percent trustworthy, and who are willing to work hard. Those are the people who are usually going to make a profit. When I find it, I usually invest.”

J: “Do you have any regrets with how you’ve lived your life so far?”

B: “I regret that I focused so much on work that I neglected my relationships with my wife and children. My marriage ended in divorce, but I now have positive relationships with all three of my adult children.”

J: “What fitness/health practices do you follow to stay fit and healthy?”

B: “I work out regularly with a trainer and focus on eating well. I have a home gym so I have no excuses and when I travel I use hotel gyms.”

J: “What do you think the key to a successful, healthy and happy life is?”

B: “The key is to live a life of passion balanced by priorities. Focus on the size of your smile rather than the size of your wallet.”

Photography by Dean West
Photo Credit:


Until next time,

Peace, love and vitamin C!



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