Top 10 life lessons from a motivational speaker.
Motivational speaker Ann Max, left, gave the keynote speech during Coun. Marianne Wilkinson’s annual Woman’s Day breakfast on March 5. Max shared her top 10 life lessons with the crowd.
There are 10 important lessons Ann Max has learned throughout her life.
The lessons have served the motivational speaker well and she shared her tips with those who attended Kanata North Coun. Marianne Wilkinson’s Women’s Day breakfast on March 5, in honour of International Women’s Day.
“It took me 67 years to do so,” she said about getting her life together. “I’m eager to offer advice.”
Max started working at age 12 in her father’s retail store. At age 16, she graduated from high school and at 19, she got married.
“My mother and father were thrilled,” she said. “Back then, it wasn’t about how you felt, but about how things looked.”
She and her husband had a daughter together, but then tragedy struck. His testicular cancer was misdiagnosed and at 23, Max found herself a widow.
“(It was) hell on earth,” she said. “I went through two years drugged and in a daze.”
She added that back then, there were no support groups, people weren’t encouraged to share their feelings and as a widow at 23, she had “to go through it alone.”
She found herself working at a local daily newspaper in the personal advertising section. While there, she remarried – this time to a top divorce lawyer – and had another daughter. Over the years, she became unhappy, but remained in the marriage because it seemed easier than putting her children through a divorce and going back to financial insecurity.
“I stayed for 23 years,” she said. “I had breakdowns, I was miserable … we finally divorced.
“We hated each other.”
After years of poor luck, the loss of a husband, a failed marriage and no job security, Max said she hit bottom. After working a string of retail positions, she was fired from her last job for no reason she was ever told.
“There I was once again broke,” she said. “I thought, ‘What am I going to do with my life?’”
She started her own business – Productive to the Max – teaching people how they could organize their lives.
“How amazing is that? Here’s this woman who didn’t have her life together giving others advice,” she said. “It took me 67 years.”
Here are the 10 lessons she’s learned:
1. Take care of yourself. You have to be in a good place to respond to the needs of others, said Max. “Take a good look at who you are. Don’t wait for something to happen to you; decide what you want.”
2. You can’t be everything all the time. All the roles you have in life – mother, wife, daughter, teacher, caregiver, employee – you can’t play them all the time. “Pick what’s important,” said Max.
3. Ditch the perfectionism. “When I got married, I ironed my king-size sheets. My sheets were larger than my apartment,” said Max. If you want to be perfect, choose your battles wisely, she added.
4. Choose your priorities every day. Make a list of what needs to be done on a daily basis to help eliminate the feeling of never accomplishing everything. When you have a list of priorities, “You will react to everything very easily,” said Max.
5. Align yourself with positive people. After spending time in an abusive relationship, Max said it’s important to ditch the negativity. “Positive people, positive energy and positive thoughts … I don’t have time for relationships that are abusive.”
6. Say no. In order to maintain your sanity, you have to learn to say no. “No is not a four-letter word,” said Max, adding you should only take on what you can handle.
7. Declutter your life physically, mentally and emotionally. “You won’t be able to do things because you can’t find anything,” said Max. If you haven’t used something or worn something in two years, get rid of it, she added.
8. Reward yourself. “Don’t only look at the end of the goal,” said Max, adding it’s important to reward yourself every step of the way.
9. Communicate like you’ve never communicated before. Life is so busy, we often miss the meaning behind the words, said Max. “We have to learn to community more deeply … because we’re all in such a hurry.”
10. Make yourself part of the solution. Don’t wait for results, make them, said Max. “Remain vigilant and tenacious,” she said. “And champion women’s equality.”
“They say women hold up half the world; I think it’s more than half,” said Wilkinson during her opening speech.
Women were celebrated throughout the community during the second week of March as part of International Women’s Day. This year’s theme was Working Together: Engaging Men to End Violence against Women.
“It takes everyone to resolve it,” said Wilkinson, adding there are many recent examples around the world of violence against women. “These are happening in this day and age.
“We need to remain vigilant.”
Mayor Jim Watson added the nation was a witness to violence last week, when Kativik Regional Police Const. Steve Dery was killed responding to a domestic violence call in northern Quebec.
“It is a reminder and we see it each and every day on television news,” said Watson.
Canadians are lucky but there is still work to be done, added Wilkinson.
“You can’t say it’s someone else’s responsibility,” she said. “It’s all our responsibilities.”