Melissa Maxx: “Determination”

If you are determined to do something eventually it will happen. If you refuse to give up and are persistent, consistent and authentic in your desire and pursuit, The Universe will collaborate with you in creating opportunities and opening doors. It sometimes feels like it is so hard to avoid feeling down or depressed these […]

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If you are determined to do something eventually it will happen. If you refuse to give up and are persistent, consistent and authentic in your desire and pursuit, The Universe will collaborate with you in creating opportunities and opening doors.

It sometimes feels like it is so hard to avoid feeling down or depressed these days. Between the sad news coming from world headlines, the impact of the ongoing raging pandemic, and the constant negative messages popping up on social and traditional media, it sometimes feels like the entire world is pulling you down. What do you do to feel happiness and joy during these troubled and turbulent times? In this interview series called “Finding Happiness and Joy During Turbulent Times” we are talking to experts, authors, and mental health professionals who share lessons from their research or experience about “How To Find Happiness and Joy During Troubled & Turbulent Times”.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Melissa Maxx.

Mindful Living Coach, Columnist and Author Melissa Maxx left her decades long career as a Radio and TV Host (WBCN Boston, KLOS Los Angeles, The Shark Miami and “Tiny House Builders” on HGTV) after a debilitating Autoimmune Disease forced her to re-evaluate her life choices. She realized that she needed to make some drastic life changes physically, emotionally & spiritually. Her new book, “Mindfulness For People Who Suck At Being Mindful” provides 6 Practical Shifts for making more mindful choices, reclaiming your power and creating a more fulfilling life.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?

I grew up on Long Island a pretty normal, “average” family of 4. Outwardly nothing seemed amiss but inwardly I was an extremely anxious kid. Once I started school at around age 5, I would lay in bed sleeplessly worrying about anything and everything real and imagined.

I really thought that if I analyzed every single situation, worried about every possible outcome, obsessively looked at all situations from every angle, and considered every eventuality, I was somehow in control.

This pattern followed me into adulthood and eventually (many years later) caught up with me, both physically and mentally.

What or who inspired you to pursue your career? We’d love to hear the story.

I was a smart little girl with a lot to say but was too shy and insecure to “use my voice”. Not really all too surprising that I eventually chose career paths that gave me a platform to communicate, first as a Radio and TV host, then as a speaker, writer and author.

I spent decades in front of a camera or microphone and had a successful broadcasting career. I interviewed actors and Rockstar’s. I had what looked on paper (or at least on social media) to be an active social life with a lot of friends. I looked like I had it all together. Looks can be deceiving and old habits die hard.

I was still plagued with insecurity, fear, self-doubt, and a feeling of worthlessness. This feelings manifested in constant stress, a series of bad romantic relationships, some less than ideal friendships, and eventually an autoimmune disease.

The autoimmune disease caused debilitating panic attacks, terrible joint pain, memory loss/brain fog, insomnia, extreme fatigue, and heart palpitations. I couldn’t function, let alone work as I had been. It was time for a life and career overhaul.

Although I had been studying personal development, psychology and mindfulness for decades, it took me a long time to implement what I had learned. Once I did, I found my power and my REAL voice. My next career move was a no brainer for me.

I took my life long passion for communicating and teamed it with my newfound purpose, trying to help people through some of the painful things that I experienced. I pivoted and becoming a Mindfulness Coach, Writer and Content Creator.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Was there a particular person who you feel gave you the most help or encouragement to be who you are today? Can you share a story about that?

My older brother and only sibling Jeff was the driving force in my life. He worked in broadcasting and in newspapers. Growing up I idolized him and wanted to be just like him. He taught me a great work ethic, drive and confidence in my ability and skills (the only areas of my life I truly felt confident).

As career driven as he taught me to be, when I got sick he was the one who ultimately told me it was time to “let go” of broadcasting and Los Angeles, and start focusing on myself.

I moved away from LA to South Florida and reintegrated into my family that I left when I was 18.

Sadly, Jeff unexpectedly died suddenly just a year and a half after my move.

It still feels unreal and I miss him every day. But I credit him for helping to get me to a place in my life (physically and emotionally) where I am able to find gratitude. peace and lessons in the saddest and scariest of situations.

Can you share the funniest or most interesting mistake that occurred to you in the course of your career? What lesson or take away did you learn from that?

I can’t really say I’ve had any interesting or funny mistakes as a coach or author, but there were plenty of on-air debacles when I worked in broadcasting. When I first started out, I found mistakes humiliating and unacceptable. As I matured into my career and myself, I found my mis-steps and mistakes hysterical. I learned not to take myself, or life all to seriously, and that you should always choose laughter.

What are some of the most interesting or exciting projects you are working on now? How do you think that might help people?

My first book “Mindfulness For People Who Suck At Being Mindful” is out now (on Amazon). It’s a short book with a lot of practical non intimidating tips that I learned along the way, to help build confidence, be happier and take control of your life.

I also write a weekly Column on Mindful Living for the Music Industry website All Access.

I recently started a YouTube Channel “A Maxximized Life” where I share tips and insights on personal development, mental health, the mind-body connection and spirituality. I also interview people in related fields.

I’d like to eventually take my broadcasting and interviewing skills to a larger platform and do video interviews with not just thought leaders and authors, but also rockstars and celebrities who are a bit older and wiser now. I’d like to pick their brains, and talk about what their personal unusual journeys have taught them about happiness and life.

You are a successful leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?

1)Determination

If you are determined to do something eventually it will happen. If you refuse to give up and are persistent, consistent and authentic in your desire and pursuit, The Universe will collaborate with you in creating opportunities and opening doors.

2) Imagination

Imagination is not just important in creative fields, it is imperative to success in ANY field. We will all be met with rejection and missed opportunities in our lives. We need to use our imagination to not only visualize our eventual success, but to come up with creative ways to attain it, and unique angles that make what we have to offer valuable to others.

3) An extremely strong work ethic

If you’re going to take the time to do something you may as well excel at it. Time is time. You spend the same amount of time if you do something half-assed as you do if you do something whole heartedly. The difference is while you expend less energy doing a half-assed job you don’t gain energy in return. When you do something well, your pride and feeling of accomplishment multiple your energy levels tenfold.

For the benefit of our readers, can you briefly let us know why you are an authority about the topic of finding joy?

I have walked the walk. I suffered more years than not with depression and anxiety and feeling like a victim of circumstance. I came out the other side stronger, braver and happier. I know now that we are more powerful than we were taught to believe and that despite the things that come our way that we CAN’T control, we can always choose how we react. We are all just a decision away from being more empowered and present in our lives and for our lives.

Ok, thank you for all of that. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about finding joy. Even before the pandemic hit, the United States was ranked at #19 in the World Happiness Report. Can you share a few reasons why you think the ranking is so low, despite all of the privileges and opportunities that we have in the US?

I think the Western World and the US in particular is so focused on striving, earning and accumulating that we often forget about LIVING. We think that the next best thing is just around the corner and that when we turn the corner and get that “thing” (person, promotion, car) THEN we will be happy. We think happiness is something to consume, not something we can access and create and those ideas are reinforced by a constant bombardment of ads selling products with false promises.

What are the main myths or misconceptions you’d like to dispel about finding joy and happiness? Can you please share some stories or examples?

Happiness is not something to be obtained. Happiness is available right here and right now if we are willing to change our perceptions and look for it.

The only thing we are all promised is now, this very moment. We might as well live in the now fully, something that we can’t do if we are looking elsewhere.

The misconception is that we should strive to always feel happy, which is unrealistic and impossible. Our goal should be to constantly feel FULLY. We should strive not to strive, to meet life where it is on its terms and embrace it wholly, and this is where mindfulness comes in.

Mindfulness in short is awareness and acceptance.

Awareness is noting what currently IS at any given moment. It includes taking inventory of our circumstances, our physical presence, our emotions, and our reactions.

Acceptance is letting those things be as they are, whether pleasant or unpleasant. It is choosing not to resist, push them down or rush through them.

While the result of a mindfulness practice may not be constant bliss or joy as I say in my book, “..leading a mindful life can bring about an overall feeling of acceptance of what is and surrendering to what will be. It can help us to struggle less and feel more, which ultimately can lead to more contentment and happiness throughout our lives”.

In a related, but slightly different question, what are the main mistakes you have seen people make when they try to find happiness? Can you please share some stories or examples?

We think happiness is outside of us and that it’s something that we can achieve or attain. I’ll use myself as an example. I had low self-esteem, and felt unworthy and unlikeable. I thought if I had a successful broadcasting career and people liked listening to me or watching me, THEN I would know that I was in fact likable and THEN I would be happy. It was never enough. No matter what job I had, what raise I got, what market I worked in, what nice things people said, it didn’t make me happy, because I still had feelings of unworthiness. Unless and until I conquered those doubts I would never be at peace. Once I quieted my “inner critic” and didn’t believe the lies my non stop monkey mind was telling me, I didn’t need validation from anyone or anything.

Fantastic. Here is the main question of our discussion. Can you please share with our readers your “5 things you need to live with more Joie De Vivre, more joy and happiness in life, particularly during turbulent times?” (Please share a story or an example for each.)https://content.thriveglobal.com/media/1500a38876705898eafe4ca95a746782

What can concerned friends, colleagues, and life partners do to effectively help support someone they care about who is feeling down or depressed?

I would say don’t tell them why it’s not as dire as they think, don’t give them advice unless they ask for it, and don’t try to make them “feel better” by giving them platitudes. Depressed people generally don’t come to others to make them feel better (and they can’t because happiness comes from within) what the suffering person is looking for is to be seen and heard. After my brother died, and I felt my small family was falling apart, one of the kindest, most thoughtful things someone who barely knew me said to me was, “I know this is hard for you.” That meant the world to me.

Ok, we are nearly done. You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.

It may sound cliché, but I think spreading love and kindness has a ripple effect. Being kind to others begins with being kind to yourself and seeing yourself in every person you meet. We forget that we are a human family. Despite how we look on the outside and despite the differences we have been taught to focus on (to instill fear and keep us easily manipulated) we really are all more the same than we are different. Energy is contagious… fear spreads like a virus, but so can love. Raise people up and they in turn will raise others up.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

Oprah is my (s)hero on so many levels. I would love to thank her for all that she is and all that she had done. I would also love to do a Super Soul Interview with her where the tables are turned and she is the guest. I would love to hear more of the lessons that she has learned in this life class of ours.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

They can subscribe to my blog: https://www.amaxximizedlife.com

They can subscribe to my brand new YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/c/AMaxximizedLife

Twitter: https://twitter.com/djmelissamaxx

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/a.maxximized.life/

Thank you for these really excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!

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