Maye Musk (Maye) is the mother of tech giant entrepreneur Elon Musk.
At age 71, Maye is a model, dietician, best-selling author, and speaker.
But things were not always so easy or glamourous. She went through a difficult marriage, became a single mother at age 31, and struggling through poverty to provide for her three children.
Maye shared her up and down journey in the book ‘A Woman Makes A Plan’.
In this book, Maye shared her experience on beauty, adventure, family, success, and health. There are 28 lessons you can learn from Maye. Herein I share my favourite;
7 lessons of Maye Musk’s personal stories, from the book ‘A Woman Makes A Plan’.
Story #1: Life keeps getting better
At 59, Maye’s hair turned to silver.
At 61, she was on the cover of New York magazine.
At 67, she walked in her first runway show at New York Fashion Week with women a third of her age.
At 68, she was on a 15 foot-tall billboard in Times Square, on the subways, and in every airports in America.
At 69, she became a Cover Girl.
At 71, Maye wrote a book ‘A Woman Makes A Plan’.
When Maye started modeling at age 15, she was told she’d done it by 18.
And, she never thought of at age 71, she was the biggest she’s ever been.
Don’t let aging slow you down or stop you from moving ahead. Look after yourself as best as you can by eating well, smiling, being active, happy, and confident.
Story #2: Take charge of your own life, and aim for happiness
Maye wed Errol, an engineer she met in high school in 1970. She knew the marriage was a mistake when she’s hit for the first time during their honeymoon.
Soon after, she was pregnant. And within 4 years, she gave birth to 3 children.
In her 9 years marriage, Maye was living in a viciously abusive marriage and fearing for her life. She was beaten up, not allowed to see her parents, and mentally abused.
She often wanted to leave the relationship, but “couldn’t do anything because the law wouldn’t allow me to get divorced.”
And in 1979, once she managed of getting divorced, her husband came to her house and chased her through the streets with a knife. She ran into her neighbour’s home, and she saved her. After that incident, Maye got a restraining order against her husband.
If we are in a dark situation, there is a way out of it.
If you are in a relationship with someone who is hurting you, you have to get out if you want to survive. Maye suffered in an abusive marriage for nine years. Once she left, she felt a dark cloud had been lifted and there was hope.
No matter how depressing it may seem, there is always another way.
Story #3: Magic of twelve.
Maye has 3 successful kids, and so proud of them.
The eldest, Elon Musk, founder of Tesla, SpaceX.
In the middle, Kimbal started farm-to-table restaurants and is teaching children to build fruit and vegetable gardens in underserved schools. And Tosca, the youngest, is a filmmaker and co-founded the streaming service Passionflix.
Maye became a single mother of three when she was 31. She worked hard to keep a roof over their heads, food in their stomach, and bought secondhand clothes.
She taught her children the importance of working hard and doing good things.
Five key things Maye did, to raise her successful children:
1. Teach them good manners
2. Treat them like adults
3. Let them follow their interests
4. Don’t get them used to luxuries
5. Make them responsible for their own future
Story #4: Act of kindness.
Maye had a modeling job in Mississauga, a 40-minute drive from Toronto. That morning, it was heavy snowing. She packed her shoes and got out to work. She took two buses, two subway trains, two more buses and walked about 400 yards to get to the studio, in three feet of snow. The journey took her 2 hours to get there.
She got to the studio. Did the shoot, and afterward, walked back through that thick snow back to the road. Far ahead, at the end of the road, she saw a bus stopped. She walked to the bus and asked the driver “Are you stuck?”
He said, “No, I saw you walking, so I waited for you. You could only have been walking to catch a bus because there was nowhere else to walk to”.
She was the only one on the bus. A wonderful act of kindness, by a bus driver.
Appreciating kindness from strangers will make you feel happy. Life was made easier because people were nice. They didn’t expect anything in return.
When you are in a tough situation, look for support from family, friends, and even strangers. And be kind to strangers, too.
Story #5: Ask for what you want.
Maye is a dietician. But, for some reasons she moved to eight different cities. Every time she moved to a new city, she had to start everything from scratch.
When she opened an office in Toronto Canada, she had to build up a nutrition practice and requested doctors in that city to refer their patients to her. Her letters were ignored, doctors were reluctant, and they would say “Insurance doesn’t cover nutrition counseling”, or “Patients won’t listen to you”.
However, she knew good eating habits do give good results. From one patient that showed significant improvement, Maye started to get more clients after six months. Then she approached media and gave talks at conferences and corporations.
After 4 years arrived in Toronto, Maye became the President of the Consulting Dietitians of Canada. The media would call her all the time, ask comments or questions about nutrition and a publisher wanted her to write a book.
All this happen because Maye worked hard and persisted.
Asking is difficult for some women. It could be they are shy, or lacking confidence, or scared of rejection. So, they don’t want to ask for what they want.
Persistence works, sometimes. Not all the time. If you ask and they say no, you move on. But if you want something, you’ve got to keep asking.
Story #6: Keep moving
At one time, Maye was working out a lot, doing steps and yoga classes at night. She overdid and started getting pains in the buttock, thighs, and knees. It was so painful that she could hardly sit down or stand up. She went to see a surgeon, but he didn’t want to do surgery unless her foot went numb.
But she still had to work. One of the events was during New York Fashion Week.
Maye had a show at the Met Opera. There were 4 storeys up and 4 storeys down. Although with flat shoes, the knee pain was painful. But she never complains because she was a professional. She just coped with the pain.
After the show, she went home and see an orthopedic surgeon. The good news is the knee’s pain heal over time and she didn’t need surgery.
Learn to listen to your body. You don’t need aggressive training. You don’t need bigger weights. You don’t need to push harder.
You just need to move and be active. Good health is everything.
Story #7: Insta-Famous.
Maye age 67. It was Paris Fashion Week.
Although she was not invited to the top runway shows at the time, she flew to Paris. And use Instagram to capture her Instagram moments.
She dressed in different looks in the streets of Paris. She dressed in up-and-coming designer outfits and worked with a street-style photographer who she met via Instagram.
Her investment paid off. It opened the doors for New York Fashion Week runway shows, Cover Girl, and modeling jobs.
1. You are never too old to learn a new technology
2. You can create your own future by being creative and willing to do something different.
In health, in business, in life, there is no quick fix. All you have is hardwork, optimism and honesty; common sense and a plan.
When Maye was in bad situation, she read many romance or self-help books. Those gave Maye hope.
And hope this book and Maye’s experiences will give you hope, too.
Photo courtesy: Mayemusk @ instagram