Real Housewife of Toronto star, self-made millionaire and mother of eight, Ann Kaplan, is releasing her new book, How to be Successful in Spite of Yourself, this month, offering a behind-the-curtains view of her life and a holistic approach for working women to find success in everything from finances and entrepreneurship to relationships and physical health in 2019 and beyond. We chatted with Ann about the launch—and discovered more about her personal plans for the new year! —Vita Daily
Hi Ann! Please tell us a bit about yourself—and your new book!
If you want to put the “crap” behind you and find success, then the book will help you reboot, rethink and empower yourself to take control. Examples are used from pieces of my life (and crappy beginnings) intertwined with steps that anyone can follow; it’s blunt, humorous and without apology and (I must say), refreshingly easy to read.
How did you make the decision to write a book, and what was the process like?
I give lectures, talks … you name it … about “How to be Successful”. I have spoken to a room full of students that come from dysfunctional and challenging beginnings, I have also spoken at conferences for medical doctors … all wanting to find their success! It turns out that no matter where we come from and where we are in life, there is something in us that just can’t get rid of hurtful baggage … the heavy stuff that weighs us down and holds us back from living our dreams. In listening to people (from all walks of life) and their response to my lectures, I realized that my own (crappy) upbringing was something they could relate to (same sadness, different story). I realized that the only difference was that I had more joy in my life than many of the people I spoke with. Was it money? No, many people were wealthy. Was it marriage? Or Appearances? I have to say, most marriage are not that great. I learned that it is our inner core, that voice inside of us that holds us back from everything, so I started to write. I wrote about my own crappy life—10 boxes of Kleenex later, I was ready for the “So what?” I put pen to paper, researched and, with out intent, bluntly and honestly told it like it was and succinctly said “If you want a better life, this is what you need to do."
Did it take you out of your comfort zone in any way?
Out of my comfort zone! As public as I am (in media), I am very, very private. I had not told my story, but beneath the joking, the laughter and the smiles, I had not told the pain, the abuse or the beatings I witnessed and took. I was so afraid to offend someone and, in a way, to expose people. I almost redacted the whole book, then revisited and thought “if I don’t bring honesty, then too many people will go through what I did without knowing they could turn things around.”
Speaking of stepping beyond a comfort zone and breaking boundaries, how do you address these topics (specifically, in light of finding success and growth in one's professional and personal life) in your book?
In the book, I dissect each of six principals that will likely be outside of ones comfort zone or routine. I provide reason for the reader to find logic in why the steps are important then processes to follow that will enable success. I induct humour and frankness not to distract but to lighten the read. I also use examples from my own life, my challenges (any reader can choose to laugh or cry, but will hopefully relate). Anyone wanting to be more successful can understand and relate, regardless of their age or what has happened in their life. Others (that are not interested in self-help) can be entertained as I weave through my pathetic (but wonderful!) life.
In light of the new year and all of the wonderful resolutions being made, we'd love to get your thoughts/best insights on how to succeed in the following areas:
> health goals—what are your top suggestions for healthy snacks and light meals that make the perfect fuel for a busy professional on the go? Eating healthy should be a way of life, period. It goes hand in hand with being active and the other steps in the book. When you are busy and on the go, bring healthy snacks with you that do not weigh you down. To get energy, avoid breads and food that does not “work for you,” in other words, only eat food that gives you energy, provides nutrition or is healthy. Get to know your body, then fuel it proactively and consciously with goodness.
> work goals—what steps can we take to further or advance our careers in 2019? Your work life is ultimately so important, it is where you spend the majority of your time. If you are not in a career of your choice, start to make the moves to prepare yourself for change. If you are where you want to be, work toward being the absolute best at what you do. Step up your game, be aware of who you influence. If you work for a corporation “know” that you are their biggest asset and see where you can add value. Understanding how you add value will not just get you more recognition, but you will, ultimately, make more money. Consciously and tirelessly focus on adding value whatever you are doing.
> life goals—what are your top tips to effect BIG changes in our lives this year? Think big. Dream big. There is nothing that will get in your way except the limitations of our goals. Consciously consider what you value, understand that you are the only person that can make change and then consciously decide to do it...and remember, if you are going to make change, do not let yourself get in your way. Your life goal should be to “live a life of success”—success is not found on a deathbed, it is in how you lived your life.
Final, personal question: did you make any unique personal resolutions for 2019?! How do you plan to keep/achieve them?
I feel if I tell you about my New Years resolution you many not feel I am qualified to write a self-help book, but I told myself I would not drink wine, at least for the month of January (for no other reason than I don’t really enjoy drinking and find I only do in some situations because others are drinking). On January 1st I had dinner with my (much loved) sister-in-law. She said, “are you having wine?” Let’s just say I made it 19 hours.