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Life Lessons: Cara Maksimow


Life Lessons:
Cara Maksimow

*Are you happy at the moment?

Yes I am. This time of the year when people are embracing the holiday spirit and thinking of others especially.

*If you could go back and say anything to your 16-year-old self now – what would it be?

Don’t take yourself so seriously. Enjoy yourself more and let go of the need to control everything. Give yourself a break – life isn’t perfect. Messy can be good!

*What’s the most important thing you’ve learned this year?

This year I took a big leap of faith and started a business that is still evolving. I learned that I can’t plan every detail and if I am open to new experiences and learning things will work out. Maybe not exactly as I thought but it is crucial to enjoy the process not just the outcome.

*What do you most want to achieve in the next 12 months?

I would like to continue to grow in my journey as a business owner and a mom. I would like to be more financially stable in my business and publish a book about my parenting journey.

*What’s your secret to happiness?

Accept myself for who I am. Stop comparing to others and strive for my personal best knowing it is different for each person. Tame the competitive perfectionist side of myself with self-acceptance.

*What one ritual or practice keeps you grounded?

Doing “3 things” with my kids every night. We spend a few minutes discussing what we are grateful for every day to focus on the good. For the past few months we have moved to “B.A.G.” We identify these 3 things; B – best thing that happened all day, A – what did I accomplish, G- what am I grateful for. I encourage the WHY” as much as I can. By doing it with my kids each day it refocuses me from my to do lists and things that get me stressed out and reminds me of what I have to be grateful for and what I have accomplished. I hope I am creating habits in them that they will always keep up.

*What’s your biggest regret?

As certain as I am that at this point in my life (age and health concerns) that I am past the point of having any more children I sometimes wonder how things would be if I had my children a little closer in age and had another baby back when my children were very little. I know my kids will have a strong bond with each other as they grow up however having a boy and a girl I sometimes wish I could have given my daughter a sister. That comes from how important my relationship with my sister is to me today.

*What’s the most important lesson you’ve taught your kid(s)?

It is different for each of them. My daughter is very much like me and can be very tough on herself. I work hard to help her understand that she does not need to be perfect. Relax and enjoy more. I know the best way to do that is to model it for her and it is something I strive to do more each day. My son does not have the same personality and I see him as someone who is more easy going. Overall compassion is super important and I want both of my children to have empathy and be kind to others.

*What bad habit would you most like to change about yourself?

Potty mouth & patience. I say what I think and think what I say – sometimes I need to work on “filter” and hitting “pause”.

*Aside from motherhood/fatherhood and marriage what are you most proud of in your life?

I am proud of my work ethic and dedication to things that are important to me. I am just finishing the first year as a business owner and although I am proud of what I have created I have so much support from my family that helped me to do what I do.

When I was working full time and had my first baby I made decisions to find a way to do my job and balance work and family by working in a “flex” position. After some ups and downs I was able to successfully do a full time job in 4 days at 80% compensation. This was something that I worked very hard to prove could work and I believe it helped me to better take care of my children and still excel at a career that was important to me. Taking a risk and trying something that was not often done and setting an example for other women is something I am very proud of.

*When were you happiest?

My instinct is to say when my kids were babies. I loved that time with them early on however I truly believe as I grow and learn more about myself and accept myself I become happier.

*What ten words best describe you?

Encouraging, Kind, Organized, Goofy, Real, Ethical, Loving, Quirky, Sincere, Grateful.


A warm, supportive therapist and coach dedicated to helping others successfully navigate through times of stress and challenge. Cara specializes in supportive therapy for life and work transitions, depression, anxiety and managing disease. She uses an approach focused on collaboration, problem solving, goal setting, identification of strengths and increasing resiliency. She has a natural ability to connect with others and truly enjoys helping people be and feel their best. Besides her ability to empower others, she has extensive experience working in a demanding corporate environment while balancing the needs of her growing family.

Cara began a social work career in 1992. She completed her BA in Psychology from Rutgers University in 1994 and her Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University in 1996. She worked with multiple mental health issues, depression, anxiety, drug addiction, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia as both a Clinician and Clinical Supervisor. In 2000 she took her skills to the pharmaceutical industry where she partnered with physicians to identify appropriate pharmacological treatment options for a variety of chronic conditions. Cara invested the majority of her corporate career as a Sales Manager and Trainer where she coached teams through critical challenges such as downsizing, product recalls and Health Care Reform. She attributes her success to building relationships and helping people to maximize their strengths. Starting in January of 2014 she started Maximize Wellness Counseling & Coaching LLC where she works as a therapist, coach and workshop presenter.

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