By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario – Be wide awake in life and don't sleep on your dreams.
© Adam Brazeau
Award-winning entrepreneur Nadine Lajoie speaks to CCVS students at the 10th annual Youth Symposium.
That's how motivational speaker Nadine Lajoie fast-tracked her impressive career even after getting off to a slow start.
Lajoie is an award-winning entrepreneur, champion motorcycle racer, and accomplished pianist who semi-retired at 36 years old.
Her success story took 25 years to leap off the page. But it only took a few words for students at Cornwall Collegiate and Vocational School (CCVS) to get the message.
Lajoie and her colleague Donna DeLuca were invited by the Cornwall Community Police Service (CCPS) to speak to over 1,500 local students at the 10th annual Youth Symposium on Wednesday.
"How many of you want success in your life?" she asked to thunderous applause.
CCVS students listened intently as Lajoie revealed the five secrets for becoming a high-achiever: focus, adrenaline, discipline, coaching, and practice.
"When someone tells you, you can't do something. You just say, watch me," she said.
The five-foot-one best-selling author has earned over 50 trophies in her racing career. But the biggest obstacle she ever faced was in her youth. Lajoie felt suicidal, even though she was a keen student and a promising athlete from a good family.
But she considered her climb from suicidal to successful a small feat in contrast to the problem's facing today's youth thanks to cyber-bullying.
"I would not like to be in your era as a teenager," said Lajoie. "I really want to give you my energy and everything that I learned in life so you start yours at 16 and not 25 like I did."
She stressed that if someone is discouraged and wants to talk, being there to listen can be a real lifesaver. Lajoie noted that without someone else's help years ago she probably wouldn't be here today.
She told students to realize their own potential by starting to visualize their accolades even before they've earned them.
"If you don't have a trophy at home just go buy one and put your biggest goal or dream on it," said Lajoie.
Destiny Montpetit, a grade 10 student at CCVS, said the presentation provided an interesting glimpse at a woman whose career she hopes to follow.
"It's inspirational for me to hear her story," she said.
Fellow grade 10 student William Oakes-Jacobs considered it a real "head's up into the real world" before he pursues further education and enters the workforce.
The CCPS 10th annual Youth Symposium in association with the Eastern Ontario Training Board (EOTB) takes place from March 3 March 6.