THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 130: Cherylanne Skolnicki, Life Design Coach

Welcome to THE BALANCE PROJECT: a series of relevant and refreshingly candid interviews featuring inspiring and accomplished women talking about balance. I’ve always been curious about how women I admire manage the tragically glorified “doing it all” craze. So I asked them. As I suspected, no one really does “it all.” Everyone’s making sacrifices somewhere. And that should make us all feel a little better. I hope the conversation will be steered toward that reality rather than toward the flawed and dangerous assumption that we should try—or even want to try—to perfectly do “it all.”

By the way, looking for THE BALANCE PROJECT novel that was inspired by these interviews? It’s here.

No. 130: Cherylanne Skolnicki, Life Design Coach

Age: 40
Where I live:
 Cincinnati, OH
Job: Life Design Coach, Speaker, Writer, and Champion of the #SHINE movement
Kids: Two daughters, Ella (11) and Brooke (5), and a son,Tucker (8)

Cherylanne-Skolnicki-HeadshotHave you changed jobs or adjusted anything in your career to have more balance?
Yes! I spent the first 15 years of my professional life at Procter & Gamble, so my first step toward balance was when I took 12 months off (10 of them unpaid) for maternity leave with each of my first two children. When I returned each time, I worked an 80% schedule. I hung onto my big marketing jobs and just basically drove myself into the ground trying to get it all done in fewer hours! When I was pregnant with my third child, I left P&G to start an entrepreneurial venture of my own. That was my biggest and boldest declaration of intent to design my life in a way that worked for me and for my family.

Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
I don’t think having it all is really what we want; what we want is peace with our choices. By and large, we do an abysmal job of intentionally setting priorities and making choices aligned with them. We get caught up in what everyone else is doing and think we should do it too. I want three things in this chapter of my life—to be an incredible wife and mother, to make a meaningful contribution professionally, and to have a thriving sense of personal well being. Aligning my time with these priorities is how I stay on track.

What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
Teaching it to my children! They want to do everything; helping them make choices is so hard.

What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
Sleep! I have definitively proven to myself that my whole life works better when I am getting enough of it—I’m more focused, more productive, more patient, more creative, and more fun.

Do you have a favorite time management tool, hack, or other strategy you use that helps you achieve balance that you would recommend to others?
I make a detailed project and appointment list at the end of every week to set myself up for the following week. It helps me wrap my head around what’s coming so I can plan, edit, prioritize, and ask for help where needed. It includes both work and home events all in one place right down to what I’m planning for dinner and any things I have to prep in the evening for the next day. Then I make a simpler version for each child outlining the events coming up in his or her week—each of those hangs on a cute board in our hallway so they can see what’s coming. I’m amazed by how much they love this.

What was the best advice you ever heard on balance?
From a mentor/co-worker? 
“Ask for exactly what you need—you just might get it.”
From your mother?
 “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well.” (This one automatically forces me to consider the idea of doing LESS so that I can do it BETTER.)
From your spouse/partner? “This is your life, not the high dive. There are no extra points being awarded for degree of difficulty.”
From your kids? “Let’s play!”

If you had one extra hour in each day and you couldn’t work or be with your family, how would you spend that hour?
Having a great conversation over coffee with a friend.

What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
That life is not a race.

What do you hope to know by time you’re 60?
That life is not a race. 🙂

What part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
Following my kids around to clean up the trail of possessions they leave in their wake.

Whose job do you wish you had?
I can finally say my OWN! At this point I really am living out my dream in terms of my professional life.

Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
My husband’s. Being married to me is not for the faint of heart.

Favorite books?
The BibleThe Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, and Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone by J.K. Rowling.

What are you reading right now?
Rising Strong by Brené Brown.

Biggest vices…
Activity? 
Unnecessary trips to Target.
Food?
 Homemade baked goods.
Website? 
Pinterest.

How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
7 or 8. I’m an “early to bed, early to rise” kind of gal.

What do you read every morning?
A daily devotional, Seth Godin’s blog, and theSkimm.

Complete the following sentences:
I think I: am starting to figure it out.
I wish I: had figured it out sooner.
My kids: give me hope for the future of our world.

Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
“Be where you are.” It’s the collection of words that most clearly reminds me that I’ll never get this moment back again.

Anything else you’d like to add?
Bravo to you, Susie, for starting The Balance Project! I have loved reading the perspectives other women have shared—each story adds a brushstroke to the picture of what’s possible.

IMG_7816About Cherylanne:
Cherylanne Skolnicki is a speaker, writer, and life design coach who is a voice of reason on work-life integration. She believes that we are meant to shine both at work and at home, and that it all starts with honoring our callings. A former corporate ladder climber turned entrepreneur, Cherylanne is a popular blogger, a sought-after speaker, and a treasured coach to high-impact women across the country. She is a graduate of both Cornell University and Emory Business School, a former Procter & Gamble marketer, a two-time entrepreneur, one of Cincinnati’s 100 Wise Women, and a Forty Under 40 Honoree. Outside of work and family, she loves entertaining, running, yoga, theater, and spending time lost in conversation with dear friends.

Find out more about Cherylanne:
www.CherylanneSkolnicki.com
Facebook: CherylannSkolnickiOfficial
Twitter: @CherylanneSays
Instagram: cskolnicki
Pinterest: cskolnicki

WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT WORK-LIFE BALANCE? CHECK OUT MY NOVEL THE BALANCE PROJECT!

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2 Comments

  1. Melissa Sunday, March 12, 2017 at 7:35 am - Reply

    Love this concept. I read Cherylanne Skolnicki’s interview – I’d done a phone consult with her a couple months ago and after I get my kidney transplant this year and start making more progress financially so I can afford her fees, I fully plan to work with her on life design. I have several projects that I’ve launched this year and I love her approach and her ideas. I’m so excited to read the other interviews. This will help me in terms of just staying balanced and focused on what I need to deal with leading up to my transplant. And hopefully my projects. I’m writing a series of novels, I’m doing some nonfiction publishing on Kindle, I’m developing a course for students and parents to get through the college application process successfully, my husband and I just started our non-profit, Joy of Hearing Foundation, to buy hearing aids for children who need them, and I’m homeschooling my son who is also hard-of-hearing, is a stroke survivor with epilepsy and had his own kidney transplant in 12/2015. So balance and managing things is a big thing for me! But I’m enjoying this path because I spent several years after starting dialysis with absolutely no idea how to see my way through and beyond the actual transplant. Getting sick meant not being able to teach high school Latin anymore, and that’s been a huge blow. Huge. My doctorate is in Classics and this is what I thought I’d do for my career, until I retired. But I’ve been able to get refocused this year, and figure out some focal points that can see me through this journey. It’s good to finally have goals and projects that I can see myself in both now and after the transplant. And I’m feeling so blessed that I found your blog today! You ask terrific questions, and it’s so fun to see what these amazing women have to say about their lives in more detail.

    • Susie Schnall Sunday, March 12, 2017 at 12:30 pm - Reply

      Melissa, Thank you so much for visiting my site, reading Cherylanne’s interview and for all your kind words. I truly admire your strength and perseverance and wish you only good health as you continue on your journey. xo Susie

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