Joining me today is Cherylanne Skolnicki, host of the top-rated Brilliant Balance podcast, speaker and coach. Cherylanne’s advice has been featured in The Huffington Post, Forbes, and Women’s Day. She appears on TV news shows as an expert on work life balance, productivity, and purpose. On a personal note, Cherylanne lives in Cincinnati with her husband John and their three children.
I invited Cherylanne to come on our show to talk about the notion of “Balance.” Is it a unicorn? Or something truly attainable?
During our conversation we talk about:
- How Health & Wellness, Career, Relationships and Organization are the most common areas of stress, especially among women.
- Why it’s important to “press pause” and reset when things are feeling out of control.
- How creating systems has helped Cherylanne in both her personal and professional life.
We also talk about the Enneagram (of course!) and how her Enneagram type has played a role in her relationship with clutter and organization.
This was a super fun conversation filled with nuggets of wisdom and practical advice.
Make sure to check out the links in the show notes for everything mentioned during the episode or to connect with Cherylanne.
Special thanks to our sponsor for this episode: 1Thrive who are committed to making organizing simple, fun and stylish through their collection of command centers.
Visit 1Thrive.com to find the system that works best for you.
Make sure to use code SB10 to receive 10% off your entire order!
Connect with Cherylanne
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ANNOUNCER 1: Welcome to This Organized Life. If you're a mom, wife or coffee lover seeking advice on how to reduce clutter and reclaim time, look no further than your host, Laurie Palau, founder of Simply B Organized and author of Hot Mess: A Practical Guide to Getting Organized. For a lot of people, clutter is their dirty little secret, but it doesn't have to be. Each week we will share practical tips, chat with experts and provide strategies on how to keep you organized. I hope that by sharing our stories you feel a little less alone and more empowered to tackle the areas that are holding you back. So let's get started.
LAURIE PALAU: Hi, everybody, and welcome to today's episode of This Organized Life podcast. I'm your host, Laurie Palau, and I am super excited for today's guest. We are all going to be talking about finding balance and what that looks like. So joining me today is Cherylanne Skolnicki, host of the top rated Brilliant Balanced podcast. She's a speaker, she's a coach, and her clients include some real heavy hitters like Procter and Gamble, Ernst Young, GE, FritoLay, just to name a few. Her advice has been featured in the Huffington Post and Forbes, Women's Day, I mean, the list goes on and on and on. Cherylanne appears on TV, she's an expert in the work life balance area, productivity, and helping women find their purpose. And on a personal note, she lives in Cincinnati with her husband and their three kids. I invited Cherylanne to come on our show today to talk about the notion of balance. Is this even possible? Is that just a unicorn? Or is this something that is truly attainable, and how can you find your brilliant balance? We are going to answer all of this and more right now. So without further ado, let me welcome my friend, Cherylanne, to the show.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Well, thank you for having me. I'm delighted to be here.
LAURIE PALAU: It's so much fun, because again, I feel like you hear the word balance and a lot of times people just like roll their eyes, right? It's like okay, balance, you know, finding balance, everybody wants this, but again, it's like it's just this like notion that's floating around in the sky. Tell our listeners a little bit about you, about how you started your business, how it came to be and what it's all about?
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Well, I think to set the stage for this, we have to go back to where I started my professional life, and I call myself a former corporate ladder climber turned entrepreneur. So I spent the first 15 years of my professional life working for Procter and Gamble in very traditional sales roles and then marketing roles, really living a very fast paced life on global teams and big businesses with big organizations that I was running. Around the time that I started my family, I was two children in and expecting a third, I made the decision to end that corporate chapter and began an entrepreneurial one. And really, the whole rationale behind that was I call it my midlife pivot, right? It was an, it was I realized that the ladder I was climbing so dutifully, was leaning against the wrong wall, you know, it just wasn't leading to a place that I ultimately wanted to go. I did some soul searching to figure out what was the impact I wanted to make in the world. Sometimes I call it the dent I wanted to make in the universe. Problems that I want to solve, who did I want to solve them for? Where were my gifts going to be of the highest use? And I had this instinct, Laurie, that if I aligned my work with that, that things would snap into place, that I would feel like I had the time and the energy and the capacity to make a really significant professional contribution, and still be the kind of wife and mother and human that I wanted to be. And it turns out, it's true. It turns out that by doing that, I not only was able to discover a level of, you know, what I call brilliant balance, and we'll talk about that more today, for myself, but also to turn and teach that to an entire community of women that I now get the privilege of working with every single day. So, you know, while I have a big life at home, a marriage and three kids and, you know, try to take good care of myself, and I have a really big growing business, I still feel very centered in the middle of it. I think it's important that we remember it's possible, but it takes some tools.
ANNOUNCER 1: Absolutely and I think that's so like inspiring to hear because I'm sure there are a lot of people out there that are nodding in agreement, like feeling like, oh yeah, I'm putting in all of this time and energy into doing something, and is this where I want to be? And am I kind of, I have this like image in my head of like someone kind of kind of trying to run through like quicksand.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Yes.
LAURIE PALAU: You know, versus being like, this is the path where I really want to go and you're able to kind of go on for miles, because you're energized and your goals are aligning, and I think for so many people they are in careers or jobs to try to retrofit that to make it work, as opposed to really being in a job that fulfills them holistically.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Yes.
LAURIE PALAU: Tell me a little bit about the company, about Brilliant balance, about your business model. What is your mission? How do people work with you? What is it all about?
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Brilliant Balance is really a community for professional women, first and foremost. And so we start with a lot of free resources, it's like come on in, the doors are open, we're going to serve you really well with the podcast, with workshops and content that's designed at its core to help every woman in there stand in her brilliance, and fulfill her potential. You know, that's my personal mission, that's the mission of the company, is you have brilliance within you and I want you to know what it is to stand in it and ultimately be navigating your life toward your potential. So at the first blush, that's really what Brilliant Balance is, is a community to help you do that. And then the deeper you want to go, and the more support someone wants in that journey, then we have courses and we have programs and coaching opportunities to help them, you know, get sistered up, not to navigate that with a little bit more support, more guidance, depending on where you are. Are you, you know, at the onset of this journey? Or are you really ready for a breakthrough, like what I call that midlife pivot?
LAURIE PALAU: Mm hmm. And I think for a lot of women, because my story is slightly different than yours, but I knew that I wanted to take that entrepreneurial journey and kind of leave corporate America and have more of what I called work life integration, because, but, you know, for me, I think of balances that equal, you know, that equal playing field, and we'll talk a little bit about the nuances of that in a minute. And I feel very fortunate that I was able to take something that I was passionate about and turn it into a profession. But I recognize that not everybody has that like 'aha' moment where it kind of hits them in the face of like, this is what I should be doing, or I can, I'm good at this and I can make this into a career. What's your advice? Or what do you tell people that might be listening that go, I know I need this pivot, I'm ready for this pivot, I'm afraid of taking that leap, and or, I don't know what to pivot to? I know what I'm doing is not in my core and my gut what I want to be doing, this is how I'm serving, you know, the world. So I'm sure you hear this a lot. So let me just tell us a little bit about what's your advice for people that are out there feeling this way?
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Yeah, and it's so important that we set the stage for this, that it's not always a professional pivot, right? Often it is, often, so I think what it is, is helping women take stock of what's not working in your life. So Laurie, what I see all the time is women will say, I'm just not happy, there's got to be more to life than this, right? I'm tired all the time. I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off, I can't keep up with my calendar, you know, the kids are running in every direction, my marriage is feeling shaky, because we don't have time for each other, can't travel, like it's this kind of laundry list of things that just aren't adding up to feel the way we thought we'd feel, right, at this point in life, wherever this is. Typically I'm working with women in kind of their mid-30s to early 50s. Like that's probably where I'm mostly crossing paths with people. And they know, they have this innate sense that something is not adding up and it really comes down to I don't feel like I have discretion over where my time is going. There's too much in one bucket and not enough in another and it's draining my energy out my toes, right. So I'm tired all the time, I'm cranky all the time. It's diagnosing first. So when you said like, how, what do they do? I think the first step is really diagnosing what is draining your energy. And it doesn't have to be your career, it could be, right, if you're going into a job you hate every day, I promise you that is draining your energy. But it could be my relationship is broken, and I'm not doing anything to fix it. It could be I am not getting enough sleep, I'm eating like crap, I'm not moving my body and I just feel diminished because of that every day. So when we diagnose what is causing you to not feel truly like you're standing in your brilliance, right, like you're kind of glowing, when we diagnose that, then that's where we start. And if that's a career, great, but it may not be.
LAURIE PALAU: Do you have, like do you have different categories that people fall into? Like it could be relationships, it could be family, kids, it could be career, so and if so, can you just walk us through what those different kind of buckets are?
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Yeah. So here's the cool thing, the way we do our work with people, there's a process that actually can address any area that's not working, but there are some patterns that we typically see, like what are kind of the big ones? Health and wellness, right, people feeling like I am not taking good care of myself and so I just feel like garbage. And they will tell you that and I will tell you, Laurie, that's high on the list of like-
LAURIE PALAU: I'm sure, I'm like probably.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: It's big, and it's because we put ourselves last on the list, often, right, stereotypically, and so it cumulatively adds up. Second big one is career. So there's I am in the wrong career, either I'm underutilized, I know I could get the promotion, I know I could play bigger and something is keeping me from doing that, or I'm literally on the wrong path and I have to cross streams and that's scary and feels like work, right? So I'm not doing it. Third one is relationships, there's something going on in a key relationship, doesn't have to be a romantic relationship, but often is, right, but there's something going on that I'm in day in and day out, that needs addressing. And then the other one is organization, you know, it's and that can be productivity, like, I don't have my arms around my week, and how to really run my calendar, or it can be home organization, meal planning and preparation, are things in order at home, which is clearly your wheelhouse, right. So those are the biggest ones. There's another one that I especially love when it comes up and it's really like, I have this dream tucked in my pocket and I'm not chasing it and I know that if I could just work up the courage to chase it, it would enliven my entire, like, existence. And so sometimes people are very clear on what that is, sometimes it takes a while to remember that there's a dream in their pocket, but that's a really fun piece when it comes to the surface.
LAURIE PALAU: I love it. And thank you for kind of walking us through that, because I think just like, you know, we've talked about before, you know, like clutter is a big word and you really, there's a lot of images that conjure up and it's just not something that's super linear. But I think if we can start to just kind of break it down and name the specific area, then you can start to work through the actual plans that are going to really stick, like what's really going to make sense for me?
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Yes.
LAURIE PALAU: You know, and so I love those different categories and I'm going to actually make sure that I include them in the show notes. I want to just go back to the word balance, a little bit, because again, it, you know, I think we all hear it. Obviously, it's something that you talk about, it's a part of your brand. How do you define balance? And what are your thoughts on kind of that notion of having it all, which I think a lot of people struggle with?
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Well, we're the generation that was told we could have it all, right. I think this is arguably the first generation of adult women who were told, unequivocally, we could have it all and it was ours for the taking. And what everybody missed in that lesson was what are you supposed to do when you have it? How do you manage it all, right, once it's in your arms? So that's the crisis of this generation, is not how do I acquire it, I think we've actually learned how to have it all, at least go after it, right, and have a lot of barriers taken down to get it. Now it's like, is it manageable once I have it? What does that look like? So for me, balance is, it is a polarizing word, right. I'm sure there's some people who are listening to today's episode going, yeah, it's a crock, right? Like who has balanced anyhow? And that is true, if your paradigm or your definition of balance is static. I always use that visual of the scale, you know, where there's like a pile of rocks on one side and a pile of rocks on the other side and you're just supposed to like not move a muscle so it doesn't tip, that's not what we're talking about, right. My definition of balance is really about a dynamic sense of movement, and the metaphor I love here is like I think of Misty Copeland specifically, dancing ballet, right, the strength and the grace with which, you know, a ballerina today transitions from pose to pose. She's in balance, right, she's not falling down on the floor, right, there's not a clumsiness to the way she's moving through, she doesn't look exhausted, but there's balance. There's an ability to stay on her toes and twirl and still land the pose across that stage. That's my visual metaphor for balance. So as I picture myself moving through my day, I think about where do I need to land the pose, right, where's that key moment that really matters? Like I'm sitting here with you right now, I want to be all in. I don't want to be distracted by something going on in the next room, I don't want to be distracted by I should be somewhere else, or there's a notification coming in on my computer or I'm so tired because I didn't go to bed last night, right. I want to be here, in this moment, making it matter. Later this evening, if I'm having dinner with my kids, I want to make that moment matter. So, if you can picture that, the ballerina sort of twirling and then landing each pose, that's the vision of balance that we're chasing, I think. Does that makes sense?
LAURIE PALAU: That's, no, it makes perfect sense. And, as you were saying, and giving your analogy, or your visual, which I always think is helpful, because I'm a big visual person when it comes to that kind of stuff, what came to my mind is the word stability. And I think, in order to have that flow, that organic flow, you need to have that internal stability, just to kind of connect the dots, and I could be way off base or making a stretch, but, you know, when we talk about like, how do you make those transitions in your life, especially, you know, my core demographic is, and you and I have spoken about this, is very similar to yours, probably women 30 to 55-ish. And, again, we're wearing a lot of hats, and we are, you know, going from mom, wife, career, volunteer, whatever we are, and how do you make those transitions? They're not always going to be seamless, but if you, how can you make those effortless or make it seem as effortless as possible? And I think the thing for me is you can't have it all at once. And I don't know, maybe you disagree, but I think you can have a lot of things. You can have a career, you can have family, but you can't have it all at once, and you have to be okay with saying this is going to take a backburner, so this can be the priority, or I'm going to delegate and outsource this in order for me to achieve something else.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Yeah, can I riff on that a little bit? Because-
LAURIE PALAU: Yeah. Please do.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: So I feel like that is a very prevalent point of view. Like this, I don't know who said it first, somebody said we can have it all, just not all at the same time. And if we're thinking in broad brushstrokes, I can agree with that statement, but it's almost as if we don't double click on each of the things we have. So the way I think we have it all simultaneously, is we double click on each of those roles and we redefine what does excellence, what does satisfaction, what does peace look like for me in that role? So can I work, Laurie, 90 hours a week, right and travel five days a week and be the kind of engaged mom who makes dinner for my family every night, that I want to be? No. So if that's the definition of like having it all, well, then no, I can't have those two things.
LAURIE PALAU: Yes.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: But, can I have a career that I am all in for, that's deeply fulfilling, that I work really hard at and still be a super engaged parent, who, for me, dinner with my family is a priority, right? Can I still work out five or six days a week? Yes. Can I still have a great marriage? Yes. So what is the definition of having it all, right? I think when we stay too macro, it becomes like, we've taken everything to the nth degree, and it becomes this impossibility. But if you just go one layer deeper and think about, in each of those roles, what does excellence look like for me? What does peace look like for me? What do I want? What am I willing to live without? Then I actually think we can have all the things that matter most to us.
LAURIE PALAU: Absolutely. And I think and I agree with you 100%, because I think it has to do with prioritizing what's important to you. And what does that mean? It's setting that expectation. And whether you're doing that in your career, or doing that with your physical space, or whatever, I talk about people, like it's there, we make choices.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Choices.
LAURIE PALAU: And again, what does that look like to you? And I think you nailed it in terms of yes, if you are going to be on a plane, you know, well now we're not really, right. If you were on a plane, you know, back in the day, you know, no, you're not going to be able to at every-
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Dinner.
LAURIE PALAU: Every dinner. But if you redefine what it is that you're trying to accomplish and really what your priorities are, then you can.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: And they're different, right. So that mom who says look, what my job requires is I've got to get on a plane five or six days a week and therefore what my great excellent piece looks like is I'm going to FaceTime with my children every night and I'm going to not do any work on the weekends so that from sunup till sundown I'm all theirs. Who says that's not great, right? That's still a definition of having it all, but crafted for that individuals' vision. Like what gets us into trouble, I think, is the comparison and the judgment, the perception of what will somebody say if this is how I define it, right? And we have to lay that down and say, really the only people who have to be well served by this, are me and my inner circle. My family, my closest friends, my parents, like, that's the people I'm managing their expectations, but not the world at large in terms of what do they think of my choices, right. So that's, I think that's the conversation about having it all is if we stay too high, too macro, then we're all going to think it's just not possible. And you know what, we're letting ourselves off the hook, like we're selling ourselves short on what's really possible by just deciding like, I'm just resigned to be a hot mess, it's not possible. I disagree. You know, I want the, I want us to hold ourselves to the standard of like, what is possible and how, what do we have to tweak to get there?
LAURIE PALAU: I agree. We're going to go to break for a second, but when we come back, I want to talk about that, because I talk about that whole waving the white flag, I think a lot of times we just lower the bar for ourselves because it's easier than maybe looking in the mirror, either putting in the work or doing what you need to do. So we're going to talk about that, we're going to come right back and pick up where we left off.
LAURIE PALAU: Let's talk about that whole notion of just throwing in the towel of either I can't have the fulfilling relationship, I can't have the fulfilling career, or I can't, my house is always going to be disorganized because X, as opposed to saying, okay, what do we need to tweak or maybe even remove or relocate to make this doable?
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: So I think that the two words we probably want to talk about here are time and systems. So if our definition is the only way to have, right, the fulfilling relationship, the clutter free home, is more time, we're going to back ourselves into a corner every single day, because we all are getting the same 24 hours, right. They're getting allocated in a way that feels right for us. I think the breakthrough comes from systems. So there's a little bit of, like, sometimes I say, you have to press pause, just press pause in your life. You're doing a lot of things on autopilot, you're doing them the way your mom did them, you're doing them the way you started doing them when you were 22, that way may not work anymore, right. So pressing pause and saying, what about this system is not working for me? Let's take, like, laundry. You know, there could be something about your laundry system that is just not working and it's vexing and you're frustrated every week because of it. There's something about your marriage that you're like the way we're doing this is just not getting us the outcome we want, or parenting, or whatever it is. When you press pause and you give yourself the chance to almost like become your own consultant and ask how would I redesign this to be more effective, and to take less time? Then, all of a sudden, there's all kinds of creative ideas, right, that can surface or you can bring in help and guidance to ask for what are the creative ideas that could solve this for me. But that, that's usually where the breakthrough lies, is can't be more time, can't get there by putting more time against this, right, so I need a different mechanism to get a better result.
LAURIE PALAU: Do you think that sometimes you're too in it yourself to be able to kind of see it, and you really just need, and it doesn't have to be from a professional, it could be from a friend, it could be from somebody else? I'm just curious, because again, of course, everything you're saying, I'm relating it back to my world of dealing with people with cluttered organization, after a while when you live in an area or have a room that's cluttered, even if it's not your entire life, you don't see it after a while.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: It's just normal. Yeah.
LAURIE PALAU: You know, and you have those feelings of like, ah, it's stressful to get dressed every morning, or, you know, my mornings are always, my morning routine's always crazy. Like, you have these things, but you're so in it that you can't step back enough to say, oh, maybe if I fix this that can change. What's your advice or suggestions for people that might just be so in it they can't even see the root of the problem?
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Yeah, I do think the bigger issue is not pressing pause, right. Typically, the individual can redesign, in my experience, they're pretty good at coming up with, oh, maybe there's another way to do it. They've just literally never thought about it. We're just, you know, our brains don't like to rethink decisions we've already made. So if you've already decided that you do laundry on Saturdays, and it's eight loads, and it takes a day and you hate it, you're not really reevaluating that system to say, is there a better way to do this? You know, would there be another way we could get to the same place and? And I'm picking on laundry, it could be your career. People will come in and say but I have to stay in this job. I mean, I've got great benefits, and they're so, they give me a lot of flexibility and I make great money. I'm like, say who you have to stay in this job? Like when's the last time you even thought about another job you could be at? I think the bigger issue is we're so busy doing, that we're not taking time to reevaluate how we're doing and is there a better way. And then second thing is sometimes we don't have the creativity, like we're just stuck and it's the only way I can see, it's the only way I've ever known. And that's where outside perspective is very valuable.
LAURIE PALAU: I love it. I want to pivot for a second, because you and I have talked before and you know that a lot of the work that I do has to do with the Enneagram, and I know that you're an Enneagram person as well. So I said, when we go live on the air, I definitely want to dedicate a little bit of time for us to talk about the Enneagram.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Sure.
LAURIE PALAU: So first, can you just share with our listeners what your Enneagram type is?
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Sure, I'm a three with a two wing.
LAURIE PALAU: No surprise for anybody, that, of course, you're very three and the two wing for sure, being a helper, of course, I can imagine that. What do you think, in your work, the Enneagram has done in helping you, whether it's, your directly using the Enneagram or just having that knowledge, and helping coach and mentor women in their lives, and understanding kind of who they are and maybe where they might be struggling?
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: I've thought about this a lot as I've become more familiar with the Enneagram and all of its nuances. I mean, I think, at its core, it is no longer surprising to me why I gravitated to this kind of work. It's so authentic, right, to my typing, of wanting to be a guide, you know, sort of really relishing that opportunity to watch the insight unlock for someone, but the second thing that's interesting is threes are super driven by efficiencies, right, kind of instinctively look for efficiencies. And I didn't know that about myself. I mean, I think I knew it intuitively, but I didn't have language around it, and now I can see that so much of even the way I've designed programs, and the content of those programs, is really taking something that was very natural for me, and breaking it down for other people for whom it might be less natural, right. The notion of having like a plan for my week, is so, it's like breathing. Of course I have a plan for my week, right. Of course there's structure and I, and so but now that next level of saying how do I teach from that? How do I take that inherent ability, and break it down for someone where it may not be natural, but so they can still adopt it and have the benefits of that? That's been interesting to kind of watch unfold, and then also how it plays out in my team. Right that that's the role I play in my team, but being surrounded by people with other types who bring other things to the party there.
LAURIE PALAU: Absolutely and my husband's a three and I love, and when I first started studying the Enneagram and I was like, oh, yeah, definitely, like this is the efficiency piece of it was huge, even his ability to multitask, where I am like, no, if I'm working on something, I need to work on it, I need to do this and I can't be juggling multiple things at once. And he was like I don't understand, he's like got 10 different things going on and I just was like, oh, it's just your ADD, which maybe that had a role in it, but now I just see that it's just part of his superpowers as a three. I definitely can understand that that would be, like you excel, you know, because you are walking the walk, and, you know, as opposed to just, you know, being out there and teaching it. What about in your family? Let's talk a little bit about your personal life as a wife, as a mom. I know you're super organized, you're very put together, we're audio, but if everyone could see you, you like look like you just stepped out of like, I don't know, an Instagram photo. Like, you look great.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Thank you.
LAURIE PALAU: Talk a little bit about what your life is like when you're not professional mode.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Oh, it's very similar. This is the thing is, I think that my... So first of all, let's talk about my family, I'm married, I've been married for 20 years, my husband is a nine, so we are very different. And then I have three children, they are 10,13 and one will be 16 in a week or so. I have typed my children, which is, you know-
LAURIE PALAU: You're not supposed to, but what are they?
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Oh, but I've done it. So my oldest daughter is a one, and my son who's 13 is a four and my youngest daughter types out as a three but I'm still not convinced she's not going to be a seven.
LAURIE PALAU: I was going to say, 10, she could, it's still fluid.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: I can see some of the threes in that she's easily embarrassed, very much wants to kind of be appropriate, like get it right, wants to do what the other girls are doing and like kind of fit that appropriateness, like oh for out of uniform day, are we all wearing leggings or like. I see some of the seeds of it, but I really think that her spirit is a seven, so it'll be interesting to see. My husband is a nine and I don't doubt it. I mean he is a nine. So in our family, it has been a very helpful awareness for us, and so as it relates specifically to organization, I think that was your question.
LAURIE PALAU: Yeah.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Like, I am the keeper of the systems and the structure. It's very natural for me. It plays against gender norms, we know that, but I really do kind of have the master systems for how things get done. And he, very gracefully as a nine, complies with those systems, right. So it's harmonious, but he's also aware he would never design those systems. He would never say like, oh, this is where things have to live in the house and let's make sure they get back there, but because the system's there, he's very willing to live within it. So that helps a lot, right, with harmony. My two older children, the one who is, she follows the rules, so if I've set the rules, things are very orderly, right. And my four is very aesthetically driven. So he likes order because it's aesthetically pleasing. So he is very neat and tidy, he will tidy up the kitchen. We tease though that he'll just hide stuff in a drawer because he doesn't want to see it, right, like he doesn't really think about, does it go exactly where it belongs? It's just, let me get it out of sight, which is kind of adorable. And then my 10 year old is like she's the messy Bessie, right. So she is, this is why I think there's a seven in there, she's the one who just does not see it, doesn't care, wants to be surrounded by all of her stuff, on to the next thing, I don't have time for this, you know, it's, so we have a zone for her called her bedroom, where she's kind of allowed to be that way. And then once a week we have a practice of hey, before you play with friends on Saturday, we have to get this back to a standard of cleanliness, right. There can't be food in there.
LAURIE PALAU: No grey gardens.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Wet towels, right, we got to get some stuff out. But I think that's kind of been, it's like an accordion, right, let it get worse and then we bring it back in order. And I would say as a three that's a system I put in place in the whole house, is, you know, throughout the day, things of course get used and they get out of place, but we have sort of a tidy up the nursery phase at the end of the evening. It's a ritual, it's just, we don't even have to talk about it anymore, everyone knows, right, things go back where they belong by the end of the evening. So it never gets too far out of line. And then if it's kind of gotten a little sketchier over the week, then certainly on the weekend, you know, things are kind of back exactly the way that they should be, right, the way they've been designed to be. So there's this, I think of that like an accordion, right, like it kind of expands, gets a little out of control limits, and then like back in line.
LAURIE PALAU: No, I love it. And it's interesting because I have two girls, one's a nine and one is a four. You know, I think it, just listening to you, you and your husband probably complement each other because you're great at prioritizing, and generally speaking, nines aren't always the best, they will kind of look at a bunch of different things and say, okay, this is what's in front of me, I'll get done with that whether-
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: That's right.
LAURIE PALAU: That's really what needs to get done right now. I think, you know, having somebody that says, okay, this is the way that we should lay this out, can be really helpful.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Yes.
LAURIE PALAU: My four, as much as she's all about the aesthetic, but she likes stuff. She's very much that feeling, in that heart triad, that-
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Collecting
LAURIE PALAU: So she's a collector. And obviously, we've worked through just strategies, because I was like, you can't collect everything, then you become a hoarder. Like you can, you know, you have to, like, make some decisions.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Well nines are like that too, my husband is a collector because it's nostalgic to him.
LAURIE PALAU: Yes.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: He likes to have it around him. Yeah, it's hard to part with stuff.
LAURIE PALAU: Yes. Well, and that also lends itself to that orientation to time, where you and I, as a three and an eight, our orientation to time is the future, so we are forward thinking, what's next, let's check this off our list, let's go have this, let's keep the train moving. And your fours, fives and nines are, their orientation time is the past. And so when you look at these different components of the Enneagram, and for some people that are Enneagram junkies, they're with me and some of you, if I lost you, I'm sorry. But I think those are really the key pieces that if you're working with somebody, a family member, or even if it's in some other type of inter personal relationship, and you notice that you're not necessarily seeing eye to eye, these are some of the components that really play into say how do we, what language do we use?
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Yes.
LAURIE PALAU: What strategies do we need to use to get through.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: I think that I want to riff on this idea of the past and the future. That insight from the Enneagram was really helpful for my husband and I because I realized I have no issue getting rid of things, right, if okay, the kids are done playing with this, get it out. Like it's gone, we're going to, and he was really, I'm like, why are you not getting rid of this? And finally, look, that unlocked that it was the nostalgia, the, you know, I don't really want that chapter to have ended, that holds memories of, and so we had to find ways to honor that. I can't make abrupt changes, it has to be a slower, I think it's time to get rid of this, let's start thinking about that, let's start thinking about who could benefit next from this item, and that it gets another life through that next child. And those have been helpful in giving him permission to let go of some things.
LAURIE PALAU: Another strategy that you might want to try or maybe you've already tried this, because I have a lot of nines who are clients of mine, and I see that about them, is having that extra layer, which does not go intuitively to you, because it's just not efficient. It's like, why are we adding this extra step? But for their processing, giving that, okay, the kids have outgrown it, let's take it out of rotation, let's store it in the garage or in the attic or somewhere else, so it's out of sight, out of mind, but we're not really cutting the cord, you know, and then, after it's been a way for a period of three months, six months, I don't, it can just go away. But sometimes adding that extra step makes them able to make it possible, where it doesn't seem so painful like they're just ripping the band aid off.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: That makes perfect sense, like staging, right. It makes perfect sense.
LAURIE PALAU: Yeah. I mean, because, I did, you know, one of my clients, she's, you know, her kids are now school age, and she still got like the baby books out, like in their play area. And I was like, can I just get rid of these? Like, can I just donate them? And she's like, I'm not ready. And I know why. And I just said, okay, what if I just bin them, and they have like this extra storage area. I go what if I just bin them and so just so they're out of the way for a while, and then we can just deal with them. Again, I'm not necessarily, that's not my go to, that's not my default, but it was a nice happy medium to get her space organized. And so I'm like, now the kids can actually see the books that they are age appropriate, you know, and they could see their chapter books and all of their early readers, and we can get that out, and then we'll deal with it down the road. And that was digestible for her, just again, going back to understanding, meeting people where they are. So I think that that's really important. We're going to start to wrap up the conversation, even though I could talk to you for hours and hours. Any advice, and you've given so much really useful advice, but just overall advice for women who are struggling to keep their heads above water? Or if they're on the outside look like they have it all together, but really, internally, they feel like something's not right, where should they start? Just give them some starting point.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: There's a framework that I teach here. So I'll just share kind of an abbreviated version of it. There's a full kind of video unpacking of this on our website that people can go grab. If you really think about what it means to feel like you've got your arms around your life, right, which we call brilliant balance, like balanced life, brilliant possibilities, right. What are you chasing that's exciting for you? There's a three step kind of ladder that you have to be able to climb. And so typically, if somebody is feeling like I'm going under, you know, you have to figure out which piece of this ladder, like which wrung are you stuck on? The first one is around power, which is energy, which is am I alive and not exhausted and do I have the energy that I need to kind of face my day, and there are a set of practices, they're kind of unique to everyone, but physical, mental, emotional practices, that get you to a place where you feel truly energized, awake, alive, to kind of take on your day. And I'm going to be honest, Laurie, if people don't start there, nothing else matters, because you're just fighting this uphill battle. You cannot become more productive, you cannot, you know, really go after your purpose in life unless you're awake, right? And you've got like full access to your energy to do that. That is step one, and there's a lot of resources about that. Then you move into productivity. So if you have a powerful day, you're waking up feeling rested, and you're sustaining your energy throughout the day, then you can start to think about how do I structure a week to get stuff done? And that's really about your relationship with time. So the next thing that people get hung up on, they don't have their head above water, is like time gets away from me, I don't know how to manage my calendar, I just feel like I'm running around all the time, got too much to do, not enough time to do it. Those would be some of the symptoms. That next rung of the ladder is do you understand how to optimize your productivity? How to have a plan for what you're going to do, and then execute that plan with integrity, right? I did what I said I was going to do. Lather, rinse, repeat. That's the second rung. And when you have those two cranking, so you're waking up every day energized, and you're going through your week getting things done, then it's like for what? What am I steering this energy machine toward? Like, you've got a moving car, it's powered up, it's going somewhere, but is it going in the right place? And that's what we call possibilities. So the third step is, what possibilities are you steering toward? What is your purpose, right? Why does all of this energy that you're putting out into the world matter? What's the dent you're making in the universe? So when you're trying to figure out like, where do you start, you start as low at the bottom as you have to. If you're not getting enough sleep, you start there, right. If you're getting sleep, but you're eating like crap, and therefore you're tired by two o'clock every day, then you go there, right. And we have all kinds of tools to help people do this, but that's the progression. Power, productivity, then you earn your way to possibilities.
LAURIE PALAU: I love it. And it's amazing, because it's so simple. Like when you say it, it's so like, oh my gosh, yes. It's one of those, like, why didn't I think of that? You know, and that's clearly why you do what you do. We're going to obviously have links to all of your stuff in our show notes, on our website, so everyone will be able to connect up with you, but can you just let our listeners know where's the best place for them to find you, connect up with you, learn more?
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Yeah, the website. So brilliant dash balance.com. That's the best place to go. It can get you to everything else, most notably the podcasts. You're listening to this one.
LAURIE PALAU: Yes, after you're done.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: You can go search for the Brilliant Balance podcast. And that's a great way to kind of get dipped in what I teach and the kind of philosophy behind Brilliant Balance as well.
LAURIE PALAU: I love it. I love everything about it. We're going to take one more quick break, and then when we come back I'm going to just put you back in the hot seat for our rapid fire questions and sit tight. We'll be right back.
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LAURIE PALAU: Alright, Cherylanne, I could talk to you for hours because I love everything that you're doing and I think there's so many parallels in the work that we do and how we work with people and an understanding just kind of where we hold ourselves back or where we might be held back and just really unlocking everything that is our potential. So I can't champion you enough. We always ask our guests a couple of wrap up questions. Being that we're about honesty and authenticity, we talk about where in our lives in this particular season we are thriving and feel the most organized, also where we feel like we're the biggest hot mess. So I'll let you answer in whichever order you would like.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: I probably -
LAURIE PALAU: Although I don't ever see you as a hot mess, I have to say.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Yeah, I have like an itchy reaction to that word. I feel the most organized these days in my work. We're in such a good chapter. I have such a phenomenal team and we've been kind of chasing this phase for a while and so I feel like things are really in gear at work, and I think that one, and it’s a very specific area where I feel like I'm a hot mess and you know, as a three, the first time I want to do is fix it, right and I'm like, I can fix this. But I was thinking about it, and there's two. Passwords and remote controls. Those sound silly, but I am telling you passwords are, like, I do not know my password to anything. I can never get into anything, I get locked out of them all the time, I have a little book that I try to keep my passwords in, like I'm 90, right, it's awful. So I have a massive problem with passwords, I need to get that fixed. And also, I don't know how to work any of the devices in our house. Like, I have to call one of my children and be like, I don't know how to turn this TV on or get to anything. And it's partly because I just don't watch a lot of TV, but I mean I don't know how to work the stuff. And that's embarrassing, because really, I can just take 10 minutes and figure it out.
LAURIE PALAU: I don't think it's embarrassing.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: But I've just allowed it to go on that way.
LAURIE PALAU: Oh my gosh. Well, it's funny because I actually was just giving a workshop, a virtual workshop, on digital clutter, and one of the things that we were talking about was passwords. There's so many different, like, you are not alone, that's a big thing for people.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: It's a thing. I also ignore all the updates, like, you know, all the notification saying update. That's, it's like background noise to me. I just ignore all of them. So my husband's always like, you have like 97 unread notifications. I'm like, I don't care. It's background noise. I don't look at any of it.
LAURIE PALAU: Exactly. I love it. I love it. And then there is one other question that I have been asking people recently because I love to get inside people's brains and see where they learn from, you know, we all are learning from our guests. I'm learning from you. Where are you getting inspired? Any books, resources, it could be a book, it could be a podcast, what's something that really has had an impact in your world?
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Okay, so when I think about books, I have kind of the big four. So I'm going to give you all four of these.
LAURIE PALAU: Okay, go for it.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: And these are books I've given to so many people, you know, over the years. The first one is called The Rhythm of Life by Matthew Kelly. It really shaped my early vision for Brilliant Balance, one of those books that like landed in my lap at the right time And I'm so grateful that it did. Essentialism, Greg McKeown.
LAURIE PALAU: Love it, have it right behind me. yeah.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Yeah, truly a game changer, also kind of landed at the right time where I knew I needed to ratchet up the choices even further and more bravely. Third, really, I could say anything by Brene Brown, but I would say Gifts of Imperfection was the first one that kind of unlocked a whole new way of thinking for me. I just find her work to be exceptional. And Playing Big by Tara Mohr.
LAURIE PALAU: I have that book as well.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Awesome. Yes.
LAURIE PALAU: The only one I don't have, I haven't read it and I will pick it up is Rhythm of Life, but yes, the other ones, for sure, they are great, great choices. Love them.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Yes. And I am... The podcasts that are the most interesting to me right now are business related podcasts. So I really like Masters of Scale, I really like How I Built This, like because I'm in such an important chapter in my business, I think I'm listening to a lot of business related, Donald Miller's StoryBrand Podcast.
LAURIE PALAU: See, we're like on the same page. I love it. Great. So we will have, and your podcast is great, and we will obviously again make sure that we have a direct link for that in the show notes as well as your website and all things Brilliant Balance. Cherylanne, thank you so much, if I'm ever in Cincinnati, we're going to go out for coffee.
CHERYLANNE SKOLNICKI: Come find me.
LAURIE PALAU: Yes, I will. For all of our listeners out there, thank you so much for tuning in for this episode. If you're new to our show, welcome. Don't forget to click the subscribe button. New episodes will get downloaded each and every week. We also have our Facebook group is Organized Life podcast, you can go in there, post questions, comments, topic ideas, we'd love to hear from you.
LAURIE PALAU: Until next week, I'm Laurie Palau. Peace out.
LAURIE PALAU: Thanks for tuning in. If you like this episode, make sure to click the subscribe button wherever you are listening, so that you never miss an episode. And while you're there, go ahead and leave us a review. A special shout out to our amazingly talented Podcast Producer, Don Jackson, of the Raven Media Group, for all of his hard work. And finally, if you want to connect with me, visit simplyborganized.com or find me all over social media at Simply B Organized. I'll see you next week for another episode of This Organized Life.
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