Cali Williams Yost, CEO and founder, Flex+Strategy Group and Work+Life Fit Inc. and author of TWEAK IT: Make What Matters to You Happen Every Day, struggles with “shoulds” but makes time for friends.
Where/when do you feel most successful? For me, “success” comes in collective moments. When I’ve given an individual an insight that helps him or her manage their work+life fit better and smarter. When my husband and children are smiling and happy at the end of a long day. When a leader in a company has a clearer understanding of how a strategic approach to work flexibility can benefit their business. When I am with a group of friends laughing. Each of those moments embody “success.”
What is your number one rule for achieving success? Be very flexible with my definition of success, especially as it relates to money, prestige, advancement and caregiving, so that it matches the work+life fit I want to achieve at a particular point in time. My work+life fit is always changing as my personal and professional realities change. My definition of success needs to adapt accordingly.
With what do you struggle? Like many women, I struggle with comparing myself to other mothers who may be more involved in there children’s extracurricular and school activities. Even though my children are completely fine with my level of involvement which right now is limited to attended as many sporting events as I can, I sometimes think I should be chairing that PTO committee or I should host the team dinner at my house. But then I remember this is what works for me and my family. So we are fine, and I make sure I give as much support as I can to the moms who are doing all of those things. So very, very grateful for their efforts.
What one thing do you wish you had more time for? Friends. I love, love, love my friends, and I have been so blessed in that department; however, we are all in that busy period of life with work, teenagers, etc. But I do try very consciously to reach out and take a walk, or just say “hi.” There will come a time in the very near future where the kids will be gone and space will open up again for more meaningful time with friends.
With what do you wish you had more help? I am really lucky. I have had the same sitter for 12 years. As the girls have gotten older, she has transitioned more into a housekeeper. She does my laundry and cooks dinner before picking up the kids from school. And my husband is very helpful as well. But I will say we coordinate and plan—TWEAK IT—so he’s actively involved in the process of what needs to be done, when, and where.
Is the life you’re living now, the life you imagined at age 25? Not at all!
If you went back to age 25, what would you change? Nothing really. Every stop on my journey, every lesson learned has informed my next step. It hasn’t been easy but it’s mine.
What is your dream job? I have my dream job.
What would you like to see women do more of? Believe in themselves. Expect help from others.
Who are your heroines? My grandmother, Doris Murphy Williams, Madeliene Albright, Anne Mulchahy (former chairwoman of Zerox), Hillary Clinton,
What do you admire in/about other women? Women are joyful, and women are so very strong.
What is your best habit? Trying to acknowledge and enjoy the uniqueness of every person I meet.
What is your worst habit? Not sending birthday cards on time.
Is your life balanced? Nope, but I have a great, always-changing work+life “fit”
Read Mogul, Mom & Maid: The Balancing Act of the Modern Woman for more on how women manage career and life.