Name: Klay Williams
Profession: Author & Holistic Lifestyle Expert
One Word That Describes You: Original
What is your “Extraordinary Impact?”
Beyond supporting clients in holistically discovering their purpose and authentically showing up in the world from an interior and exterior best point of reference, I am gifted with the talent of helping individuals arrive at their dreams. When my clients or audiences that I speak with are living out their calling and dreams, it gives their family, friends, and communities permission to do the same. It’s then a domino effect and before you know it, “community” turns into a “state,” which turns into a “country,” all the way to inspiring a “generation.” How empowering is it that we all have the power and shared responsibility in making our world—current and future generations—better?! Knowing that my work with Plan A teaches others to be courageous, creative, and, most of all, their true self is something that I cannot begin to describe in words.
What does being one of the BEMM 100 Men of Distinction mean to you?
I am beyond grateful, honored, and humbled by this incredible award and recognition. The BEMM honor also means responsibility, to not only further live out my calling and dreams, but to also inspire and teach others to do the same—using their unique gifts and talents.
What are some examples of how you turned struggle into success?
I moved to New York City with $500, a vision, and a dream. Between couch surfing, a failed business partnership, and severe financial loss, through grace, hard work, and perseverance, I’ve managed to successfully author two books, become an expert and media personality on major TV networks, create a meaningful lifestyle firm, and produce original programming that’s making a difference in the life of my clientele and larger community. I’ve learned throughout my tenure in New York that struggle always produces opportunity.
What is an important quality you look for in your relationships with others?
A genuine connection that is organic. I’ve learned that trying to force relationships with others to be something that they’re not meant to be is not productive for either party.
What are some immediate projects you are working on?
I am currently facilitating experimental programming for a few nonprofit organizations in New York, starting to write my third book, and gearing up for a press tour in Europe.
What is the best advice you ever received?
One day, I remember talking to my good friend Inger before I decided to take the risk and move to New York. I was fresh out of seminary at Princeton and was now the only person from my peer group who did not have a job or next steps post graduate school. We were chatting on the phone as I told her about my dream to create a lifestyle brand but gave so many reasons why I could not do it—namely finances. She told me, “Klay, if you’re waiting for everything to be perfect for you to follow your dreams and take the risk, then you’ll be waiting your entire life. There are so many people who have talked about following their dreams, all the way to the grave, who did not because they lacked this or that. Most times, you just have to go.”
What is some advice you have for other men who want to make a difference?
A lot of men that I’ve spoken with know that they want to make a difference somehow but do not know where to start. If you’re trying to figure out how to make your mark on this world, pay attention to your own life. If you use your life as a blueprint for consistent patterns, learned lessons, and how your passions/ideas show up, there is a directional voice/guide that is guiding you to discover how to uniquely make a difference and create your very own legacy.
How do you prep for an important business meeting and/or event?
I am obsessed with understanding who people are, their background, and lived experiences. I prep for meetings by doing my very best to research a company or individual’s social media accounts, shared connections, interests, and the like. If I’m prepping for a speaking engagement, I crank up the volume and vibe to Shining by DJ Khaled, featuring Beyoncé and Jay-Z.
As a busy Modern Man, how do you unwind on vacation? Share a story about your best vacation.
My mind is like a storm when it comes to creating and planning, so quieting my mind takes a vacation where I’m close to water, quiet, and good food. To this day, the best vacation that I ever experienced was in Mallorca. The beaches were awesome, and there was great food and a freshness in the air that called for great chill and relaxation!
If you could travel and stay anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
I love Italy. One place that I did not make it to when I studied abroad was Cinque Terre. Located on the Italian Riviera, it screams fabulous small island vibe, not a lot of people, incredible food and wine, with beautiful beaches.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Thank you for the honor of being among such incredible men and their awesome work! Feel free to stop by my corner of the world and learn more about Plan A by visiting KlaySWilliams.com.
It’s our normal to be extraordinary. Follow @BEModernMan and join the conversation using #BEModernMan.
Come celebrate the BE Modern Man 100 Men of Distinction at the first-ever Black Men XCEL Summit, Aug. 30 – Sept. 3, at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida.