By: Wilma van Dijk
clear is kind For both yourself and others!
Do you recognize those moments when halfway through a meeting you say ‘Oh sorry, I didn’t get around to that…’ or when you say to your husband ‘Oh sorry, I’ll help you with the kids, but I have to finish this email…’ or that you cancel a date with a friend at the last minute because you really don’t like it… or that you are just tired of keeping all the balls high? Then you are not alone.
Whether you as a mother are looking for more balance or want to live more ‘in the now’ or just want to go to the next level… it all starts with being honest and clear.
Honesty about your schedule. Honesty about your feelings. Honesty about your energy. Honesty about everything. Clarity about what you can and cannot do on this day. Clarity about what your priorities are. Clarity on what to expect from you right now in this situation with this question. Clarity about what you want.
Loving clarity: My name is Wilma van Dijk, owner of Bold Coaching and Advice.
As a leadership coach, I help female leaders in education, healthcare and business to be the courageous leaders that the Netherlands so badly needs. And courage requires honesty and clarity. Many of my clients are managers and mothers. We often make the comparison with motherhood and parenting.
We also discuss various myths surrounding the themes of being clear and honest. As women, we tend to think that we are not nice or not loving once we are honest and clear with ourselves and the other.
Brené Brown puts it so beautifully in her book ‘Dare to Lead’:
“Sometimes speaking the truth feels like we are being unkind, especially when sharing difficult information or feedback. But in reality, dancing around the truth is unkind. When we avoid stating the truth – when we are vague or ambiguous under the guise of being kind – it is often because we are trying to lessen the discomfort for ourselves, not for the other person.”
I believe in something I call loving clarity. If you are very clear to your child that he is not allowed to cross the road or you even stop him… then you agree with me that you are absolutely loving as a mother because you protect your child from the cars on the busy road . So you can be very clear and honest and be loving. Just don’t confuse loving with a nice feeling and always say YES. A YES sounds better and gives a nicer feeling, but sometimes the NO is more important.
The YES sounds better, but sometimes the NO is more important.
Sometimes you want to say yes to your girlfriend for a nice night out, but sometimes the no is the right answer so that you can say yes another time. A resounding yes that you know you can fully enjoy because it’s right now.
Three steps that work in every stage of motherhood: As a just-starting mother, a lot comes at you and from experience I can tell you, that will never stop. Because when one phase closes, you enter another phase. Our eldest Daniel will be 4 years old in July and that means that we have got a little more freedom and we don’t have to watch him every minute, but with going to school new things come to us. Children’s parties, school trips, play appointments and soon swimming lessons and sports and…
Whatever stage you are in, these three steps will help you be honest and clear:
Step 1: Recognize Learn to listen to your feelings. Learn to recognize when you cross a boundary. Whether that be physical or mental. Better yet, learn to recognize it before crossing the border.
Step 2: Acknowledge Put it on the table. By pronouncing it literally, you recognize that the feeling is there and may be. By acknowledging and naming it, space is also created to solve it. You can’t change something if you don’t put it on the table.
Step 3: Explore In the last step you will explore a solution. What are the possibilities? Where can you slide? Say no? say yes? Ask for help?
Do you find yourself full? That you have to keep too many balls high? Recognize the signals, acknowledge it by discussing it and explore the options. What can you stop doing? Who can help you? What do you get energy from?
The next time you find yourself trying to cram something into your calendar because you want to be nice when you already know it’s not feasible, remember the words of Brené Brown Clear is kind. Be honest and clear and with that also loving towards yourself and the other.
Where and when do you choose Clear is kind from now on?