Welcome to Top Three Takeaways, where I give you bite-sized life lessons from the She Built That episodes. Tune into the podcast every Tuesday, and get your recap every Thursday.
With more than 20 years of experience in politics, BC Premier Christy Clark is pretty well-accustomed to being in the public eye. With that, comes juggling family and personal life, work and political life, and how they all intermingle. Find out why Christy isn’t big into perfection, and why she thinks more women should enter politics.
Perfection as a working mother is like the Clair Huxtable dilemma: being a perfect wife and mother, while also being successful in a high-pressure, demanding career. Who has the time or energy for that? Who can possibly maintain balance, and take care of themselves, striving for that sort of perfection?
“I feel like they’re setting standards for us. […] We read these books, and we see the Martha Stewarts on TV and it’s like, all this perfection, and we have to strive for the perfection. And then we say, ‘I have no balance in my life’ —well of course not, you can’t be perfect.
“I feel like, we should as women, have permission to just kind of slack off a little bit sometimes. Why does everything on the tree have to match? Does the turkey stuffing recipe have to have raisins and walnuts?”
Be truthful to yourself
Christy talked about some of the barriers for women in work. Among them, the idea that you have be nice and not too demanding. She pointed out, if you’re so focused on making everyone like you, you can’t be truthful to yourself and you won’t please everyone.
“I’m just going to try and be me and be truthful to myself about what I want to do, and if people don’t like it, that’s OK. […] We grow up in a culture where everybody wants us to be nice. And now we also have to be respected and promoted, which we want to be. But in order to be respected and promoted, you can’t be nice all the time.
“See, women have to choose, which is just a terrible dilemma for us. If you have to be nice all the time, then your whole thing is to get people to like you, and if you’re trying to get people to like you, how do you ever become someone who is giving the orders rather than just taking the orders. And it’s a real barrier for women.”
Getting women into politics
On encouraging women to enter politics, Christy said she’s noticed a pattern: the women she calls up seem to think they aren’t qualified to run, even when they’ve already been doing amazing work.
“It doesn’t matter who they are. CEOs will tell me that: ‘Oh, I don’t think I’m qualified to run in politics.’ And I always say to them, what is politics? There are no professional — or, you don’t want to be a professional politician. It’s just people. Your neighbour, your bus driver, your kid’s teacher, who decide they want to make a difference. How are you different than that?”
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
“I have to be myself. I shouldn’t be what people want me to be, or what I think people expect me to be. I had to be me.”