The voice of Maija van Langendonck
This interview was taken in English by Cécile Masson, leadership coach, host and writer of Rose, letters of love to life
I am here I am now. What is the gift?
Maija van Langendonck is together with her husband co-founder of Beyond-C. She is a Diversity and Inclusion specialist with a solid background of more than 25 years in the corporate environment. She is a mother of young adult lady and a toddler boy. Maija elegantly blends her multiple talents into all she does and is a true creative generalist.
Beyond- C stands for beyond
With a goal to bring the ‘ME’ back into the heart of Business.
Always on the move, she used to be restless staying at home doing nothing in the weekends. Now she experiences more ease and peace and presence with her children. Toddler entertaining spurs creativity to look at life in a different way yet there is less me-time.
Professionally re-invention is important. The slowing of the more traditional business assignments during lockdown has created space to re-engage with other interests and initiatives such as: woman’s circles, design of a program dedicated to entrepreneurial women and a local community project inviting the municipality to take centre stage in enabling social enterprises and local start-ups.
Creating together… The human & community dimension has become extra important.
Maija sees herself as a contemporary nomad. If it were only up to her she would be travelling the world, which from an ecological point of view is of course not ideal. Surprisingly despite the travelling bug she now finds peace in the confinement. Where previously whilst in corporate her goals were big – her ambition has now shifted. Like a pebble thrown into a pond creating circles. Previously she would aim for the biggest outer ring – her focus is now on creating change from the inside out and as such on the smaller rings close to the centre (to self).
‘How do I create an inclusive and welcoming circle for my family and what can I do with regards to all around me?
Change starts within to radiate towards the outside like we do acknowledge in the Coming Into Your Own feminine leadership program.
Maija affirms that she is speaking from a place of privilege. Corona is turning the world upside down. Professions that were previously undervalued have become critical and things that seemed important are that no longer. Things taken for granted are taken away or at risk and caring and community have regained a place in the heart. Throughout this period – Maija has mainly been in a mode of observation:
· Who is gaining and who is loosing?
· How are leaders responding and standing-up?
· How are woman and men leading and deciding differently?
· Who is following and who is challenging?
· What is happening in the shadows?
· Where is this a force and possibility for a better future? And who is being overlooked?
· What am I blind to?
Finding a new approach and balance to life could be most impactful for women and children. The gift for her is that we have pushed a pause bottom long enough to see other things emerge.
Ecologically, how do we want to learn from less traffic, less air pollution, more bird songs and cleaner air?
There is also a deeper human connection. She wishes for a flatter societal organisation and working from a place of passion rather than obligation. That is where the feminine comes in. Female driven societies are flatter where masculine ones are more hierarchical and competitive. The pandemic gives us the opportunity to move more to a feminine societal structure.
Having always worked according to masculine energy and being a highly committed person that wants to exceed expectations she has found that the quality of being together with her children is something that this lock-down has inspired her to maintain. Many women experience the guilt of never being perfect enough either as a spouse, mother or professional. So let go of perfection because if you add ambition and drive to it, it will never be good enough, or enough.
There is an opportunity to reinvent how we use our time. The gift is being in the moment, the choice of that time. Society presents us with too many expectations and too many choices, which end up in pressure. I am here I am now. What is the gift? What can I take away? What do I find challenging and hard?
Appreciation is key.