Mom. Homeschool teacher. Coach. Wonderful human being.
Who is this real-life Superwoman? Clare Willson. How does she do it? She trusts her guts.
Clare first discovered her MO (9234) as a high school student. Understanding her strengths allowed her to be “brave enough” to not get stuck in a plan – even when it’s the suggested path. From attending nine different schools in high school and college, but still graduating on-time, to teaching at eight different campuses in eight years as an educator, she is never locked into a single route. This has provided her the flexibility to make decisions that are best for her each time. Truly embracing her natural way of doing things has made it all possible, and now she’s teaching her son to do the same.
With many schools primarily operating through computer-based distance learning during the pandemic, Clare decided to home school her son for a year to do it their own way.
“Had I not known he was an Adapter who didn’t need that level of consistency, I don’t know that I would have done it. If I didn’t know my MO, I wouldn’t have been brave enough to do it. I would have said, ‘here’s the check…guess we have to buy another computer.’”
Clare and her son “do school” Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday – and they do it his way, not just completing packets and worksheets. Creating a list of what needs to be finished at the end of the week allows for needed flexibility for these two Adapt Follow Thrus. Clare described the flexible schedule as amazing – going so far as to say it has made her more productive professionally.
“We’ve done a lot of structure that hasn’t worked, but because we know ourselves, it wasn’t a big deal. We try a bunch of stuff, and if it works it’s a very simple system that we will actually follow until we have more ideas and change it again.”
Knowing that her son is a natural Pioneer – innovative with a need for hands on exploration – they find ways to be outside and discover different things in depth. She shared a wonderful example of how her son was struggling to fully understand map legends during one of the lessons. So, they created a map of their area and physically navigated to find landmarks in their downtown – a true adventure!
Part of his schooling includes learning about Kolbe and his talents. All of their Kolbe reports have been laminated and transformed into games. They do hunts and challenges, quiz each other and discuss different talents and other aspects of the Kolbe Theory.
“We’ll pull out a card, and we talk about it or say, ‘let’s watch for this’ or at the end of the day (because obviously every day it is not at the same time) we say, ‘how are we able to use that?’ As a parent, I feel like I’m giving him tools that he can take with him.”
Making the choice to homeschool during a time when she didn’t feel his needs were going to be met is certainly not the only time Clare has had to advocate for her child. We know that certain combinations of natural strengths are more likely to be flagged for ADHD – and that’s Clare’s son.
“It was happening before my eyes. This is a path we could go down or we could get a lot of clarity around what his strengths are and help him be able to articulate it and understand there’s nothing wrong with him – there’s nothing wrong with his creativity.”
Things weren’t always smooth sailing for Clare either – there were many tears shed due to the pressure and shame of not fitting the “ideal” mold. She was often told as a young child that she could reach her full potential if only she was more organized and applied herself more. As someone who naturally shortcuts systems and does not stick with a rigid plan or structure, it caused a lot of self-doubt.
“I know what it was like for me in school. I know what it was like for my 3395 mother in school. The pain and the programming can really damage people until they know how to unlearn it. And it takes a long time to unlearn it…It’s traumatic.”
As a teacher, Clare would constantly identify the roadblocks preventing students from doing their best. She dialed in on the kids’ needs. Asking questions like, “What’s another way for them to get there?” allowed her to focus on the end result of mastering the content, not prescribing a singular method.
“I’m lucky that I was successful in traditional school. And I think it’s because I just leaned into my 9 in Fact Finder. I just remembered everything and tried hard.”
With a dad in Strategic Coach, Clare’s entire family growing up had the advantage of knowing and understanding their own and every other family member’s MO. Clare would no longer take it personally when her mom’s eyes glazed over after getting into Fact Finder details, or feel like the stick-in-the-mud when she was drained by the rest of her family’s Quick Start energy. So, when Clare’s son became old enough to learn his strengths through Kathy Kolbe’s nonverbal assessment, it was a no-brainer.
“I can’t imagine not knowing the MOs of my family. I don’t know how I would interact with them. It’s really transformed how we operate. We really are using it every day.”
As a longtime Kolbe Certified™ Consultant, Clare first became the in-house consultant for LSW Architects. Without having a grand plan, she then became an educator for eight years before moving back to LSW. Now Clare also works with Riff Creative Studio, coaching and consulting with startups. She is an incredible Kolbe Youth Advocate, utilizing everything she knows to work with her son and relishes the opportunities she has to work with other youth.