Asking. Hoping. Getting.

Elke Tweens & Teens

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My son wanted to be the leader in a performance he was in. He didn't get picked. He stewed. He worried. He wanted me to ask about it, to make it happen for him.

I had to tell him no, I can't. Really no one can ever ask for you to lead. You have to ask that one for yourself.

As much as I wanted to ease his disappointment and pave the road for him, it isn't how leading works.

To lead, you have to ask. And work so hard. And deserve it. And ask again. And again.

Why is it so hard to ask, to promote ourselves? What is the story we tell that keeps us from putting our wants out for the world to meet? “It's pushy.” “I will annoy people.” “I don't want them to think (blank).”

And really, is it true? Or is it more important to want something SO BADLY and be sure the people around you know just how much it means that you get it. Are you willing to do the work? Are you scrappy enough to deserve it?

My son, that little stinker, at the next practice, when I over-talked my way through all the reasons why he needed to ask, and how he needed to put himself out there and blah, blah, blah, mom-over-talking, blah. He looked at me and said, “Mom, I already asked. Chill.”

We are dancing the knife edge between child and teen, between he needs me and I-need-to-think-he-needs-me. After years of learning how to meet his every subtle change, we have moved into uncharted waters where my job is to start slowly untangling myself from him.

It hurts my heart– because it has happened so fast, and because it makes me so proud. Of him. Of me.

He heard me talking tonight, about a grant I applied for. He heard me say how much I want it. How much it would mean for me and for Mamalode. He asked me to explain what I meant when I spoke of how it is almost the exact amount I needed from investors. He told me equity was a weird word and somehow equated it to Pokemon. He is right about that, it is totally weird and trade-able. Then he looked at me, square in the eye, and he is not a kid for eye contact, and challenged, “Did you ask?”

Crap-ola. That kid was born with a hammer in hand to hit the nail on the head. Smack. I said, “Kind of…” and he just raised an eyebrow. He looked just like his mother.

About the Author


Elke Govertsen is a entrepreneur and founder of Mamalode. She has been featured in Real Simple, Forbes, Where Women Create, Ad Tech, and listed as one of Origin Magazine's "Top 100 Creatives." She has been a speaker at The Girls Lounge, Adweek, C2Montreal, HATCH, TEDx and (her favorite) in classrooms. She speaks on a variety of topics from entrepreneurship to overcoming obstacles. She loves consulting in the areas of community design, storytelling and brand building. Her special skills include extreme bootstrapping, overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities. Of the many things she has learned by doing Mamalode, her ability to work with absolute chaos/kids/mess just might be the best. She is learning that slowing down creates more impact.

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