You Can Be a Present Parent and an Effective CEO

Jenna Kutcher 

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September 13, 2021


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I am quickly approaching the next phase of my life as a mom of two, and though I’ve had nearly three years to figure out what it means to be a CEO and a mother, I’m still feeling a lot of the similar jitters about how my time and energy will shift once baby number 2 arrives. I’m a firm believer that I can and YOU can be both — a present mom and a great leader — but it doesn’t come without learning curves and a lot of self work.

Elizabeth Hartke is a Business and Leadership Strategist and founder of The Luminary Leadership Co, and she’s passionate about raising up our current level of leadership to create generational change and wealth and leave behind a powerful legacy.

She’s here to explore all the ways you can expand your capacity to be a present parent and an effective leader in business, while breaking free of how society says you should raise your business and babies to develop a strategy that works for you. Let’s dig into all things motherhood and CEO-life with Elizabeth Hartke.

Elizabeth’s Story

Jenna: I’ve told everyone about your titles and all of these things, but tell me the beginning, where does your story begin?

Elizabeth: I grew up in entrepreneurship. That was just what was familiar to me…  When I sat in corporate for about five minutes before I felt like I was suffocating and knew I had to do something on my own was thinking, okay, how can I have the freedom of flexibility that my mother had, but how can I transition that into time freedom where it’s not just time flexibility, it’s time freedom, where I don’t have to make up for that lost time. I can prioritize my family, but I can also run my business in a way that allows me to be present.

My business has evolved a ton like it should over the last decade. In the beginning, it was trading time for money… And now I’m working with a lot of my peers, which is a fun new area to be in, but there was a piece that was missing in the last probably five years where I was helping these business owners and these entrepreneurs scale, but they would all hit this cap because I realized they were missing the leadership element. If they didn’t scale themselves at the same time they were scaling their businesses, they would tap out on their potential. So that was the birth of the luminary leadership company.

Finding True North

Jenna: What seems to be the very first hurdle for mothers trying to figure out how to be a mom and pursue their entrepreneurial endeavors?

Elizabeth: When we talk about this balance problem and what women are really struggling with as moms, we treat it oftentimes like we have our business over here in this bubble, and our kids over here in this bubble, and our spouse over here in this bubble and we’ve got to even them out, but when you’re stressed at work, it affects your relationships. When your marriage is in a vice and struggling, it’s affecting how you feel in your work or your creativity. Our lives are all intertwined. 

[Finding your] ‘True North’ as a concept to me is instead having a code of ethics that we live by as a family that we worked on together as a family, so that decisions feel easier. It’s not about seeking balance. It’s about everything we encounter along the way, we put it up again, this set of values and it makes every decision so much easier.

If an opportunity comes our way in business, we can pin it up against our values and say does this honor our priorities? Is this an alignment with our True North? Or is it not? And if it’s not, it’s an easy no. And if it does, then we can have a discussion as to whether it fits in our schedule. Letting go of that “balanced” myth is the first piece of jumping over that initial hurdle.

If You Fear Adding a Child to Your Life and Business

Jenna: What would you say for someone who is fearful of introducing a child into the mix and, and wondering what that will look like and how it will impact their future?

Elizabeth: We fear change. But the reality is if entrepreneurship is really in your DNA, you embrace change. That is what entrepreneurship is. If you’re doing it right, it’s a constant evolution…

Just little disclaimer, it will change your entrepreneurial path a hundred percent, but it will change it for how it’s supposed to be changed because you’re stepping into where you’re being called to go. You’re opening the door to your growth moment or your next level.

For those that are potentially pushing the brakes on motherhood because they’re afraid it might change things I’m reminding them that it’s supposed to change. You are supposed to change. This is an evolution. Do not tell yourself that lie, that so many women tell themselves, that their lives are ending or changing for worse when they have kids. It’s changing and you will change in the best ways, and your capacity will expand.

More from Elizabeth Hartke

I love this conversation because it was a great exploration of how I’ve learned (and am still learning) to be a present parent and an effective CEO and leader. For more from Liz Hartke, press play on this episode and get her free workbook to help guide you through establishing your True North. 

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Before you get any further... Hi! I'm Jenna Kutcher!

A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

I’m an expert at online marketing, a nerd when it comes to the numbers, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love (without it taking over their life). 

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