She-Rocked-It-Podcast-Mary-Jelkovsky

Leading a Self-Love Revolution with Mary Jelkovsky

In the inaugural episode of the SHE ROCKED IT podcast, Mary Jelkovsky of Mary’s Cup of Tea opens up about how she found the courage to raise her voice and rock it as an outspoken advocate for self-love and body confidence.

Mary exemplifies the power of one woman’s voice to uplift countless others. After recovering from an eating disorder, she began sharing her self-love journey on her Instagram account @maryscupofteaa — which has nearly 300,000 followers to date.

Mary is also a published author (The Gift of Self-Love, released in March 2021), a TEDx speaker, a popular podcast host, and an entrepreneur who runs retreats for women around the world. In this heartfelt and often hysterical episode, she reveals the real story behind her self-love revolution—and how she summons the strength to share her most vulnerable truths.

In this episode, you’ll hear:

  • [2:30] How Mary overcame doubt and Imposter Syndrome to courageously share her story
  • [8:00] Why her younger sister inspires her
  • [13:00] How showing up vulnerably on social media is vehicle for connection
  • [15:30] How she’s worked on communicating with confidence as a young woman, and how she prepared for her TED talk in the face of male detractors
  • [24:30] The behind-the-scenes story of securing her book deal
  • [26:00] Why “just ask” is her go-to mantra
  • [31:00] Mary’s one tip to ROCK IT

Links from the episode:

SHE ROCKED IT is a podcast and virtual community dedicated to raising the volume on women’s voices. We believe that when women listen to, learn from, and lift one another up, we can ALL soar to greater heights. We invite you to join our ROCKSTAR NETWORK of creative, courageous women.

SHE ROCKED IT / KAREN GROSS: Hey, Rockstars. Welcome to the SHE ROCKED IT podcast. I’m so glad you’re here. And I know you’re going to be so inspired by this conversation. It’s with Mary Jelkovsky, who is the creator of Mary’s Cup of Tea, an online platform that empowers women to be more confident in their bodies and to love themselves, unconditionally. [00:01:00] Mary has been really courageous in raising her own voice about her self-love journey, including her recovery from an eating disorder. And her voice has reached so many—her Instagram account has over 300,000 followers, she’s been a TEDx speaker, she’s a podcast host, and she also runs women’s self-love retreats around the world. I had the pleasure of meeting Mary as part of a mastermind program for women entrepreneurs presented by Melyssa Griffin. And I was so taken with her eloquence [00:01:30] and her wisdom. She even just released a new book called The Gift of Self Love, and I can’t wait to share more insight on that and how she became a published author. So without further ado, let’s hear how Mary Jelkovsky rocks it! 

MARY JELKOVSKY: Hi, Karen!

SHE ROCKED IT: It is so good to see you. I kind of can’t believe that you are 23, like you are so wise, and since I’ve known you, I feel like I have just gained so much wisdom on my own journey from you sharing your story. So I’m so excited [00:02:00] tonight to talk to you about what’s given you the courage already in your life to raise your voice in such a powerful, candid way. Um, you have almost 300,000 Instagram followers who are really, um, tuned in to you and your story. And it’s a really powerful message that you’re sharing. So tell me, what has given you the courage, Mary, to raise your voice in such a candid, courageous and bold way? 

MARY JELKOVSKY:  Hm gosh. It’s hard to pick just one thing because I, and thank you so much for your kind words. [00:02:30] Um, it’s hard to pick one thing because I, I think that we expect like this big grand moment or realization or epiphany or idea, and it’s just going to change our life. Um, or sometimes we think it’s going to be like a Thing. Like, “once I have the perfect body” or, “once I get this career of my dreams”, or, “once I do something”, then you know, the courage will kind of hit me or the conference, which is something I hear so much.

SHE ROCKED IT: Right. 

MARY JELKOVSKY: And, [00:03:00] um, for me, one thing that I’ve lived by for probably the past five years ever since I heard it, um, it was kinda like drilled into me by some early mentors, is, “when in doubt focus out”. Um, and so that is all about— not self-sacrificing by any means, but, it’s actually the last chapter of my book, ironically enough, but it’s, it’s something that has just been the foundation for so much that I do. And I started off sharing my story before I even [00:03:30] felt like I was on the other side. Right? Like I was very much in the midst in the trenches. And oftentimes I felt like a fraud. I felt like, “who’s going to listen to me?” Like an imposter. “Why am I even sharing this? Like, why would I be talking about how to stop binge eating when I just binge ate the night before?” Right? That’s um, but for me, anytime I was struggling or I felt like I’m just like down in the dumps, I would just focus energy outwards, whether that’s helping somebody or calling a friend, um, [00:04:00] or, you know, going on Instagram and sharing, whatever it is that I’m going through. Like all these little things, they created this positive feedback loop. Because as soon as I shared so many people were like “me too,” or, “oh my God, don’t worry. We love you, like sending so much love”. And it was just like, so supportive of this positive feedback loop. And to be fully transparent with you, like today has been rough for me. Like it has been a tough day, just mentally, nothing bad has happened, but I didn’t sleep. And I, my neck is like not [00:04:30] moving left. Uh,

SHE ROCKED IT: Let’s all send some healing energy all your way. See again, there you are just being totally real and candid. You’re not, you know, not putting on a “ha ha everything’s good,” you know, face for us. And thank you again, for always just showing up as you are. 

MARY JELKOVSKY: Yeah, of course. And I just, um, you know, I just posted an Instagram story. I’m like, “it’s amazing with some lipstick and do for your confidence!” But aside from the lipstick, I feel like that’s just the physical manifestation [00:05:00] of what I was actually trying to say, which is, it’s amazing what human connection can do for your confidence. Because as soon as you and I had a little Zoom meeting right before this, as soon as I went out and talked to you and your producer, like, I am pumped up right now, Karen, like that is all it took. 

SHE ROCKED IT: Gonna make me cry, Mary. Love you so much. Cause like I, you know how I feel about you, to hear that— you’re right though, it’s a network of support that also, I think women share with one another, that I’m honored that you [00:05:30] could be real with me, that you show, we’re showing up for each other right now. We’ve been through an entrepreneurship program together where we showed up in very, you know, naked, honest ways and our, in our journeys as entrepreneurs. So it goes both ways. Yeah. 

MARY JELKOVSKY: Yeah, for sure. So, a combination of like chanting to myself, “when in doubt, focus out” and connection, um, which is one of my core values and has been for awhile. Um, it’s really, those things, those micro-moment, micro-moments [00:06:00] compiled together, um, to give me just that tiny bit of courage to like move through wherever I’m at. And the truth is, you don’t need that much of it to just take one step. Like it doesn’t have to be, “I’m going to solve world hunger today,” but it could be, “I’m going to send that difficult email,” or “I’m going to bring up that conversation that I’ve been putting off,” or, “I’m going to set a boundary with my mom who calls me day and night”. Like, you know, those little things are still accessible. 

SHE ROCKED IT: So amazing. I just want [00:06:30] to take a moment to acknowledge, yes, we can see your comments, everyone! Thank you so much for being here with us. We’re getting so much love in the comments. I see Dr. Robbin Smith is here, who some of you may know from Oprah. She was Oprah’s on-air therapist for many years. Um, we have some amazingly powerful women and, and fans and dear friends of, of Mary in the, in the house. So I just want to say, we see you in the comments- so beautiful in appreciation Mary, of like, what exactly you’re talking about, which is your vulnerability. People appreciating how much you share. And I was really struck by what you said a moment ago that there’s [00:07:00] no, like “here’s the green light to show up. Here’s the green light to be courageous”. You showed up in the midst of struggle it’s— you know, and you know, didn’t wait for that “perfect moment”. So I just want to acknowledge that as a real lesson for people. I think that, you know, having that connection with other people is what motivated you to show up, even if there was no, like switch that flipped at that point. Um, 

MARY JELKOVSKY: Thank you so much. Yeah, for sure. 

SHE ROCKED IT: Um, tell me a little more about other [00:07:30] women, obviously, we’re SHE ROCKED IT, our mission is to elevate and celebrate the voices of women. You exemplify this, raising your voice so powerfully in such an inspiring way. Are there any women on your journey who inspired you? Um, you’ve talked some about some mentors and coaching you’ve received and I’m just curious, um, if there’s any women that really encouraged you to raise your voice so powerfully? 

MARY JELKOVSKY: Mm, definitely my little sister. I don’t know if she’s a full-grown woman yet, but, um, [00:08:00] a girl. She, um, I, you know, I, one of my students actually at one of my retreats said, “be the person you needed when you were younger”. And that really landed with me. Um, and that’s what I hope that I can be for my little sister. But the truth is she is the one who teaches me so much. Um, I mean, like some of the dance videos that we’ve posted on Instagram, people are like, “you’re such a great role model for her!” And I’m like, “you don’t understand, [00:08:30] this was her idea. She pushed me to do this. Like, I’m the one stepping out of my box, she’s just was fine”. Um, and so she’s really been, um, somebody that I really want to be there for in the best way possible. And, you know, be the person that I didn’t really have when I was struggling as a teenager. You know, we all go through lots of stuff at that age. Um, and so, she’s inspired me so much just by who she is and, and how she, how she is. 

SHE ROCKED IT: I [00:09:00] love that. And I think, if I may, um, show off this special, new, hot-off-the-press book that I just got of, Mary’s The Gift of Self Love, and you have a beautiful dedication to your mom and to your sister Ilana. I’m very struck by that. I’m sure she was so touched. I think I saw some of your Stories of you guys sharing the unboxing and yeah, so, so beautiful. And just what you said about being there for you almost like as your younger self, I have to say, um, [00:09:30] the way you raise your voice, I wish that I had you when I was younger, because I feel like, and I don’t actually talk about this very much with anyone, but until this moment, like, I feel like I, I, uh, you know, struggle day-to-day with how I feel about my body and my, and my confidence around my weight. And if I feel thin one day or not. And it took me until I was about 41, took me about maybe till my late thirties to wear a bikini, to show up in a bikini. And I remember on your website, you share how [00:10:00] at peace you felt finally, I think you were in Bali. Um, and I just want to share that when you share these stories, when you share your voice, you are touching people, I think across ages too, as well, who are on that journey. So thank you. 

MARY JELKOVSKY: Thank you. Um, yeah, it’s, it’s amazing how much we just internalize so much of diet culture and beauty standards and how even when we seemingly [00:10:30] grow out of these things are— we’re not surrounded by girls in high school you know, that we’re so afraid of judging us—it still kind of lingers. Um, and it turns into this little nasty voice inside your head. Um, and that’s really what I’m hoping to destroy. 

SHE ROCKED IT: And I mean, you’ve done this amazing Ted Talk. You’ve written this amazing book. You have an incredible podcast. You’re raising your voice in so many different ways. And I’m just curious, like, [00:11:00] again, how do you, um, decide maybe what channel to express yourself or— cause I know we’ve talked about a little bit, you know, social media, for instance, you’re, you’re so present on social media and we’ve talked about social media. I’m saying we talked about in our, some of our entrepreneurship work, that it can be a tough place to share your voice. Like people can, and this is a reason for me, sometimes I get shy on social media cause I’m going to be scared of getting trolled or I’m scared of, you know, being visible for various reasons. But you have kind of, [00:11:30] I don’t know if you’ve disregarded that, but just you’ve moved forward, let’s say. What’s given you the confidence to move forward, despite, you know, being visible, being you’re now, you’re sharing about your boyfriend, your relationship, um, you’re moving forward anyway. If someone’s shy or, or shrinking back, what would you say to them to encourage them, to keep, keep sharing your message?

MARY JELKOVSKY:  Hm. Um, yeah. I, well, firstly, I grew up with social media. I mean, starting like freshman year is when I, I started having Instagram. So [00:12:00] it’s always been such a big part of my life, which has its pros and cons. Um, but I think one of the pros is that it does come a little natural to me. Um, you know, even before that, when I was in fitness, like I was doing a lot of social media work and being like a sponsored athlete and you know, when you get paid, you kind of got to do it. Um, and so it was a combination of that, but also, you know, it just, I don’t think— obviously not everybody wants to like be an influencer or [00:12:30] build a huge social media following, but, um, I think we can all find some joys in like the creative aspect of it. Um, so for example, I have some, some girlfriends that inspired me to like get more creative with photography, um, or I love following so many different accounts like poetry accounts or some people are really incredible video makers, other people just show up and talk and um, I’m still trying to figure [00:13:00] out like what, where I’m at and all of that. Um, but I find a lot of inspiration from these people. And so for me, it’s this combination of a creative outlet and, I’m just like a maniac on a mission to change the lives of girls and women so that they don’t grow up in a world that tells them that they’re not good enough and that their body needs to change and that, um, you know, they need to like be smaller both physically and metaphorically. Um, and so every time I’m afraid to post [00:13:30] usually, and I noticed this probably about two years ago, I noticed that when I’m like most afraid to post something, it generally has like the greatest benefits. I don’t mean like likes and stuff, but it generally lands with people very deeply. Um, and so yeah, the more like vulnerable that we get, the more we’re actually in a sense, building that confidence. And again, it’s through this vehicle of connection, um, and it’s just really connecting with others. And so [00:14:00] if we treat social media, like, you know, a cocktail party where of course there’s going to be somebody that you don’t like, um, but you know, they don’t, you’re, you’re there to connect with all the other people who do like you. Um, and yeah, and rock your cocktail dress while you’re at it.

SHE ROCKED IT: I just love that. I love how you encourage us to view it that way. That is such a refreshing way to look at it. There’s always going to be someone who’s going to be gossiping in the back of the room and whatever, [00:14:30] but what are you going to do, shrink? You know, not show up, not rock your dress? I love that. And, um, I’m curious too, um, you have a podcast episode, now— I’m a professional communicator, I’m a writer and a singer and happily launching SHE ROCKED IT to elevate other women’s voices, your voices, a voice that inspires me so much— and you had a really great podcast about communicating with confidence, because I think that women have a couple of habits that we have internalized about the ways that we communicate and share [00:15:00] our voices. And do you want to just share some thoughts and definitely, you know, if you haven’t checked out Mary’s podcast, she’s always adding new episodes, I think you’re at almost episode 60 at this point, I think 59. I was just, I think you’re amazing, but tell us about communicating with confidence because I don’t think women learn this.

MARY JELKOVSKY: Um, so I originally released that podcast episode because, um, and I think this we’ve heard quite a bit, especially if you’re in like a corporate setting, but trying to…I worked a lot [00:15:30] on trying to change the way that I speak. Not change, but just tweak a little bit, I suppose, um, to take out all those like, filler words where you’re ultimately questioning yourself as you’re speaking. So things like “just,” which is like a minimizer, “I’m just popping into your inbox”. Oh my goodness. I’m popping into your- 

SHE ROCKED IT: Yeah. I love the word minimizer that you said too, because I almost feel like that mirrors the weight thing. Like we’re supposed to shrink in our weight and then in our language, We [00:16:00] shrink with “I’m just checking,” “circling back”…

MARY JELKOVSKY: For sure. Like it’s all very metaphorical. Yeah. Which is why, yeah. Which is why I had so much interest in that. Or like “kind of”, or “sort of”, or, um, I forgot what these are called. I’m not a linguist. But, um, when you say, “I think that” whatever, instead of just saying whatever you need to say. So I kind of started getting really interested in that because, well, I love public speaking. It’s kind of what I do. So I’m like, “how do I just make my [00:16:30] speaking stronger?” Um, and especially as a woman, especially as a really, really young woman, because I have felt in so much of my life just constantly discredit it, discredited, discredited. Why does that not sound like word anymore? Probably because I just repeated it ten times. But even in preparation for my Ted Talk, um, I was, you know, practicing in front of my public speaking group and long story short, this man tore me a new a**hole [00:17:00] and told me that my speech is horrible and that it’s not Ted worthy, and that it’s just, just all these things. Um, and I even got one comment that said, “if your speech is about body image, you should show more of your body”. And I was like wearing like a big jean jacket. Um, so obviously like, we’re here to fight the patriarchy and so I’ve tried to do that in many ways and speaking has been one of those ways for me. However, the flip side of that is, even though we receive all [00:17:30] these tips and trainings and, you know, I even installed like a Google Chrome tool thing that literally highlights these words for me and deletes them. Um, even though we have access to that— one book that I read recently that has completely changed my whole outlook on this is a book called Word Slut. And it’s about how the English language has been weaponized against women and people who identify as women. Um, and so it goes into a practice called uh, socio-linguistics [00:18:00] has a lot to do with race, class, gender, all the like social justice components. But long story short, what really hit me is like, “wait a second. Why are women essentially taught—or, you know, especially in corporate, right? And even my podcast episode, communicating with confidence—like, why are we taught to speak more like men, instead of teaching men to like, maybe be a little nicer or maybe use a “like” word [00:18:30] because it is an effective, um, communication strategy? And clearly, we know from so much data, like in general, women are better communicators. We’re better at expressing ourselves. We, we have certain methods. That’s, that’s been our role in society for so long, whether for the better or worse, it’s just how it’s been that our role was to keep people together, to keep the family unit organized, to bring over a cup of sugar to the neighbor who needs it across the street to build those relationships, to keep our family safe. [00:19:00] And because of that, we’ve really evolved to be effective communicators and speakers and relationship builders. So it is quite ironic that, you know, I’m installing this Google Chrome toolbar to take away all my, my minimizers or my smiley faces or my “sort of,” “kind of,” “just,” when these are the things that maybe sometimes saying, “just”— you do want to soften a statement, maybe you don’t want to be like a grumpy old man sounding via email, kind of like, you know, “you’re late”. 

SHE ROCKED IT: [00:19:30] Interesting. Yeah. And that’s Word Slut? That book you, someone was asking the name of the book. Yes, it’s true. Why is it that women always have to kind of modify their behavior to be a little more masculine and right, what about bringing more of the feminine? Like you said, the communication, the nurturing, the caring, because that’s actually part of it. That’s really interesting. It’s not just minimizing. I think there’s also sort of a grace and a softness that could be appreciated, especially now when we’re all, the only way we communicate often is via email and text. [00:20:00] So, um, 

MARY JELKOVSKY: Exactly. The book is called Word Slut by Amanda Montell. Um, she’ll be on my podcast next month. So she’s, she’s absolutely incredible. And she’s a straight-up linguist and her, her new book that’s coming out, it’s called Cultish and it’s about the language of cults and like how— and she, she literally goes, “we study everything from soul cycle to Lulu Lemon to diet culture”, right? Like all these things are, have certain language that we internalize that make us think about things [00:20:30] in a certain way. And we follow them blindly, which is a definition of a cult. So, um, something I’ve been super fascinated with lately, but just to like put a little sentence on that, um—I think there can be a “both, and,” like a balance between, maybe we aren’t so apologetic while we’re speaking. And that is the next step towards building our confidence. But also maybe we don’t beat ourselves up or try to change to talk like old white men, excuse my language. And maybe our vocal [00:21:00] fry doesn’t mean— like a vocal fry is when you kind of go upwards, like the typical example is, like Kim Kardashian— maybe that doesn’t mean that we’re uneducated or bad speakers or whatever. Maybe it’s just the way we have evolved to talk and language always evolves. Um, and just because, some, you know, some older generations are unhappy with it or some men in the corporate world aren’t vibing with it, it doesn’t mean that you’re the one in the wrong. It’s just like, like you said, like why, why is “man speak” like that standard? [00:21:30] And we have to conform to that instead of vice versa. So a lot of it is, um, yeah, social justice-y, but to me, it’s, it’s just a really great, um, I think it’s just some really great mindset exercises because I’m, I’m a certified neuro-linguistic practitioner as well. So, um, for me, again, I’m just fascinated about the way we use language to form our thoughts, which ultimately form our beliefs about ourselves. Um, and so I feel like all of these things kind of come into play, and having like a more holistic perspective [00:22:00] on all the societal forces that are going into that is ultimately very, very helpful for the individual.

SHE ROCKED IT: Can— you all know how brilliant this woman is? I’m just staring at her in awe of all of your brilliance and no wonder why you are so powerfully sharing your voice, you have so much wisdom. Um, and also what I appreciate about you Mary, is that you’re always learning. And, um, you’re also always, always sharing and teaching. And I just, I want to come back to this book because we were just talking [00:22:30] about books and the power of language and okay, this is like literally hot off the press. You guys, The Gift of Self-Love this book is a gift literally. And as I said, I’m 41, Mary’s 23— by the way, I love owning and speaking our ages. I feel like women are not supposed to talk about- we’re not supposed to talk about our weight, we’re not supposed to talk about our pubic hair and we’re not supposed to talk about our age, and it’s like, you have inspired me to talk about all these things and I’m spitting and it’s all happening because I love you. So, um, this is [00:23:00] such an accomplishment to write a book. And what I love about it is it’s not just a book, it’s a workbook. So that, and you have said in here very clearly in here all caps, “YOU HAVE TO DO THE WORK”. Although it’s an invitation, not a mandate. But you know, just tell me about writing this. Because as a writer, myself, I’m a speechwriter, I’m a copywriter— to write a whole book, Mary, is a real big deal. And I want to know what gave you the motivation to see this [00:23:30] project through, to put all these, to put pen to paper? It’s also very creative because I think having all these exercises, I mean, this is, this is an amazing piece of work. So congratulations, first and foremost, I’m like, so happy to have this in my hands.

MARY JELKOVSKY: Thank you!

SHE ROCKED IT: Tell me, yeah. How did this happen, Mary? 

MARY JELKOVSKY: I love that you say hot off the press. Love that. I’m going to start saying that, but do you smell it? Like, I love that the new book smell.

 SHE ROCKED IT: Oh my God. Seriously, aromatherapy. Oh, right in the right in the binding [00:24:00] it’s like drinking fine wine. It’s like, 

MARY JELKOVSKY: Oh, wow. Um, so what was your question? Like how I, how I wrote this book? How did it come about?

SHE ROCKED IT: Yeah. How did you stay motivated to stay the course, to write this book, and also create such an innovative book in that it’s interactive? It’s a workbook. 

MARY JELKOVSKY: Oh, thank you. I, well, one, contracts do a lot, um, you know, pressure. Yeah. I will get sued if I, if I were to not do it, but no. I mean, [00:24:30] first of all, this book has been a dream of mine for so long. And again, a combination of many different things. Like my best friend is in the e-commerce product industry. And she’s like, “you should have like an actual product, something people can hold because you’re so hands-on and you do retreats, but maybe want something like more accessible where people can have a piece of you”. And then at the same time, I had this ebook called The Body Confidence Guide and it was an 87 page PDF and people were printing out all 87 pages and I’m [00:25:00] like, “Ugh, I feel bad. You’re wasting all that ink!” Because I know how expensive it can be to print on the laserjet—

SHE ROCKED IT: What a compliment, they were using 87 pages worth of ink. I mean, clearly, they wanted something in their hands. 

MARY JELKOVSKY: Yeah. It, it was, it was an honor, and people are asking for it in print, and obviously, you know, print is ideal. So it’s something that has been a dream of mine for so long. And, um, because of that 87-page ebook, that was, um, selling pretty well, That was kind of like the manuscript, I suppose, that I, that I pitched [00:25:30] to the publisher. Um, and they ended up taking it on. So I’m very grateful, very lucky. And then from there—

SHE ROCKED IT: But, didn’t you just straight up call Blue Star Press? I read that somewhere. You just were like, you, you got the courage to just pitch them, which I think it’s an important detail because it’s like, people think when you are raising your voice like people think things come at you. But my understanding is that you knock on that door and that’s also in a way raising your voice in a powerful way, like, and the answer was yes. 

MARY JELKOVSKY: Yeah. And same with my Ted Talk. I mean, um, [00:26:00] one thing, there’s this phrase in Russian, it’s really hard to translate, but it’s basically something my mom’s always like raised me with, but it’s basically “just ask”. Like, it’s literally, the worst they can do is say no. And the funny thing is, the funny part of this is that my mom, um, immigrated from Russia as a Jewish refugee and she didn’t know any English. So I was like five, six, seven, eight, we’d be looking for something at the store and my mom would be like, “just go ask”. Well, [00:26:30] come to find out years later, my mom said that she would always make me ask because she was too afraid to because she was embarrassed of her English. So, I mean, it’s, it is unfortunate, but also it served me so much in that I just really built and trained that habit of “just ask”. Like, just send the DM, send the email. Especially these days, I mean, asking isn’t like knocking on somebody’s door necessarily, it could literally be a DM. Um, so yeah, [00:27:00] like with my Ted Talk, I just applied, you know, how do you apply for university? You just, you just fill out that application. You, you file the, or you, yeah. You, you follow the procedure. And then with this book, um, it was actually a very like serendipitous story, um, that’s very near and dear to my heart. But, Blue Star Press published a book about two years ago called Mind Your Business, and the author of that book, her first name is Ilana spelled exactly like my sister’s. It’s rare. And so it’s why I picked it up. It [00:27:30] was at Anthropologie. Um, and I was like, “wow, I would love to have like a beautiful book like this selling at stores like Anthropologie”. Like that would be so cool to just walk in and see it. And her name caught my eye, picked up the book. It was so beautiful. And they specialize, my publisher specializes in, um, more like interactive things. Like they do cookbooks and they do workbooks and they do little trackers and hour planners and stuff like that. So it ended up being really aligned. And I literally, you [00:28:00] know, I, I picked it up, I went to this second page and I found the publisher and I hunted them down and I emailed through the contact form. Like it was that easy. Um, and again, 

SHE ROCKED IT: Friends are are you all hearing this? Like, this is, this is actually, this is what I love about this conversation is, these are the real stories. Like people see the finished product, the result, but Mary raised her voice to ask this publisher to share, to share her words. And I think that’s, I just think that’s really important because we forget [00:28:30] that like, the legwork that sometimes goes into this and the courage, it takes. So simple, but it’s so powerful. Just ask. And so, it’s a lesson that I keep coming back to myself this year, because I’ve been so afraid to, I was afraid to ask you to be on this, to be on SHE ROCKED IT and here we are. And I’m so, so grateful. 

MARY JELKOVSKY: Thanks. 

SHE ROCKED IT: So just to ask, thank you truly. That’s a key, I think lesson that I think sometimes women, they just see what happens when you ask the question. The worst is “no”, or “it’s not [00:29:00] the right time” or steers you maybe somewhere that you’re meant to be.

MARY JELKOVSKY: Exactly. Exactly. It’s like, you just, you just check things off. Right? You tried this, you tried that. And again, I mean, of course, like if I— if this was made five years ago and I just asked a publisher to print a book, they probably wouldn’t have been interested. But, um, it’s, you know, obviously they saw my platform and that this book was, uh, they had a proof of concept and everything like that, but also, there’s so many things where, [00:29:30] sometimes I get emails and I try to kindly respond to them and say, “Hey, just, you know, follow the next steps”. But some people will email me being like, “how did you learn to love yourself?” Or, “I also want to write a book. How do I do that?” And it’s just like, very like, and it’s like, well, take one step at a time. Like what, like a lot of us think that we don’t have these tools or we need somebody else to tell us, or we spend a lot of time on Google, but the truth is, like, you know what to do. Like you really, really [00:30:00] truly know what to do. Whatever your dream is, whatever your goal is, like, you know what to do. And, um, there, there’s no way to cut corners, but like, I love your word of courage. Like you can take courageous small steps towards that every single day. And for me, it started with posting very consistently on Instagram. And that was my small act of courage. And then that built up to three, four years later to the small act of courage of pitching to a publisher [00:30:30] through their contact form, you know. Like it just, it, it, it evolves. And so there’s no like, direct path. There’s no one path, but you have to trust your path. 

SHE ROCKED IT: That was so beautifully said. And, um, obviously we’re called, SHE ROCKED IT. We are inspiring, um, women to ROCK IT by raising their voices in powerful ways, the way that you have and you continue to do so. If there is any other tip you might want to share for women, um, to raise their voices [00:31:00] in their careers or in their callings— is there another tip or one other nugget you’d want to share with us, Mary? 

MARY JELKOVSKY: Um, perhaps it’s, it’s something that I recently put— I’m updating my website, which I’m so excited about, but it’s, it’s one thing that we’re putting in big, bold letters on the website, which is, “stop being afraid to take up space”. Um, and again, that’s physically and, um, literally, and also metaphorically and emotionally and spiritually, um, and just letting yourself [00:31:30] take up that space, um, with your platform. It’s like letting your voice be heard. That was such a big part of it for me. Um, but for a lot of people letting ourselves take up space could mean, un-suck your stomach. Like, why are we always sucking in our stomachs? Why are we always like, sitting in a way that’s making us smaller? Um, why are we spending so much time kind of trying to hide who we are, um, and trying to put up this facade instead [00:32:00] of like physically and spiritually and emotionally just, just letting yourself kind of like spread your wings and fly, um, in that way? And don’t be afraid of like, being weird in the process. I find that I’ve just, I used to be like very, just like very goal-driven and committed. And to me that looked like being like perfect and looking perfect and talking perfect and being really put together. And now, like, especially more recently, [00:32:30] like getting deeper in my relationship now, like, we’re so weird. Like we’re so weird together. Like I’m so weird and it, and it’s funny because we’re afraid to be, and we feel embarrassed even when we’re the only ones in the room. Like if I told you to get up and dance right now and you’re by yourself, right? You would probably feel weird, but it’s like, “why is that?” Like, why do we feel weird even when nobody’s there? And it’s because we’ve just internalized these voices that are keeping us small and w-we’ve just gripped onto them. And [00:33:00] they’re so deeply ingrained within us, um, that it creates this effect of, “I feel weird” even when nobody is looking. So, um, yeah, I think just starting to kind of break free from that and letting yourself be silly and goofy and weird and, and take up space and— in whatever way that looks like, and that’s empowering for you. 

SHE ROCKED IT: Well, Mary, as always, you have inspired me, you have inspired so many people. I’m seeing the most [00:33:30] beautiful comments that people who were so glad they caught this conversation, that it really brightened their day. And I can’t wait to continue to listen to your voice and be inspired by you. 

MARY JELKOVSKY: I’m so honored. And I’m so glad we met.

SHE ROCKED IT: The feeling is beyond mutual, and I will continue to, uh, just be cheering so deeply for you in every way. Thank you so much for sharing your heart with us. 

MARY JELKOVSKY: Likewise. Thanks, Karen. 

SHE ROCKED IT:

Thanks so much for tuning into the SHE ROCKED IT Podcast. I’m your host, Karen Gross. This episode has been produced by Tori Marchiony and Jake Segelbaum with audio engineering by Teng Chen. The SHE ROCKED IT theme song is by Karen Gross and Tim Motzer. I invite you to join us on Instagram @sherockedit and join our ROCKSTAR NETWORK at sherockedit.com. We hope you’ll add your voice to the conversation because at SHE ROCKED IT, we are dedicated to raising the volume on women’s voices.

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