The pandemic has taken everyone across Los Angeles on a rollercoaster ride. Whether you are a parent, business owner, employee, etc., COVID-19 has most certainly impacted your life in some way, shape or fashion.
And while the economy and other aspects begin to return to the “new normal”, many people are feeling stuck, lost and just simply down not knowing what to do next. Enter into the picture Ellie Shefi, who is the very definition of tenacious. Having overcome a lifetime of adversity, including abuse, domestic violence, homelessness, cancer, and a myriad of other health issues that have seen her fight for her life for over two decades, Ellie has mastered mindset, resiliency, and resourcefulness, and she has dedicated her life – both before and now post-pandemic – to the empowerment of others.
We here at the Tribune sat down for an exclusive one-on-one interview with Ellie to find out more about what she believes people can do to get out of this “funk”, live their best lives and find their own “superpower”!
How have your services impacted the lives of Angelenos as we slowly return to pre-pandemic life?
Clients who worked with me during the pandemic used 2020 to gain clarity, level-up their skills, and build a solid foundation that has powerfully positioned them to launch, pivot, diversify, or scale their businesses; write and publish their books; and begin sharing their messages through speaking. It’s truly been a joy to see my entrepreneurial clients bring their businesses to life, my book writing clients fulfil their dream of becoming published authors, and my speaking clients get booked on podcasts and summits!
I’ve helped many clients develop a resilient mind in business and in life. And they have emerged from the pandemic focused, driven, and motivated. They’ve utilized my mindset tools to control their thoughts, feelings, actions, and outcomes. They’ve learned to be intentional with their language, to assign empowering meanings to events and circumstances, to remain solution-focused, to ask better questions (and therefore get more useful answers), to maintain perspective, to practice gratitude, and to add massive value, serve powerfully, show up, and consistently over-deliver. They are well-equipped to navigate this new post-pandemic economy.
As an experienced author, what first steps do you recommend to people to get their stories out?
First, get clear on exactly what message or story you want to share, who you want to share it with, and why you want to share it. Then, once you are clear on the message or story you want to deliver, who it can help, and how it can help them, you’ll be able to identify the right channels to reach the appropriate audiences.
As an author’s coach, I help my clients tell their stories by either writing an entire book or by contributing a chapter to my book compilation, Sisters Rising. Then I work with them to develop their signature talk and to amplify their message by speaking on podcasts and at summits and other events. With the recent rise in online delivery formats, the opportunities for sharing your story with the world have never been greater!
During the pandemic, you wrote the book, Unlocking Your Superpower: 8 Steps to Turn Your Existing Knowledge Into Income. Does everyone have a superpower?
Absolutely! I believe that each of us has a multitude of superpowers that, when fully activated, allow us to be unstoppable. Often, we just need a coach or mentor to help us identify and tap into our gifts. I absolutely love working with my clients to unlock their superpowers and use them to meet a need in the marketplace. I equip my clients with practical, easy-to-implement, results-driven tools and strategies that allow them to share their gifts with others, while simultaneously creating the authentic, abundant life they desire.
What is your superpower?
I have two main superpowers. The first is being able to create and maintain an impervious mindset—one that is rock solid, forward-driving, focused, and not controlled by external events and circumstances—and to teach others how to cultivate the same. My second superpower is the ability to quickly identify gaps, predict obstacles, and create step-by-step action plans that generate results.
What has been the biggest obstacle for you during the pandemic?
Pre-pandemic, I was constantly on the go—traveling, socializing, speaking; going to concerts, museums, theater performances, and dance shows; exploring the culinary scene, hanging out with friends, etc. That definitely all came to a screeching halt with the pandemic! As a cancer survivor, I basically spent the next 14+ months quarantining in isolation at home. Going from a social butterfly who never stayed still to over a year of solitary isolation could have been quite challenging. But I learned a long time ago that the fastest way to stay in a positive mental and emotional state is to focus on serving others. So that’s what I did!
During quarantine, I launched three companies, two publishing houses, and a nonprofit. I also created several programs, including:
- Unlocking Your Superpower™, Clarity to Launch™, and Bring Your Business to Life™—programs that teach entrepreneurs how to launch, pivot, diversify, and scale knowledge- and service-based businesses so they can provide for themselves, their families, their communities, and beyond;
- Get Your Book Done™ and Amplify Your Story Now™—programs that teach authors and speakers how to find their voice, tell their stories, publish their books, and amplify their message so they can scale their impact; and
- You Are Not Your Scars™—a program that teaches women how to shed external labels and expectations, find their voice, step into their power, and decide for themselves who they are, what they stand for, and what they want their life and legacy to be.
Beyond creating my companies and programs, I used the time during quarantine to write and release three books:
- Unlocking Your Superpower: 8 Steps to Turn Your Existing Knowledge Into Income was written as my response to watching my friends lose their jobs and businesses as a result of the stay-at-home orders and industry restrictions. It is a powerful step-by-step playbook that teaches readers how to start, pivot, diversify, or scale a knowledge- or service-based business. It’s clear, direct, and designed for readers to implement what they’re learning along the way.
- The Authorities: Powerful Wisdom from Leaders in the Field, which I co-authored with #1 New York Times best-selling authors Les Brown, Bob Proctor, Marci Shimoff, and other industry thought leaders, takes a broader macro view. It discusses business, real estate, retirement, estate planning, mindset, and more.
- Sisters Rising: Stories of Remarkable Women Living Extraordinary Lives is the book series I created that is by women, for women, to celebrate and showcase women. The first volume features a diverse group of nine incredible female entrepreneurs (I’m honored to be among them) whose businesses were being affected by the pandemic. Sisters Rising was designed to drive awareness of, and traffic to, their businesses.
Additionally, I have two books forthcoming in late summer or early fall 2021:
- SuccessONomics, which I’m co-authoring with #1 New York Times best-selling author, Jack Canfield, and other industry experts. In it, I share my three keys to success.
- Women Who Shine, which I’m co-authoring with international #1 best-selling author, Kate Butler, and a group of incredibly resilient and remarkable women. In it, I discuss how to live your life as a force for good.
Most recently, I’ve launched my nonprofit, the Made 2 Change the World™ Foundation (made2change.org), to equip youth in underserved areas with the knowledge, skills, training, and mentorship they need to become tomorrow’s leaders who can create the communities, and the world, they envision.
As you can see, I’ve been busy! I took the obstacle of isolation and used it as an opportunity to serve!
What trends here in LA and the rest of the country do you foresee as we move into post-pandemic times?
There’s no doubt that the pandemic was a disruptor on a global scale unlike anything most of us have experienced. But one positive result of that has been innovation. Currently, there are widespread opportunities for industries that innovate to get ahead of the trends, position themselves as market leaders, and then dominate market share. I see a continued trend of increased innovation as we navigate the pandemic, its fallout, and its effects—as we search for new and deeper ways to connect virtually, to pivot industries that have been shuttered, and to meet ever-changing needs.
There’s also a shift toward embracing realness, rawness, and authenticity. People are tired of hype, tired of rhetoric, and tired of illusion. I see an expansion of the self-education industry as people share their knowledge, skills, and passions with others via books, coaching, online courses, workshops, and events at an unprecedented pace. I don’t see this trend slowing down any time soon. In fact, I think the self-education industry will continue to see exponential growth. Zoom has made it easier than ever to hold meetings, workshops, and trainings—all of which can be recorded, transcribed, and released as online courses, books, workbooks, and other ancillary materials. And people are seizing the opportunity to level-up their skills. Now, more than ever, people are seeking practical, results-driven tools and strategies that are easy to implement and that bridge the gap between where they are and where they want to be. People want efficient and targeted solutions that can help them, delivered by coaches and mentors who’ve been in the trenches.
What advice would you give others who are struggling, have experienced some of the same things as you, or have lost their way?
First and foremost, breathe! Focus on the things you can control. Do the very best you can in each moment. Be intentional with your time. Intentionality, fueled by the power of clarity, perspective, and prioritization, will allow you to say “yes” to the things that truly need to get done in that moment. Likewise, say “no” to the things that aren’t a current necessity or priority. In this space, you control your life; your life doesn’t control you.
Establish and uphold healthy boundaries for yourself. Show yourself patience and grace, be kind to yourself, and carve out time to practice self-care. Sometimes in the hustle and bustle of life and everything pulling at us, we forget that an empty vessel has nothing to give. It’s a bit counterintuitive, but taking time to rest and recharge (even when the “to-do” list is longer than Mt. Everest is tall) actually allows you to dive back in with more energy, focus, and productivity than if you kept plowing along. Prioritize and do what you can, when you can, the best you can—and recognize that that’s all you can do, and that it’s more than enough!
Get clear on your “why” and use it as fuel to propel you forward and to keep you grounded and centered. Remain in alignment with your passion, purpose, mission, and vision.
Also, stand guard at the gate of your mind! Choose empowering meanings and recognize that what you focus on, you’ll find. So train yourself to find the good, find the lessons, and find the blessings in everything. Focus on keeping your thoughts, your actions, and your perspective positive! After all, you can’t see possibilities, opportunities, and solutions in a negative state. Embrace a “how can I” mentality. When you believe that bigger opportunities lie on the other side of big obstacles, you’ll remain solution-focused and be driven to smash through whatever is getting in the way. You won’t take “no” for an answer, nor will you accept “it’s impossible” or “there’s no way.” By asking “how can I,” you’ll see possibilities and either find a solution or create one.
Embrace progress over perfection (there’s no such thing!). Do something every day to move the needle in the direction you want to go. Celebrate all wins—no matter how small—because that will fuel your progress.
Remember that your life matters, your voice matters, and your thoughts, feelings, hopes, and dreams matter. Next, remember that you are not alone! Find your tribe! Connect with others and surround yourself with people who lift you up and empower you. Success takes a village so ask for help when you need it—no one does it alone!
And finally, know that you are stronger than you think, and you can navigate this!
Where are some of your favorite spots to go to here in town?
I love being outside in nature and can often be found at the beach or hiking the canyon. I also love anything cultural—art, music, theater, dance, etc. Now that things are opening up, I can’t wait to get back to visiting museums and galleries, and attending concerts, theater performances, and dance performances! As a foodie that loves to try new local, fresh, seasonal farm-to-table restaurants, I’m excited to be able to dive into exploring the post-pandemic food scene!
If you could go back in time, what would you do differently and why?
In all honesty, I wouldn’t change anything because every single twist and turn of life—every decision, occurrence, circumstance, and experience—made me into the person I am today and brought me to this place in my life. Everything that’s happened—from abuse, rape, domestic violence, homelessness, and cancer, to 30+ years as an entrepreneur, educator, writer, and speaker, and almost 20 years as an attorney with the United States Judiciary—has equipped me to powerfully serve my clients and to be a catalyst for change who, each and every day, empowers, inspires, and equips others to find their voice, tell their story, stand in their power, and use their business, their life, and their resources as a force for good.
What do you love about LA that draws you to continue living and working here?
I love the diversity, the culture; the healthy, outdoorsy lifestyle; the weather, and, of course, the beach!
What is your ultimate goal/dream?
I’m on a mission to ignite impact, empower transformation, and facilitate change on a global scale! For as long as I can remember, I’ve been driven to change the world—to give a voice to the voiceless; to fight for justice, equality, and opportunity; to teach, mentor, and empower. It’s my nature, my calling, and my purpose. I envision a world where all are seen, heard, and valued—a world where people have access to clean water, clean food, shelter, medical care, education, and economic opportunity—a world where authenticity is welcome and differences are celebrated. That’s why I’ve established my nonprofit, the Made 2 Change the World™ Foundation. It’s also why I’ve created You Are Not Your Scars™ and Sisters Rising™, why I coach, and why I mentor. I’ll never stop living my life as a catalyst for change.