If you are seeking out a role model, look no further than Ellie Shefi.
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 is now dedicating her life to the empowerment of others.
As a high profile attorney, entrepreneur, implementation strategist, life/business coach, keynote speaker, and best-selling international author, Ellie is someone Americans across the country can look to when dealing with a variety of situations.
From proving that “You Are Not Your Scars” to other topics, we spoke to Ellie about her life so that it can be highlighted here for all to see.
1. Why is helping Americans so important to you?
For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a catalyst for change who is driven 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. Every obstacle I’ve overcome along my journey—poverty, abuse, domestic violence, rape, homelessness, cancer and other health challenges—has deepened my commitment to helping others find their voice, stand in their power, take control of their destiny, and create the business, the life, and the legacy they envision. Then, fully aligned in their purpose and their mission, they can become a force for good and impact not only their lives, but the lives of their families, their communities, and, ultimately, the nation. It’s a ripple effect.
My own life’s mission is to serve powerfully. It’s my purpose to help create a nation where all are seen, heard, and valued—a nation where people have access to nutritious food, education, and economic opportunity—a nation where authenticity is welcomed and differences are celebrated. That’s why I’ve established my non-profit, the Made 2 Change™ 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.
2. What do you do that really separates you from others in your industry/space?
I offer no-fluff, easy-to-implement, results-driven tools and strategies to action takers who are ready to level-up their business and their life. My services are practical; I provide my clients with strategies to gain clarity and do more in less time with increased efficiency so they attain their desired goals faster. I work with impact-driven clients who use their businesses and their lives as a force for good. For me, it’s about enabling my clients to achieve their desired time, money, and personal freedom so they can live a meaningful and impactful life they love.
Additionally, my clients choose me because I walk the walk. I’ve actually lived through everything I teach. Yes, I have the education and the teaching experience, but more importantly, I’ve been in the trenches—I have the real-world experience, the passion, and the drive. Because I’ve walked in their shoes, I understand my clients in a way that someone who hasn’t experienced the journey simply cannot.
When I work with entrepreneurs to bring their business to life (and later to diversify and scale), I bring decades of entrepreneurial experience—decades of launching, building, pivoting, diversifying, and scaling businesses in a variety of industries. I’ve gone from homeless and living in my car to building highly successful businesses for myself and others. There aren’t too many things my clients will encounter that I haven’t. Sharing my experience with my clients allows them to avoid costly mistakes and to go further, faster, with greater efficiency.
When I work with authors and aspiring authors to get their books out of their heads and into their hands, I call on my decades of writing, ghostwriting, and publishing experience to create a powerful pathway to publication. As an award-winning and #1 international best-selling author who has written and published thousands of pieces, including five books during 2020 and 2021, I’ve created a proven framework that allows my clients to write their books with clarity and ease. My clients know with absolute certainty that I will help them make their dreams of becoming a published author a reality.
When I work with speakers and aspiring speakers to find their voice, craft their message, and amplify their impact, my clients benefit from the wide variety of techniques I’ve learned over my lifetime as a performer and speaker. The depth and breadth of my stage and speaking experience instills confidence in my clients that I can help them navigate their fears, appear confident on camera, connect with different audiences in different formats, and deliver clear and concise messages that get them the results they desire.
And when I work with women looking to break free from past pain, take control of their future, shed external labels and expectations, and define for themselves who they are, what they stand for, and what they want their life and legacy to be, there’s simply no one better to guide them through the darkness and into the light. I have overcome a lifetime of adversity and have emerged a limitless thriver, master problem solver, and opportunity creator who lives an authentic, aligned, joyful life of purpose and impact. I have crawled, clawed, and scratched my way through fire after fire and am an unstoppable force. My clients know that I see them, I hear them, I understand them, and I’m here to take their hand and journey alongside them as they become the architect of their lives.
3. What has been the mindset of people with whom you have worked during this pandemic?
When clients come to me, they are tired, exhausted, and overwhelmed. And the pandemic has intensified that. Some are even gripped by fear and uncertainty—bordering on resignation and hopelessness. My goal is to help them develop a resilient mind in business and in life, so that they can not just survive this pandemic, but thrive.
And for the past 18 months, my clients have emerged from our work together 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.
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! And it’s deeply inspiring to see women emerge from my You Are Not Your Scars® workshops who’ve shed their past pain and begun creating life on their terms.
4. Why do you feel it is important for people to tell their story?
I know from a lifetime of personal experience, as well as decades of experience working with clients, that there is tremendous power in your story—that your voice matters, your message matters, and your story matters. And everyone has a story to tell. After all, you have knowledge that only you can share—a story that someone in the world is waiting to hear! Finding your voice and crafting your story will transform you, but sharing your story will transform the world.
I’m honored and grateful to help my clients craft, tell, and share their stories. 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!
Additionally, my publishing houses continue to get people’s stories out into the world. My teams at Made to Change the World™ Publishing and You Are Not Your Scars® Publishing are publishing books for people as quickly as we can while ensuring impeccable detail, but the demand is astounding! We have six books on deck to publish during the last quarter of 2021 and actually have waiting lists of books beyond that.
And through multi-day workshops, retreats, and publishing opportunities, my movement, You Are Not Your Scars®, empowers women to break free from the external labels, demands, and expectations of others and to find their voice and tell their story. It’s a platform for women to get their stories out in the world, and a community of women that sees, hears, celebrates, and supports each other.
5. How has getting your own stories out there helped you as a person?
It was through telling my story that I found my voice, reclaimed my power, and developed an impervious mind. I know first-hand that you can’t control external situations and circumstances. But what I also know is that you can control the words you use, the stories you tell, and the perspective you maintain. When you reframe the situation and change the words you use to describe the circumstances or events to reflect an empowering narrative, you take control of your mindset and shift from feeling overwhelmed, helpless, unsuccessful, or behind to creating opportunity, seeing possibility, effectively problem solving, and forging a path forward.
Every day, I choose to take control of my narrative and decide how to tell my story. Every day, I choose to claim my power, calibrate my compass, and put myself in the driver’s seat of my business and my life. This, in turn, enables me to live an abundant life of service—a life of impact that I design with clarity and intention, where I am in alignment with my purpose and can serve my clients powerfully.
So I share my story both to shine a light into the darkness—to provide hope, to inspire, and to empower—and as a way to share my lessons, tools, and strategies. My hope is that by sharing my story, I help you find your voice, step into your power, and become the architect of your life.
6. What changes in America would you like to see going forward?
On a macro scale, I’m all about creating a ripple effect of change and maximizing my impact, so I would like to see change that would impact the most people for the longest duration. Thus, I would end the disparate access to opportunity—education, clean water, shelter, medical care, employment, nutrition, electricity, technology (and more)—that currently exists. Ensuring that everyone has equal access to opportunity would create generational change. And facilitating change on a generational national—even global—scale is my ultimate life mission. After all, I was made to change the world!
On a micro scale, I’ve intentionally designed my life to be centered around meaning, purpose, service, and impact, so those things permeate everything I do—work included. I’d like to see more Americans embrace a purpose-driven life and free themselves from undue expectations and the resulting grind. As I teach my clients, purpose and prosperity are not mutually exclusive.
7. You just became a #1 International Best Selling Author…in 23 different categories…how does that feel, and what’s next?
It feels amazing! Women Who Shine became a #1 international best seller in 23 different categories!
With regard to what’s next, I am beyond excited to be inducted into the National Academy of Best-Selling Authors in late September, where I will be honored and receive a Quilly award.
Also in September is the release of my next book, SuccessONomics, which I co-authored with New York Times #1 best-selling author, Jack Canfield, and other industry experts.
On October 6, I’ll host a red carpet fundraiser in Nashville for the Made 2 Change the World™ Foundation (made2change.org), my nonprofit organization that equips and empowers the next generation with the tools, resources, and strategies they need to create the lives, the communities, and the world they envision.
And in late 2021, I will launch my podcast, You Are Not Your Scars®. Additionally, I will be hosting You Are Not Your Scars® workshops in Southern California, Nashville, and Sedona (as well as an online attendance option!). I’m thrilled that the workshops are officially open for registration, and filling up fast! For more about the workshops, visit youarenotyourscars.com.
This year is a busy year for me, and I couldn’t be more excited for everything happening over the next few months.
8. Why are you proud to be an American?
So many reasons! I am grateful for our freedoms, the abundance of resources we have, and the opportunities that exist in this country, to name a few. And I appreciate the opportunities that exist here for bona fide entrepreneurship—to find or make your own way.
When I was a child, money was very tight. If I wanted a new piece of clothing, toy, cassette tape, movie ticket, or other treat, I had to earn the money to buy it myself. Ever resourceful, I became an entrepreneur early in life so that I could pay for those extras. My first entrepreneurial endeavors included tutoring, proofreading and editing, teaching art and dance, and choreographing dance numbers for groups.
Fast-forward: At 19 years-old, I faced the challenge of earning enough money to go to college, graduate, and go on to get my law degree. I trusted that I had the gumption and entrepreneurial skills to get there…but exactly how became the big question.
“How can I” was not just a question; it was a whole mentality that I learned to practice. Rather than focus on an obstacle, I asked, “How can I get around this to achieve my goals?” When it came to entrepreneurship, this simple question led me to four other key questions: “What do I know? What do I do? What do I love? And how can I monetize it?” I knew that I could sell anything and I’d been teaching various subjects for almost a decade—and I enjoyed doing both.
So I launched a management training company and grew it into a healthy, sustainable business. Eventually, I earned money for college, graduated, and continued on to law school. When you believe that bigger opportunities lie on the other side of big obstacles—and when you have the freedom and support to take calculated risks, to forge your own path—you’ll smash through whatever is in the way and succeed in living your American dream.