She’s been through a lot in her life, but now is taking those experiences and using them to help impact and boost others to lead healthy & successful lives themselves.

Ellie Shefi is the best selling author of multiple books and the creator of the “You Are Not Your Scars” charity movement that provides resources to empower women across the country.

Here in New York she has plans after the pandemic to open up a youth entrepreneur center and continue to use her life experiences as a woman who has survived abuse, domestic violence, homelessness, cancer, and more to motivate others to get through whatever dark times they are facing… which is something most of us New Yorkers have been feeling this past year.

The Levity Ball sat down with Ellie to learn more about her books, programs and her love of NYC!

When did you first discover that you had a passion or “calling” for helping others?

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been 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—abuse, rape, domestic violence, homelessness, cancer, or any of the other challenges that have arisen along the way—has deepened my commitment to providing others with practical, easy-to-implement, results-driven tools and strategies that empower them to get from where they are to where they want to be. So for me, it was never a matter of deciding whether I had a passion or calling for helping others; rather, it was a matter of deciding how I could most powerfully heed my calling, serve the most people, and maximize my impact.

How do you figure out if someone is a good fit or not for your program and mentorship?

For me, it’s about alignment. I want to know a few things about a prospective client: (1) where are you in your journey; (2) where do you want to be (i.e., what are your goals and objectives); and (3) what do you perceive your greatest challenges and obstacles to be? Those three pieces of information actually tell me a lot about whether we’ll be a good fit. I love working with action takers who are truly ready to make progress and get results. They show up, do the work, play full out, and engage. They are driven and determined to break through any blocks and to level-up their business, their message, and their life. They are hungry for change.

What are the main things that people do that lead them to failure from your experience?

First, they give up and quit. Giving up and quitting guarantee that you won’t get what it is that you truly want. Persistence is key. Consistency is key. Adapting and pivoting are key. If you focus on progress (not perfection) and you stay in the game, you have a much higher chance of eventually succeeding.

Second, they self-sabotage. There are so many reasons people self-sabotage—fear, doubt, old habits, lack of confidence, and limiting beliefs. Successful people lean into fear; they lean into doubt; they lean into obstacles and break through them. When you think you can’t, or you want to back away or make excuses for why you shouldn’t do something or why something won’t work, that’s the time to double-down—that’s the time you must lean in and do it!

Third, they become resigned to a situation or complacent with where they are in life and stop innovating, stop progressing. The reality is that everything in nature grows or dies—including us. Resignation and complacency are a slow death—death of hopes, death of dreams, death of vitality.

Tell us about your latest books!

Each of my books serves a different purpose, but all of my books provide practical, easy-to-implement tools, resources, and strategies. If you’re an entrepreneur or budding entrepreneur (or if COVID has forced you to change careers or find supplemental sources of income), then you’ll want to pick up a copy of Unlocking Your Superpower: 8 Steps to Turn Your Existing Knowledge Into Income. I wrote it one month into lockdown when my friends started losing their businesses due to COVID’s industry shutdown restrictions. Unlocking Your Superpower: 8 Steps to Turn Your Existing Knowledge Into Income is a powerful step-by-step playbook that teaches you how to start, pivot, diversify, or scale a knowledge- or service-based business. It’s clear, direct, and designed for you to implement what you’re learning along the way.

The Authorities: Powerful Wisdom from Leaders in the Field, which I co-authored with Les Brown, Bob Proctor, Marci Shimoff, and other industry thought leaders, discusses business, real estate, retirement, estate planning, mindset, and more, so it’s great for a broader macro view.

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). Sisters Rising is the choice if you’re looking to learn from, and be inspired by, a powerhouse group of female entrepreneurs.

COVID-19 has hit us New Yorkers hard since the start. What advice would you give to those struggling during these times?

First and foremost, remember your why and remain in alignment with your passion, purpose, mission, and vision. 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 possibility and either find a solution or create a solution.

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 help fuel you to continue making progress.

Find your tribe! 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! Remember that your voice matters, your message matters, your life matters, and you matter!

What is the average cost of your services?

My masterclasses and workshops typically range from $297–$497, while my longer programs typically range from $4,997–$9,997.

Have you seen an uptick in new people enrolling in your services since COVID-19 hit?

Absolutely! Now more than ever people want simple, practical, results-driven tools and strategies that are easy to implement. People are tired of the hype and want efficient and targeted solutions that can help them. That’s my superpower! Within minutes of hopping on a call with you and finding out where you are, where you want to be, and what you perceive your biggest challenges or obstacles to be, I can identify the gaps and derive an immediately implementable plan to close them. That’s the number 1 reason why people call me—they’re stuck or struggling and need a path forward. And not some “sound-good in theory” nonsense…an actionable plan that gets results. No BS. No fluff. Just results. That’s what I do. That’s why people are flocking to me.

Switching things up, when you come to New York yourself, what are your favorite things to do personally?

For me, New York represents art, music, theater, food, and culture, so when I come to New York, I see shows both on and off Broadway; go to MoMA; take in an Alvin Ailey or Ailey II performance; enjoy some jazz at Lincoln Center, Village Vanguard, Birdland, or Blue Note; and take a culinary trip around the world as I eat my way through the city! I also like to check out and support up and coming artists, musicians, and designers.

We heard you are planning within the next five years to open a youth entrepreneur center in Harlem… tell us more about your idea for this!

Yes! I’m so excited! Harlem is an important historic and cultural center that, despite its rich history, remains underserved. My nonprofit, Made 2 Change the World™ Foundation, equips youth in underserved areas with the knowledge, skills, training, and mentorship they need to envision, plan, start, and sustain local businesses, so that they can help communities rise from within.

Because of COVID restrictions, we will first launch our youth entrepreneur program online, but as soon as practicable, we will begin opening physical youth centers across the US—Harlem being one of the first! These centers will be the hub of a powerful network of entrepreneurs who will provide training, mentorship, and internship opportunities to the local youth in the program. By fostering passion, drive, and business acumen in young minds, Made 2 Change the World™ Foundation can help the next generation create, nurture, and seize opportunities they might never have considered.

Made 2 Change the World™ Foundation, can be a conduit for real change and development—a grassroots ripple effect that begins with high school students and spreads to their families, their communities, and beyond. I can’t wait until the centers can open! Harlem, here we come!

And final question: What do you want to be remembered for overall when people look back at you and your impact on this world?

I’m on a mission to impact at least 10 million lives. My ultimate goal is to be a catalyst for change who, each and every day, empowers, inspires, and equips you to find your voice, tell your story, stand in your power, and use your business, your life, and your resources as a force for good. I want to be remembered as someone who changed the world.