[00:00:00] Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for tuning into the Drive On Podcast where we’re focused on giving hope and strength to the entire military community. Whether you’re a veteran active duty guard reserve or family member, this podcast will share inspirational stories and resources that are useful to you. I’m your host, Scott DeLuzio.
[00:00:18] Scott DeLuzio: And now let’s get on with the show.
[00:00:21] Scott DeLuzio: Hey everybody welcome back to the Drive On Podcast. Today, my guest is Ellie Shefi. Ellie has spent the last 20 years defying doctor’s death deadlines and has overcome a lifetime of adversity, including abuse, domestic violence, homelessness, cancer, and more. She’s the host of the, you are not your scars podcast and creating an impervious mind YouTube series.
[00:00:49] Scott DeLuzio: She’s here to help military family members hold down the home front while their spouses are deployed by providing some easy to implement tools for resiliency and self care. [00:01:00] So welcome to the show, Ellie. I’m really glad to have.
[00:01:02] Ellie Shefi: Thank you so much for having me. It’s a joy to be here. Yeah,
[00:01:06] Scott DeLuzio: absolutely. So for the listeners who may not be familiar with you and your background, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and get the ball rolling with a quick intro there.
[00:01:15] Scott DeLuzio: Good. So
[00:01:16] Ellie Shefi: today I’m known as the staff attorney to a federal judge and the Dean of a law school and the former Dean of the school of criminology and criminal justice. And then number one, international best-selling author and speaker and mentor and coach and media host and philanthropist and all the things.
[00:01:34] Ellie Shefi: And it hasn’t always been that way. So you referenced to us some of the things, I’m an abuse survivor, a rape survivor, a domestic violence survivor. Who’s actually lived in hiding. I’ve been homeless. I’ve lived in my car. I’ve beaten food restaurants for throwing away. At the end of the night, I am a cancer survivor and a medical miracle who they’ve been saying, you’ll be dead by since they first said I’d [00:02:00] be dead by Christmas of 2000.
[00:02:01] Ellie Shefi: And I’ve continued to hear that pretty regularly ever since. And even through my cancer journey in 2019. So when people hear the two ends of the spectrum, the first question is, wait, what, how did that happen? And so I love to be able to share with people who have also experienced trauma or who are dealing with really, really difficult situations, some of those things that I’ve used that I have found to be really effective.
[00:02:33] Ellie Shefi: In navigating that journey from all of those different things, to all of the different accolades.
[00:02:41] Scott DeLuzio: And somehow you managed to squeeze time in to sit down with us today with all of those other things that you have going on, which I really appreciate. But you’re right when you have.
[00:02:55] Scott DeLuzio: The successes that you have now, they all these titles, all the things that you have going on [00:03:00] right now very often people will look at the end result and look at this person, yourself, or other people who appear to be one of these maybe overnight successes or one of these people who just, oh, this person has it all together.
[00:03:14] Scott DeLuzio: They have it all made. They ha they’re so lucky in how they are living their lives, but. When you start peeling back the onion or moving back the curtain and looking to see what they’ve actually gone through to get to where they are today. You start to see a different picture and you start to see that, maybe it’s not all rainbows and unicorns and it’s not all.
[00:03:39] Scott DeLuzio: Happiness and enjoy it. Sometimes there’s a lot of suffering that goes on in order to get to where you’re at. And when you look at people like the military families when sometimes when people retire from the military, there they are Given these big elaborate ceremonies and things like that, they have all these [00:04:00] awards that they’ve received throughout their career.
[00:04:02] Scott DeLuzio: And it’s like, oh wow. This person must have it. I have it all going for them. Right. And they get out into the civilian world and. Nothing could be further from the truth because they feel like they’re lost and they don’t know where to go. Their families might seem like they’re lost because without that community of other military families around they might feel lost as well.
[00:04:23] Scott DeLuzio: So, for these people who are transitioning out of the military, who or even are still in the military who are looking for a way to push through some of these tough times whatever it may be that they’ve been dealing with, it could be deployments, injuries, or deaths moving from one place to another dozens of other things.
[00:04:43] Scott DeLuzio: I’m sure. What are some of the tools that can help them build the resiliency needed to get through all of that? Yeah,
[00:04:50] Ellie Shefi: there are several, but one you’ve already touched on. And so I just want to bring it to the forefront. And that is the importance of community when you are. [00:05:00] In the midst of it, the big it, right?
[00:05:03] Ellie Shefi: Whatever the walls are, caving in it’s chaos, the dark clouds are coming. You’re in a new situation. There’s uncertainty, there’s fear, there’s anxiety. Any of those things, it is so important to get into a community that can help you. And that’s the distinction it’s not get into. Proximity with other pity party people that are going through the exact same thing, cause y’all are just going to pull each other down and.
[00:05:34] Ellie Shefi: So it’s super, super important to get into a community of people who are further along in the journey than you, people who have navigated to the other side. So if you are relocating to a new base. Into whatever group you can find of people who have lived in that [00:06:00] community for six months or a year, people who have now started to settle in because those are the people that are going to say, oh, I got.
[00:06:08] Ellie Shefi: You want to call this person? This is the realtor you want. This is, oh, this bank is amazing. Oh, this church is great. Oh, you want to shop over here? Oh, you need a nail salon. You need a hair salon. Well, here’s a great one there. They’re going to embrace you. And they’re going to help you embed yourself with more ease.
[00:06:31] Ellie Shefi: They’re going to introduce you to people. They’re going to help you with the resources. Whereas if. Stick with the your community, your cohort of other people who have just been transferred to that particular location, they can’t help you. They haven’t navigated it yet. So often we call up our girlfriends.
[00:06:51] Ellie Shefi: We, call up other people who are in the same situation we are. And then we have [00:07:00] a gap test where we’re. Wallowing and talking about how hard it is and all the things that might feel good. But nobody in there is further along in the journey to say here, take my hand, let me pull you to the other side.
[00:07:16] Ellie Shefi: Let me help you navigate. So community is absolutely important, but the right community, the community of people who have already navigated whatever the situation is that you are navigating, they have to have been on the other side. And then once you’re in proximity to them, listen last for help. Speak up, ask them for suggestions, ask them to introduce you to people.
[00:07:46] Ellie Shefi: They can’t read your mind. So it’s so important. We are trained so often to not ask for help, to not ask for support, to not. To not ask for what we need or [00:08:00] then receive the help that someone is giving us. And so it’s a muscle and a practice. It’s not just an, a, it is a muscle that you can develop that is free and available to everyone.
[00:08:13] Ellie Shefi: So one thing that I like to encourage my clients to do is to get into the practice of asking for something one time. Whether that is, Hey, can you grab that cup for me? It doesn’t have to be major. Hey ask your child. Hey, can you pick up that toy? It’s just developing the habit of giving yourself permission to ask for help to ask for what you need.
[00:08:42] Ellie Shefi: And then it’s giving you the preface of receiving that. Okay. And so that’s step one that is free and available to everyone. The second most important thing that I love to share with people [00:09:00] is this magic little tool that we all have of learning to control the language that we use, the meaningly ascribed, the things, and the perspective that we.
[00:09:14] Ellie Shefi: And then sealing that in with a practice of gratitude. So an easy example of that is so often we say, oh my God, I have to do this thing. I have to do this and I have to do this and I have to do this and I have to do this. And when you frame things, if I have to say, let me just back up a second words, have.
[00:09:35] Ellie Shefi: And they, the words that we use create physiological responses, biochemical responses in our body. And so a good example of that is if someone says, Hey, how are you today? And you say, oh, I’m so tired. And oh my God, I have all these things to do. And the kids didn’t sleep last night and you go down the rabbit hole of all these things.
[00:09:59] Ellie Shefi: If you tune in, [00:10:00] you’ll notice that your heart rate elevates. You’re breathing gets more shallow. There is a weight on your chest. You start to feel more overwhelmed and anxious. You start to feel like there’s absolutely no way you’re going to get everything done. Those that those feelings, those responses are triggered by the biochemical reactions that happen.
[00:10:28] Ellie Shefi: The physiological changes that happen as a result of the words that we use. So if we reframe things for. I have to do these things. Do I get to do these things? I get to clean the house today. How amazing is it going to be? When I can see that floor, when I’m not stepping over piles of things, like that’s a different biochemical reaction, you’ll notice a different physiological response.
[00:10:55] Ellie Shefi: So one of the most important. That we can do is watch the [00:11:00] language that we use and choose empowering language. Again, that’s free. That’s available to everyone. Start with reframing for my half to two. I get two and see the difference. Just start there.
[00:11:18] Scott DeLuzio: Oh yeah, that actually sounds like a big shift.
[00:11:22] Scott DeLuzio: Like it’s a small change. Like just the words that you’re using. Slightly different, but it’s a big shift in the mindset that you have there. Right. And I’m thinking of all these different scenarios where it’s I have to versus I get to right. So, I have to be home. The kids while my spouse is deployed, versus I get to spend more time with my kids now that you know, it’s just me and the kids.
[00:11:49] Scott DeLuzio: Right. But that’s a different mindset altogether. Right.
[00:11:53] Ellie Shefi: It’s a totally different mindset and it’s a different perspective. So when you say I get to be home with the [00:12:00] kids, don’t you think your spouse who’s deployed would give anything to be home with the kids. Right. So shifting that the language. And then piggybacking that with assigning an empowering meaning behind it and sealing it with gratitude and having that empowering perspective, because all of those things that you’re feeling like I have to.
[00:12:25] Ellie Shefi: Somebody else would give anything to be able to do that. So when you’re holding down the home front and feeling completely overwhelmed and buried, and like you have to do all these things and there’s no time for you and you just want to take a nap and you want five minutes to use the bathroom by yourself, without kids, pulling at you in 10 minutes, like hearing, I totally get you.
[00:12:51] Ellie Shefi: And. How amazing that you get to be home, how amazing that you get to not, I miss a [00:13:00] moment with your children because your spouse would give anything to be there for the first steps or the first tooth that broke through, or the first cold, or. The first home run, at little league, all of these things that they’re missing, that they would give anything to be there for how amazing that you get to experience that and how grateful.
[00:13:27] Scott DeLuzio: Right. Absolutely. I know for myself I was deployed just maybe about two months or so after my my first son was born. And so all of those firsts that you just mentioned, the, those first little things, the first tooth breaking through and all that kind of stuff I wasn’t around for, I was in Afghanistan and I.
[00:13:47] Scott DeLuzio: Got to see pictures when my wife would send me pictures every so often. And it was nice to be able to have the ability to get the pictures. I can imagine people who were in the same situation back in world war one or something [00:14:00] like that they didn’t have that opportunity.
[00:14:01] Scott DeLuzio: So, I feel very fortunate that I at least had the opportunity to. Get to see those things through pictures in well, not real time, but very shortly thereafter through email and that type of thing. So, I was fortunate in that respect, but you’re right. I would’ve given anything to be there. My son as he was going through all of these first and yeah, sure.
[00:14:24] Scott DeLuzio: It’s hard raising a kid. I like everyone. Who’s a parent gets that there’s those sleepless nights in the first few months there’s all the diaper changes. There’s all the late night feedings. There’s all that kind of stuff. You have to do, but at the same respect, you get to do those things, but you get to have that bonding time with your child and you get to experience all of that stuff.
[00:14:48] Scott DeLuzio: And when I came back It felt like I was almost a stranger because the whole dynamic in my house had shifted where now my wife was where before it was like her and [00:15:00] I, and we were talking together and we were doing things together, planning things together. And then now it’s all of a sudden, there’s this other person in our house.
[00:15:08] Scott DeLuzio: And so I missed out on that whole transition and it felt like. Almost like I was a stranger in my own home when I came back. And so, yeah, I would’ve given just about anything to be there for all those moments, right?
[00:15:21] Ellie Shefi: Yeah. Yeah. So always keeping that, that perspective.
[00:15:25] Ellie Shefi: Right. And with pain, I know. I personally don’t remember what it feels like to live in a body without daily pain. I’ve had 13 major surgeries in the last 15 years, and I know so many of you have there can relate and I’ll share with you. We talked earlier how I’ve been hearing you’ll be dead by since 2000.
[00:15:49] Ellie Shefi: And so I have spent a good bit of the last 20 years in various hospitals for various lengths of time. And there was [00:16:00] one time in 2000. Eight. I think it was when I was at Vanderbilt medical center in Nashville. Again, I knew everybody in the ER, the first floor, the second floor, the fourth floor and the seventh floor and the ninth floor by name.
[00:16:16] Ellie Shefi: That is not a situation that you want where they all know you by name. But I was there yet again for an extended period. And it was the day that I gave up. And by that point, I’d already had a bunch of surgeries and I’d already been fighting for my life for almost a decade. And I had just laid in bed and looked up at the ceiling and had a conversation with God and said, okay, you win.
[00:16:43] Ellie Shefi: I’m done. I’m done. Like, I don’t have any more fight in me just taking. I’m good. You win I’m out no more. And it was one of the few times where I actually had reached that point where I just was [00:17:00] done. And it’s like, be careful what you wish for, right? Because the universe will always say, you really want that.
[00:17:06] Ellie Shefi: So. No sooner did I have that conversation? Then the Porter came in to get me to take me to some other godawful tests. And he came in and he put me in the wheelchair because I couldn’t walk at that point. And he wheeled me that way at that time through a different route than he’d ever taken to the wing where they do all the yucky tests and.
[00:17:33] Ellie Shefi: On this day, he wheeled me down the part of the ICU, where everyone was either paralyzed from the neck down and on a ventilator or in a coma and on a ventilator. And as I looked into room after room after room of all of these people, either paralyzed or in a coma, but all on ventilators, this [00:18:00] wave came over me.
[00:18:04] Ellie Shefi: Oh my God. Thank you God, for my pain. Thank you God that I can feel this excruciating pain in every cell of my body, because what any of those people would give to feel pain traveling around their body. Because those people that are paralyzed from the neck down will never again feel pain through their body.
[00:18:26] Ellie Shefi: They w they thank God that I had synopses that were firing and systems that were connected and nerves that were able to feel the pain in my hands and my feet and my toes, traveling around my body because these people that were paralyzed, we’re never gonna get to feel that. These people that were in a coma and we’re probably not going to come out of it would never get to feel that again.
[00:18:51] Ellie Shefi: And with any of them would give to trade places with. To have the functioning systems.
[00:18:59] Scott DeLuzio: [00:19:00] And there’s a flip side to what you’re saying there. Those people who can never feel pain, most people who hear that, it’s like, well, that’s good. You don’t feel pain. Right. But the flip side to that is I also don’t ever feel pleasure in order to feel one, you have to be able to feel the other.
[00:19:15] Scott DeLuzio: And so, pain. Tells you, when something is wrong, it’s pain tells you when something isn’t quite right, but. Pleasure tells you when things are good. And when things, when you’re happy, when you’re, think all those pleasurable moments that you’ve ever had in your life from, just a, maybe it’s a romantic pleasure that you’re feeling or.
[00:19:36] Scott DeLuzio: The feeling that you get after eating a really good meal or, something just watching a sunset or something, those pleasurable experiences, those people most likely unless they had some miraculous recovery, they most likely are not going to experience any of those things again.
[00:19:52] Scott DeLuzio: While you’re watching that sunset, you could also get bit by a, bug or something on the beach or whatever, but. [00:20:00] But you still have the ability to experience both ends of the spectrum. And that’s the I get to right and it’s
[00:20:08] Ellie Shefi: all about perspective, right? So my perspective completely shifted in when I was being wheeled down, the, those hallways at Vanderbilt, it completely shifted from this pity party.
[00:20:23] Ellie Shefi: Oh my God. I’m in so much pain. Make it stop. Thank God for pain. Thank God that I can feel these things and receive these messages that something is off that something needs attention. That something is not right. How amazing and what a blessing and what a gift that I get to feel these things, because look at all these other people.
[00:20:49] Ellie Shefi: They don’t get to, they don’t have that opportunity. And so it really is about shifting your perspective. So again, these are things that. [00:21:00] It’s a practice. It is a practice. It is a skill that you can develop. So it’s free and it’s available to everyone and it’s not just magically poof going to happen. It is a daily practice and some days you’re gonna nail it.
[00:21:15] Ellie Shefi: And other days you’re gonna muck it all up or forget to do it entirely. And then you remind yourself and you shift it and you keep it. But it’s a muscle it’s like going to the gym. It’s something you can develop. You can develop to use empowering language. You can develop the skill to, to consciously choose empowering meanings and you can develop the skill to.
[00:21:39] Ellie Shefi: To focus on gratitude and that is not sunshine and rainbows and unicorns is learning to control your focus because we’re focus goes energy flows. And we’ve seen that with there’s a saying, or there’s a little game that if you’re in a room and I tell [00:22:00] you, all right, look around and find everything that’s right.
[00:22:04] Ellie Shefi: And you look around the room and you’re looking intentionally focused on finding everything that’s right. And then when you come back and I say, okay, what was blue? You can’t tell me. Right. But there was a bunch of blue things in the room and they were there and yo looked around the room, but you didn’t see the blue because I asked you to focus on the red.
[00:22:29] Ellie Shefi: So what’s wrong is always available, right? That’s the red let’s imagine that’s the right, but what’s right. And what’s good is always available as well. Let’s imagine that. So what you focus on, you’re going to find, so none of this changes the reality of the situation, right? The reality for me was I was in the hospital.
[00:22:51] Ellie Shefi: The reality for me is I was in excruciating pain. The reality for me is on, I was at a wheelchair going to these yucky tests. [00:23:00] That’s the reality that doesn’t change. But my perspective on it changes my experience of it changing. Right. So it’s training ourselves. Stuff’s going to happen. Life’s going to happen.
[00:23:16] Ellie Shefi: There’s going to be deployments. There’s going to be reassignments where you’re going to have to move. There’s going to be COVID, there’s going to be this. There’s going to be that the world is going to happen. And you can’t control the external, you can’t control that stuff.
[00:23:30] Ellie Shefi: It’s going to happen, whether you want it to or not. But what you can do is focus on the controllables, focus on the things that you can control, which are your thoughts, your feelings, your emotions, your perspectives the language that you use and the, whether you live in gratitude or whether you live in anger.
[00:23:52] Ellie Shefi: Whether you empower yourself with what is one thing I can do right now, [00:24:00] we get to choose that we get to control the controllables. And when you focus on the fact that you can control the control. And you start to train yourself to focus on the good, to find the lesson, to find the blessing, to, to live in gratitude, to control the language and choose empowering thoughts and meanings and perspectives and all the things.
[00:24:27] Ellie Shefi: When you train yourself to do that, number one, you realize that you’re always in control of the. So you stopped feeling like, oh my God, I have no control over anything. And you take your power back. You take your power back. And from that state that empowered, aligned in control state, you can operate with less anxiety, less overwhelm, more joy, [00:25:00] greater ease, and more peace.
[00:25:04] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And all of that. Makes a ton of sense. It’s hard in the moment when you’re going through that difficult situation, whatever it is, you can, it could be an illness, it could be a move, it could be a deployment, it could be whatever it is that you’re going through. W it’s difficult to focus on anything, but what’s wrong.
[00:25:25] Scott DeLuzio: And a lot of times the things that are wrong or the things that you can’t control, right? Like for, in your case, you had cancer. That’s just a fact, it’s something that is there and you can dwell on the fact that you had cancer and that. It’s causing all these problems inside view, not to get into your personal medical history or anything like that.
[00:25:47] Scott DeLuzio: But generally cancer does cause some havoc inside of people’s bodies. But you can focus on the things that you can do. Okay. Now I need to go to the doctor. I need to do the things that the doctors [00:26:00] recommend and follow through whether it’s changing the diet or going through the treatments and or the surgeries or whatever it is that you need to do.
[00:26:07] Scott DeLuzio: Okay. Now that’s what you’re focused on. Focus on those things that you can change. And you’re right. When you focus on. Like the right objects in the room. It’s kind of funny that you mentioned red objects cause I’m using a red pen right now. And so I was like, okay, cool. I found one, and but I didn’t even notice that there’s a little light on the camera that I’m using right now that has a blue light right next to it.
[00:26:30] Scott DeLuzio: And I, because I was focused on the red pen that was in my hand. I didn’t even notice the blue light, even though it’s right from my face. But at the same thing I noticed a couple months ago, my family got a new car and we were driving around one day with the kids in the car. And one of my kids mentioned that they started noticing a whole lot more of that car, that model car while we were driving around.
[00:26:54] Scott DeLuzio: Now, whether we bought that car or not, There were going to be those same cars [00:27:00] on the road. Our purchase had no influence on those other people buying that same car, or even going out and running errands that day or whatever it was that they were doing. But again, because that’s on top of their mind, it’s that new thing there, they’re focused on it.
[00:27:15] Scott DeLuzio: Boom. They automatically see a whole lot more of those cars and there’s tons of examples like that. It could be, a vehicle like that, or it could be, clothing that people are wearing that, that new thing that’s in style or whatever. It just, all those sorts of things. You start to notice more when it’s top of mind, you notice it.
[00:27:32] Scott DeLuzio: Maybe if you stop focusing on that negative thing, that the red thing, in your example, start focusing on the blue thing. But the thing that is positive, right? Try to find the positive in the situations that makes a ton of sense. It’s hard to do, but it makes a ton of sense that that will shift your mindset from that pity party mindset to a more positive and uplifting mindset.
[00:27:56] Scott DeLuzio: Kind of like what you were talking about when you were in the house. Yeah,
[00:27:59] Ellie Shefi: [00:28:00] absolutely. And here’s the most amazing thing. Well, two most amazing things. One it’s a practice. So it is hard at first, but it’s something you train yourself to do. And if you look at it as a training regimen, no different than you’re going to the gym, no different than you want to run faster.
[00:28:18] Ellie Shefi: So you get out there and you hit the track every day. No different than. If you want to hit that baseball or get better on your golf game, it’s a practice. And at first it’s hard and bit by bit by bit, it gets easier. It gets faster, it becomes more ingrained until one day. It’s just who you are. And it becomes your natural operating system that it becomes how you act, but then it doesn’t start that way.
[00:28:49] Ellie Shefi: So I’m a huge fan of the sticky note. I trained myself through sticky notes because again, we’re not wired this way. Our [00:29:00] brain is wired. It is a thousands of years old brain wired for survival. So our brain is naturally wired to be hypervigilant, to be on high alert, to look for the big, bad bear that’s going to eat you, to look for the danger.
[00:29:16] Ellie Shefi: That’s how our brain is wired and it is wired that way so that, back in the day, you didn’t just walk into that lions then get eaten. And that was the end of that. So we are reprogramming our brains. And for people that are like, yeah, you can’t do that. Actually you can. There’s neuro things called neural pathways.
[00:29:40] Ellie Shefi: And I want you to envision those as like information, super highways. So our survival brain is say highway 10 and you want to create highway 40. And the way that you create those new neural [00:30:00] pathways is through the repetition is through reprogramming yourself. And what’ll happen if you envision it, like you’ve got a grass, a plot of grass and you have your lawn mower.
[00:30:12] Ellie Shefi: And every day for years you have. You have mowed a strip of grass on the left side, and now you’re like, oh wait, the right side is completely overgrown. Maybe I should start mowing that the right side of the grass. And so slowly you start mowing the right side of the grass and the more you mow the right side of the grass, you let the left side close back up.
[00:30:37] Ellie Shefi: Right? You let it, you let the grass grow on the left side until there’s no longer a pet. That’s what it’s like when you’re rewiring your brain, when you’re creating the new neural pathways. So you do that through the daily practice and I use the sticky. I left myself reminders of the affirmations of the things I wanted to [00:31:00] focus on of my gratitude practice.
[00:31:02] Ellie Shefi: I am so happy and grateful now that I have synapses that fire and nerves that are connected and messages, they can travel around my body. I am so happy and grateful now that my body absorbs the nutrients from my food. I am so happy and grateful now that my systems are hydrated. Through and through the absorption of this water that I’m drinking.
[00:31:26] Ellie Shefi: I literally wrote them down on sticky notes and I put them on the computer screen. I put them on the refrigerator. I stuck them on the cabinet, above the coffee pot. I put them on the card dashboard. I put them in every purse that I had. I literally put the sticky. Everywhere. I put them on the bathroom mirror and I got into the habit of okay.
[00:31:53] Ellie Shefi: When I went into the bathroom and I was washing my hands when I was washing my hands, I was speaking out [00:32:00] loud. The. The sayings that I’d written on the sticky notes and put on the mirror. Now, why is it important to speak it out loud? Because then you are involving all your senses, which is a different physiological reaction.
[00:32:13] Ellie Shefi: So my mouth is actually moving that. That’s kinesthetic, like it’s getting the physiology involved, I’m speaking it so that I’m also hearing it. So it’s auditory. So I’ve got multiple senses involved that helps rewire faster and to shortcut for. Creating new neuropathways. So I’m not just reading it on the piece of paper.
[00:32:39] Ellie Shefi: I’m reading it with my eyes. I’m speaking it with my mouth. I’m hearing it with my ears. So I develop that practice at every single red light. I would speak the ones that I had stuck on the car dashboard. When the coffee was making and dripping, I spoke the ones that I put on the cabinet [00:33:00] above the. Coffee machine.
[00:33:02] Ellie Shefi: So I created a system that was easy to implement. It didn’t take any extra time. I was waiting at the red light, no matter what I was waiting for the coffee to ruin, no matter what I was washing my hands, no matter what. So it was very easy for me to see it. Remember it, do it. Didn’t take extra time. Didn’t take any extra effort.
[00:33:25] Ellie Shefi: So in creating those systems with the sticky note I was able to then make it a habit and a practice that then became ingrained. And I get it long enough that now I don’t need sticky notes. It’s just who I am and how I operate. So that is super, super important. The sticky note, and remembering that it’s a practice that you can do, you can train yourself and develop the muscle.
[00:33:53] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. And there’s a book I read a while back called atomic habits. And it’s about making these small [00:34:00] changes in your life. That’s where the atomic part of the title comes in. It’s these small, like microscopical most changes that you make in your life. Eventually they lead to big results.
[00:34:10] Scott DeLuzio: And so, you might make this small change today and then you practice that small change. And then you add some once in that becomes a habit. You add this other small change to it, and then you keep going and you keep adding these small changes, as opposed to doing this wholesale change in your life with changing every aspect of everything.
[00:34:29] Scott DeLuzio: It’s not sustainable. You’re not going to do that. But as you change these individual little small things, You work yourself towards getting that just maybe 1% better each day at whatever it is that you’re trying to do. And over time, those things add up to big results and they really change. A lot of the things that you’re doing.
[00:34:50] Scott DeLuzio: So whether it’s replacing a bad habit like smoking or other negative things that you might have going on in your life, you replace that with something [00:35:00] that’s positive and you do that. Maybe it’s not like you completely stopped smoking today. You maybe go from having a pack of cigarettes a day down to Three quarters of a pack, but you replace that extra quarter with something else that’s positive and healthy.
[00:35:17] Scott DeLuzio: And then as over time you move it down to next to nothing, right. And then eventually you phase it all out. But that same thing with your thoughts if you’re wired towards. That pity party, negative thinking just constantly worried and anxious and upset about every little thing that’s going on in your life.
[00:35:36] Scott DeLuzio: Okay. Well, let’s change that one time that you’re thinking about this to something that’s positive and have that gratitude that you’re able to do certain things. Okay. Replace that one one time. Throughout the day, maybe change it to two times and three times eventually. And then over time, you start to just, like you said, that just becomes your normal [00:36:00] operating procedures.
[00:36:01] Scott DeLuzio: Like that’s just becomes who you are. And so you’re not looking to wholesale change everything all at once because that could be a somewhat unsustainable approach to it, depending on where you’re at in this whole process. But. Taking the small steps. Eventually we’ll help you to get to a more sustainable healthier thinking, healthier attitude and a overall better lifestyle.
[00:36:28] Ellie Shefi: Yeah, I think here’s three first steps. So three things I would love to see every single person listening to do number one, employee, the sticky note method. So I want you to write out some sticky notes of things that you need to hear. So ladies, I am beautiful. I am powerful. I am worthy. I am loved. I am loving.
[00:36:55] Ellie Shefi: I am safe. I am protected. I am [00:37:00] unstoppable. I am present. I’m a great mom. I’m a great partner, whatever it is that you need to here, pull out a pack of sticky notes and start writing them down. Put them around your whole. But then where in places where you spend time, the bathroom, the nightstand, the kitchen, your computer, the car, then I want you to put reminders.
[00:37:31] Ellie Shefi: Ladies. I love no is a complete sentence. That is such an important reminder for us, because so often we don’t like to say, no, we don’t like to stand in our power. We don’t like to hold our boundaries or we say no. And then someone thinks that that’s an invitation to negotiate or an invitation to try to convince you to do or think or feel otherwise.
[00:37:57] Ellie Shefi: No, as a complete sentence, empower yourself. [00:38:00] So, whatever it is that you need, if you need to write down your priorities, if you need to write down your boundaries, use the sticky notes, anything that you need to reminder for yourself about put on the sticky notes, write on the sticky notes, things that you’re grateful for.
[00:38:18] Ellie Shefi: Right. I am so happy and grateful that I have a bed to sleep in because I promise you there’s lots of people around the world that don’t, I am so happy and grateful. Now that I have air conditioning. I’m so happy and grateful. Now that I have running water. I’m so happy and grateful. Now that I have hot water, I’m so happy and grateful that I have a refrigerator that has something to eat in it.
[00:38:42] Ellie Shefi: I’m so happy and grateful that I have healthy children. I am so happy and grateful that. I have a car I’m so happy and grateful that I get to spend time with my children today. I’m so happy and grateful that I get to take my children to school, whatever. Just [00:39:00] literally start. I mean, fill up those sticky pads, ladies and gentlemen, let’s empower yourself.
[00:39:07] Ellie Shefi: And put these sticky notes everywhere. And then every single day, when you’re in that room where you see the sticky notes, speak it out loud, that’s all you have to do. I promise you if you do that for 30 days straight. Notice how you feel, notice those subtle shifts that are happening in the language that you’re using and how you’re feeling and the physiological responses that you’re getting in your overall state.
[00:39:40] Ellie Shefi: If eat, you do that for 30 days, you’ll notice you’re not as anxious. You’re not as overwhelmed. You’re more at peace. You’ve got more presence, more joy. So use the sticky notes. It’s free. You got nothing to lose. [00:40:00] Write out the sticky notes, stick them everywhere. Say the things out loud. Super important. Do that.
[00:40:09] Ellie Shefi: Another thing that you can do if you’re just getting started. Is create a gratitude practice. And so I want you to start every morning. And again, you can write this on a sticky note and put it on your nightstand. Do whatever you need to do to remind yourself when you wake up, the first words I want you to say, do not reach for your phone.
[00:40:33] Ellie Shefi: Do not like nothing. Your eyes open. Hmm. Today is an amazing day or today is the best day of my life again. Or thank you God, for this glorious day. Some thought word affirmation about how amazing the day is you set your intention for the day. The next thought [00:41:00] that should come out of your mouth is how can I serve today?
[00:41:07] Ellie Shefi: When you start the day from the framework of service and being of service and helping someone else, it shifts again, these are physiological shifts that happen when you’re coming from a place of service you’re outside yourself. So those are two really important morning. Practices first thought is something gratitude and today’s an awesome day.
[00:41:36] Ellie Shefi: Today’s going to be the best day of my life again. Second now, who can I serve today? Who can I help today before you even get out of the bed, do those things at the end of every night, when you are back, when you’re in bed, before you go to sleep list, at least three things that you’re grateful. [00:42:00] And at least three wins for the day and sometimes finding those wins, especially when you’re getting started.
[00:42:07] Ellie Shefi: So again, I feel like what, I didn’t do anything today or I didn’t have any wins today. Yes, you did. Did you get through the day? And your kids are still alive. Amazing. It’s a, when did you get through the day and your house? Didn’t burn down amazing. It’s a, when did you take a shower today? It’s a win. And so you’re training yourself at the end of the night to focus on that progress that you made, the successes that you had, the wins that you had, the things you accomplished and you are sealing that is.
[00:42:44] Ellie Shefi: In gratitude and those three things, the sticky notes, the morning of gratitude and setting the tone for it’s going to be an amazing day and who can you help? And how can you serve and [00:43:00] sealing the day at the end of the night with your wins and gratitude, those three things will change the quality of your life.
[00:43:10] Ellie Shefi: And you got nothing to lose to try it for 30 days. See, look at it as a game. Look at us as a challenge, but notice the difference of where you are the days versus where you’re starting.
[00:43:24] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. I like how you just put that as think of it as a challenge or a game, because I know for me, when I have something where.
[00:43:35] Scott DeLuzio: It’s like, I need to do this thing every day. If I’m not keeping track of it, I don’t see the progress. Whether it’s checking off a day on a calendar or just seeing the increment of numbers of how many times I’ve done something. I tend to do. Not do it. I might do it once or twice, three times maybe.
[00:43:56] Scott DeLuzio: And then I just, if I don’t do it today, that’s fine. But [00:44:00] when I start seeing that, that number incrementing or the box is getting checked off the calendar or whatever, it’s like, I’m not going to miss that day. There’s no way I’m going to have this calendar of 30 days with one. Blank box in the middle with everything else with a big X through it or something like that, just indicating there’s no way I’m going to allow that to happen.
[00:44:22] Scott DeLuzio: I started a few years ago doing learning a new language, using an app called duo lingo and every day. That you do a lesson, it gives you an extra day in your streak that you do it. Right. And I’m over a thousand days now, but I’ve done this. I have not, like when I say there’s some sort of thing in my mind, it’s like, I will not miss it.
[00:44:43] Scott DeLuzio: And I’ve done it while I was sick with COVID. I did it while I was taking care of like sick family and other things like that. I did it when I was. Completely dead tired. It didn’t matter. I am going to do it. This morning I woke up [00:45:00] really early. It was like two or three in the morning. There was just a sound that went on outside and woke me up.
[00:45:07] Scott DeLuzio: And I was like, you know what, I’m just going to knock this up right now. And I’m just going to get it done. So I don’t have to worry about it for the rest of the night, but that number increased. And I’m always going to do it. So making it into a game or some sort of keeping track of it, like that. Yep.
[00:45:21] Scott DeLuzio: Totally makes sense. That’s just a way to, to force yourself into doing this type of habit. And I really like how you put that, because that totally works for me. As soon as I start doing something after like the first day or two, it’s no way I am going to let. That streak end. I’m going to keep it going and you
[00:45:42] Ellie Shefi: can reward yourself, right?
[00:45:44] Ellie Shefi: If you do it as like you can say, okay. When I do it every day, this week, then like I’m taking myself to the movies. I’m getting a manicure. I’m going to my favorite restaurant. I’m getting ice cream, whatever it is, make it a [00:46:00] game, make it fun. This is something for you. It’s something that. That you get to do to completely shift the quality of your life.
[00:46:09] Ellie Shefi: So we’re worried yourself make it fun,
[00:46:12] Scott DeLuzio: right? Absolutely. Before we wrap up here I don’t want to go too long on this episode, but. At the beginning, I mentioned your podcast and the YouTube series. And we talked a little bit about your books and things like that. Could you tell us a little bit about those what they are.
[00:46:29] Scott DeLuzio: Who the target audiences are and where people can find all of them. That would be wonderful.
[00:46:34] Ellie Shefi: Absolutely. So I have a television show called the free by design. It is on nine different networks across the country. So it’s on Amazon fire. It’s on apple TV, it’s on Roku and it’s on all these different networks.
[00:46:50] Ellie Shefi: So. because you guys are all over the world. The easiest place to find it is you can go to free by design [00:47:00] tv.com. That’s where I put all the episodes on a site. So that’s easy, easiest place free by design tv.com free by design interviews, experts on different ways to deliver. That you love a life that is free by design.
[00:47:18] Ellie Shefi: I also have the podcast. You are not your scars, that’s on apple and apple podcasts and Spotify, and all the streaming places as well. And you are not your scars interviews incredible people who have navigated challenges in their life who have come out on the other side. And you are not, your scars is really a place to be empowered by additional tools and resources.
[00:47:44] Ellie Shefi: To know that you’re not what’s happened to you. You’re not your events and circumstances. You’re not the labels and the expectations of others. You’re none of them. It’s a place where you can be empowered to take back your power, to heal, to [00:48:00] align and to step into. Who you want to be. It allows you to come home to yourself.
[00:48:08] Ellie Shefi: And from that place design your life and your legacy, creating an impervious mind is an expert YouTube series a so you can find it on YouTube or creating an impervious MindUP. And that is shorter bite sized nuggets. They’re usually 20, 30 minutes somewhere in there really focusing on additional mindset, tools, ways that you can create and maintain that impervious mindset.
[00:48:38] Ellie Shefi: So super easy free by design team. You are not your scars, podcasts, creating an impervious mind and all of them have websites. So, there, there are resources, free, amazing resources that you can tap into. To live a life that you love.
[00:48:57] Scott DeLuzio: Excellent. And I will have links to all of this in the show [00:49:00] notes.
[00:49:00] Scott DeLuzio: So anyone who is looking to take a look at any of these, listen to the podcast, watch the various series that you have, the TV and the YouTube series that you have. That would be where you can find it. If you don’t have a pen and paper to jot these things down right now, you can check out the show notes.
[00:49:16] Scott DeLuzio: Yeah. Head on over and find all of that stuff there. So it’s been a pleasure speaking with you today. Just the thought of. Changing your mindset focusing on the positives, but that I get to choose versus the, I have to choose the the positivity, the gratitude, all of those things. I think to me it’s just a a powerful way to change your mindset and help you navigate through those difficult things.
[00:49:44] Scott DeLuzio: And I know a lot of times when things are difficult Get a little more cynical, like, yeah, right. Like that’s going to actually help. Right. But if you actually try it and you actually implement these practices, it will get easier for you to navigate through those things. [00:50:00] And so it’s like, why not give it a try, just try it and see how it changes.
[00:50:06] Scott DeLuzio: And. You have nothing to lose.
[00:50:10] Ellie Shefi: If you think, if you don’t believe it, prove me wrong, try it for 30 days. Do it every single day for 30 days. And then reach out to me at ellieshefi.com. And let me know your what happened for you? Let me know that transition. Try it you’ve got nothing to lose.
[00:50:28] Ellie Shefi: It’s free. Doesn’t cost you anything. It’s not a pill that you’re taking it. These are things that you can use. Grab the sticky notes, implement the processes, try it for 30 days. Then hit me up at ellieshefi.com. And let me know, because I promise you what you’re going to be telling me is, oh my goodness. I had no idea how good this.
[00:50:53] Scott DeLuzio: Absolutely. So thank you again for coming on and sharing your story your personal history, your, the struggles that you went [00:51:00] through, but also how you’ve overcome those. I think that is especially powerful for people who might be out there struggling on their own not knowing how to get through some of these hard times in their life.
[00:51:11] Scott DeLuzio: But sometimes hearing the. Difficulties that certain people have gone through and hearing how they’ve overcome those and gotten through those better off on the other side just is very powerful and very inspirational. So thank you again for coming on.
[00:51:25] Ellie Shefi: Thanks for having me. It’s been a pleasure.
[00:51:27] Scott DeLuzio: Thanks for listening to the Drive On Podcast. If you want to check out more episodes or learn more about the show, you can visit our website driveonpodcast.com. We’re also on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube at drive on podcast.