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Success Story Podcast

Elena Cardone – Author, Businesswoman, Speaker | Building An Empire: How To Have It All

By July 25, 2023September 25th, 2023No Comments

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About The Guest

Elena Cardone is a force to be reckoned with. Originally making a name for herself as a model and actress in Hollywood, she has since turned her sights to empowering others, using her unique skills and experiences to help them reach their potential. Running events like 10X Ladies and Operation 10X Badass, while hosting her show “Women in Power.” She uses these platforms to promote empowerment, growth, and the idea that everyone can be an empire-builder.

With her best-selling book “Build an Empire: How to Have it All,” Elena inspires others to reach their full potential. As an executive producer of renowned events like 10X Ladies, Operation 10X Badass, Build an Empire Mastermind, and her show “Women in Power,” she empowers individuals to thrive. Elena’s dedication extends to guiding aspiring empire builders through her curated curriculum and personal coaching sessions. Her recent partnership with EXP Realty reflects her commitment to helping people achieve generational wealth through real estate. Married to Grant Cardone since 2004, the couple has built an impressive real estate portfolio valued at $5.2 Billion. Elena Cardone’s unwavering determination and passion continue to leave a profound impact on the lives she touches.

Talking Points

  • 00:00 — Intro
  • 03:04 — Elena Cardone’s Unstoppable Journey
  • 08:47 — The Guiding Mentor on Elena’s Path to Success
  • 10:40 — From Vision to Reality: Elena’s Journey in Building and Investing
  • 12:54 — Power Couple: Elena and Grant’s Dynamic in Empire Building
  • 20:29 — The Secrets Behind Their Success: Love, Business, and Everything in Between
  • 25:08 — “Having it All”: Elena’s Perspective on Balancing Life and Ambition
  • 29:00 — Empowering Women at 10x Ladies: Key Lessons and Insights
  • 33:34 — Sponsor: Nudge Podcast
  • 34:19 — Overcoming Challenges: Women in Business and Entrepreneurship
  • 36:17 — Women Empowering Women: Unlocking the Full Potential of Support
  • 40:48 — Crushing Imposter Syndrome: Elena’s Strategies for Confidence
  • 44:49 — Life-Changing Advice: The Most Impactful Lessons Elena Received
  • 46:10 — Daily Tactics for Balancing Family and Success
  • 49:32–10X Ladies: Unveiling the Event’s Purpose and Goals
  • 52:56 — Connect with Elena Cardone: Where to Find Her
  • 53:40 — Advice to Her Younger Self: Elena’s Words of Wisdom
  • 59:25 — Defining Success: Elena Cardone’s Perspective Unveiled

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Show Summary: From Unfathomable Trauma to Building a Billion-Dollar Empire: The Awe-Inspiring Journey of Elena Cardone

Elena Cardone’s extraordinary life reveals our darkest moments often seed later greatness.

Through resilience virtually unmatched, Elena transformed unimaginable childhood trauma into business success on a grand scale and female empowerment that has touched millions.

But this renowned billionaire entrepreneur and influencer’s story began in hardship…

Overcoming Childhood Trapped in Scarcity and Trauma

Elena Cardone’s early life was marked by financial struggles and profound tragedy that would have broken most people.

Born in Ohio in the 1960s, Elena grew up in a working-class family living paycheck-to-paycheck, constantly stressed about making ends meet.

Elena’s father, a WWII veteran decorated for his service overseas, struggled immensely to assimilate back into civilian life and hold steady jobs. Despite being a loving family man, he grappled with PTSD and undiagnosed depression that made providing elusive.

So Elena’s mother worked various administrative government jobs to financially support the family, often working long hours. With her father unable to contribute much financially, Elena’s mother carried the full weight of keeping the family afloat.

This tenuous childhood environment ingrained a scarcity mindset around money in Elena from a young age. As she explains:

“I learned hang on to all your money, it’s scarce…there was a lot of underlying pain and agony associated with barely making ends meet.”

At 14, Elena’s world shattered when her best friend and neighbor Goldie just a few years older, along with Goldie’s mother, perished in a devastating house fire right across the street. This unfathomable trauma hurled Elena downward into a years-long depression and post-traumatic stress.

Faced with more hardship than most adults ever endure, Elena turned to excessive partying, alcohol, drugs and reckless behavior to numb the psychological anguish of losing her best friend and earliest role model.

By 17, Elena had lost 8 more young friends to substance abuse, addiction and suicide, as she spiraled deeper into darkness and nihilism. She reflects candidly on this period:

“From 14 to 17, I went through the excessive alcohol drug usage, I didn’t care if I were to live or die…I was reckless to say the least.”

For years trapped in self-destruction, Elena teetered on the brink of becoming just another devastating statistic.

But, seemingly guided by her late friend Goldie from beyond, Elena reached a turning point. She reflects:

“At some point I had that epiphany…I’m ready to go make a difference for the better somehow some way.”

At just 17, Elena found the courage to permanently break free of her environment’s gravitational pull by moving across the country alone to Los Angeles to pursue acting and modeling, armed only with raw tenacity.

While still struggling with alcohol abuse and keeping toxic company, this pivotal leap of faith marked the nascent start of Elena building a new life and identity from the ashes.

Navigating Early Success But Lacking Financial Acumen

In Los Angeles, through sheer hustle and leveraging her girl-next-door looks, Elena found some initial success in the entertainment industry between print modeling jobs and commercial acting gigs.

However, without guidance, she continued partying excessively and spending freely without saving or developing any financial acumen.

When acting work dried up during the onset of the 2008 recession, Elena felt directionless and desperate. Looking back now, she reflects:

“I made money, I spent money, I did like everything the wrong way.”

It was clear at this low point Elena lacked the tools, maturity and business mindset to achieve true stability and success. She had never learned how to manage finances or invest for growth.

But fatefully crossing paths with Grant Cardone at a pivotal juncture changed the trajectory of Elena’s life forever.

Marriage and Partnership With Renowned Business Mogul Grant Cardone

Elena met her future husband Grant Cardone randomly in Las Vegas, when she was 28 years old and he was 36.

Though Grant came from the opposite end of the spectrum, having built a self-made small fortune through shrewd real estate investments and sales training programs, they formed an instant soulful connection.

Within months, the stars aligned and the newlyweds found themselves tested just months into marriage…by the cataclysmic 2008 recession threatening to destroy all they had built.

With Elena pregnant and Grant’s businesses and investments on the brink of insolvency, she realized her new husband could provide the crucial financial education and leadership she sorely lacked.

Elena set aside her limiting beliefs about relying on a man or losing independence in marriage. She saw clearly Grant’s innate strengths in business execution and strategic thinking perfectly balanced her creative gifts.

Rather than stubbornly go it alone, Elena made the brave choice to all-in on their partnership, reflecting:

“That was my first entrepreneurial moment…I was willing to trade in the acting career in order to partner up with him.”

However, blending two such headstrong personalities and individual empires proved immensely challenging those first few years.

Before learning to divide responsibilities and leadership based purely on their innate abilities, Elena and Grant constantly butted heads in counterproductive power struggles.

They simply had not defined a big enough shared purpose to compel them to function as a unified team.

But the 2008 economic collapse and near demise of their burgeoning business empire sparked a radical realignment and strengthening of their partnership.

Elena explains the watershed moment:

“We didn’t have a purpose big enough…2008 taught me Empire. An empire can be protected against the small hits normal life disguises until there’s a catastrophic event like an economic collapse.”

With their entire world crumbling, Elena and Grant were forced to either split for good or unite with singularity of purpose.

Wisely, they chose the latter course. Elena took charge of crafting their ambitious vision for the future, while granting Grant full authority to make whatever business decisions necessary to steer them through the stormy seas ahead.

Elena reflects on the inverted dynamic:

“You get to be the boss of business now…I get to be the boss of these other areas. And I stand by you, I trust you.”

With Grant empowered to swiftly execute their business objectives and Elena providing unwavering creative leadership and relationship glue, their partnership emerged stronger than ever. Their empire grew exponentially.

Forging an Equal Partnership By Combining Complementary Strengths

Today, Elena Cardone is quick to point out that she and Grant have maintained complete equality in their two-decade marriage.

They made the conscious decision early on to divide business leadership and empire-building purely based on their innate complementary strengths, not antiquated notions of male versus female domains.

As she clarifies:

“We’re equal partners in marriage but split business responsibilities based on our natural abilities. You get to be the strategic power executing the vision…while I support and advise you.”

Elena believes that by leveraging each spouse’s superpowers in this manner, rather than rigidly confining themselves to gender roles, they achieved far greater success together than either could alone.

Two phenomenally gifted individuals merged into an unstoppable empire-building team.

Elena also credits open and at times painfully vulnerable communication with cementing an unbreakable bond of trust between them.

She reveals:

“We have the courage to talk about every single transgression we have done against each other and work through it together.”

By being radically candid, apologizing sincerely for mistakes and unconditionally forgiving, Elena believes she and Grant fortified their alignment and partnership exponentially over the decades.

Paying Forward Hard-Won Wisdom By Helping Women Build Empires

Today, with their empire thriving and legacy secure, Elena Cardone devotes her energy to assisting other women in architecting lives of meaning, influence and financial prosperity.

She founded and hosts 10X Ladies, an exclusive community providing women the wisdom, mindset and modeling required to actualize their grandest visions.

Elena’s mission is to empower women to reach the heights of their potential and change the world through entrepreneurship:

“I want to help empower women to take responsibility for their role, for their power…to help change the trajectory of this planet.”

The comprehensive 10X Ladies curriculum focuses on mastering four foundational pillars: mindset, money, relationships, and health/wellness.

Elena insists truly unlocking one’s potential requires succeeding holistically across all four interdependent dimensions simultaneously.

Some of the hard-won principles Elena imparts to women include:

  • Set massively ambitious goals – Elena and Grant began by targeting impacting 1 billion lives. Huge vision erases pettiness by rallying people to a grand purpose.
  • Support each other’s success – women must show active investment in lifting up fellow women. A rising tide raises all ships.
  • Become indispensable – develop rare skills and expertise so businesses need you. Create leverage.
  • Time block ruthlessly – manage daily schedule tightly to balance business and family priorities. Outsource or automate tasks ruthlessly.
  • Never stop learning – Elena still struggles with money scarcity beliefs rooted in childhood. Personal growth is a lifelong process. Stay humble.

By internalizing and executing on principles like these, Elena empowers women to dramatically expand their influence, income and freedom without sacrificing family priorities.

Overcoming Toxic Impostor Syndrome By Embracing Self-Doubt

Even mega successful women frequently grapple with impostor syndrome – that nagging inner voice of self-doubt and insecurity when attempting ambitious new challenges.

Rather than avoid these uncomfortable feelings, Elena stresses the importance of moving through them:

“You have to assume the role and new identity you want first in your mind…You’re not expected in this moment to know everything.”

In other words, don’t wait until you feel 100% qualified and confident. Take action now.

Elena advises vocalizing fears candidly to mentors and peers, who can help reframe uncertainty into excitement for the self-growth ahead.

Imposter feelings never completely disappear, Elena cautions. But consistently practicing new skills in spite of self-doubt builds justified confidence over time.

As she notes, persistence pays off:

“You have to go through that uncertainty phase in order to come out the other side able to say, ‘Now I deserve it.’”

Elena’s Definition of True Success and Fulfillment

When asked point blank how she defines personal success today, Elena responds without hesitation:

“It means how many people can I help.”

Think about that. At just 17, Elena had lost nearly everyone dear to her. She was on a wayward path toward becoming just another sad statistic – a forgotten life wasted away in addiction.

Yet she summoned almost superhuman resilience to not only turn her life around, but then build a billion-dollar empire and now dedicate her life to empowering others through the wisdom earned along her incredible journey.

Elena’s story offers hope that no matter how far we stray, new paths of purpose and redemption remain possible if we connect to our deeper nature – and commit fully to the long difficult road ahead.

Aligned with our true calling and anchored humbly in compassion for others, incredible transformation lies within reach for all who dare greatly.

Key Takeaways from Elena Cardone’s Inspiring Journey

Though Elena Cardone’s level of success may seem unreachable, hers is a human story we can all learn powerful life lessons from:

  • Let your weaknesses and limiting beliefs die, so your innate strengths and talents can fully shine. Be ruthlessly honest with yourself, then double down on developing your natural superpowers.
  • Define a purpose far bigger than yourself – a vision big enough to unify partners, community and customers. Eliminate pettiness by rallying people to a cause greater than themselves.
  • Openly communicate with courageous vulnerability – the truth shall set you free. Candidly air your feelings and pains to cement trusting relationships, both personally and professionally.
  • Support others who share your values – a rising tide raises all ships. Help empower people with similar hopes and moral compass. Build community.
  • Progress requires sacrifice – willingly give up comforts and safety at times to force bold action and self-growth. Disruption breeds opportunity.
  • Master rigorous self-discipline – time block schedules zealously to balance priorities. Outsource or automate tasks aggressively. Invest in health and wellness.
  • Commit to lifelong betterment – stay humble and curious as a student. The path has no endpoint. Surround yourself with like-minded role models.

Elena Cardone embodies the reality that our messy past does not have to define our future. Her against-all-odds journey proves the human spirit holds almost limitless potential to transform, when aligned with purpose.

Let Elena’s story inspire you to boldly dream, then commit fully. With relentless drive and courage, we all can contribute our unique genius to uplifting humanity.

The giants among us show the way forward. Now it’s our turn to dedicate our gifts to empowering others. Our time is now. Let’s make it count.

What is the Success Story Podcast?

On this podcast, you’ll find interviews, Q&A, keynote presentations & conversations on sales, marketing, business, startups, and entrepreneurship.

The podcast is hosted by entrepreneur, business executive, author, educator & speaker, Scott D. Clary.

Scott will discuss some of the lessons he’s learned over his own career, as well as have candid interviews with execs, celebrities, notable figures, and politicians. All who have achieved success through both wins and losses, to learn more about their life, their ideas, and insights.

He sits down with leaders and mentors and unpacks their stories to help pass those lessons on to others through both experiences and tactical strategies for business professionals, entrepreneurs, and everyone in between.


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