One Straight Shooter
Firebrand Badass Elena Cardone Has No Time for B.S.
If behind every GoGuy there is an even greater GoGirl, than the original, multitasking “Jill of All Trades” Elena Cardone is the poster child. The embodiment of “having it all,” this sassy, Spanish born beauty, bold lady boss, bestselling author, motivational speaker, and brainy “other half” behind the multi-million dollar Cardone empire took a break from her fast-paced, goal-getting life to sit down with GoGirl Worldwide Magazine. This unstoppable model/actress turned brilliant business woman spills some of her best secrets to building family, marriage, business, and personal success.
A staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, professionally trained, tactical MMA fighter, and lifelong sports shooter, the gun-toting, fierce female counterpart of the Cardone tycoon twosome that’s taking on the world, Elena Cardone professes her primary gig is that of Chief Family Officer. Devoted mother of two teenage daughters and loyal wife to mega entrepreneur, real estate mogul, and businessman Grant Cardone, Elena dishes on her biggest fears, early setbacks, how keeping a tightly-knit circle of friends is crucial to staying on track and laser focused, and how she learned to ultimately “let go” and finally depend on a man – all on HER terms. With charming wit and no-nonsense commentary we’ve come to enamor and adore, Elena tells how training as a mixed martial artist played a pivotal role in helping her reach her personal, business, and brand-building goals. With the bestselling author of “Building an Empire” and fearless mastermind behind BOTH her and her husband’s businesses (and he’s “okay” with that!), nothing is off the table.
GG: At what point in your life did you know exactly who you were and embraced it? We ask this because it seems that women of all ages struggle with knowing who they are.
EC: There are several times in my life when I knew who I was and it wasn’t always good. In my twenties, I had to confront that I was not living up to my potential. I had to get real and straight with myself with all of my flaws and make a decision to change. There is power in owning who you are, not pretending to be something you’re not but working relentlessly to improve your condition. Therefore, you don’t have to “make it” or already be successful to know who you are. You just have to know YOU and be real about it.
Later in my thirties, I went “all in” on my husband and decided to support him and build OUR empire despite all the voices in my head telling me otherwise. I was afraid to
“depend” on a man and scared to quit my career.
There are times in life where you are forced to make a decision. The decision to listen to the masses or take a look at who you are and what you are made of. If you have the courage to stand by your decision whether you fail or if you succeed and not care what others think, you will have reached a higher level of confidence in yourself.
GG: What are 3 life lessons you would tell your 20-year-old self? And would you change them if you had the chance?
EC: I would tell my 20-year-old self to stop using drugs and alcohol. I would be further ahead had I not wasted all those years with that stupidity. The bad decisions I made back then set me back FOR SURE.
Work on yourself. Become an asset. Invest in your self-growth and fight to become the best you can be. Stop hanging out with people who feed your weaknesses and starve your strengths. Wake up and get to work! The world awaits your greatness. Stop being selfish by only thinking about yourself and your little feelings.
Be your own best friend who then one day you can rely on to be your own best hero. Treat yourself as good as you treat your friends. Hold yourself accountable. When you make a mistake, confront it, forgive yourself and get stronger without beating yourself up. You KNOW what YOU need to do. Stop looking to others to guide you or placing more value in them than your own self. Wear the crown with dignity. You are a Queen. Now act like it!
GG: What was one of the most defining moments in your life and why?
EC: The most defining moment in my life has to be when I went all-in on Grant. Describing that moment as hard is an understatement. I was used to being independent - remember, I’m the girl who left home at the age of 17 to pursue a career in acting in Los Angeles (another defining moment). It was a bold move, defined by courage and... I committed, went full steam ahead and it was the official moment Grant and I got on the same page.
GG: If you could keep only five possessions, what would they be?
GG: What are you most afraid of and why?
EC: Courage, Honor, Creativity, Determination and Ability to do Whatever It Takes (ethically) to execute the mission. These are possessions that no one can ever take. You keep these once you’ve earned them. You can steal my purse or even kill my body, but you can never kill me. No one can take away “me” and the “possessions” I’ve earned. That comes with me to the next adventure and my mission will continue. The other material possessions are trinkets and trophies to be enjoyed and used while visiting this place called Earth.
EC: I’m most afraid of letting myself down, playing too small, and not making a difference or an impact on the world. Letting my avid craving to want to “fit in” and be “normal” make me weak and want to settle or trick myself into thinking I’ve done enough.
GG: Where did your love for Martial Arts and Tactical Training come from and how do you apply what you know to your day to day life?
EC: I grew up shooting guns with my father so the love and respect for the sport are in my blood. One day, I decided to take a tactical gun class. I was the only female there training with police and military guys that day. There was a combat fighting section on the course which I was not privy to before I’d enrolled. It was extremely intimidating as I have never been in a fight in my life and did not even know the basics of throwing a punch. I fought as hard as I could and I ended up stress fracturing my left hand attempting to hurt the instructor! He didn’t even feel it and to make matters worse, was giggling at my efforts!!!
I felt as if I was in an awful game of cat and mouse. I decided that day even if I’ll never become a lion, I would never be the mouse again! It is a hard reality to confront there are evil people out there who seek to harm women but I’ve witnessed bad things happen to good people, therefore, I decided to train MMA (mixed martial arts) to stand a fighting chance to protect myself and my family. From the first time I stepped foot in a gym with boxing rings and an octagon, I felt right at home. The men there have treated me with the utmost respect. They have never judged me for being a girl or not knowing anything about what I was doing. They took me seriously and trained me as hard as the other men there with the only difference being they don’t hit me as hard...and I’m perfectly OK with that. If any woman is interested in the martial arts world, reveres the sport, dresses appropriately (not half-naked looking for a boyfriend), I guarantee you will be respected and welcomed.
What I have gained from being in this world is so much more than just a few self-defense lessons. I learned life skills that transition over into my business world far more than I’ll ever use physical fight training. I learned discipline. I wake up every morning at 5 to train at 6 am. I wake up even when I don’t want to. This makes it easier for me to do the difficult things in life. I no longer care what I feel like. I’ve gotten in the habit of doing what needs to be done regardless because I am dedicated to getting better in every area of my life. I have had to confront these guys (the instructors) who look like what I perceived as the scariest looking guys in the world and fight. I’ve learned to not panic and get overwhelmed but use techniques to either block, counter or escape. I use this all the time as a chess game of life on how to deal with people or situations. As brutal as this sport appears to the outsider, at least there are rules and a bell that rings signaling to cease with a referee to ensure your safety. Unfortunately, in the outside world of business, it isn’t so nice.
I use what I’ve learned in martial arts to metaphorically be tough enough to take a hit and strong enough to deliver a blow. After training with these beasts, I have a strength and confidence in the “real world” as it now just seems like peanuts after being around these guys. I’m smarter in the way I react to unwanted circumstances. I respect others as I never know who has more “knowledge” and I understand I have to train and earn my position in life. Black belts aren’t just given out because someone thinks they are entitled! I feel better in my body now that I’m more fit and I’m more competent at work. I have self-security that I can learn new things, become better, and prepare for whatever comes next. I train intensely with professional warriors who don’t go easy on me. I have been covered from head to toe in bruises including receiving an accidental black eye in training. None of that bothers me because of what the martial arts world has provided for me, The choices and “moves” I’ve made in business as a direct result of its influence are immeasurable in every aspect of my life. God knows, I never want to actually have to fight anyone but I now know at least I stand a fighting chance of escape and survival.
GG: When writing your book “Build an Empire” what did you struggle with the most and did that surprise you?
EC: When I wrote this book, there were two things I struggled with: One was getting it done and the other was having to be completely vulnerable. I never liked school and hated writing reports. I’ve always been an outdoors “hyper” type, so to have to sit still in front of a computer for hours at a time was extremely difficult for me.
Secondly, as public as I am on social media I’m actually a private person. I’ve never been a person to discuss my problems, feel so sorry for myself or expose the inner workings of my mind, but felt I had to rip that band-aid off and reveal my truth if I planned on helping anyone with the content of the book.
GG: With the fast-paced lives you and Grant live, how do you show up even on the days you don’t want to?
EC: It's simply down to this: My Purpose. I want to make a difference in the world. I want to encourage all of those people out there who are enormous beings but were made to believe they were small to unleash their true potential and build an empire. I know who I am and what I have to achieve in order to deliver. I’m committed to doing that no matter what mood or unwanted feeling I may be experiencing.
My goal of helping 7 billion people in the world build empires is so big, even when I’m sick, injured, or seriously questioning my commitment to continue, it gives me the inner strength to blow past all of that.
GG: What does your relationship with Grant look like? And How did you know he was the one?
EC: Our relationship is one that runs like a well-oiled machine. There is no question about who is doing what and who makes the final call - we each run our division and we know our roles. Grant and I know what my strengths are and what my weaknesses are just like we know his.
GG: How do you and Grant keep your momentum for your business going? And what are the tools, techniques, or mindset you two use to balance work, life, and marriage?
EC: We keep the momentum for our business and in our marriage because we have a clear vision and we’re on the same page. Grant and I have truly joined forces to make significant gains in our lives and in our businesses. We have found out each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we divide and conquer accordingly. Thus, we have truly become Team Cardone. We are bonded as a couple. Our business is a large component as to who we are as a couple. We are in the business of helping people and that’s a purpose that we never need motivation for. It is what keeps our flame fully lit for our enterprise. It’s not something we have to “work up to" it’s just something we need to remind ourselves from time to time when times get extremely difficult. Hearing successes from around the world makes everything we sacrifice worth it and encourages us to continue.
Many ask about work, life balance in all of this. All I can say is we don’t focus on balance. We focus on the big picture, our goals, possibilities, and the future. We aren’t looking for balance, but we also pay attention to an area or department if it seems to be dropping in stats. We will take the necessary actions to improve that division just like we would in a business organization.
GG: How do you and Grant keep your momentum for your business going? And what are the tools, techniques, or mindset you two use to balance work, life, and marriage?
EC: One thing we don’t fight about is money. In our relationship, we both respect and appreciate the value of money. Grant trusts me to be responsible with the finances and I am. I earned that trust by adhering to our financial agreements at the beginning of our relationship and I continue to this day. From the start, Grant has understood, for whatever reason, that I wanted all of my money to be my money. He has never fought me on that. (It is yet another reason I love him so much.) He actually goes a step further and says, “What’s hers is hers and what’s mine is hers.” He’s half-joking, but our money is our money and we trust each other to spend accordingly.
Grant’s role is the financial provider for our family. He funds all of our family affairs and does not require a financial obligation from me on any of it. He treats me with the utmost respect for what it is that I do in the family and business dynamic. That’s just the way we operate. It works for us. Our minds are in sync, therefore handling finances is no longer an issue. We are a team with the same mission who trusts each other.
GG: You and Grant have an extremely tight knit circle when it comes to friends. How do you decide who stays and who goes? And how do you find female friends who you can relate to and rely on?
EC: I consider the greatest assets in my empire to be people. The people who stay are the warriors. People who can be trusted and courageous enough to fight for you. They would never hear ill will of you without metaphorically punching that person in the nose! They have honor and integrity. They aren’t gossiping behind your back after you have gone out of your way to help them. Instead, they return the favor and want to help you sometimes more than you feel you even helped them! They are the Royal Court who delivers EVERY time and never let you down. We treat those near us like family and they know we will do anything for them. They have our loyalty and allegiance.
If you lie, cheat, abuse drugs or alcohol, don’t honor your commitments, half-ass everything, are not committed, gossip, are financially irresponsible, think you are entitled, super lazy, treat others with disrespect, hateful, resentful, have continual drama and are not willing to do whatever it takes to get to the next level, you need not apply. You will not be let in.
I have learned to become my own best friend and don’t have the time, frankly, to have a lot of girlfriends in my life. I rarely go out or have time to cultivate meaningful relationships with women. Furthermore, I don’t go to my girlfriends for advice on what I should do in business or in my marriage. With that being said, I love and appreciate the women friends in my life. Women are good for each other. We understand each other on levels perhaps men might not fully grasp at times. Knowing I have my core group of girls that I can always depend on for love and support (not sympathy) is one of the best feelings in the world.
I have four life long friendships that are unshakable for each other. We are great allies for one another. We understand where we were, who we’ve become and we would do anything to protect our own. They can be trusted because they have been there from the beginning, have seen the worst and never betrayed the trust. When I’m around my girlfriends, everything in my life gets better including my marriage. My girls support me, my mission, and my marriage. If they didn’t support these three things, I wouldn’t have them in my life. They know I’m the same for them.
GoGirl Rapid Fire
GG: What is your top beauty tip?
EC: I try to drink a gallon of alkaline water a day, get good sleep, and workout pretty intensely.
GG: What is your never fail business tip?
EC: Follow the money.
GG: How do you keep daughters Sabrina and Scarlett grounded with your fast-paced life?
EC: Sabrina and Scarlett are contributing members of the team who are treated with respect. When kids are given a purpose, allowed to contribute and are also respected, they will be grounded.
GG: Who’s better at finances, you or Grant and why?
EC: Grant is better at the finances. He understands money and math. He has taught me everything I know in this arena.
GG: How do you and Grant like to give back?
EC: We have several charities that we donate to. We recently set up the Grant Cardone Foundation to help kids without fathers.
GG: How is Grant your "GoGuy?"
EC: Grant can be depended upon to deliver more than was promised. He never lets us down. He has a lot of integrity and love for his family and he always gets the job done.
GG: What is most important to you when it comes to your health?
EC: My overall general health is the most important. I live an extremely active life. I have to produce large amounts of energy, be alert, clear headed, and competent. Therefore, I am on the 10X Health System, which is custom made for me according to my bloodwork.
GG: You and Grant look like you have this thing called "love" down. What would be your best love advice be to all our female readers?
EC: Fulfill yourself and don’t look for a man to make you happy. You make yourself happy by becoming an asset to yourself and accomplishing your goals. Bring that happy, best version of yourself to the relationship, and give 100%.
You can learn more about this modern-day, indomitable Superwoman, her public speaking calendar, products, and more by visiting her website at ElenaCardone.com and following her motivational, fun-filled Instagram account @elenacardone. Be sure to tune in to her weekly podcast, “The Elena Cardone Podcast,” where she conducts candid, one-on-one interviews with some of the world’s most-talked-about, up-and-coming powerhouses, while tackling hot-button issues and providing her personal take on social topics and pop culture. Elena currently hosts her own solo show “Women in Power” and teams up with husband Grant to co-host “The G&E Show.” Together, the dedicated, dynamic duo has built a real estate portfolio nearing $1 billion and continues to climb. Happily married since July 4th, 2004, they reside in Miami Beach with their two daughters, Sabrina and Scarlett.