When I was in college, I loved Edie Brickell.  My roommate Tiffany and I would listen to her CD “Ghost of a Dog” and sing it at the top of our lungs.  It’s a trippy CD but I love every song.  There is a song called “This Eye” that has such a profound message.  The chorus says… “This eye looks with love, this eye looks with judgment, free me take the sight out of this eye.”  I love that and it got me thinking how cool it would be if we could only look at things through the eye of love… what would the world look like?  What would our lives look like?  We are raised and programmed to judge, judge, judge.  Judge others.  Judge situations.  Judge ourselves.  Our judgments are harsh and unkind and they hold us back from who we are meant to be.  They hold us back from connection and block us from love.  Who are we to judge?  Really, who?  I get so upset when I see people judging others for their race or religion or sexuality.  Why are they so cruel??  But then I realize that I am judging those people as well.  Judgment is a two way street.  What I judge judges me back.  Then my ego chimes in to say, “Yes I may be judging them but I am right and they are wrong.” Interesting… another judgment!  It is hard to escape :(

But what if we could see only see through the eyes of love?  That idea is so incredible to me that it make my head spin!  What if every day we looked at every single other person with love?  What if we looked at every single situation we are in not as “bad” or “good” but just as it is… with love?  What if every single day we looked at ourselves with love?  What if we didn’t hear the judgmental voice that continually reminds us of all of our flaws?  What if we knew we were whole, perfect and complete exactly as we are and that there is nothing to do or change because we are pure LOVE.  What if we looked in the mirror and only saw love?  Wow!  My heart is so full just thinking about it!

I don’t know if I can stop my mind from judging.  I sure wish I could.  I’m doing my best to see love in everything and it’s making a huge change in my life.  I have added a new mantra to my morning meditation.  It says, “This eye looks with love, this eye looks with judgment.  Free me take the sight out of this eye”.

 

Gratitude:

Years and years ago Oprah did a show on “Gratitude”.  She said that when you focus on gratitude, it will change your life!  She introduced her “gratitude journal” and said that every night she writes 5 things she is grateful for during the day and encouraged all of her viewers to do the same.  She said, “What you focus on grows.  Focus on the good things in your life and you will create more of them.”  Well that made sense to me, so along with the millions of others, I ran to the book store, bought myself a “gratitude journal” and started writing.  I loved it! It was my favorite gift to give to a friend as well :)  For years, I have kept gratitude journals and it really is a special practice.  You begin to “look” for things to be grateful for and the more you look the more you find.  The truth is, we take so much for granted and don’t even realize it.  We get so used to focusing on our problems (because that’s what about 90% of the population does) that we forget to focus on our blessings.

What I know for sure is this… If you are struggling with anything in your life, take a second to evaluate what you are focused on.  Remember… what you focus on grows.  When you focus on your sadness, more sadness will appear.  When you focus on lack, more lack.  When you focus on being angry and bitter, it will only get worse.  Never better.  But one thing can turn your life around almost instantly.  Gratitude.  When you count your blessings instead of counting your problems your life will change.  The key is the grateful thoughts have to outweigh the sad thoughts.  When you are focusing 95% of your thoughts on your problems and 5% on gratitude and you don’t see a change, it’s because your focus hasn’t shifted yet.  When gratitude occupies the majority of your thoughts 50%+ there is no way your life won’t shift.

Could you use a boost of happiness, joy and abundance in your life?  Who couldn’t??  Focus on gratitude!  Wake up each morning and let your first thought be “Thank You”.  Repeat it all day long because you have so much to be grateful for!!  The amazing thing is, the gratitude you put out will actually create more things to be grateful for.  Say, “THANK YOU” – you’ll see…

I have said it before and I’ll say it again… one of the best things to happen as a result of my appearance on Shark Tank has been the relationships I have made with fellow entrepreneurs from the show. I call them my “Shark Tank Pals” and they have supported me through some pretty rough times. We are there for each other to celebrate our triumphs and pick each other up when things don’t work out like we planned. They have helped me up more times than I can count. Some have become like family and I feel so lucky to have a network of such talented, fearless, creatively brilliant, ass kicking business rock stars.

My first Shark Tank Pal (STP) was Kiersten Parsons of Mod Mom Furniture. Kiersten was on season 2 with her modern toy box and made a “deal” with Robert Herjavec. I watched her episode over and over in preparation for the show and my intuition kept telling me to reach out to her. I would having this feeling that would say, “Call her. She will help you!” But the producers are really strict about you not talking to anyone about the show before your episode airs. My thought was… she signed the same contract I did. We might not be able to talk to people outside of Shark Tank, but surely we can talk to each other. So I called. She was kind enough to reply right away and made time for me to share her story. I cannot put into words how great it felt to talk to someone who had gone through what I had. I was in “silent mode” for 197 days (when I filmed my episode to when it aired) and it was killing me. I was really quite tortured by not being able to talk about it (I’m kind of a talker)! Kiersten gave me her time freely and we became instant friends.

Shark Bites Shelly Ehler

She told me her reality of the show and how her deal with Robert never closed and actually how he was a complete turd. He was supposed to give her $90K but after the show he never contacted her. She tried for 3 months to reach him and heard nothing. Eventually he wrote saying he wasn’t interested. Ahh the things you don’t see on TV while the whole world is worshipping the Sharks for helping so many entrepreneurs! Lol.

Hearing Kiersten’s story and sharing mine felt so good that I continued to reach out to other entrepreneurs from the show. I would just send them a quick message to see if they wanted to connect and I always heard from them almost instantly! Everyone was dying for someone they could talk to! Once I had a small group of Shark Tank friends, I decided to start a private Facebook group where we could all connect and support one another and we became “Shark Tank Pals”.

One such pal I met a few weeks after I aired. His name is Scott Jordan. We connected through a mutual friend and he wanted to know what my experience was like on the show because he was set to air in a few weeks. We had a great chat and became instant friends.

Scott had a very memorable episode where he told the Sharks, “You’re out and you’re out”. I loved it! No one stands up to the Sharks and I remember watching from home cheering him on.

Scott and I have met personally several times and have had many conversations about the realities of the show. What it is and what it’s not. He decided to write a book about the show to shed light on what it’s really like to be on Shark Tank. The truth. Not what you see on TV. I supported him completely and a bunch of our STP’s contributed their stories to make his book come to life. I am proud of him for doing so. Many people talk and talk about what they are going to do, but Scott makes it happen. Way to go pal!

Here is a link to his book titled Shark Bites. I am one of the featured entrepreneurs.  If you want to know what it’s like to be on the show or you have aspirations of doing so yourself, I highly recommend you read this book!!

I’ll never forget the day I took my kids for a swim at our local pool in Ladera Ranch, Ca. I had been sick for several days and still wasn’t feeling well. I was a bit on the grumpy side… When the boys were done swimming and wanted to go home, my oldest son Max asked me to make him a “tent” (hold a towel around him so he could change out of this trunks and into dry clothes in privacy). As I was holding his “tent”, my younger son Clark wanted me to hold his “tent”. I told Clark he would have to wait until I was done with Max, but Clark didn’t want to wait. He was 4 years old at the time and was not known for his patience. Max struggled to get out of his trunks and since I was holding the towel, I couldn’t help him get them off. While Max struggled, Clark began to throw a temper tantrum because “It was HIS turn!!” I was ready to snap. Already in a sour mood, this made it so much worse! I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs, “CALGON TAKE ME AWAY!!” I remember thinking… there has to be a better way. I wish I had something to drape over them and keep them covered while they change. Then I wouldn’t be in this predicament!

That night at 4:00am, I got my answer. An idea surged thru me like a bolt of electricity! I thought, if I took a towel and put a slit in it, they could wear it like a poncho. It would be a changing towel… a poncho… a ShowNo! I didn’t know if it was brilliant or stupid. I jumped out of bed and ran to my computer because surely someone had to be doing this. When I found they weren’t, I was amazed and thought how could that be? I heard within… “Because it has been waiting for you. Follow this in faith Shelly. It will take you places that you won’t believe.”

And so I did and so it was! My towel has sold at Legoland CA and FL. Six Flags Magic Mountain, Raging Waters, Sea World and Disney World to name the big venues. It has sold in dozens of other water parks and still sells in swim school all across the country. It has been featured on The Today Show, Good Morning America, The View, and of course Shark Tank. I have sold so many towels, sewn so many towels, folded so many towels, packed so many towels (we sold 4,500 on GMA and Brian and I, along w/ friends and family, packed every single one) ordered so many towels, bought so many towels, transported so many towels, shipped so many towels, inspected so many towels, fixed so many towels, cleaned up and inhaled the lint of so many towels, loved so many towels and cried over so many others. It has been a long journey. It has not been easy.

There have been so many ups (real high ups!) and downs (super low downs!) but after 6 years, I know in my heart it is time to “throw in the towel”. I am proud of ShowNo. I am proud of what I accomplished! I learned so much and have come so far. When I started, I had no clue how to manufacture a product. I knew NOTHING about fulfillment or distribution or MOQ’s or shipping terms like FOB or line sheets or EDI or margins or COG’s etc. Two years ago, I manufactured my product in China! I had no clue how to do that? Granted it was a complete disaster, but I did it! I confronted fear over and over again. Battled the voice of my head that told me I wasn’t smart enough and that I was a complete moron! The loudest came before filming Shark Tank. Fear, doubt and shame worked overtime trying to get me to turn around but I didn’t. I walked straight thru the fire and walked out with a check in my hand. I was so proud of that. It changed me.

When my Shark Tank deal turned to crap. I felt like such a huge failure. I felt like what I had accomplished meant nothing. I worked so hard to try and fix it so that I could still have my “happily ever after” but as hard as I tried, I couldn’t fix it. I felt broken for a really long time. It affected all aspects of my life. I pushed people away in my shame. That still makes me sad to think about.

I know now, that I couldn’t fix it because there was nothing to fix. It worked out exactly as it should’ve. In fact, I think it worked out perfectly! That experience – the whole thing – came to point me towards the path of my destiny. I once cursed my “Shark Partner” for kicking me to the curb. But now I thank her. She taught me so much more than she thought she did and none of it was about business. All lessons are blessings. When we embrace them, we receive the gift!

I have been buried in towels for 6 years!!

Shelly J Ehler Towels

I know now that this journey had absolutely nothing to do with towels. It was about something so much more. So much bigger and so much better. Through it, I found my purpose and I found myself. Mission accomplished. That is why I don’t need to continue with my towels anymore. I held onto the business because I was trying to prove something but I don’t need to prove anything anymore. The towels came to teach me a lesson. I learned it. I am so grateful. Time to move on! (Thank God because I am so sick of towels!!!)

As for what the future holds for me… I have an idea… but I still really don’t know. I don’t need to know. There is so much love in a surprise! I am happy. I am at peace and I have a family who loves and adores me. What a blessing.

All of us have had experiences in our life when we felt cheated, betrayed, let down, taken advantage of, lied to, etc. It’s not a good feeling. It hurts. Our knee jerk reaction is to hurt back. We live the story over and over in our heads and it gets bigger and we become more upset. We share it with others who validate those feelings and it again becomes bigger and we become even more upset. Our minds scream of injustice and plot revenge. The sadness continues. The anger gets bigger. The resentment grows. I would say that at one point or another it has happened to every single one of us. Unfortunately it is a part of the world we live in. Yuck.

It has certainly happened to me many times. I am someone who loves and trusts BIG. I am someone who is not afraid to be vulnerable. When I give someone my love and trust, it is real. My word truly is my honor. Having that trust broken has been devastating to me at times in my life. What I know now is that we are 100% responsible for our lives and blaming others will get you nowhere. Did that person break my heart? Yes, but who gave it to them to break? We have to own our actions. When we do, we can reset and start over. When we blame someone else, we have to wait for them to accept responsibility and we could wait a long time. Possibly forever. Who has time for that?

We have all been told at one time or another to “take the high road”. It is great advice, but not always easy for us to do. Sometimes we think that if we take the high road then that other person will get away with what they did! We want justice and taking the high road lets them off the hook. Not at all. The exact opposite is true. Taking the high road is the only choice. In doing so, you give the universe the power to right your wrongs for you. On the high road, you take responsibility for yourself. You forgive yourself. You move forward faster than you would on any other road. The sad thing is, not a lot of people take the high road. They take the low along with everyone else and are stuck in a huge traffic jam. What happens in a traffic jam… you get nowhere. Take the high road my friends. It’s a lot less crowded and you will fly to where you want to go…

Two weeks ago I lost my mail key. It was on a clip on my key chain and twice previously I had seen the clip open and the key fall off. My intuition told me several times to take the key off the clip and put it on the ring with the other keys or I was going to lose it! I agreed and planned to do so, but was always “too busy” to stop for 30 seconds to make the switch. Subsequently, as I was told, the clip failed once more and the key went missing. Ughhh!

I had just checked the mail, so it had been lost on my way from the mailbox to my home which is a very short distance. I was certain I would find it. For the next two days I must have walked that path at least 20 times retracing every foot step. Looking under every leaf, scouring the grass, calculating the trajectory of the bounce had it landed in the street etc. Nothing.

The following day, I watched by my window for the mailman to come. When he did, I ran out, told him about my key, collected my mail and received a number to call for a new key. I called right away and was informed that a new key would cost $85. Ughh once more!

Back to looking… I scoured the familiar path over and over again with no luck. It was gone. My “thinking mind” told me it was over. Suck it up and go get a new key. My “intuitive mind” told me to not give up. Relax and have faith. It will show up. That is really what I heard although logically, considering the efforts I had put forth to find it, really made no sense.

I decided to pray. I closed my eyes, got very quiet and asked where it could be. I was never given a location but rather a “knowing” that it would appear. I asked what I needed to do in order to make it so. “Let go and forgive”, a message I had heard many, many, many, many, many times before. I had been holding on to a disappointment that was stuck to me with crazy glue. I knew it, had been working on it, but small fragments refused to let go. In a few deep breaths, I unglued the remaining pieces and found peace. It felt awesome!

Later that day, when I got back from picking the boys up at school, my attention was drawn to the mailbox. I walked over there and in my lock was my key!

Shelly J Ehler mailkey

I got chills. Tears immediately filled my eyes with the gratitude and love I felt by what had happened. I couldn’t get over it! My “thinking mind” told me it had to have been the mailman. He knew I was missing my key and possibly grabbed another when he was at the post office as an act of kindness. My “intuitive mind” told me it was grace.

The next day, I caught the mailman as he was delivering the mail. I told him I owed him big time and thanked him for the key. He had no idea what I was talking about.

Over and over and over and over what do I learn… follow your inner voice in faith. It will lead you to magic and miracles and abundance and blessings and purpose and peace and missing mail keys.

There is something exhilarating about the start of a new year. It symbolizes a fresh start, a clean slate. It’s a time of reflection. What changes do I need to make this year to live my best life? I am someone who really embraces the start of a new year and is excited about the possibilities that the year will bring. What is funny to me is that nothing changes from Dec 31st to Jan 1st. Yes, the year has changed, but nothing physically has really changed. January 1st is just another day just like any other, but on this day, we feel that fresh start. We feel the possibilities that have been buried. We put the previous year behind us and allow ourselves to let go and move forward. January 1st has so much power!! What is sad to me is that in the days that follow, people start to lose that excitement. They make a commitment to eat healthy and when they drive thru Burger King a week later they feel as if they’ve broken that commitment and they stop trying. So often we fall back into old habits and when we do, we judge ourselves so harshly which only reinforces the habit.

It has been said that “old habits die hard”. Some people can break a habit over night, but most can’t. It takes time and recommitment. If you find yourself falling back into old habits that you hoped to change, the last thing to do is to stop trying. The last thing to do is judge yourself. That is where you will stay stuck. Instead, start again. Start over and over and over until you accomplish that goal. On a recent episode of Super Soul Sunday (my FAVORITE show!!) Jack Kornfield, a renowned spiritual teacher, said, “We as human beings have the amazing ability to be reborn at breakfast everyday and say this is a new day, who will I be?” I love that and it’s so very true! You don’t have to wait till next Jan 1st to start again. Let every single day be Jan 1st. Start fresh everyday. Recommit to your dreams everyday. Recommit to your goals. Know you are worthy and dream as big as you can. No little dreams in 2014. Shoot for the stars! What if you don’t get there? Well at least you can say you tried and you will have no regrets. What if you do? I’m shooting big this year – real BIG. Nothing is standing in my way. Join me…

If you have read my blog before you know I am a HUGE Oprah fan. She has been a mentor to me since I was 14 years old. I have learned so many lessons from her like, “What you focus on grows. Focus on the goodness in your life”

“Dream your biggest dream. The universe has an even bigger one in store”

“Be thankful for what you have and you’ll end up having more.” These have all been tremendous lessons for me, but perhaps the greatest I learned on May 25, 2011.

It was the final episode of the Oprah show and she called it “her love letter”. There were no guests. It was just Oprah sharing her journey and what she has learned over the years. She said that a common thread she has seen in so many people over the years is a feeling of unworthiness. She said that you must know you are worthy and feel you are worthy and open yourself and be ready to receive. As she said that, her words shot through the TV and went straight into my heart. I knew she was talking to me. I started to cry and couldn’t stop. It was a true “AHA moment”. I was bringing a lot of great things into my life, but none of the “bigger things” were manifesting. What I realized was that I hadn’t “opened myself to receive”. I am someone (like so many!!) who likes to give. I have a very hard time receiving. I have such a hard time receiving that I often push things away. I knew in that moment it was a missing piece in my puzzle. It was a lesson I needed to learn. I closed my eyes, got quiet and opened myself to receive. I said, “I AM worthy. I AM open. I AM ready to receive”. It was amazing because so much peace came over me! I felt such joy and peace inside! A few hours later my phone rang. It was the Today Show. They said Bobbie Thomas had received the towels I sent her (3 months prior) and was doing a segment on “Moms with good ideas”. Would it be ok to showcase my towel? Wow. How about that? Coincidence? No such thing.

My towel was on the Today Show with Bobbie one week later. My good friend Debi posted the segment on her Facebook page. She happened to be connected to a casting director from Shark Tank and I was cast on the show two weeks later. The rest is history.

My mentor Oprah told me, “Be open. Be ready to receive. Know you are worthy.” I listened. I believed. It changed my life. I want to share the same with you. Get quiet right now. Say it. Feel it and believe it. I AM open. I AM ready to receive. I AM worthy. YOU ARE!! Let go and watch the magic happen…

I was always told growing up that I was a good story teller (a trait I inherited from my Grandpa Joe). In my college sorority I was voted “Best Story Teller” every single year. I look back at those times and those stories and they were full of love and humor and joy. They reflected my life. My “story” was only ever happy and my life was happy.

In 2009 when the recession hit and I was losing my business and home, my “story” changed. My new story was entitled “Poor Me”. Everyday was a poor me day. The more I declared life’s injustice the more injustice would appear to validate my declaration. It was a vicious cycle. I see it now, looking back on it, but I didn’t at the time. I didn’t realize that I was trapped in my story! I told myself this negative story over and over and over again and that exact story is what continued to show up in my life. I remember thinking, “How did I become so unlucky?” I was never unlucky in the past. The thing is, my luck never changed, my story did.

I finally had an AHA moment one day watching Oprah talk about negative stories. I realized that it was exactly what I was doing and I took her advice and decided to end my current story and write a new one. This one I entitled “Anything is Possible”. It says, “I AM light, I AM love, I AM peace.” It says that there is nothing I can’t do in faith. It says to dream big. I believed my new story and ended up having three “Sharks” fight over me.

What story are you telling yourself? Whatever you tell yourself will appear in your life. So many of us spin these negative stories and believe them. The truth is, it’s just a story, made up by your mind. If you have been telling yourself how unfair life is and how you get no good breaks, write a new one. Write a story of blessings and abundance and dreams come true. Sound silly? Not to me. There are things in life we can choose and others we can’t. YOU can choose your story. Write a good one my friends!

If there is something that you want, would you get it quicker if you asked for it or if you kept silent? Obviously the answer is to ask, correct? We know this, but so often we keep our hopes, desires and dreams to ourselves. We are afraid to ask. Afraid of judgment from others. Afraid of looking foolish. Afraid of not getting what we want. Afraid of disappointment and often we simply don’t feel worthy to ask.

Maybe you have asked before, not gotten what you wanted and lost faith. Boy have I been there before! Check out my AHA moment on Oprah’s Lifeclass

I have learned a lot since then. I remember being so broken and confused. I had always been able to turn situations around in my life. Why couldn’t I make this better? The answer, because Ionly had faith in me. I was asking in sadness. I was asking in desperation and expecting the answer to look like I wanted it to look. The answer came to me over and over again, but I ignored it thinking my way was better. It would say “let go”. I know now that “letting go” is a significant step in the asking process. Yes, I was “asking”, but I was asking with myself still in the driver’s seat. Here is the key… You must ask in faith. Don’t just believe a little. Believe in absolute faith and live in the joy of it already coming to pass. The last step is to let it go and not judge the way it is answered. It will always be answered and it might not look like you thought it would, but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Say Thank You.

I’m in a couple groups on Facebook and one of them is a group of entrepreneurs with 200 members. Entrepreneurs by definition are dreamers and risk takers so one day I asked people to list their dreams so that we could dream them for one another. In this group of 200 dreamers, only about 4 posted. It was interesting to me and I realized that so many of us are just afraid to ask. I get it. I’ve been there, but I’m not there anymore. Don’t keep your dreams and desires trapped inside of you. ASK, ASK, ASK. You are worthy and you will always get an answer. Don’t be afraid of a NO. You could be 3 No’s away from your YES. Keep asking! Don’t be afraid of your light. You were brought here to shine!! What are you asking for?