When you’re in the business of building empires, downtime usually isn’t built in to this blueprint for success. Entrepreneur and investor Elena Cardone has learned to maximize each and every mindset moment has oftentimes made the difference between sealing the deal or sealing her and her fortune’s fate.

These days, the 50-year-old author, mother, and wife of businessman and 10X Movement founder Grant Cardone is helping lay the groundwork, she says, for other women to successfully manage their careers, marriage, and family by putting her energy toward a number of female-focused ventures, including her annual 10X Ladies conference and with her popular Build An Empire course.

“Other than supporting my husband on helping his products reach the planet for financial literacy and legacy for others, my purpose is empowering women, protect children and restore the family unit on the planet,” says Cardone, also the author of “Build an Empire: How to Have it All.” “Those are my three things. Everything I do, you’re gonna find those.”

However, in order to help maintain the energy levels to effectively bounce , as well as the Cardone’s $4 billion real estate empire, Elena Cardone has enhanced her well-rounded approach to business, by enhancing her already dedicated health and wellness regimen.

Staying mentally and physically sharp is no longer an office afterthought among the business hierarchy. A study in 2022 showed that nearly 1 in 3 top-level executives struggled with mental health issues. Even Grant admitted to a host of health struggles during the many years of building success at expense of his taking better care of his overall well being.

It’s part of the reason why physical and mental health is considered one of Cardone’s “four pillars” to building a successful empire, along with creating a strong mindset, developing strong relationships and forging financial freedom.

“You can’t have an empire if one of these pillars collapse, and that’s especially true if your health begins to fail,” she says. “How do you build and fortify and make every single pillar strong? An empire requires energy, it requires cognitive awareness, alertness, it requires physical and emotional stability. If you don’t have your health for yourself, and for those around you, what have you got? Money doesn’t matter then.”

Cardone’s Winning Strategy for health has its share of high-end and cutting-edge wellness treatments—from red light therapy, IV treatments, 10X vitamins to even hiring a personal martial arts instructor. Elena Cardone’s keys to physical and mental well-being also incorporate the basics, such as sleep. “I make sure I get at least seven hours’ asleep. It’s discipline. I don’t go to bed by when I feel like it, I go to bed by the clock.”

Another element that helps Cardone win in the boardroom, she reluctantly admits, is her dedication to a backyard trampoline bounce-around session at the family’s South Florida house overlooking the Atlantic. What little downtime she has, she spends it here clearing her head and creating the next empire building idea.

“I have a trampoline in my house for my kids,” the mother of two admits. “But when I have nothing going on, I like to go out and just jump on the trampoline and look at the ocean. It may look like I’m doing nothing, but in my head that’s when I’m visualizing and doing all of this stuff, and it just energizes me.”

Elena Cardone’s Winning Strategy

Discipline is More Valuable than Motivation

Venus Williams spoke at one of our [10X] events, and she was incredible. She always has this poker face when she’s playing tennis so people can’t read her, but she is so dynamic. I loved what she said about discipline—discipline is freedom. If you have discipline, you have everything you want in your life. And if you don’t have discipline, you don’t have everything you want in your life. For Venus, anxiety set in when she knew she’s wasn’t so disciplined because that’s when things would start to fall apart.

I’ve learned how to cultivate discipline, and I talk about this all the time. So many people are looking to be motivated. I love it as well, and I do love the inspiration that comes with motivation, but I don’t depend on it. I depend on discipline. So many people need to be motivated before they get themselves in action. And the difference is, with discipline, you do something whether you want to or not. And that’s an area in which I’ve really trained myself like I would a muscle.

The misconception about discipline is that it’s not fun, that it’s this arduous process. Like, who wants to have discipline when you can go party and live life to its fullest? But the misconception is that once you achieve discipline, you’ll feel freaking amazing about yourself and the rewards that you’ve actually manifested due to having discipline.

Elena Cardone
Courtesy of 10X

Find and Cultivate Your Own Space to Create

I’ve had a trampoline my entire life, as crazy and weird as that sounds. That’s like, my loaf-time pleasure. I don’t know what other people’s winning formula is, but for me it works. When I get outside when I put my attention on something, I need a view. I don’t like having all these thoughts going on in my head. I like to go out and look at things and with the trampoline movement and its motion, it get me motivated to be like, “Yeah, we’re gonna do this!” I believe when I am stuck in my head I always go take a walk and look at things so that that can’t be bad for anyone because it puts your attention out of your head and onto the physical universe.

Sometimes on the trampoline I’ll usually listen to books on tape. I’ve listened to about 38 this year. When I’m doing this I’m focusing on the book and also getting ideas and concepts. It’s different from when in my zone mapping and creating creating.

I also have a Pilates ball I’ll use if I’m inside. It sounds weird. I used to be embarrassed because I thought this was not normal, but now I’ve embraced the process. It works for me.

Bring an MMA Mindset to Your Next Business Meeting

For exercise, I love doing MMA, especially Brazilian jiujitsu. It’s my favorite workout. It goes by the fastest and I’m able to get a lot of aggression out of me—it pumps me up. I just feel so empowered after I do a rigorous workout like that.

I never think I’m going to get good at MMA, but it doesn’t matter: It’s just me controlling and overcoming this opposition I have in my head of something that is so unreal and so unnatural for me. Then all of a sudden, if I do hit a few punches with power and impact, it’s like, Wow! I really feel great about myself.

When it comes to MMA and business mindsets, there’s not much of a difference. What I’ve learned from martial arts is how to confront difficult situations. I’ve sparred, and I’ve had black eyes—not that you need to do that. But the very first time I attempted to do Brazilian jiujitsu, I was a wreck. But the training allowed me to get comfortable when it came to confronting situations that were so scary to me. It made business seem easy.

With BJJ, there are so many different tactics and strategies—from staying either patient or aggressive to even [focusing on] your facial expressions. It’s similar to business. Do you just have one reaction? Or can you think cleverly and approach a [boardroom] situation by just maybe not reacting or having a more neutral expression? So I think martial arts is very similar to business—except maybe slightly milder because in martial arts, people are very respectful of the bell and the referee and you can tap out… But in business, if you try and tap out they will try and annihilate you. So, to me the business world is more brutal than the martial arts world.

Elena Cardone
Courtesy of 10X

Aim for Elite Status in All Your Ventures

When it comes to your four pillars, being very good in all four is needed for stability. But try and change your mindset to, why can’t you be elite in all areas? It is possible to operate at heightened levels of success in all areas. It sometimes comes down to how you balance all life’s juggling balls.

People always ask about having a work-life balance. I just don’t assume work-life balance has to look perfectly even keel at all times. Sometimes it’ll look like I need to focus on health, so many one ball drops a little bit, but not too far to reach the danger zone. Maybe I’ll need help to maintain one area as I focus on another area. Who can watch the kids when we’re traveling for work? That’s when you’ll have to delegate a little bit so you can keep all those balls in the air and not in danger of fracturing one of your pillars.

The problem many people have is just not having a plan, and thinking life is just going to happen for them magically without doing the necessary requirements to have understanding and knowledge in the field that they want to be successful in. If you want success, you need to invest in yourself. That’s one thing people can’t take away from you.

People always ask, what if you lost everything? Yes, it would suck, but it wouldn’t take half as long to re-create it because I now understand about relationships, the mindset to do the work,  as well as all the contacts that I’ve made.

In other words, get the right mentorship, align with the people who have the stats in the areas that you want and go deep on that person, rather than going and listening to 100 different self-proclaimed social media experts that don’t have what you need.

Maximize Every Opportunity that Presents Itself

Not having time, in my opinion, is a lie. If you’re being honest and wrote everything down, we can probably find where you can economize on time. Are you having loaf time, having conversations with friends or having wine time or movie time? There’s actually a lot of time. Wake up earlier and go to bed earlier.

Have a set time—just block out calendar block out your times and then get to the point where you know you can make the best usage of your time. You’re going to start producing more financially—it’s just a given. And when you do that, take those funds and reinvest in yourself either in self enhancement or spending the money to hire out. I don’t look at people as costing me money. People allow me to go create more. So if they don’t have the time, then hire somebody to clean your house.

Maybe you’re not making enough connections with people. Maybe you’re not marketing or promoting yourself. There’s an element you aren’t doing right but when the money starts coming in, hire somebody to do these things that are costing you or preventing you from being able to do what you do best.

But if you use time as an excuse, you get to keep your excuses.