SheFighter: 'From Trouble Maker to Global Change Maker'

Lina Khalifeh is the founder of SheFighter, the first self-defense studio for women in the Middle East. SheFighter, which is now in more than 35 countries, helps to empower women physically, mentally, and emotionally through self-defense training.

A multiple medalist, Lina represented Jordan in competitions and championships nationally and internationally. After sustaining a career ending injury, she was forced to reexamine the direction of her life. She went to university and met a fellow student who was the survivor of a sexual assault. This clarified her purpose and she started teaching women self-defense techniques in the basement of her family home.

She has personally trained hundreds of women, including actress Emma Watson, earned accolades from President Barack Obama 2019, and has received numerous awards, including the ESPN Humanitarian Award, presented by the UFC and ESPN; and in 2018, she was awarded the Economic Empowerment Award by Hillary Clinton. Lina is also the author of the book SheFighter – From Trouble Maker to Global Change Maker.


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Chelsea Brown: Hi, everyone, I'm Chelsea Brown, and welcome to The Millie Podcast. The more I talk with people, the more I'm hearing the same thing. We're all looking for more meaning and more substance. People want to get away from the scripted reality and get to the heart of each person's story. This podcast is for women who want to rip up the script and explore new ideas, places and possibilities. Every two weeks, I'll be talking with an inspiring and inspired woman who is creating impact in her community. And more importantly, a woman who can teach us to be ourselves, go after our dreams and write our own story. I can't wait to share this journey with you. It's time to see the world in a different way.

Lina Khalifeh: I was born a fighter. As far as I remember, maybe five, six years old, something would happen to me I would stand up for myself. My goal was to be in the Olympics.

Chelsea: Today, I am so honoured and excited to be talking with Lina Khalifeh. Founder of SheFighter, the first self defense studio for women in the Middle East.

Lina: If I want something, I would go after it and achieve it. I realized I can create my own system in martial arts. I can start something just for women, and I can grow it globally.

Chelsea: SheFighter, which is now in more than 35 countries helps to empower women physically, mentally, and emotionally through self defense training.

Lina: It felt really good to be recognized by a president who's a global leader. I mean, President Barack Obama is really well respected in the Middle East.

Chelsea: A multiple medalist, Lina represented Jordan in competitions and championships nationally, and internationally.

Lina: It was a lot of pressure. I won a lot of gold medals but still they kept rejecting me.

Chelsea: In 2019, she was awarded the ESPN Humanitarian Award presenting by UFC and ESPN. And in 2018, she was awarded the economic empowerment award by Secretary Hillary Clinton. She is also the author of the book SheFighter: From Trouble Maker to Global Change Maker.

Lina: If you think too much about the future, you wouldn't even take a step. The injury happened because it wasn't my path. I would never have grown following martial arts created by other men in the past like Taekwondo.

Chelsea: Lina story is very inspiring, and it goes all the way back to when she was just a little girl standing up to the boys in her neighbourhood.

Lina: I did not understand that that time the difference between being a girl and a boy, but life definitely introduced me to gender inequality and the concept of it.

Chelsea: She overcame hurdles, injuries and doubts from people around her to blaze your own path. She reminds us to feel strong and fight for our right to dream, which is more important now than it's ever been. Welcome, Lina.

Lina: Thank you. Thank you for having the time. And I've seen that you've been to Jordan, right?

Chelsea: Yes.

Lina: The food is good, right?

Chelsea: Oh my gosh, I love Jordan. Three years ago, I worked on a project for the Syrian refugee crisis called the Pin Project. And it brought me to Jordan and it opened my eyes up to how important travel is broadening our awareness, a global awareness. So I actually as you know, I have my travel company called Millie and we curate trips to Jordan for women.

Lina: Oh, that's amazing. Since I started going global maybe four or five years ago, I started getting a lot of visitors to Jordan. And I got to know more about Jordan because I take them out. I take them to Petra, I take them to the downtown, we just try the best restaurants. I started to learn more about my country's history, which I neglected for like you know, you take it for granted. You've been living there for a long time.

Chelsea: Oh my gosh. Well lucky friends to have you as their guide.

Lina: Oh, yeah. But it's exhausting by the way. It's totally exhausting.

Chelsea: I'd love to spend a little bit of time talking about SheFighter: From Trouble Maker to Global Change Maker. When did you feel that it was time?

Lina: I started writing that book 2017 because I believe we need to share our story and experiences to other people. But it was very intense at the beginning, the first six chapters because it was about my childhood. And it took me back to some experiences I kind of left back in my mind. But going back to these experiences, and putting details in it, I felt emotional, I was shaking, I could not write and I felt the pain. The pain never left. But we ignore it. We forget about it and we don't want to go back to it because that's human nature you want to survive. But I would just recommend anybody who wants to write their own story, writing with even your hands or typing will take you back to those moments where you were hurt and you kind of ignore it.

Chelsea: I'm curious. You talk about being on the streets and fighting boys that you know, five, do you think, seeing the in justices that might be happening in Jordan at a young age separated your desire to get to know the country, from a personal level?

Lina: I was born in different personality than my siblings, and other girls in Jordan. I was born a fighter I believe it 100% because every time as far as I remember, maybe five, six years old, something would happen to me, I would stand up for myself. I did not understand that that time the difference between being a girl and a boy but life definitely introduced me to gender inequality and the concept of it. My parents did not tell me to dress like a girl or your dressing in like boys clothes, they never even pointed out to me. And my mom is well educated. She's a very open minded person. My father was busy in work.

I used to go out in the street with my brother. I just wanted to play with the boys and I'd play soccer and that's how I felt. I felt you know as a little kid, I just wanted to be outside. They started rejecting me saying, I'm a girl and I'm dressing like a boy. And I remember, long time ago, it was a really long time ago. And I did not like the idea. I felt like they're insulting me by saying, girls cannot join the football team. They call it football in the Middle East it's soccer.

And I started standing up for myself, like I want to join and I'm even better than most of you. But they kept fighting me back throwing rocks at me. So I had to fight back because I did not understand why I'm being kicked out from the team, why they treat me differently. It did not occur to my brain that it's because I'm a girl, they refuse to have me. And of course, girls would never have this kind of personality of fighting personality. I can't even remember a girl who was being in the street other than me.

So I always questioned at a very early age, why am I being treated differently. And then when I was enrolled in school, most of my friends were boys. And then my parents decided to enroll me in a Christian, all girls school. And it was a very big struggle for me, because girls were not interested at that time, long time ago, in sports, or anything that the boys would do. So I struggled a lot to find my community, my tribe. I found them when I joined Taekwondo.

Chelsea: That's amazing. And what are your siblings like?

Lina: My two sisters are into polities fitness. They like to dress up a lot make up and I would say, very, totally girly girls. Yeah. I'm totally like my father, where I'm business oriented, solution oriented. Just have this fire inside of me. My mom keeps telling me you are like your father. He was very fiery at a very young age. And he built his enterprise from scratch as well. He owns his own factory in Jordan exporting educational tools for the Middle East. And he never even got educated. So I'm similar to him. I'm stubborn. I don't see why yeah. I can't see that I can't do anything or achieve anything. I definitely see that if I put the work in it, I would definitely achieve it. And there's a lot of opportunities out there.

Chelsea: It's clear that your parents definitely contributed to who you've become. And you even started your martial arts in the basement of their house.

Lina: Oh, yeah.

Chelsea: You were so determined.

Lina: Yeah. Well, it's a funny story that when I finished college, I graduated French literature. And I applied for 20 jobs in Jordan and I got rejected 20 times. They said different reasons. Like, I'm overqualified. I don't know how I'm overqualified but I think they find different excuses, but it was mostly because I'm not following girls, you know how girls dress up in Jordan and how they behave. Like I should be quiet. So anyway, I got rejected. But then I decided to join the family business with my father. I was in his company for four years, and he fired me four times.

Chelsea: Oh my gosh.

Lina: Even if you're in the family business, they keep treating you like you don't understand much, you're still a kid. They never take you seriously in meetings, they smoke in meetings, and they just don't care a lot about women and their opinion it's the same. It's the same culture as Jordan, but like it's in an enterprise. Then I realized I cannot, it's like toxic totally. I know it's my father's business. But it's like, there's only four women who are hired in this company, and mostly like secretary jobs and the men are doing everything and they are in managerial positions. It's like being a tribe, men tribe, you know what I mean? So they never put you with their tribe, because you're a woman.

So I decided to start my own business and my father at the beginning did not support it. He said, that's not even a business. Self defense and teaching women that's not even a business. For him product is a business but he did not see my vision. I'm the only one who saw the vision. And I said, I'm just going to do it anyway. And I quit his company and I started testing my system slowly. It's like, it was a very baby steps by the way, to reach to where I am right now.

Chelsea: And you talk about how sometimes the people who support you are not your family, and you have to build your support system. So when did you realize that?

Lina: Since I started my business, nobody believed that my business would be profitable. But of course, I had my own vision, I said, this is my path. It's my journey. They don't have to be included in the journey. Some people have to leave, some people have to join. It's exactly like you're driving in this car and some people would ride in this car, join you on this drive and sometimes you have to drop them off at a certain point and keep going. The only thing that would make you grow is by keep going forward and learn from your past and appreciate the past. And know that the past happened for a reason and you are growing. You cannot stop at a certain point and say I had enough from my mind growth or my spiritual growth or whatever, you have to keep growing all the time.

There is no certain age to it. Life is a learning journey and a learning experience. And your experience is going to be totally different than other people's experiences. Other people try to walk my own journey they cannot. It's not their own path, it's my path. And I have to learn from it. There's challenges, there's people who will support me, there's people who will believe in me later on. Like my father, for example. He started believing in my business after four or five years in being in business.

Chelsea: Well, did I read this right? He's tough love and he kicked you out of the basement?

Lina: Yeah, he did. I used a basement at the beginning because I did not have enough income to start my own studio, you need a budget to start your own studio to teach. So I said, I'm going to use the basement because it's empty. And I started teaching and training. But then there was a bit of a high demand, people coming to the basement. So he did not like the fact that there were a lot of people coming in to his house, but he didn't even give me time. He's like tomorrow you're ending this. I'm like, Well, I have people, I have members, they're subscribing. But then again, the pressure would make me find a solution.

I went to different gyms in Jordan at that time I talked to them I said, I want to rent the space, and I want to bring my own customers. And they did that for like six months with few gyms until the gyms realized that I am having a lot of customers. Some of them are their customers joining my classes. So they kicked me out. And they did not even give me time. They said, next month you're not renewing the rent. We need that space. So you have to find somewhere else.

I didn't mention it to my students, I call them my students. And one girl told me Lina there is a jujitsu club that left a space and they're looking for someone else to take over the place and it's already designed as a martial art studio. So I said I really can't afford it and she's like, go check it, you have nothing to lose. And I want to check it and I just fell in love with this space. I talked to the owner of the space, I said, What if I pay you the rent every three months? And he's like, Yeah, sure. And we signed the contract and that's how I started.

And I believed in that. Even if you feel like you're tight on budget, or you can't afford it, go check it because once you go check any place or space and you fall in love with it, your brain will make, your energy, your body, everything will make it happen for you. And I started making a lot of money in the first year. And of course, I paid the rent, I bought a lot of equipments and I started growing. And that's the first step how I started growing, SheFighter and my team.

Chelsea: Wow. Did you find people were resistant to you in the Middle East when you had this idea of SheFighter?

Lina: Yes. Some people were resisting to the ideas, a lot of other people were supportive to the idea. What I did is I kept, I surrounded myself with people who would appreciate, and they would know the importance of this idea and this work. So most of them they were my customers, my employees, students that would join, their parents. I had lots of conversations with moms, with fathers. And these conversations made me, they motivated me to keep going, because they kept saying how much their daughters changed and how they suffer from bullying in schools or harassment or any kind of problems and challenges they face, and they look up for me.

And sometimes I have even one on one conversations with the teenagers. And they would tell me a lot of things that they wouldn't tell their parents. So it was a safe space for everybody to come and express and be themselves. I did not like the fact that Jordan was such a conservative country where you have to dress in a certain way to get a job. Or you cannot have tattoos, for example. I don't have tattoos but I had a lot of employees who had to tattoos.

Or for example, you cannot have a shorter hair. Like it's more desirable if you cover your hair, you know what I mean?

Chelsea: Yeah.

Lina: So I would hire anybody with passion. I don't care if they dye their hair different colors. I welcomed everybody with passion. If they're committed to the idea of women empowerment, and just helping in ending domestic violence and violence against women, and they want to put the work in it, they're welcome. Anybody who's a hater, who has negative energy, because we did have a lot of haters. So they're not welcome.

Chelsea: I love that. That from a young age, you knew that this is the world that you are creating for your clients and your staff. It's my understanding and I hope you don't mind talking about this, that you had a life changing injury at 22. Do you think that was fate?

Lina: Oh, yeah, for sure. Definitely fate because I'm a very persistent person. If I want to achieve something, I go after 100%. I don't accept failure. Failure, for me is just an experience. I'm just tripping on my way. But then sometimes life is like, this is not your path anymore. They have to pay attention to another path, or you have to take another path. And I'm too stubborn to look away from my path. Or like, look away from the goal, or where do I want to get. And life will just punch you in the face if you don't listen or listen carefully to what you're meant to do.

Chelsea: I'm just really inspired by your confidence in this. Is it your father, maybe who instilled this mentality in you?

Lina: I believe, like how the poet Kahlil Gibran, he said, like your children are not your children, they're the sons and daughters of life's longing for itself. They come through you but not from you. And though they are with you, but yet they belong not to you. So I do believe everybody come to this life for a different mission. And we will get some habits or some genetics from our parents, we will inherit some things but it doesn't mean that we are them. It's totally different. We are on a different mission and path in this life. We just have to listen. The difference is everybody come to this life with a dream. They forget about it with time as they grow old.

And if they stayed connected to that voice or that dream inside of them, they will definitely be on, I would say like a bigger path. A lot of people would just follow, believing they should be like their parents. Or like, if my father is a doctor, I need to be a doctor too, it doesn't have to be this way. The difference is with people who just never forget that dream that they were born with. Opportunities will just keep coming as they keep walking because some people think that if they hustle, or if they push harder, they will probably make it or make more money. It doesn't have to, it's not totally true.

Sometimes everything can come to you, while you're just sitting and thinking or doing totally nothing. It doesn't mean that you have to do nothing every day. Its just sometimes people would attract a lot of things to their lives by just sitting and being present in the moment and allowing everything to come with positive and with an open heart. And not stressing a lot about certain problems or things in life because they believe it's just tomorrow is a different day and it's going to pass. But of course, they take the steps to solve it. I'm kind of that person. I work when I feel like working. Because when I feel like working, I don't know how but I would just even attract more opportunities. I'm very focused. I finish the work even in less time than trying to pressure myself to finish the work in other days where I don't feel like doing it. So I just follow sometimes how I feel and it always works for my sake. It's always been something good for me and my life and my business and my path in life.

Chelsea: Do you think there was a moment after the injury that you may be wanting to give up?

Lina: Oh, yeah. I always have this moment of giving up many times. When I got injured, I thought, before I got injured, I thought my goal was to be in the Olympics. And to represent my country and to win the gold medal. And that's what I thought. I thought that's the end of it. Winning the gold medal in the Olympics would give me a lot of opportunities later on. But then a lot of challenges happened within the national team, where they wanted to have certain people to represent the country. My background is Palestinian, I was born in Jordan, but my grandfather, he was a refugee from Palestine to Jordan.

So there wasn't a lot of support coming to families that originally come from Palestine. But I did not care because I'm a very persistent person. I don't care about being a girl or being originally from somewhere. If I want something, I would go after it and achieve it. That's how I believe I can achieve what I want to achieve. But I was fighting a lot to the national team, they kicked me out many times. They would just ask me to stop the training and leave. It was a lot of pressure. I won a lot of gold medals. But still they kept rejecting me.

I started thinking about later on that the injury happened to stop me from trying to go back to the national team to try to represent my country. Because it wasn't my path, it wasn't my environment, I would never have grown working with them and following other martial arts that was created by other men in the past like Taekwondo. Later on, I realized I can create my own system in martial arts, and I can grow it globally. The same way Taekwondo and Karate and other martial arts started, I can start something just for women. And that's how I also got the idea and inspired about how to start the SheFighter system.

Chelsea: Wow. You've said if you want to create social change, you have to be a fighter by nature. Nobody is going to applaud you because you are disrupting the status quo and changing cultural norms. Is it tough disrupting the traditional environment and male dominated culture? I can imagine this would be challenging and maybe even met with backlash threats. What kind of reaction did you get?

Lina: Yeah. When I started all of this, I did not even think about what's going to happen later on. You just have to start. If you think too much about the future, you wouldn't even take a step. When I took that step in starting to train women's self defense, it started only as just training women's self defense. That's how I started. Then I realized they come for me for consultancy about being threatened by like mostly domestic violence. Honestly, in Jordan, it's huge with honour crimes and domestic violence. I even had this one student, she's 18. One time she called me and she's like Lina, my father is standing next to me with a gun in my head. And of course, she was crying, terrified, shaking. I'm like, what? And she's like, he has a gun now on my head. I'm like, What? I'm like, can I talk to him? And she gave me she was of course crying.

And I talked to him. I was like, Hello, sir. What's going on? Why do you point a gun on her head? And he's like, well, I don't believe she comes to your studio, I believe she goes out to see some men. I'm like, what? She comes every day to my studio. And he's like, I don't believe her. So I told her to call you. And she was shaking the poor girl she had a gun on her head. And this is not even like a poor society in Jordan. It's like Amman. They are middle class people where her father is a doctor.

But he had this gun on her head. And I of course, I calmed him down. I said, I can prove it. I have cameras come to my studio, we can have coffee, can you just remove the gun from your head? It's like, what's your number? Can I just call you privately? I can come to your house now, you can come to my office now just remove the gun off her head. You don't want to do this. And he did. I calmed him down and later on, he came and visited me in the studio. But I had to deal with that. I did not realize that I'm going to be doing some kind of work like the police. Police's work yeah. But it just made me realize how to also deal with these kind of situations. So I just learned a lot about the culture, about how even to deal with parents, angry parents. You have to be extremely calm when dealing with people.

Chelsea: I watched an interview that you did, you had talked about the Syrian refugee crisis, you talked about the abuse against women in the Middle East and you talked about being smart, and you need to have a plan. So I'd really love to know what tools you can provide and share with me about how we can effectively create long term change.

Lina: Yeah, I did think about it for so many years. Because if you notice a lot of people who come up with different solutions, sometimes the solution dies in the middle of the way or they give up on the solution because a problem is too big. What I thought about is I cannot keep doing this by myself. I have to train and certify other trainers who are females to grow the whole SheFighter movement of empowering others, communities and societies.

So first thing I came up with the six manuals, I copyrighted everything, I accredited them and I was ready to go to teach and certify other trainers everywhere. And then I just introduced my concept of continuing to grow the movement, not just by me by other women who want to make a change as well. And I started traveling around the globe certifying other women, and these women would start training in their communities.

So far, I have certified 600 women globally. And Jordan, they are totally now doing the job without me even being there. And they start training other students and girls and they started speaking in public, and they started spreading awareness in different schools and universities. Exactly how I started. So I said, I want the youth and the young women to mostly in their 20s or like early 30s to follow what I did and keep growing with this movement. And they did, it worked. And I realize it's a long lasting, it's like it's growing. So it means its sustainable solution. We have women who are interested who are in Australia, we have women in Mauritius, we have women in South Korea, it's all over the globe, and I cannot be everywhere at the same.

Chelsea: Yes.

Lina: Yeah. I have to empower my team.

Chelsea: Of course, in fact, you are building your presence in the United States and in 2015, President Barack Obama even acknowledged and publicly gave his support to you. I can't imagine how this would have felt. How did it feel?

Lina: It felt really good to be recognized, of course, by a president who's a global leader, and who people would respect in the Middle East. I mean, President Barack Obama is really well respected in the Middle East. Men when they knew they just stopped me in the street and they have a lot of respect for me suddenly. And realized that was a support coming from God to me. Like Lina, you're doing the right work. Don't worry about the naysayers in your country, or the Middle East, or people who try to put you down. You got recognition from the President of the United States, and nobody ever got that in Jordan, or even in the Middle East.

And some people would have a lot of questions like why you? Because I'm a girl you say? And some people won't have that idea. Like, why a woman? I'm like, why not a woman? So I did have this conversation with a lot of people. Sometimes I would ignore their conversation, because you cannot argue with idiots sometimes.

Chelsea: Yes.

Lina: So you just don't have to argue back and you keep going with what you're doing.

Chelsea: Wow. It's an emotional feeling and it's a lot of hard work. You've had a lot of doors slammed in your face. You've heard no, many fighter when you were five years old, fighting the boys, standing up for what you believe in. This was your moment.

Lina: Yes. And after that it followed by many other moments. It just opened the door for me and more opportunities came to my life because of this moment.

Chelsea: Yeah. I've seen you've worked with global celebrities, Emma Watson being one of them. Hillary Clinton is a big fan.

Lina: Oh, yeah, a big fan of Hillary Clinton. Yes.

Chelsea: What advice would you give female entrepreneurs challenging the status quo?

Lina: I would give an advice of do not care a lot about gender. I know gender is women are having less opportunities. They don't have whites in some countries, but you should not worry and spend a lot of energy on just being a woman and not having the same opportunity as men. I would say just focus on your path of learning, going through the challenges, trying to have more people to support you. It doesn't matter if they're men or women just have more people to support your idea and believe as you grow, because you need that kind of support, you cannot do it by yourself.

And don't worry about others. Like don't look. Like exactly how you're driving your car. If you drive a car, looking on the right and left, you're going to crush. If you look only on the road where you're heading, you can take a look really fast to the past or to the right or left, but you cannot keep looking all the time. You need to focus only on your journey, on your life and your path. And your path might change. A lot of people I'm sure they planned a lot of things for 2020 and I'm sure now the plan changed. Yeah, I mean, even me I had some plans and everything was canceled.

But I have a different plan now. It's like I'm totally on a new path of online and digital and even exploring different things that I always wanted to do, but I had no time to do. And it's like God telling me, you know what Lina, what do you have now that you can use? Time. And just it's time. And I think having time is a bless. So do things that you always wanted to do. Now it's the time to do it.

Chelsea: What would you say to someone who wants to ignite on their passion project, but for whatever reason is holding back. Our self doubt, finances, confidence.

Lina: I think we always have doubts, and we're always afraid. I don't think there's one person whose supernatural that would say, I have zero fear of taking that step. Everybody is afraid. The difference is some people would say I'm afraid, but I'm going to take it anyway and I'm not going to think about the consequences. Now, I'm just going to take it. Especially if you are looking for investment or you want to invest a lot of money in something and you're afraid to lose it. Just don't worry about what's going to happen later. Just if it feels right, take that step. And then after that, don't regret taking that step.

Like, for example, last year, 2019 March, I felt, I need to hand the work to my team in Jordan, because I cannot grow anymore as what I want to grow. I cannot keep growing if I stick to one studio, I need my teams to start the people I trained and I shared my knowledge with them to do the work that I'm doing. In order to do that I have to shut down my studio in Amman in Jordan, and then handed it to someone else.

And it was a huge decision. Can you imagine how I felt at that time? It's like doubt, anxiety, what if. There's a lot of what if, and there's a lot of I'm going to regret that later on. But there was a feeling inside of me that said, that felt like this. It's like take that step, make that decision and don't think about what's next or don't think about that step you took. I handed it to my team one, of course, the best girl that is doing a lot work. She's even doing a lot of better work than me in Jordan. And it was a really hard decision even for my team, you cannot do this. We cannot do what you do. I'm like you can do what I do. It's just you rely a lot on me and it's time for you to grow. And if I say around, it's like being a parent. If you stay around, they're going to rely on you all the time.

The best way is to put them in the challenge. So I had to take that step. All 2019 I kept thinking about it, did I make the right decision? I hope I made the right decision. And I met few people, random people, totally they don't know me. And they kept telling me be patient, wait, don't take any step. And then I was confused, okay, what's next? What to do next and then COVID-19 happened. Imagine now if COVID-19 happened SheFighters still used studio in Jordan operating it would definitely, I would file for bankruptcy, maybe because the gyms are all shut down.

Chelsea: Yeah.

Lina: And a lot of businesses just cannot afford rent anymore. It's not a rich country where the government can support you. It's a very poor country. So it was a good decision to give it to someone else to take over. You know what I realized as I started traveling and meeting different people, especially honestly, meeting people all the way on top, they never live an authentic life, at least not all of them. They want to show that they live in heaven. Everything looks perfect in their lives. They wear different masks, and they're afraid to be authentic, because they believe being authentic is being completely visible to the world who they really are.

And they have to pick up their words, they have to just be extremely, they have to think a lot about every move they make or what do they want to show to the world. And I find it really hard job to do. Being someone else. We're all humans, and we can tell who's the genuine person and who's a person who pretend they have a good and perfect life. Nobody has a perfect life. Get over it. It's okay to show sometimes that you're vulnerable, you have problems. It's okay to lean on other people. It's okay to fall and it's okay to rise again. And just be yourself. It's really a tough job to be someone else.

Chelsea: You talk a lot about love and how we have to approach things with love. How do you think that is part of your founding philosophy as it pertains to SheFighter?

Lina: Yeah. So the highest frequency in the universe is love. It's one of the highest energies and feeling that I cannot even describe as a human it's called love. And one time I did feel it. I even felt it at like 4 a.m in the morning. I don't know why? I was half awake, half asleep, and I felt all the cells in my body shining. And I never felt cells in my body before. And it was a divine experience, heavenly experience, where I did not want to wake up from it. And something kept whispering in my ear, it's like you have to love every cell in your body, every cell in your face, everything in yourself in order to rise and shine.

And I walk up, and suddenly everything vanished. The feeling, I felt like is this love, this kind of awakening. I wish I can let other people feel it because that's love. It's not the love we think we know, it's another kind of love. And once you're in this moment, you kind of open the doors to all opportunities in your life, lot of people would walk in that would lift you up or make your path even easier. You just have to get to that level. But that level is really hard to achieve.

And I always, every time I had that challenge, I would say, Lina remember how you felt like being alive is a bless. Just being alive, breathing, waking up in the morning, having cells in my body is a bless. Having healthy cells. I know sometimes a lot of people would hate a lot of parts in their bodies, but they have healthy parts. A lot of other people have sick parts. So they need to be completely thankful to who they are and to breathing and being alive every single day. And once they achieve that other things would follow, other good things would fall.

Chelsea: How can we achieve this?

Lina: I will give just one really fast advice. Don't do life by yourself. You can go on the floor sometimes and ask God or the force or the energy to direct you and help you and do that every single day and you would be guided. It's just some people do it for a certain time and there are no results and they're like, Oh, you know what, this is not working. No, it's a lifestyle. It's every day in your life. Is the same way how you drink water, you exercise, you wake up from bed, you have to ask for guidance. Because human beings have limited brain and have limited, even sight they cannot see everything. They're blind. I feel like human beings are blind. If they close up their eyes and follow the heart they will be guided in a better direction.

Chelsea: Wow. I guess to finish up our chat, what is the most rewarding thing about what you do?

Lina: First changing me, changing myself. I changed a lot during ... The women I met, the girls that I met, the stories that I've heard. The time I spent with people, I changed a lot, I became a better person. And I look forward to be even better than this. And the change that I make in other women's lives and girls lives. Even sometimes you think that you're not doing anything, as I said, like now during COVID. Like one time I received a tweet from this woman. She said, I heard you speaking one time and I was going through an abused relationship and finally I got a divorce. So thank you.

And I would just say, Oh, you know I did not do anything. So just inspire them opening their hearts in into not being ... Just being authentic. Being who they really are. They need to remember who they really are when they were born. I know it's a hard task. But sometimes you need to go there and remember how it felt. Remember your dreams, remember how happy you were having nothing. I know that the word happy is hard to achieve right now but if you start believing you're happy every single day for having nothing or being nothing or just being in this life, you will achieve happiness.

Chelsea: Wow. I'm really grateful for you and for everything that you've shared. I applaud your vulnerability and your confidence to create big things that is changing the world. I just feel very lucky. Thank you very much.

Lina: Oh, no thank you. Thank you really for having me, because sometimes I need to hear myself out loud.

Chelsea: Thank you for listening. I hope you enjoyed this motivating and meaningful conversation with Lina. She is a remarkable woman and you can find out more about her and SheFighter at And please join me back here in two weeks as I share an episode with my mom. Don't worry, this isn't going to be an episode full of embarrassing childhood stories. My mother Debbie Brown is the CEO and founder of Clarity Management Group. She's a banking executive with more than 25 years of leadership experience and she's the author of New York Times noted book, It's All in the Delivery: How to Move Mountains Without Crushing the Villagers. If you enjoyed this podcast, please hit subscribe, share with your friends and visit us

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