My Journey in the ABC Shark Tank

by Shelly Ehler

Since airing on ABC’s Shark Tank last February I have received 100’s of emails from people asking me how I got on the show.  The truth is, I didn’t seek Shark Tank.  Shark Tank found me.  I see it as a miracle in my life.  The same is true of all miracles.  You can’t force them to appear.  You simply have to open yourself and allow them to show up.  This is how it happened for me…

I had never heard of the show Shark Tank until my best pal Tiffany told me about it.  I don’t watch a lot of TV (unless it’s on the OWN network – OPRAH rocks!!).  She thought I would be perfect on the show and insisted that I apply.  I watched an episode which filled me with tremendous anxiety and thought, “No way!  I could never do that.  Why would I ever put myself in the position to be totally humiliated on national TV and look like a complete idiot?”  For one year we played a game that went like this…

“Shelly, have you applied to Shark Tank?”

“No Tiffany.  That show gives me anxiety and I would never apply.”

“Shelly, I think you should apply to Shark Tank.  You would be perfect!”

“Tiffany, the thought of being on Shark Tank scares the s**t out of me and I’m not interested in making a fool out of myself.”

This went on for at least a year every time we spoke. It’s funny because I didn’t just get it from her, but from so many others when I would tell them about my company. They would compliment my idea and then say, “Hey, you should be on Shark Tank!”  I would laugh, say, “Yes, I’ve heard that quite a bit, but it’s not really my thing.”

At this time in my life, my husband and I were really struggling and on the verge of losing our home.  I closed my eyes every morning and asked God for a miracle.  I asked for guidance.  I asked for strength, I asked for someone to help me with my business.  I asked for funding.  My heart would fill with joy and I knew that my wish would be granted.  I knew in faith that the joy I was feeling was the “YES”.  I knew in faith that although it hadn’t “shown up” yet, it was already done and staying in faith would allow it to appear.

As a result of this faith, incredible things started showing up!  People started coming in my life providing the exact services that I needed.  The exact amount of money that I needed would appear exactly when I needed it.  I knew it was not a coincidence!  One day I was watching the final episode of the Oprah Show and she said something magical to me.  She said, “You must be open and ready to receive.  Know you are worthy and open yourself to receive.”  It was such an AHA moment for me!  I knew that was a missing piece to my puzzle.  I needed to “open myself to receive knowing that I am worthy.”  So I did.  I quieted my thoughts and said, “I am open.  I am ready to receive.  I am worthy.  The very next day my phone rang and it was the Today Show.  They said that they received the towels I sent them months prior and were doing a segment on “moms with good ideas” and wanted to know if they could feature the ShowNo.  How about that?

On June 3, 2011 my towel was on the 4th hour of The Today Show with Hoda and Kathie Lee.  I was so excited and shared the link on Facebook!  Five days later I got a message from a friend who had shared my link.  She had a friend in her network who was a casting director from Shark Tank.  She asked if I had ever heard of the show and if I would consider auditioning.  OMG! Shark Tank, Shark Tank, Shark Tank, was the universe trying to tell me something?  I decided YES. “Be open and ready to receive” my voice would tell me.  I went to the audition, was almost cast on the spot and pitched to the Sharks on July 28, 2011.  I left the studio that day as the only entrepreneur who had ever received a check on the spot with a deal that was better than I went in asking for!

What have I learned?  So much, it’s hard to know where to start, but the most profound lessons have been…

  1. Be open, ready to receive and know you are worthy!  When you are open to all things, you open the door to anything possible.  Too often we close ourselves to the way we think things should be and should look.  Stay open.  There are infinite possibilities!  Be ready to receive what comes your way and never judge the gifts that appear.  Say thank you for all things knowing you are worthy!
  2. Let go!  When you push and pull and force things to happen the way you want them to, you aren’t flowing with your life.  Only when you surrender and LET GO will you flow with the current of your life in the direction of your dreams.
  3. Give thanks for all things at all times!  My mentor Oprah Winfrey always says, “What you focus on expands and when you focus on the goodness in your life, you create more of it.’  This is so very true and what I have learned is that you must say thank you for ALL things, not just the “good stuff”.  When you say thank you for ALL things, especially your challenges, you find the lessons you were meant to learn and move through them.  Starting and ending everyday with a prayer of thanks is one of the greatest things you can do.
  4. Don’t attach to an outcome!  This was a big lesson for me this year.  Never attach to what you think something is going to look like.  When it looks different, we label it wrong and end up disappointed and dejected.  What I know now is that there are no mistakes.  Just because something doesn’t look like you thought it would, doesn’t mean it’s wrong.  Stay unattached, open to all possibilities in a state of gratitude and you will live in a space where your greatest dreams will come true.

When I’m asked for advice by other entrepreneurs I always say the same thing.  GET QUIET.  The magic starts when you silence your mind.  Oprah always used to talk about this “voice” that speaks to you and guides you and I never knew what she was talking about.  The only “voice” I heard was the one that told me everything I was doing wrong.  The thing is, I was listening to the wrong voice!  Once I began to get silent, I was able to quiet that critical voice (voice of the ego) and hear a different voice.  The voice of my heart!  It sounds so different!!  It speaks of love, joy, dreams and anything possible.  It whispers and gets louder and louder until you respond.  How many times did I hear “Shark Tank” and I let fear ignore it? Listen to those whispers!!  Follow in faith!!  Let your heart be your guide.  It will NEVER steer you wrong.

About the Author

Shelly Ehler

Shelly Ehler is an inspiring entrepreneur who took a simple idea, believed it with all her heart and made it come to life!  She is the inventor of the ShowNo towel and was featured on ABC’s Emmy nominated reality show, Shark Tank.  Shelly had three “Sharks” fighting over her and is the only entrepreneur in the show’s history to ever leave with a check in her hand.  Her towel was also featured on The Today Show and The View.  She currently sells her towels online and to major water parks and hotels such as Sea World, Legoland and Atlantis Bahamas.  Shelly’s story of overcoming challenges and following the voice of her heart is truly inspiring.  Her motto is, “Dream it, Believe it, Let it Go.”  She believes anything is possible when you follow your heart in faith.  She is a wife and mother of two young boys and lives in Orange County, California.

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3 thoughts on “My Journey in the ABC Shark Tank

  1. If anyone deserves maximum success, it’s this lady here. Positive attitude, pure heart, willing to work hard and do whatever it takes. The Tank may have profiled her success, but she was a success before with still more to come.

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