Meet Mandy Schulis, a certified trauma-informed story coach and a driving force behind inspiring female entrepreneurs to dismantle their own barriers and harness the power of their unique stories for both income and impact. Her signature methodology, aptly named “The Story Shift,” has become her superpower, enabling her clients to unlock the profound potential within their personal narratives.
In her own journey, marked by resilience and a belief in fairytales, Mandy has woven the threads of her experiences, her passion for storytelling, and her commitment to helping others into a tapestry of encouragement and empowerment. She is a fearless survivor, a mindful author, and our mom to know.
Julie Tingley: Can you tell us more about your journey to becoming a certified, trauma-informed story coach?
Mandy Schulis: It’s been a wild one. Arguably, every job I have ever had as an adult has been about people and listening. I was a recruiter for Florida State University for several years and a nurse recruiter for a year outside of college.
Massage therapy happened because I have always been good with my hands and fascinated by the human body. A fear of blood nixed most of the medical field, so that was where I landed. I quickly realized that I learned more in 15 minutes talking to my client than I ever did reading an intake sheet.
I listened to what they said, but also, what they didn’t say. I wasn’t just a massage therapist, I was a neuromuscular therapist trained in PTSD, Fascial Release, and Trigger Point Therapy (the Trager method). This meant that I had a LOT of clients that had chronic pain, fibromyalgia, etc.
I thought the magic was in my hands and was heartbroken when I had to retire due to nerve damage. After about 6 months of trying to use my business background to launch a digital marketing firm, I noticed a pattern. MANY of the female-owned businesses that came to me were stuck in their own “pain,” but it was story-related. Both the “self-stories” that lead to fear and lack of self-worth but also shame.
I am a domestic abuse survivor, and I talk a LOT about this. Successful women have the misconception that owning those parts of their story makes them weak or that people will judge them.
What happens is they develop a bulletproof mindset, and their businesses thrive. I chose to get certified because I wanted to be 100% confident in what I was teaching and how.
Julie Tingley: Please explain how your signature method, “The Story Shift,” works and how it helps female entrepreneurs overcome mindset barriers.
Mandy Schulis: The Story Shift is a beautiful process. It starts off a little cutesy, but what you are doing is identifying when you developed your “story beliefs.” We also identify which stories aren’t yours or are patently false. Then, we re-write them into something that you feel is YOURS and also identify how you can use it to build a solid business foundation.
Julie Tingley: I have seen you speak in front of large audiences about every story having a purpose. Can you share a personal example of how your own story has played a significant role in your entrepreneurial journey?
Mandy Schulis: I have always believed that we are here on this Earth to make it better. My personal story is being a Phoenix that refuses to stay ashes. This is the 4th time I am rebuilding my life, but this feels like the one that will stick. I feel like it’s been waiting for me.
Julie Tingley: As a domestic abuse (DV) survivor and former single mom, how have your personal experiences shaped your approach to working with clients and co-parenting with your husband today?
Mandy Schulis: My current husband is my rock and best friend. We go toe to toe and there is no pride or shame. We can discuss anything and often do. This translates to how we parent our kids and our family meetings. If one of us has a problem, we ALL have a problem. We are Team Schu, no question about it. We are also hyper-protective of our home being a safe space.
Now, in terms of working with clients, DV gave me a superpower-type intuition. I know when my clients have experienced this long before they tell me. I also know when they aren’t ready to work with me. I am very upfront that I do all things with love, but I am not your cheerleader. You better come ready to work and get uncomfortable.
Julie Tingley: Can you give our readers some practical advice on how they can start identifying and leveraging their own stories to create purpose, profit, and fun in their lives?
Mandy Schulis: Go digging for gold. I guarantee you your story has given you more “expertise” than you can imagine. For instance, if I tell you I’m a former single mom, DV survivor, and chronic entrepreneur- you already know I can stretch a dollar, have very little room for inauthenticity, and that I am probably pretty creative. Let your people find you. Your story is the way to do that.
Julie Tingley: Because I also believe so much in fairytales, could you share a personal favorite fairytale or story that has had a lasting impact on you and your perspective on life today?
Mandy Schulis: Cinderella hands down. I wanted a prince on a white horse, but I got a lawyer in a white Jeep. He is my happily ever after.
Julie Tingley: What is your favorite thing to do in Tampa Bay with Matt, Ella, and Beau?
Mandy Schulis: We LOVE Indian Rocks Beach and the JCC. Anywhere on the water is an easy yes for us.
Photo credit: Luxe Light Images. Originally featured in the November 2023 issue of Tampa Bay Parenting Magazine.
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