049. From Dented to Thriving Through Serving Others with Mary Shores

20 years ago, Mary Shores started with an idea. Today, she is a successful entrepreneur with a multi-million-dollar, heart-centered business and a best-selling book, Conscious Communications.

But she didn’t start that way. Mary hit rock-bottom after enduring the loss of her daughter within the first year of her life, and while Mary was still very young.

She survived an unstable past filled with abandonment and instability stemming from her mother’s mental illness, but found within herself the strength to rebuild by founding an industry-changing business. She now inspires others with lessons of resiliency and empowerment nationwide.

Mary shares her gripping, emotional journey as a point of inspiration that, regardless of what we face, we can come through. And she talks about her business, debt collection, to show that regardless of the work you do, you can do it in a way that has an impact and does good. In an industry not known for such things, Mary is proof that you can rewrite the script and still succeed – something she’s done time and time again no matter how things were playing out.

Key Points from the Episode with Mary Shores:

  • Reflection has brought an understanding around the theme throughout her life around the fear of abandonment
  • Mary was taken in by family in Illinois from her home in Southern California when she was just three years old due to mental illness her mother struggled with
  • Later in her childhood, she was reunited with her mother while her little sister stayed with the family who took them in when they were young, creating a sense of separation and loss from the person closest to her.
  • At 13, Mary’s mother left again, leaving her alone with her step-father so she chose to go from friend’s couch to friend’s couch throughout high school rather than having a stable home. She looks back on her view of that time as exciting and one framed by strong independence.
  • Mary became pregnant at 18, and ended up giving birth to a daughter when she was 19 only to lose her 18 months later due to complications her daughter suffered around oxygen deprivation during the labor and birth process and brain damage that resulted.
  • Mary didn’t just lose her daughter, but the process was so extreme because of how drawn out it was, and how much she was exposed to in the hospital; and of course she had nothing at the time as she and her boyfriend basically lived on the floor of their daughter’s hospital room.
  • While this obviously was a major trauma, it was also the spark for a resilience that has defined Mary’s life since then.
  • After her daughter’s death, Mary went through the lowest point in her life, feeling dented, damaged and like a failure. She decided in that process not to be a statistic and instead started a business. It wasn’t from a place of empowerment, but rather a desire not to be a failure.
  • Mary got into the debt collection business, which she says isn’t really most people’s dream or passion. She noted how so many people talk about following your passion, and collections isn’t really that, but there are things that can align to passion regardless of what the actual work is.
  • She wanted to be different, and take an approach of positivity-based selling of collections. She focused on the idea of how great it will be to get out of debt while everyone else focused on the same and fear of being in debt in their approach.  She failed miserably.
  • Being interested in neuroscience, she understood that people have a negativity bias, so the positive outcome wasn’t enough to overcome the unwillingness to pay in a way that fear can. This all ties to people feeling unworthy.
  • Figuring this out was an ah-ha moment for Mary, and she said, “I want the next person I work with to be happier at the end of the call than when it started it.” That approach worked.
  • The approach was so successful that Mary started to reach it more broadly, which is what lead her into her work as a coach and author.
  • Mary shared one of her favorite quotes, which is by Maryanne Williamson, “A miracle is but a shift in perception.”
  • Conscious Communications, her book, focuses on several key things to use to start your path forward. One of the key ideas is Gratitude.
  • She talks about the word, “Empowerment,” which gets so much focus, but what does it really mean? It’s really about an internal sense of feeling good.
  • All the focus on Happiness has people thinking that we have to be happy all the time. But the reality is, we aren’t. And we aren’t meant to be. And that’s ok. The key is to understand what we’re feeling and why we feel it, and learn and grow from that. But you shouldn’t judge yourself for feeling that way or ignore or diminish it.
  • She reminds us of the importance of self-care, which is a buzzword that’s thrown around a lot, but what does it mean? For Mary, it’s about taking time for yourself.
  • Cleanse or clog – everything you do in those smallest moments of life is always working to make a closer connection to what you want and desire or to stand in the way of it.
  • The choices you make will shape your life forever.


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