THE THOUGHTFUL ENTREPRENEUR PODCAST
Serena, a remarkable entrepreneur and advocate for healing, opened up about her past experiences leading to her success. Her journey is nothing short of extraordinary, filled with heartache and triumph. But what truly struck me was Serena's unwavering commitment to using her pain as a catalyst for positive change.
In her book, “Exposed: You Can't Heal When You Hide,” Serena fearlessly bares her soul, encouraging others to do the same. She highlights the importance of sharing our truth, whether uncomfortable or raw. Serena believes that healing can only occur when we remove our masks and bravely confront our inner demons.
Serena's journey has transformed her into a compassionate leader who understands the power of vulnerability. She believes authentic leadership creates a safe space for others to share their truth without fear of judgment. Doing so can foster a sense of belonging and authenticity that empowers everyone to reach their full potential.
About Serena Mastin:
A true driver of overcoming self-limiting beliefs as she humbly climbed the ladder of success, Serena has overcome extreme obstacles, personally and professionally. She started her life in witness protection and nine different foster homes, leading to teenage addiction and homelessness, and most recently walked through the devastation of her husband's suicide. Serena has faced unimaginable adversity. Yet, despite her challenges, she found a real sense of purpose along the way.
The most inspiring part of her story is her strength, resilience, and authenticity. She brings a wealth of knowledge and insight from industries across the corporate landscape. With over twenty years of experience climbing the corporate ladder, Serena’s career has included being knocked down, and climbing back to executive leadership roles with Fortune 500 companies, before carving her path by founding Pulse Marketing Inc. in 2013.
In addition to being a visionary entrepreneur, Serena recently published her first book, Exposed: You Can't Heal When You Hide, a memoir recounting her life story in harrowing detail. In the book, Serena discusses her experiences with assault, addiction, homelessness, infidelity, mental health, and profound healing.
Her thought-provoking story inspires others to embrace challenges and do it with passion. Serena profoundly relates her unique experience to everyday challenges striking a nerve with every audience, and has dedicated her life to personally and professionally empowering others.
About Pulse Marketing Inc.:
Pulse Marketing, led by Serena Mastin, is a full-service, award-winning marketing firm known for innovative strategies and creative services. They challenge conventional marketing norms and aim to catapult businesses into industry-leading positions.
Their mission is to enhance companies' presence through comprehensive strategies spanning print, advertising, social media, internet marketing, video, and web design. With a unique blend of strategic planning and creative artistry, Pulse Marketing is committed to providing businesses with a competitive edge.
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Josh (00:00:05) - Hey there, thoughtful listener. Would you like consistent and predictable sales activity with no spam and no ads? I'll teach you step by step how to do this, particularly if you're an agency owner, consultant, coach or B2B service provider. What I teach has worked for me for more than 15 years and has helped me create more than $10 million in revenue. Just head to up my influence and watch my free class on how to create endless high ticket sales appointments. You can even chat with me live and I'll see and reply to your messages. Also, don't forget the thoughtful entrepreneur is always looking for guests. Go to up my influence and click on podcast. We'd love to have you. With us right now, Serena Mastin. Serena, I am so grateful to have you here today. You're an author, speaker, entrepreneur. You are an advocate for healing. You are the author of the new book I just downloaded. It Exposed You Can't Heal When You Hide. We're going to be talking about that.
Josh (00:01:17) - And you're also the owner and president of Pulse Marketing. Your website is Serena Mastin. Serena, thank you so much for joining us.
Serena (00:01:27) - Thank you. I'm honored to be here. And this is part of my healing is not hiding. And so I'm ready to be fully vulnerable and transparent and share my experience and hopes that it'll help someone else heal.
Josh (00:01:42) - Yeah. So do you want to give us just the kind of the quick overview of your book? And again, they're just trigger warning. There's probably going to be some conversation that might be upsetting involving sexual abuse, that sort of thing, which is, again, part of your story, cult involvement. I think already I've gotten everyone's attention like, Whoa, we're going there. So just full kind of trigger warning on that. All right. Serena, let us.
Serena (00:02:09) - Know. There we go. I'm giving you the high level overview. So, um, my biological father was the leader of a satanic cult. He sexually abused my sister and I.
Serena (00:02:23) - In addition, he would threaten to kill my mother if she tried to leave. So there was people following us at all times. There was tape recorders in the house. When my mom finally was able to get out of the cult, she had to earn her rights back as a parent and we were put into the system. So prior to that, getting out of the cult, he was planning to sacrifice my sister and I to the cult, which meant more of a sexual sacrifice and could have been, in today's terms, more of a sex trafficking, you know, path that I could have gone down. So that was the first part of my story. From there, you know, from being transferred into multiple foster homes and kind of growing up in the system to also struggling with the trauma, I struggled with dissociation and, you know, PTSD and, you know, all kinds of additional diagnosis at that time. And so by the time I did actually reunite with my mother, I had already kind of separated myself from reality in the sense of like I was independent.
Serena (00:03:46) - I didn't really need anyone. And I left home at 16 and I lived on the streets in abandoned houses, park benches and then I would go into the the school and use the locker room to get ready in the morning. And then I actually enrolled myself into school so I could finish high school. I also had three jobs at the time, and then that's when I started to struggle with addiction in the addiction kind of took over my life at that time until it came to a screeching halt from there. I graduated high school eventually, right was able to climb the corporate ladder. I was in and out of tumultuous relationships throughout most of my life, struggled with an eating disorder. Um, in addition to just the other struggles that I'd already brought on myself even more. And then finally, I, you know, when when I was older, I started to grow in my career in the corporate industry. I bought my first house at 23. And, you know, I was a VP of marketing by the age of 29, so I was just climbing this corporate ladder.
Serena (00:05:06) - I was also a single mom at the time, and that's when I met my husband, who I was with for Married two for ten years. That's also when I. In in our marriage, we had tumultuous times, but that's when I started. The agency was back in 2013 and we get married. Everything is exciting. I start this new agency, we're the power couple. And then I started to recognize that he struggled with mental health issues and infidelity, and any time the infidelity would be exposed, then he would go into suicidal tendencies. And so I felt trapped for ten years trying to save him and protect him from hurting himself, but then also trying to run a business and also trying to raise a family. And all the same time, I told no one about anything that occurred in our lives when I finally did. Really recognize that I needed to. I had no control over his actions. I needed to step away in order to heal myself. I left him in October of 2019, and he committed suicide in March of 2020.
Josh (00:06:32) - So sorry.
Serena (00:06:33) - So to say that I have a a little bit of of healing behind all of these things, I wanted to write my story because, number one, as an entrepreneur, we have a tendency to feel like we have to show up a certain way. And in that we hide a lot of the things that are really bothering us, but they trickle back into our business. That's one piece. The other piece is that we when we start to struggle, it deteriorates us. And I started to deteriorate. So I wanted to take this as an opportunity to share my truth and hopes that others would see that and find the courage to share their own.
Josh (00:07:19) - Yeah. Wow. So despite everything that you'd been through, you created a very thriving, successful business. I didn't share the website for your agency, and that website is Pulse marketing team.com. And you've worked with some a lot of great clients. You do a lot of great work. Do you mind sharing? Just I'm going to get back into your personal story, but since we kind of brought up your agency and I really didn't haven't talked about it, what is pulse marketing? Who do you work with and what do you typically do?
Serena (00:07:50) - So we've we've kind of simplified the framework of what a marketing firm is.
Serena (00:07:55) - And if you think about it in the perspective of a fractional marketing team, an extension of your existing marketing team, or if you can't afford to bring on a marketing team, which is graphic designers, web developers, content writers and someone to manage all the projects, do the research and the strategy, that's a lot to bring on when you're a small to mid-sized company. So we've created a model where we are a fraction of your team in a fractional marketing approach, so we can do anything from starting a business. And that's the branding and the messaging to the execution, which is creating all of the the pieces you need to get started and then advertising to generate leads. So where we become a part of most of our clients like intimate lives when it comes to marketing because you can you, you can say marketing, it can be cut. But the the biggest thing that we've recognized is that everyone needs sales. And in order to grow your business, you can't just send anyone out anymore. And like knocking on doors, it has to be deep level, you know, relationships that are built over time.
Serena (00:09:10) - And so how do we create a way to generate more leads faster? So you have a larger pool of relationships that you can start to grow your business?
Josh (00:09:19) - Yeah. And again, you know, to our business owner friends that are listening right now, that website pulse marketing team.com, one thing I'd recommend is just you you and your team do beautiful work. I mean, these websites, I mean these are, you know again kind of world class design and the look fantastic. So anyway, I just wanted to I just wanted to throw that out. You know, a lot of folks are listening to this podcast are always looking for great connections, you know, great service providers, great experts, mentors, that sort of thing. But Serena, obviously, I want to having said that, I want to get back to a couple of things like because obviously what we want, I hope, right, is that, you know, and I think part of your memoir and everything is to. Hopefully like provide, you know, goodness in the world.
Josh (00:10:04) - Like, you know, can we, you know, maybe identify, you know, can we connect with or can we collectively be more sensitive to some of the harms and some of the bad things that happen in our world and maybe we can intervene faster. We can just be more aware of some of these things. And you know, the thing that and we were kind of talking beforehand, I've read a lot of books and listened to a lot of podcasts on holiness and that cults aren't just the domain of satanic cult, like there are cults around us. And I think that when we stop thinking of things, as you know, well, this is is it a cult or is it not a cult, but that there is actually a matrix of or a ratio like it could be, you know, a ten out of ten cult. It could be, you know, a 3 or 4 out of ten cult. But being more aware of that so we can think more objectively and not just about traditional cults, relationships, abusive relationships that can be very much a mind control cult.
Josh (00:11:12) - Would you mind maybe sharing, like if someone were to ask your advice on being able to think more objectively and being more aware? Like how would you guide or advise them?
Serena (00:11:21) - Well, I would say that, you know, the relationship that I had for ten years with my husband, I would say, was an emotionally abusive relationship. However, I wasn't aware of what that even meant, which is if you see how your life kind of unfolds, it unfolds in patterns, you repeat patterns. And as a little girl, when you know, like I was, it was normalized for my father to sexually abused me. I didn't realize it was bad. What I the pattern that I started to establish was that I was only valuable when I pleased others. Okay? And then I brought that into my adult relationships because all I tried to do was be more of this, be more of that, or do whatever I could to prove to my husband that I was worth, you know, I was worth living for despite of the pain.
Serena (00:12:18) - Because you you have a tendency to see in a like kind of in a in a silo of trying to please, trying to please if that's your if that's your issue. Right. And you learn those those behaviors at a young age and then you just continue to repeat them and tell you recognize how that is impacting your behavior, your health, your life, your business, your family. And it impacts all of those things. And so a cult in the same sense is controlling your behavior because you start to believe that you're not good enough unless this or you have to earn love because of this or you have to earn your way, you know, to a higher place. Those are all things that are triggers and those are red flags that show that there's something there because love is something that is should be freely given. And acceptance is something that should be freely given, not something that you earn. And that, I believe, is the tie between whether you're in a situation where you feel like you're constantly trying to earn approval or earn, you know, a next level, you have to truly look within yourself first to identify what is driving that behavior.
Josh (00:13:45) - Yeah. You know, certainly, you know, I think listen, I think it's worthy for all of us to deconstruct cultish. I found it to be this was something that I really undertook a few years ago. And, you know, any time that anyone is telling you that we are good and they are bad, so other ism, you know, just like that, you can only you know, you'll only receive acceptance and love within this, you know, relationship dynamic or this organization or this way of thinking that should be a red flag, in my opinion. Like any time you hear that, you know, this other ism, you know, where have you gotten to today? Serena? Now, when you think about how we are as a world or society or or humanity, as you know, you know, now that you've maybe kind of gotten free and obviously done a lot of self work in order to get to where you are today, obviously you've got a thriving business. But but how do you see the world today?
Serena (00:14:54) - Well, I see the world as something that we are constantly giving and pouring into because we expect to receive something in return.
Serena (00:15:03) - And that's not the way that it works. The way that it works is that you have to fully invest in yourself first so that you are whole enough to be able to face the world, because otherwise it'll continue to knock you down. And when you attach to a cult like behavior or society like or a culture like that, what it does is it actually creates separation. It doesn't create connection.
Josh (00:15:31) - That's true.
Serena (00:15:32) - That's what growing a business is all about. You have to create a culture of vulnerability and transparency in a business in order for others to really believe in you enough to grow it with you. Otherwise, everyone's going in their own direction. And so it applies to so many aspects of life. And I think if we look at the world today, we need more people that are willing to say the hard things to say in a loving way, that are willing to share their truth without the consequences of judgment or the repercussions of other people's opinions of what's what they're doing. But really to be open because that's what establishes a sense of community.
Josh (00:16:18) - What can we learn from your story as it relates to leadership within the workplace or within our organizations? Because obviously you're at the helm of a of a of a thriving organization yourself. And, you know, I think, again, it's. You know, we've all had our challenges and struggles and, you know, we've all experienced certainly God hope, you know. You know, yours is atrocious. That's awful. But somehow. Right. It's like I know Tony Robbins will talk about and it's this is so not my place to even bring up this concept. You know, in light of your story. But, you know, this concept of of blaming elegantly or finding a way to find meaning, you know, Allah, you know, Viktor Frankl and so forth. And again, I feel wildly uncomfortable even bringing up this concept because I think it's it's it's very I think it feels a disservice to me and bringing this up. But how would you approach that concept of, you know, taking bad things? And then again, going back to where I started this question with the, you know, kind of the whole leadership thing, you know, where we can use this professionally to accomplish great things.
Serena (00:17:26) - That is a great question. I hid for so long that it started to actually make my business fall apart. Because what happens when we hide our truth or we we pretend everything's okay. Or when we wear this mask, then you are unrelatable. And what started to happen is I started to lose really good people because when people can't relate to you, they shut down. They don't feel important, they don't feel valued. They don't feel like they can open up and share what they're struggling with and allow that to to like be put to the side. But they can still share it so that there's an openness there. When I actually started to share with my staff and it didn't have to be the depths of information of what was happening in my life, But when I started to say I am struggling and I cannot do this alone, I feel alone and I need your support. They absolutely picked me up from the floor and they rose up even higher because I gave them the ability to grow just by being open and honest and transparent about what I was going through.
Serena (00:18:43) - Now, I didn't have to give them all the details, but think about this is when I had to go tell my staff that I was leaving my husband, who was the VP of Sales, the visionary, the face of the company. That impacted them greatly. But that truth also empowered them. And that was the beauty, is that the more truth that I spoke, the more it empowered them. And then when he did take his life, I was on the floor. There was no way that I could see past my tears. I couldn't pull myself together. I was a disaster. And in that moment, they rose up and they led the agency and continue to stabilize the agency while I was still broken. And I don't think they would have done that if I continued to hide.
Josh (00:19:37) - Yeah. Serena Mastin your book is Exposed. You Can't Heal when You Hide. It's on Amazon right now. Your website's Serena Mastin.com That's your personal website and and again your gosh I just had your other.
Serena (00:19:55) - My marketing website.
Josh (00:19:57) - Yes pulse marketing marketing.
Serena (00:19:59) - Team.com.
Josh (00:20:01) - That's it yeah pulse marketing team.com Serena when somebody goes to your personal website obviously by the book it and but either on your personal website or at pulse marketing team.com if someone says okay you know other than that you know maybe they creative services is something that they could use or I don't know if you're are you planning on speaking or do you already do workshop and keynote speaking on this.
Serena (00:20:26) - Well that is is the next phase. I just had that courage to publish the book. Yeah, that was a that was my finger shaking, pressing the button. So but my next phase is like reaching out to nonprofits, speaking and sharing and really hoping to empower other business owners and, you know, just people in general to to really face some of these issues because that's the only way that you can get through them.
Josh (00:20:56) - Serena Mastin, thank you so much for your story. Thank you for your courage and sharing your story. And, you know, again, here's to hoping that, you know, we can create interventions that we can, you know, interrupt bad cycles and patterns and identify bad cultures and bad relationships that are abusive in nature.
Josh (00:21:14) - And and, you know, certainly awareness is probably one of the greatest things that we have. You know, that we're talking about these difficult things and that we're looking out for one another. And I appreciate you looking out for everybody and being courageous enough to share your story sooner. Mastin again, thank you so much for joining us.
Serena (00:21:33) - Thank you.
Josh (00:21:51) - Thanks for listening to the Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. If you are a thoughtful business owner or professional who would like to be on this daily program, please visit up My Influence slash guest. If you're a listener, I'd love to shout out your business to our whole audience for free. You can do that by leaving a review on Apple Podcasts or join our listener Facebook group. Just search for the thoughtful entrepreneur and Facebook. I'd love even if you just stopped by to say hi, I'd love to meet you. We believe that every person has a message that can positively impact the world. We love our community who listens and shares our program every day. Together, we are empowering one another as thoughtful entrepreneurs.
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