Julie Theis is the former Miss Montana International 2017. She is a psychological expert, trauma specialist, and a life transformation coach. Holding a B.S. in psychology. She has specialised in psychology and human behaviour for 6 years, Julie’s accomplishments is outstanding, but this is so because she didn’t let her past defy her.
Julie grew up in extreme poverty, she was raised by a single mother who although tried her best, struggled to pay rent, have enough money for food and stay in a stable environment. There were times when they were homeless and Juliet Was in foster care. She grew up learning the value of working hard even when you want to give up. At a young age she had to come to terms with knowing no one was going to help her and if she wanted to succeed she had to give it everything she got.
We got an opportunity to capture Julie’s life and thoughts among other issues.
How did you ended up homeless?
I was homeless on and off growing up. Addiction in the home played a part in it but the fact that we couldn’t ever “get ahead” is what made everything so unstable. We would do okay for a while and then an emergency would happen, the car would break down, hours at work would get cut, or rent would increase. There was no cushion for this. When it happened we were left with nowhere to go.
You would be so surprised what we can get used to. At the time I didn’t have to “overcome” being homeless because it was my reality. I was very disconnected from the reality that maybe this isn’t how it should be. Once I grew up though I made it my goal to be “stable” I started to look for things that would give me an edge and I poured my heart and soul into my education. I graduated with highest honors from college with a degree in psychology without ever being able to afford to buy a textbook, this was only 4 years after I was sleeping in my pickup.
What motivated you decide to turn your life around?
I don’t view it as “turning my life around”. I view it as being on a path. Sometimes on the path there are lows and sometimes there are highs. The most important thing is that I keep moving forward. I was first motivated to move forward because I didn’t want to live in the same pain I grew up in.
Now I continue to move forward because I know how many people I can inspire with my story and through my business working in trauma consulting and results coaching that I can’t imagine not moving forward.
How did you deal with your trauma?
You must find meaning from any pain and any hardship that you go through. I have found so much purpose from my trauma. I know that it has made me strong, it motivates me every day, and the experience is why I can now so confidently help women overcome their own trauma.
Forgiveness is a huge part in healing from our past. How were you able to handle this?
There’s times when I feel like I have mastered forgiveness and there’s times I struggle with it. The most important lesson that I keep in mind is, I feel worse when I’m angry. I’m the one who hurts the most when I can’t forgive. I keep in mind that we are all operating from a place that we were conditioned to operate from. Some of the people that have hurt me the most in my life were also taught to hurt and they also had massive hurt done on to them. It’s not up to me to wait for them to realize that. It’s up to me to be self-aware enough to forgive and then to end the cycle of hurting.
How does pain affect the levels of success we can have?
Unresolved pain and trauma will always hold you back from reaching success. It will come in the form of unhealthy coping mechanisms and self-sabotage. However, pain can also rocket launch us forward when we can find our purpose from it. This is why with all my clients I take them through my signature Pain to Power technique so they can learn how make their struggles work for them instead of against them.
What was the greatest challenge during your transformation?
I had to believe with everything in me that I could have more even when I was told that I couldn’t. I was shown constantly that trailer parks and an inability to pay rent would be my life. I had to watch drug deals and still find that place in me that said “no you aren’t meant for so much more”. I didn’t have anyone show me that there was better, I had to hold onto this fantasy that had absolutely no evidence backing it up, that it was true. I had to believe in becoming successful like you believe in magic.
From your experience what is the greatest challenge to those who have gone through trauma?
Changing their story. I have worked with so many people that because of their trauma they have had their story written for them. In this story they struggle, they are the victims, they constantly experience pain. So then they grow up not realizing it can be different and continue to repeat the same story. I teach all my clients to be the author of a new story that they will create. In this story they must write themselves in as the hero and as the survivor, they must write in their strengths, they must believe that things can be different now and that they have the power to make it so.
What inspired you to participate in beauty pageants?
Pageant developed as another thing that I had to do because when I was younger I watched other girls compete and I always thought I didn’t have the money or the support to do them which as the time was true. I’m so determined to never let my disadvantages hold me back. If I want to do something, I will do it. This shone through as I competed as well and in 2017 I won the title of Miss Montana International. I also won different categories such as top interview, most photogenic, fitness, and evening gown.
How can we empower and help young girls have confidence in themselves?
I look at confidence as a skill set. So it’s okay if you don’t have it yet because it’s something that you can work towards. This is why I started my non-profit Dancing for a Purpose, to build that skill set through lessons of empowerment and by having the girls work towards and accomplishment that they can be proud of.
I also believe self-development is important because your results are a direct reflection of who you are today. I have more today than I did 4 years ago because I have worked so hard to become the woman who can handle these accomplishments. I continue to evolve and to become a new person because I have bigger goals that still await me that will require I be the woman who can handle them.
What is the greatest obstacle you have had to face to date?
Knowing that my past doesn’t determine my future. This is my greatest obstacle because it is constantly there. I will always have to work past limiting beliefs about myself that the poverty and abuse of my childhood instilled in me. It will always be a journey. That is what I would want other women to know, it’s okay if on your way to success you continue to struggle, I struggle to, just keep moving forward. Obstacles and success are allowed to exist simultaneously.
What advice would you give young entrepreneurs who want to start their own business?
It’s going to be amazing, but more than that, it’s going to be hard. Embrace the hard, embrace the being unsure of yourself. If you want your business to thrive you will keep going despite fear and despite struggle.
Your dreams were given to you for a reason so you must fight for them even when it’s tough.