Welcome to Residents of Rewired! It’s an occasional series about some of the interesting residents we have nestled in our new Auckland co-working space. We chat to them about their ventures, their passions, some fascinating facts, and what makes them tick.
We talk to Debbie Schultz, the founder of BlueSkyMinds (pictured above with her newest team member, Rachael La Pine) about her journey to helping people develop positive habits for their mental wellbeing and performance.
Tell me about your story
I’ve always been passionate about helping people and love the variety of working with different organisations. My background is in corporate learning and development, but now I specialise in supporting people with their mental wellbeing and performance at work.
Growing up with a father who suffered from severe depression was tough, and had a massive impact on my family. It sparked an awareness of my own mental wellbeing, but also the importance of recognising and supporting wellbeing and the impact this has on our happiness and success.
My last few years in the corporate world has really opened my eyes to the fact that people are struggling to focus their attention, manage their work and always be productive, especially in the high paced and always changing environment we see today. So I wanted to blend my interest in helping people, with improving mental focus and performance in the workplace.
I did an 8-week course on mindfulness 11 years ago and I still haven’t forgotten the immense value I got from it. This course was both personally and professionally life-changing for me and I wanted others to experience it too. I trained to become a teacher for a mindfulness based stress reduction (MBSR) course developed by the University of Massachusetts Medical School to help others manage the pressures of work. I decided to take my dream full-time 3 years ago and established BlueSkyMinds.
Why did you choose Rewired?
I was spending a lot of time in the building for work, and I’d often go to a local cafe for a couple of hours afterwards to do some work so it made sense to have a spot in Rewired.
I travel a lot, so I wasn’t looking for an office space but I loved the social aspect of Rewired. I also really appreciated the help Xero gave me when I was hiring a new team member, they have really supported me to grow my business.
What do you find most interesting with the work you do?
It’s so interesting to see the changes people make over the weeks we work together and also that people recognise they’re not alone in the struggle to stay on top of everything. There’s a sense of camaraderie amongst groups of people as they work together to make positive changes in their lives.
What’s next for your business?
Finding other clients to partner with that are interested in supporting their people to make sustained changes to their wellbeing and performance. Going forward, now that I have an amazing team to support me, I recognise that I need to let them take care of the details and focus my energy on the business as a whole.
What’s been the most rewarding thing so far?
The people for sure. It’s been pretty special, growing relationships with the organisations that I work with. I feel really lucky that I get to work with my colleagues in the HR industry who share the same passion I have for helping people. Also getting to know the participants and their stories. It’s so rewarding talking to people 6 months to a year on and hearing that they’re sustaining the positive habits from the course.
Do you have any advice for those who want to start their mindfulness journey?
Don’t be intimidated by mainstream images of “mindfulness” as these can be mis-representative and misleading. It’s also important to remember that mindfulness is not just a concept, it’s a practice that needs to be attended to over time. It takes persistence and consistency but the difference it can make to people’s lives makes it all worth it.