Ladies, hold onto your seats for this episode because you are about to have your world rocked (in the best way). Today I am diving deep into topics like mental health and racial reconciliation with Monique Melton, a relationships coach, Creator of the Esther 4:14 Experience, speaker and author of EntrepreFriendships.
For Monique, all of her work is central to building relationships and helping women do the work they're called to do. She is a natural big, bold dreamer, a deeply rooted woman of faith, a proud Navy wife and mama to two little ones who believes it's not about your comfort - it's about your growth (which I just LOVE!)
Seriously, you are going to want to tune in for this one. I promise you will be challenged and stretched and have your eyes opened in a way that will help you proactively move forward with purpose in how you live your life and run your business as a boss mom.
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Monique's journey as a boss mom began in college roughly ten years ago when she worked as a professional makeup artist while studying sociology and psychology, before going on to study two years of graduate level clinical counseling at John's Hopkins University.
Over the past ten years she's graduated college, gotten married, had two babies, stopped doing makeup, and grown into the place she's at now where she really focuses on helping women create community and thriving relationships as their develop brands and businesses that make an impact.
She talks about how she's gotten to a place of being able to combine #allthethings she loves into her business, which is what it's all about for her.
When discussing her entry into motherhood, Monique describes it as being completely devastating due to a traumatic first birth experience, and struggling with postpartum mood disorder after both of her pregnancies.
“I used to feel like motherhood destroyed my life.” (7:38)
She shares though, that now she's come to realize that motherhood was the best thing that's ever happened to her because it has forced her to grow and stretch and learn, and challenged her to rise above everything she thought she knew about herself to become who she was created to be.
After the birth of both children she took a break away from work, which meant that when she was ready to return she had to go through seasons of rebuilding. These seasons helped her grow to value taking time to think through and reflect on how you're spending your life.
“I really appreciate taking time out to reflect and to think and process, and to not necessarily do but to just let yourself experience quiet and calm and just really hear what is next, and what is going on in your heart.” (9:35)
After the birth of her second daughter, she really questioned what she was doing and what she wanted to do with her life, which is what lead to her walking out what she's doing now.
She mentions that it's important for us to be open to that reflective process because we are constantly changing and evolving, and that needs to be reflected in everything we do.
Struggling through seasons of mental illness really "put a monkey wrench" into things, Monique shares, but overcoming it has led to her becoming a much more compassionate and loving person.
“I did not go through that to keep it for myself. We’re all connected and so to keep your experiences for yourself, I feel like that’s selfish. We’re not living a life to live it alone, so if my experience is not just about me, how dare I keep it to myself because I’m afraid of what people might think?” 12:51
Monique is a living example of infusing what matters to you into the work you do, and she cares deeply about building strong relationships, normalizing conversation around mental health, and normalizing conversation around racial reconciliation.
Regarding mental health, she has this to say (which is amazing):
“You might still have disturbing thoughts or you might still have seasons of depression. It doesn’t mean that something’s wrong with you or you’re broken and all these things. It just means that this is a part of your journey and that it can get better. There’s certain things that you’re going to need to do in order to cope, and that’s fine - you don’t need to compare yourself to anyone else." (13:51)
Monique also feels similarly about building real, true connected community by having open, honest, respectful conversations about the struggles that we all face every day with race, religion, etc.
“Well if we don’t talk about it, how are we possibly going to heal and come together?” (14:27)
At the end of the day, she says, it all comes down to relationships and love, which is what she's all about.
I love this analogy that Monique mentions comparing how we care for our relationships to how we care for our bodies. If you only feed your body the things you want or crave, you'll never live a truly healthy, fruitful, fulfilling life of longevity.
It's the same with relationships. If we avoid having real, tough conversations and only do what makes us happy or what feels comfortable in our relationships, that's not actually what's best for us. Over time we won't be able to interact relationally at an optimal level and we'll miss out on true connectivity.
"You can’t have connection without trust, vulnerability, open and honest communication.” (17:56)
We were created for community and to be in relationships, Monique expresses, and in our age of technology we've lost a lot of that real connection....which is why she's so passionate about correcting that through having honest, raw, vulnerable conversations that bring people together instead of continuing to push people further apart.
During this portion of our conversation, things start to get really interesting because Monique presents me with some really challenging points of view to consider when comparing my experience of life as a white woman in America with her experience of life as a black woman in America.
She shares some beautiful thoughts on the focus needing to be about all women joining together as sisters to engage in compassionate conversation and elevate each others' voices, which is how she believes healing can begin to take place.
She also strongly believes in the value of everyone making a conscious effort to open up conversations surrounding these topics in your business space and community, even suggesting that it's irresponsible not to.
Monique posed the thought that, if we say we want to build community where people feel safe, loved and supported, but we aren't demonstrating care for the issues that affect everyone on a daily basis, we aren't truly able to serve our communities well.
You know we're all about practicality here, so Monique has a few great recommendations for how to move forward with purposeful action after listening to this episode.
The first thing is to actively seek out opportunities to engage in constructive, compassionate conversation with people of different backgrounds and perspectives. She says it's about education, enlightenment and figuring out together what we can do to identify actionable steps forward.
She also encourages us to be bold and courageous because there is no easy or perfect, right way to make these conversations happen. We just have to show up and do it from a place of love and humility.
Lastly, she mentions something profound, which is learning to take note of your behavior and perspective when building community. You want to focus on creating an INVITING atmosphere, not just a welcoming one. Monique says there is a difference between become welcome somewhere and being invited, which is what people really crave - the invitation.
(Just FYI, some of these links may be affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase using the links I may receive some love in return!)
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