Episode 170

Nurturing Connections with Monique Melton

April 3, 2018

Whether you’re just starting your business or well into your stride, nurturing and building connections as a business owner is everything, so we had to have business and relationship coach, Monique Melton, join us to talk all about it. We’re diving into how to maintain strong relationships even if you’re an introvert or have a fear of rejection, how to get vulnerable enough to ask for help, and why diversity is so important when it comes to building a strong community.

This Episode Brought to You By:
"When you're asking for help, you're being vulnerable, and vulnerability brings intimacy and connection to relationships."
- Monique Melton

Discussed in this Episode

  • Monique's entrepreneurial journey
  • Practical ways to maintain relationships
  • How to connect with people when you're an introvert
  • Dealing with rejection in connection
  • How to get vulnerable enough to ask for help
  • Why bringing diversity to your business is important


More from Monique Melton

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Braid Creative

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Almanac Supply Co.


Emily Thompson 0:00
The beanbags book is officially available for pre order, and you can buy it wherever books are sold. Let us know that you bought it and we'll send you some goodies. Just go to being boss club slash book for more details.

Kathleen Shannon 0:17
Hello, and welcome to being boss,

Emily Thompson 0:19
a podcast for creative entrepreneurs. I'm Emily Thompson.

Kathleen Shannon 0:23
And I'm Katherine Shannon.

Emily Thompson 0:30
Today we're talking about connection and diversity with Monique Melton. As always, you can find all the tools both siblings we reference on the show notes at WWW dot being boss dot club.

Kathleen Shannon 0:43
Hey bosses, so we are a few months into the year and I wanted to make sure that you're still holding to your resolution to stay organized and make more money than ever this year. And if that wasn't your resolution, then that is my goal for you. It's not too late to get on top of your money game and fresh books cloud accounting is here to help. with fresh books you can spend less time on accounting and more time on your core genius and doing what you love. Fresh books will help get paid faster with all the features and automation freshbooks has created not for just anyone but specifically with you the creative entrepreneur in mind. Try fresh books cloud accounting for free by going to fresh books.com slash being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section.

Emily Thompson 1:32
Monique Melton is a business coach published author of the book entrepreneur friendships, a motivational speaker and diversity advocate. She supports weddings and event planning professionals and building profitable and purposeful businesses while maintaining healthy relationships. She's also the creator of sweet brands, which is a business development system to strategically support business owners in building more profitable and sustainable businesses. She believes it's not all about your comfort, but it's about your growth.

Kathleen Shannon 2:06
All right, Monique, thank you so much for joining us today. All Thank you for having me. I'm so excited. I'm excited to get to chat with you again, this is gonna be good, I got my water. Well, let's go ahead and dive on in. So first off, just tell us a little bit about the work that you do.

Monique Melton 2:30
Sure, I am a business coach. I'm also a published author of the book entrepreneur friendships, and I do a lot of public speaking. And I like to call myself a diversity advocate. I have been doing my business for the past three years. And I've created what I like to call the sweet brand system that is a business development process for building a more profitable and purposeful business. And so the bulk of my work is very central to business development, building profitable business, while also maintaining healthy relationships, because that's what I believe life is all about whether it be the relationship you have with yourself, others all the gray stuff, it's it's about those relationships.

Emily Thompson 3:17
And how did you get here? What set you on the path to this?

Monique Melton 3:23
Well, it was a warm summer day. No, no, I started my entrepreneurial career as a professional makeup artist. And I actually stumbled upon that while I was in college studying to be a therapist. And so I did makeup professionally for about 10 years, have two little brown babies in between that time. And when I had my second one, I went through really bad postpartum depression and anxiety. And so during going through that with my first and second, I did a lot of personal discovery and just digging in and digging deep. And I just really was really reevaluating how I want to show up in the world and purpose and legacy. And so I knew I've always had a passion, an interest in entrepreneurship, and specifically around supporting others and accomplishing their dreams. I've always been really good at bringing out the best of people, whether it be with makeup brushes, or with my words of encouragement, whatever it may be. And so that's how I started along this journey. And it's evolved and taken a couple different forms, but it's still very central to supporting people and doing the work they feel called to do while encouraging them to maintain amazing relationships.

Kathleen Shannon 4:36
I want to talk a little bit about relationships because that is everything and the older I get the more I realize how important connection and relationships and dare I say networking. We need a new word for networking but how important that is to business and not in like a cheesy let me just hand you my business card kind of way but in a way where it really is about cultivating friendships or these like mutually beneficial peer, you know, colleague relationships or even the relationship that you have with your spouse, especially if you're working together. And Monique, I know from a previous conversation that we've had that your husband was actually your number one assistant whenever it came to your makeup business, that he was schlepping your brushes and your kit for you. But I want to I want to dig into this idea of relationship because I know whenever I was younger, in college, and even as a young entrepreneur, really feeling like in order for it to be valid, in order for it to be legit, strangers had to be hiring me like it couldn't be people that I knew it couldn't be based on connections, or family or network, it had to be on my own merit. And that meant strangers. were hiring me and paying me. And I think that that's a huge mistake. But I think it is this like limiting and underlying belief that some of us really do have like that it doesn't count, unless it's being validated by people who don't know us. So I would like to hear your take on that. And if you can help us bust that myth and how to really think about relationships, and meaningful relationships as it relates to building our businesses. Well,

Monique Melton 6:19
I must say that i have i've never quite heard anyone be so passionate about a stranger. It would be baffling it would be Catholic. Yeah, there's a first for everything. I think that we think about business, I think we have this idea that business is supposed to be so separate from all aspects of our lives. And while I do believe that we should have a strong and clear identity outside of our business outside of anything attached that can come and go as as it pleases, I do believe that business should still be at the root and at the core, very relationship oriented. Because as a business owner, you have customers that need your services or products, how do you get that to them? By building relationships with them, you're going to need to have a team, how do you build that team, by having relationships, you're going to need to have friends to cheer you on and to have connections and such. So you're going to need to have those connections a relationship is when two people come together, and you're mutually invested in the benefit of one another, a healthy relationship. Now we have all sorts of other ones that fall outside of that spectrum. But a healthy relationship is one where you are willing to budge a little bit to give a little bit to make sure that your needs are also are being met, but so are the needs of the person you are in relationship with. And so when I think about business, it seems so fitting to make sure that we focus on serving others while also giving them the opportunity to serve us. Many times we feel guilty, or we feel like we're being burdensome, and all those yucky things when we're asking for help with which interferes with our ability to connect with one another. Because when you're asking for help, that means you're being vulnerable. And vulnerability brings intimacy and connection for relationship. And so when we build these walls, and we think we have to do everything on our own, or we get super competitive and don't want anyone to be next to us and see what we're doing, we really miss out on having deep connection and deep connection allows for us to have those people in our corner, reminding us that we can do the work that we're trying to do. Because the thing is entrepreneurship is hard. It's not something that you wake up every day, and it's just warm, fuzzy hugs in the morning. It's It's not like that every day. Yes, you're, you're excited about it. Yes, is great. But there are times when you're going to need a friend to swap some systems for you when you're talking down on yourself or a friend to say, Hey, I don't think that's a great idea. I'm supporting you regardless, but I'm not so sure. How do you get people who are going to be honest with you like that, and be willing to be vulnerable with you, you've got to connect with them. And so I think when it comes to business relationships, there's different types, I like to call business bestie, those are going to be your close knit, and there's not going to be many of them. And they might take a long time to build. And that's okay. It's supposed to be that way because it has a lot to do with trust. And trust is supposed to be earned, not given freely. And so there's business besties and then you have your, you know, your business like your your connectors, and your friends who when you see each other, it's a great time, but you're not necessarily talking all the time. When they're doing something you're rooting them on, you're encouraging them and you're going to have people a little outside of that circle and those are acquaintances and such. But I think that in any relationship if you show up with the intent to serve, and to support them, you're going to always get something out of it because there's always an opportunity, no matter how simple it may be. To show up and make someone live better, even if it's just giving them a word of encouragement.

Emily Thompson 10:05
I love this. And I even want to sort of round this out with what Kathleen was talking about strangers for half a second, where I see that even as the place in your business when you scale beyond your own intimate connections, and so what Kathleen is craving is like that, like business growth milestone, where then your brand is reaching even beyond yourself. But I do think that comes from having that really tight knit core of relationships, that allows you to expand beyond it

Kathleen Shannon 10:35
exactly, exactly, you have to have that. There were a few things, I have so many questions. But I want to come back to what you said about it being really important to have an identity outside of your business. And for me, like my, all my planets are in my business house on the astrological chart, and we won't even get into that. But I do find a lot of my identity is wrapped up into my business, for better or worse. And, you know, personal brand is something and like really blending who you are into the work that you do is something that I'm incredibly passionate about. But I definitely see the need for being rooted in something outside of your business, especially whenever your business comes against failures, you know, it can be so easy to internalize that and have shame around it rather than my business failed or that project launch failed or, you know, whatever it was didn't sell. Going from that to I suck as a human being. You know, it's so easy to go there when you tie up your identity into your business. So I'm just curious to hear a little bit more from you about that, as someone who I think that you do, keep your business personal even the way that you share things about your own marriage on Instagram, like it is personal. So how do you find that separation? Having such a strong personal brand yourself? And what kind of recommendations would you give our listeners to help find their own identity outside of their work whenever they're so passionate about their work?

Monique Melton 12:06
Yeah, that's great. So let me start with the last question first. So when I think about my identity as a person, because we're very complex beings were spiritual, or physical or mental, there's so many different aspects going on all at one time. And when I think about my identity, I like to make sure that my identity and my validation is internal, not external, because external happenings, I have no control over what so ever, I don't have control over what time the sun rises, I don't have control over who likes me, I don't have control over any of those external things, I can have influence, I can have influence over how I do things, I can have influence, where I decide to live, if I don't like the rain, I can move somewhere. But the truth of the matter is, there's very limited things that we can control externally. So when I think of my identity, I like to have ownership over that I like to have control over that. So internal has everything to do with me, who am I? What are my what's my personality? What are what's my vision for myself? What are what are my characteristic characteristics? What are my values? What are my beliefs, these have everything to do with me. And what's great about having an identity that is internal, it does not require comparison, in order to feel better or to feel insecure about myself. It has everything to do with for me my faith, aligning myself with my faith and what I believe in that. And that allows for me to not be on this roller coaster of Oh, they love me today, I must be a great person. Oh, they didn't like me today, I must be a Trump if this roller coaster as quickly as they love you. They can even hate you even faster. And so I have learned that my identity has to be in something internal, not external, not a relationship. If my husband were to decide to leave me today, I would not I cannot allow that decision, which it will be a huge mistake on his part. But I can't allow that to define my worth my value my identity, but so often, we internalize so many of the external things that it feels like there are defining us it's like detaching all of that stuff that gets soaked into us. It's like we're sponges. So we have to have boundaries in order to keep our identity very internal. And so that's what I would do in terms of how you go about that. really understanding yourself and be beginning to embrace yourself. So I'll give you an example my daughter, she is so much like the more confident Monique not the motif when I was a little girl but more Monique that shows up today. And I believe that's probably because she's around me all the time. And so she's soaking up that energy. So she's very articulate about what she likes. What she doesn't like what she doesn't want and she doesn't make make any excuses for she doesn't make any explanations. and apologizes for being who she is. And so I told my husband the other day, I said, instead of being upset about her being so picky about certain things, why don't you just embrace that about her, because that's who she is. And so it's gonna allow you less frustration, and it's going to give her more confidence to feel more secure, and you guys relationship. And so I've learned to embrace certain things about me that I used to try to change, or I used to feel were not good, because what was I doing, comparing them to other people who I thought must have been better than me must have a better than me. And so they didn't act that way. So I shouldn't act that way. So then it becomes this comparison thing. So the more that you interact, you make your validation internal. And know your quirks. No, you're you're you're what I don't even want to say flaws. But know your things that make you special and unique. And love them and embrace them and celebrate them, the more confidence you're going to feel about your identity and the more competence you can put into your business, because you know that when things don't go the way that you want them to, it's not going to destroy you, it's not going to destroy you. So that's the that kind of answers both questions. But how I do it for myself, I'm really, really mindful of when people compliment me, when I do a lot of public speaking, I have a lot of energy, you know, I'm fine. I'm one of those people that I draw people to me. And that's just my, that's my personality. So I love it. But I'm also very careful to take it in. But be mindful that it still doesn't define me out. I'm thankful I appreciate the words of kindness. But I'm really, really guarded in the sense that I try not to allow that to boast me too much. So because I know as quickly as they can love me, it's quickly they can hate me. So that was a long answer to two very simple questions. But I hope that answered it.

Emily Thompson 16:43
No, I think that's wonderful. And I think one of the things that really, really stood out for me was this idea that it is boundaries that help you define and sort of keep sacred who you are, even when you go out and try new things, and fell and succeed and do all of these things. It is about understanding who you are. So that like hardcore definition, but also having boundaries around, you know, protecting what that definition is. And for me, one of my really practical things, because I'm one of those people, I do obviously hardcore, blend work in life, for sure. But I also like having a very clear separation of the two at times, you know, I have friends, I have one friend in particular, where we've sort of made a pact that he will never listen to the podcast. And I always know that's the relationship that I have, where I can go, and, and almost be more myself. And that's not really, that's not really even true, I can be me, that is unaffected by the viewpoint of my profession, which is super gratifying. And it's become a very like sacred relationship that is super meaningful to me, because it's not, it's not colored by what I do professionally, it really is just me separate from who I am, as a business owner, or a podcast or any of those things. And it doesn't mean that we don't talk about work, because sometimes we do. But it is really awesome to sort of maintain. And I don't want to say maintain control of our relationships in a way that is like awful, but in a way that really allows me to nurture myself in those relationships, and different kinds of ways, like all of my relationships are different, and they don't all have to be the same. I found that tactic for me to be really influential and advantageous in lots of ways. Yeah, I love it.

Kathleen Shannon 18:38
One of the things that stood out for me in you talking about that Monique is? Well, first off, the idea of I wrote this down because I'm going to be meditating on this is the idea of influence versus control versus ownership. And it's like, what can I influence? What can I control? And what can I own? I think that that was really I mean, outside of the realm of the context of what we're talking about, I think that can be applied to so many things. And really coming back to your inner life and who you are on the inside. Emily and I are about to record an episode all about meditation, and really going into this place where you're not placing, you know, context or value on anything outside of you, whether that's strangers hiring you for the work that you do, or you know, buying a new pair of shoes, like it really is about going within to find who you are almost by not focusing on who you are altogether. So like whether that's a prayer practice or meditation or whatever it is about just getting outside of your own ego. And I think that can be a huge way to find out who you are by almost like obliterating who you are.

Monique Melton 19:49
I was just having a coaching session with a client the other day and so I do a little bit of Relationship Coaching as well, that brings in my mental health background. And we were talking about competence. And we were talking about this the thing that you just said, ownership influence and control. And I think if you think of competence, like a muscle, so I work out all the time, and I lift weights. And if you think about the process of building muscle, they have to be torn down. And it's painful, but it's not always painful. And then what happens afterwards, you're stronger, and you're more defined if you stick with it. And so when you think about confidence, you have to basically tear all these ideas and beliefs that you thought you had, and all these things that have been placed on you, you have to tear those apart and tear them down. That part is painful, uncovering beliefs that you have that might be limiting you to do the things that you know you need to do, or biases and all those things that can be painful, uncovering certain relationships that you thought were okay, but are actually toxic. That can be painful. But what happens when you go through that and you push through the pain is you have growth, and the more you do it, just like the gym, the more defined those muscles will be, the more defined your confidence will be, but you have to stick with it.

Kathleen Shannon 21:03
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Monique Melton 22:16
So I'll give you a couple practical things. And I talk a lot about this in my book. It's so practical, it's almost like a recipe for a cake, like do this do that that's so practical. People tell me that all the time when they read it. So I'm just giving you a couple of very practical things in terms of maintaining relationships, because we're all busy, I have kids, you know, I have a handsome husband that I love spending time with like, there's so many things going on in a day. So something I do on a very practical way in order to stay in touch with people who I want to talk to and want to want I want to live on is I set reminder in my calendar to reach out to my friends, client family. And I send a little text messages every now and then it might be a message that says hey, what do you have going on right now? How can I be supporting you? Sometimes it's just a hope you have a great day. If I see they posted something on Facebook, that sad, maybe you know they've had a loss in their family. I actually pray for them in that moment. And let them know that I'm praying for them. So I want to get very practical, just touching, touching, touching, touching, sending cards. When someone is going through something sending a gift, just letting them know that I'm there for them. And then my close people, I will actually sit down and have these conversations that might seem corny, but they work. If I asked them what is your love language? What makes you feel supported by me? What hurts you what is something that I do that disappoints you. Because if you really care about having a healthy relationship with someone, you have to communicate what you need, what they need, and can't just assume that just because you've been friends for so long that you are a no these things people change what you use to like you might not like so asking that. And then from like a little bit outside circle, you know, folks, you're getting to know, I have a formula that when I get on the phone and Kathleen, you know this because I did it with you. We're on the phone. Before we get off, I always ask what is something I can do to support you right now. And I never let people get away with saying nothing, I always find out at least one or two things. And then I go into that thing before the week is out. If it's on a Friday, I get it done, because I don't want to forget. So relationships, I make them a priority. I put them in my schedule, I keep them at the forefront of my mind. And I think if more of us would realize that the pseudo connections that we make online could mean so much more if we would just actually engage with one another reach out to one another. Even simple things like if someone's on Insta stories and they share that Kathleen you were sharing about your house and it was you know the furnace and all that to say something like oh my goodness, I'm so sorry. Someone just shared a stressful moment. If you think We're sitting across from you at a table and they told you that you probably wouldn't just look at them, and then turn the other way. And I think this whole scroll in and just people sharing vulnerable things that we wrote, we forget that that's a real person behind that screen going through hard times. So want to share they have a miscarriage. That's devastating. Don't just scroll through. If you are then maybe you should not be president personal Facebook, because if you can't give them a second of just encouragement when they share something or excitement, then then we're missing it. We're totally missing it. So those are some very practical, just touching it with people I very regularly I get in front of people, whether it's dinner or coffee, or gather, I gather people together I do invitations, because in person connection is really where is that but it's not always possible. But those are some things that I will encourage people to do is to make it a priority, make it a goal. And these are many people I'm going to make a point to have coffee, virtual coffee dates with to get to know them reach out all those things. Okay, what

Kathleen Shannon 26:01
if you're an introvert, like, this is the thing I hear all the time and these funny memes that are like, I want to connect, but I don't like people, which I think is so cheesy, and like, Can we just stop saying that we don't like people we all love. We all love people like connections are where it's at the human race wouldn't exist, if we didn't like each other. So but but what if you really are an introvert or terrified of rejection? Or if you have social anxiety? You know, like, I think, Monique, it's so easy to look at you and listen to what you're saying. And you have this energy where I feel like you're just fearless when it comes to connecting with people. But if everyone's not you How, how would you tell them to reach out if they're really freaked out about it? So I first of all, thank you, I am pretty awesome. You are your energy, like you just shine your light. And then everyone's like, yes, let's hang out, let's talk come to my dinner party.

Monique Melton 27:04
But we all have a light. So sometimes what happens is I show up, I just turned turn a light up within you already, it's already in there. So I will say this, I get afraid of rejection too. I get afraid of reaching out to people as well, I and I I equate it to getting on the treadmill, every time I get on the treadmill, I'm afraid I'm gonna fall off for some reason, I'll slip and fall. But I'm like, you know what, that's my imagination. And I'm not gonna let that get the best of me. And so I'm going to do the thing, even though I'm a little afraid of it. And so when it comes to rejection, rejection is not about me, it's about the person guarding their capacity. And so when someone says no to an offer that I'm extending to them, they're not saying no to me, per se, they're saying no to the offer, even though I might be associated to the offer. But it's just like at the food court, and they're passing out a little chicken samples, maybe I just ate at Cheesecake Factory, I am full, there's no more room to insert another piece of food into my body. So I'm gonna say no to that chicken. But it might be really great. It might be awful, I don't know, but it's not for me. And so when it so when you detach the idea that rejection is about them not liking me and all that and you realize that it's about them guarding their capacity, then it's limit, it removes some of the pressure, and the last way to do it more easily. And then for the folks who are introverts, which I'm clearly not, I would, I would, I would say, you've got to honor yourself. So that means that if you're going to go to a networking event, make sure you plan time when you get home to refuel, because for me, I'm re energized, energized when I'm around people, whereas it's the opposite. for introverts, it also means knowing that maybe this is something about you that you can grow in, I used to always say that I'm not a morning person, I could never get up at 5am to go to the gym. Now I get up at 4:50am in the morning, my husband is still to this day shocked that I'm doing it because he knows how I would love to sleep all day if I could. So it's like reframing some of these beliefs that we have about ourselves in order to do the work that we are desiring, because if you don't want to do something, you'll find every single excuse possible to not do it. But if you want to do something, you'll figure out how to make it happen. Bring a friend with you. If you need to go for just a few moments, please go and talk to a couple people and call it a day. You don't have to go and do the whole room because that's gonna feel weird and cheesy. Anyway, I always tell people just try to go and make a couple connections with one or two people that's going to be better than these stale, how's the weather, to 30 people in the room have a great connection and call it a day. So those are some ideas I would suggest.

Emily Thompson 29:47
I love to this goes right back to what you were saying about sort of defining yourself and knowing who you are and at the same time creating boundaries that protects that two votes in like you know, knowing if you're an introvert and knowing what you need to do to deal with that. Or if it's you know, dealing with rejection and not not combining the thing with who you are like, it's all it is all just those two things.

Kathleen Shannon 30:10
I want to share that I'm someone who is terrified of rejection, I hate it so much. And it has kept me from putting myself out there so much. But what you were even saying about the samples at the grocery store that someone is offering you, I think that one of the best tools I've had for really becoming okay with rejection is rejecting other people. And so this is gonna sound really, I don't mean it to sound harsh in any way. But like, we have a lot of opportunity, we get hundreds of pitches a week, there is no way that we have the capacity to have everyone who would want to be on our show on our show, like there are just not enough hours in the day, we would be booked out through 2021. If we said yes to everybody. And so for me, I know that we have to say no, a lot, but it's never out of a place of will You're the worst? Or why would we want to have you it really is that capacity, like guarding our capacity, like you said, and so you know, I might be saying no to someone at the grocery store for the samples. And it's not because I don't like their food. And so even if it's a little rejection, if you can practice saying no to other people in a loving way, where you're not making it mean anything other than what it actually is, the more Okay, you're going to become with being rejected, because you'll understand it's coming from that same place as well.

Monique Melton 31:33
Exactly. And sometimes people are just downright mean, sometimes you don't want it because you don't like the food, you know, last time you tried to chicken, it was salty, you're like, I'm not doing that again. So you might you might not like it. But again, it doesn't define them. That chicken doesn't define that person is just an object is an external being, it doesn't define me as like, as a human. So the more you The more you do that. But I also was add to that is that you have to do things, you got to give yourself a break. The other day, I said to myself, you know what, I just don't feel like we're rejected today. So I'm gonna take a pause on reaching out. Okay, that's fine, but I'm not gonna let that that last for three months. And I'm going to get out of my head and get to what I need to do.

Kathleen Shannon 32:18
Okay, I have one more question before we move on, because I really want to talk a lot about diversity and diversity advocacy, and what that really looks like. But I want to talk about asking for help, because I think that this is in line with relationships and being vulnerable and getting rejected is this idea of asking someone how you can support them, but then also in return asking for help. So I know that whenever people ask me, like, hey, how can I support you? Where do you need help? I'm often like, ah, I don't know. I mean, probably because I'm, like, fiercely independent, or I already have my system set up, or I don't know what I don't know, like, I don't even know where I need help. So I'm curious to hear from you, Monique, whenever it comes to asking for help, how do you identify what you need help around and being such a strong, fierce woman and entrepreneur? Who gets a lot done on her own? Like, how do you get vulnerable enough to ask for help? And what kind of help Are you asking for?

Monique Melton 33:21
I am an asking for help expert. I will ask for how so fast. And when I released the notion that I was supposed to be perfect and supposed to have somehow you have it all together. When I released that notion. I'm helping my son do the same, because for some reason, he struggles with wanting to have things right and perfect. And I'm like, Oh, no, we not want to go through life feeling like that. So when I release that idea of perfection, and people judging me because I need help, blah, blah, blah. It just made it so much easier to identify things that I'm not very good at things that I don't enjoy doing things that someone would do a lot better than me and then to find the people and then ask, ask them and then if they're not available, ask someone else. So my husband to tell you I am a asking and telling you what I mean asking for help tell me what I need. Expert I'm really good at. Because I don't I don't think that I think it's a sign of wisdom to know what you need help with. And then it's a sign of courage to ask for it. Because it is going to require vulnerability, it's going to mean that you're trusting someone else with something that's important with you to you. So that person needs to be trustworthy. That means that you're risking the possibility of that person saying no, and then you're left with that. So but again, if we allow our emotions because all of this is our emotions, that if we allow them to dictate our choices, we are going to be a total wreck all the time. And the emotions alone will not kill you. It's what you do with the emotions that can be toxic. It's what you Allow the emotions to influence your how you allow them to influence your behaviors that can be toxic. So if you're feeling scared, and then you go and binge on some, you know, cookies and this and all that now you have all this sugar and you're gaining weight, like that's when it becomes toxic. But when you say, you know what, I'm feeling afraid, but I'm gonna do it anyway. Because this fear, the spirit isn't going to help me accomplish my goals is the actions that I'm going to take to move towards my goals that are going to help me achieve them. So I think that it's just, it's the I like getting rid of the idea that I'm supposed to have it all. And recognizing that when people help me, it is a blessing to them. How awesome is it to meet someone's needs, it is amazing to show up and somebody needs something and you're actually able to provide it, that feels great. So to give someone else that opportunity, that like it's just a win win, we're all winning.

Kathleen Shannon 35:54
That's huge. I mean, I use even the Emily and I are getting ready to launch our book. And we put together a street team. And we were so hesitant to do it, because we're so used to doing everything ourselves, and just to even be able to reach out and say, Hey, we need your help. But like and I could see that even just seeing the energy around the ideas that are coming out from this group who's going to help us launch our book has been incredible. And I'm really seeing what you're talking about here, Monique as far as that being something that they're excited to do as well. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Okay, I want to talk about creative entrepreneurship and race and diversity. You ready? Let's do it, at least once a day. So we met at a conference called blog delicious. And it was incredible and amazing. And one of the things I think that you asked us a question after week, he noted and asked about diversity on our podcast. And fortunately, it was something that we have been actively thinking about and pursuing. And it's been important to us. But for a lot of people, I don't think that they're putting that same amount of thought and attention on to it. But I think also now, like even politically, like things are just stirring up and with the me to movement, and with the time's up movement, I think that and Black Lives Matter. I mean, all of this stuff is starting to bubble up. So over here at being boss, and with you, Monique here today, like we know that diversity is a good thing. It brings, you know, richness of experience, and culture to business. And that brings forth inclusiveness and innovation. And it should be a no brainer, but it's not. So what are we missing out on whenever the media we consume, the conferences we attend, and the people that we hire a lack of diversity?

Monique Melton 37:56
Yeah, I would say the one of the biggest things that you're missing out on. And this goes across the board, if not similar to any race. But you're missing out on perspective. You know, the more and the more you hear different ideas, which is why I'm a Christian, but I have so many different types of friends from Muslims to whoo, whoo, and just all that all that in between atheists there, they're actually friends. And I love hearing their perspective. I love hearing that their ideas and how they're living their life. And it challenges me to know myself and my perspective, even more, and to also maybe rid myself of some things that might be serving me or my community well, so having those perspectives and different perspectives and hearing of those experiences and how people navigate throughout their spaces allows for us to check in and see how we might be showing up and hurting people, or concern and what we can be doing differently. We miss out on perspective, and we miss out on community, we've been talking a lot about relationships, we've been talking a lot about connection, and I believe that community goes right with that. And real community is diverse. real community is people coming together, where you have different beliefs, different sexual orientation, different religious beliefs, you're different in every capacity, but you're still able to respect and acknowledge and make space for one another. That's hard to do when fear is at the core of how you believe and interact. And I think fear has a lot to do with how we limit ourselves to people that feel safe, because we're afraid of the unknown. We are afraid of what we've been conditioned and what we've been exposed to. And so fear is hard to displace when we're holding on to it so closely and allowing it to dictate our choices even in terms of community and diversity and then we also are missing out on money. You know if I only focus on women of color, and I only go after that dollar I'm missing half over half of my clients. Because a lot of my clients, we can share the same hitch hairbrush with, we're just we're not, we're not saying we were just not. And so if I were to say, my clients have to look like me, they have to believe what I believe I'm missing out on money. And that makes it very tangible from a business standpoint.

Emily Thompson 40:22
Yeah, and I always see business as like one of the foundations of businesses, the ability to creatively solve problems, like that's how it are. That's how it is that we create solutions to problems that we monetize it, all the things. And whenever you are not including other perspectives, you're not bringing in that higher capacity for the kinds of creativity that allows you to solve problems, like if you're a one man shop, then or one woman shop or one, whatever shop, you are thinking inside your own box, like you go to someone else to gain a different perspective to solve a problem. And if they're just like you, they're going to have the exact same solution to the problem as you have. But if they're unlike you, they'll have a broader perspective or a different perspective that can help you solve that problem. So the more diverse you make, any team or community or anything, the larger capacity, you have to solve problems. I think we can all agree that the world is filled with very large problems. I think it'll only be solved by embracing diversity and the vast perspective that that can bring to any of those. Yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. All right, excuse me, while I pause this here and let you in on the exciting news. The being boss book is about to hit the shelves of a bookstore near you, Kathleen, and I have taken years of conversations between ourselves and those we've had with experts and industry leaders here on the beam boss podcast, and have distilled them down into what we found, makes you boss into a book that you can read,

Kathleen Shannon 41:57
hold in your hands and share with a friend. And we'd be lying if we didn't admit that we have a big dream with this book, we want it to be a best seller, we want every creative in the world to cultivate the confidence it takes to take control of their work, and make money doing what they love. So they can live life on their own terms. That's what our book is here to do. And we need your help to make it happen.

Emily Thompson 42:19
If you want to dive into the core of what it means to be boss and support us while you do it, it's time for you to preorder the book. And once you do that, let us know you bought it and we'll send you some goodies. Just go to Bing boss club slash book for links to purchase. And for more information on how to claim your swag that's being boss dot club slash book. Now, let's get back at it.

Kathleen Shannon 42:49
Okay, I want to talk a little bit about white privilege. Because I think that there has been a huge misunderstanding whenever it comes to acknowledging privilege. So I see a lot of people say things like, well, you don't know me, you don't know how hard it was for me to grow up, you know, poor or whatever. But if they're white, they do have this inherent privilege. So I would like to talk a little bit about, you know, and anyone can chime in Emily Monique, on what white privilege is to you and how that's affecting entrepreneurship.

Monique Melton 43:26
I think part of the reason people take It's, um, get so defensive, because I think there's a spectrum when it comes to being aware of racism and bias and privilege. And there's, there's a spectrum of it. And so there's arch, you know, whatever people in the beginning, whether completely oblivious, they may or may be aware, and they feel guilty, and all those kind of things. So, I think when people are immediately defensive, because they're, they're, they're making it too personal. And without realizing that they belong to a larger system that they may not have built. They did not create, but they disproportionately benefit from just by being born with their pigment. And so when you realize that it's more of a system, that trickles down into every other subsystem, in our culture, everything from education, social, social, social, social justice, finances, politics, me there's nothing that's untouched, even Sunday is the most segregated day of the week, when you realize that this system of white supremacy, which is really what it is, that you didn't create, but that you benefit and that you and you unknowingly contribute to by being bias and being oblivious to it. We utilize it as a system and allows for you to step back and take the personal attachment and can be more productive and dismantling the system. So white privilege has everything to do with on earn access on earn benefits. Have a doubt on our affirmation, the fact that my daughter cannot easily go into a toy store and find a doll that looks like her is a disadvantage to her. Whereas a white girl can guarantee show up in any major department store and find the girl that looks much like the skin color that she is that on earn affirmation that your identity is what is standard and what is acceptable and what is to be admired and to be loved. That that that on earned didn't do anything to do that you literally just born into it, the benefits. But this support this proportion of education, resources and justice, I mean, it goes on, but it's not something to say you need to be guilty. This isn't a personal attack against you as a system that you benefit from.

Kathleen Shannon 45:50
Amen to all of that. And I think that it really is about acknowledging that it is a system and then using your privilege to dismantle that system, I think is where you can take any defensiveness you might have and turn it into proactive. You know, like just a proactive action. And so I want to, I want to talk about this system a little bit, because I think that this is what a lot of people might also not understand or see, especially if they're just now thinking about diversity and inclusion and systemic racism for the first time. I know that for me, um, you know, waking up and seeing some documentaries, and really attending, you know, like Black Lives Matters, movements, and just trying to get in there has really opened up my eyes, and I continue to open up my eyes to privilege and action and dismantling the system itself. So for example, you know, one documentary I saw was called 13th amendment and talking about just how systemic racism is feeding our prison systems. And it is, you know, so rooted in American history. And it's so messed up. But I, I almost don't even have the words like in how to get into this. So I guess what I wanted to ask you is, I think 13th amendment is an amazing documentary that everyone should watch. But do you have any favorite documentaries or books whenever it comes to systemic racism and what we can do to begin to dismantle or you know, even to understand it, so that then we can start to dismantle it.

Monique Melton 47:37
So I have a list of books, and I think we can I can put them on the website and make them available to the listeners. But what I will say is that, because I'm left, I live this reality. So I don't necessarily need a book to inform or educate me on the reality that I live or the or the possibilities of the risk, and the the things that come along with blackness, because I live it every day. And some way, there's some things that happen that are very triggering certain things on TV can be very triggering. So I can't watch them or, you know, my husband being pulled over and gunpoint, and because he fit a description, so I live it, not to the degree that some people have lost their lives and all that and the things that we see, I'm not saying that I'm around here, just in shackles per se. But my point is, I don't really spend a lot of time reading about a lot of this in great detail, because so much of it is in my face. So there are books that I've read, and there's video and movements and things like that, and people I follow and all that. But as a woman of color, it's it's like, it's my reality. But I will say also, that it's important for white women and men to take it upon themselves, to educate, and to inform, and to not request or require demand that people of color, educate them, and teach them and show them. That is the most frustrating thing when I share a piece on my experience as a black woman in America. And then someone goes to almost asked that I defend my humanity and and and don't doesn't understand why I'm believing this or why I'm saying this. And so I've started to just tell people if you want to know what to do go to Google because Google has the answer to everything. And I'm not going to engage in the emotional labor, of educating you on things that you can learn for yourself. What I will do is I'll talk to you about my experience, we can talk about what we can do to make things is different. But what I won't do is try to teach people of this reality that it's so clear, it's so clear and evident if you just open your eyes. So I know what I'll add to that is that there are a lot of people who feel what can I do? What can I do I know that things are bad. I know there's racism, I just feel so helpless. I don't know what to do, again, go to Google, and type in anti racism, or y Li or diversity, there's so much knowledge and information out there. I think part of the reason people feel so helpless, and they they use that they power under that it's because to take on the grandness that this problem is it's overwhelming, and it feels heavy. And it's sickening to the stomach. And so you don't want to feel like that. And so I just sometimes, even myself, sometimes I rather just bury my head in the sand and just pretend that this is a reality. But then I wake up and I'm black. So then it's like, it's not a choice. It's not a choice for me to be concerned about these matters. So I think anyone who has people of color in their lives, they need to spend more time talking to them about their experiences, and specifically learning. How can I support you this new the person in front of me as a janitor? And what can I be doing to support you better, as I'm also reading and educating myself about the things that are affecting you because of the color of your skin?

Emily Thompson 51:27
Yes, I completely agree with that. And I think that even like wraps up with what you were talking earlier. It's about nurturing those closest relationships that you have, and making sure those are completely solid, because what you're doing in those really close relationships is what you're doing beyond those close relationships, as well. And I love and they usually just leave that there. Um, I super appreciate you sharing all of that. And I know that's something that Kathleen and I as we have grown the platform that the podcast is, and I remember talking to you about this, whenever we were at blog, Alicia's it's been for us about giving a platform to people who who haven't had the ability to share their voice in quite the same way that Kathleen and I have been able to. So I appreciate you coming and sharing all of that, because it's something where, you know, as all of us creatives are working in our little holes on our own, and you know, we see what's happening on social media, but we're worried about how we can take action, I, I love it, it's get on Google, find the thing that works for you, but also nurture the people who are closest to you,

Kathleen Shannon 52:34
I have something to say about Google. So I was listening to my husband's into self driving cars and machine learning. And there is some racism happening even in machine learning. So if you are a white person typing into Google, Egypt, for example, your search results might be wildly different, then a person of color typing in the word Egypt into Google. So it is interesting, you know, you might type in Egypt and see, you know, or I might type into Egypt and see like best resorts in Egypt. You know what I mean, and not talking about conflict or whatever is happening. So even then, even with Google, like, you have to just continue to ask questions, and seek out those answers. And I think it starts by knowing what the questions that you want to ask are. And I mean, I think even just watching, I think documentaries are one of the best places for really educating yourself. And there are so many on netflix documentaries are definitely having a moment. So we'll certainly include a list of some of our favorites on the show notes for this episode, as well.

Monique Melton 53:47
Yeah, have some, for sure. And I want to also add that when it comes to diversity, and building a more diverse life, and then a diverse brand, it really does start with your personal relationships. Because if your personal relationships, they all you guys all look alike, you all believe the same things and all of that, that means that is going to that is going to directly influence your business, which that's why so many of these businesses have these all white lineups. And they have these all white podcasts with all my blogs, and because their circle is very white. So of course the people that are reaching out to are white, so you have to diversify your inner circle, and then build upon that. And that's going to mean putting yourself in situations where you can interact with people who aren't going to look like you go to a conference where most of the speakers might be people of color, you're guaranteed to make some brown friends. So it's important that you put yourself out there and not expect that these people are going to be visible for you to see because they're not being put on platforms. They're not given opportunities, and then the platforms that they create for themselves and those that look like them. You're not looking for them because again, you're looking for people who look like you so it's going to work bar a lot of intentional effort.

Kathleen Shannon 55:02
I also think that if you were invited to speak at a conference, also look at the lineup, and especially if you are white yourself, ask the coordinator. Hey, have you been reaching out to women of color? Have you been reaching out to? You know, who have you been? Who else have you invited? And I think that really it is, like you said, Monique, it is our job to help dismantle the racism that our ancestors created, you know, that is on us. And so we can do it in these really little ways. And I know that systemic racism, I know for me, whenever I start researching and diving into it can feel so overwhelming, like, Oh, my gosh, how am I going to fix the prison system? Well, guess what I can't, but I can choose to put my son in a school. Okay, so this just happened, we just moved to Detroit. And there is a school, literally a stone's throw from my house around the corner. And they had an opening, which is rare for a four year old, whenever you're trying to find full time preschool or daycare, they had an opening. And whenever I ask them about the diversity at their school, and they use some kind of offensive language, and I know that they had, they were well meaning but the the language that they use was offensive. And they did not have a lot of diversity in their school. And I chose to take him somewhere, that's a 20 minute drive, because it was more inclusive and much more diverse. And him being you know, a little white boy who's going to grow up in privilege, I just want him to be surrounded by diversity so that he can use his privilege to lift up everybody. And so I mean, just even little things like that. And I think especially in the way that we raise our children can make a huge impact. And then the way that we hire and the way that we, you know, attend conferences, or even just consuming media, like this should seem like a no brainer, but subscribe to podcasts that are hosted by women of color, buy movie tickets from, you know, at movies that feature, you know, actors of color. So I think that this is like really small ways that we can begin but it'll start to open up your sphere and your brain and kind of break that bubble where everyone looks the same.

Monique Melton 57:23
When you do an inventory of the books that you read the websites that you follow the podcasts that you listen to the people you hire, if you do an inventory, and they are coming up to look a whole lot like you, that means that you are going to get a lot of homework you need to do and even from your visual branding, you know, of all the people in your Instagram feed if I can't see myself within the first nine photos ourselves, ourselves. I know for me, I'm so I'm at a point, my friends, they tease me a little bit because I'm so unapologetically black. And I'm at a place where my friend and my white friends, they'll reach out to me. And they're like, Oh, I just reached out to this conference that didn't have any people of color. And I reached out to them and told them blah, blah, blah, like I'm empowering my friends to take action in these places just by using my voice. And a lot of I call white people out all the time. Please do better, because this burden is not for me to carry on my own. This is not I didn't create the system we needed to do but you benefit from it. So it is going to require a lot more white people stepping up and not taking over because that's another that's another issue. You have a lot of white women and men who feel like okay, well, I need to do something. So I'm going to take over this and I'm going to lead the way No, no, no, we're not. We don't need that. We don't need you to be a voice for us. Don't do that. You can use your platform to amplify our voice to bring light to the issues and to build correlations and connections. But don't get on the phone with me and tell me all the things that you're about to start doing and what needs to be done. And you haven't even let me talk that that is that I've experienced that too. And it's really frustrating. So there's, there's a lot that can be done. And it can seem overwhelming. And I've wrote a couple articles on my website about what to do to build a more inclusive brand. From a brand standpoint, even just from a personal just human beings standpoint, it is complex, but if you focus on the level of influence that you have, and just go out a few degrees outside of that, and everyone want to do that we will make a really lasting impact on our next generation.

Emily Thompson 59:34
Right and that is necessary. absolutely necessary.

Kathleen Shannon 59:40
Money. You have a light that shines so bright. We're so glad to have you on the show. Can you share a little bit more about what you're working on right now and where our listeners can find you?

Monique Melton 59:52
Sure. So I am working on a couple things. One I have some In person workshops that are all about business building, from marketing, PR, client experience, public speaking, passive income, all kinds of things that support business growth. I'm, I'm a little out of breath, because I'm going downstairs.

But, and then I also am working on another book that's going to be around business, profitability, sustain a business. And so that'll be coming out in the fall time. And I love doing one on one brand development for people who are ready to expand and try new ideas and strategies to grow their business and serve their audience. You can find me on Instagram, social media, I'm on Instagram a lot. I do a lot of stories, real life away.

Kathleen Shannon 1:00:59
One thing I love about your stories that I just want to point out is that you do talk a lot about we didn't get a dive into this here. But you do talk a lot about communication and marriage. And so for any entrepreneurs who are wanting to communicate better with their spouses, through the stresses of entrepreneurship, I just think that you do such an amazing job really highlighting that and being very intentional about that. Oh, thank

Monique Melton 1:01:21
you, I think because, you know, business is very, very personal. And if you're married, you know, sometimes business can be all in compensated. And so those boundaries are important. And it's important to communicate with your spouse and remember that you're on the same team.

Emily Thompson 1:01:40
All right, Monique, what makes you feel Miss boss,

Monique Melton 1:01:44
you know, what immediately comes to mind. It's like when I'm in the gym, and I'm in my pink pants. And I'm like, I'm not I don't look like I go to the gym all the time. Like, I still got a couple rolls here and there. You know, it's just like, I don't, you might be like, who should really be in here, but um, but I walk around the gym like I'm all bad. Like, I just walk around there. I've got to go on and on. And so I just feel most boss when I'm taking care of myself when I'm when I'm getting in the gym when I'm eating healthy when I'm spending time with my family because that's taking care of my heart. Like when I'm taking care of myself and in doing things that build me up. I just just like

Unknown Speaker 1:02:33
love it. I

Emily Thompson 1:02:33
can't. I'm just picturing you now and I love it. I love it. Thank you so much for joining us, Monique. It was a complete pleasure chatting with you. Thank you so much for having me.

Kathleen Shannon 1:02:47
Hey, bosses, I want to tell you about the CEO day hit. The CEO day kit is 12 months of focus planning for your business in just one day. So Emily and I have packaged up the exact tools that we've been consistently using for years that have helped us grow from baby bosses to the CEOs of our own businesses. gain clarity find focus, get momentum, prioritize your time, make better decisions and become more self reliant with the CEO day kit. Go to courses that being boss club to learn more and see if it's a fit for you and your business. We'd like to give a shout out to our partner fresh books cloud accounting, you can try it for free for 30 days no credit card needed and cancel anytime. Just go to freshbooks comm slash being boss and enter being boss in the How did you hear about us section. Special thanks to our sponsor 2020 who is offering our being boss listeners a five photo free trial to start yours right now go to 20 twenty.com slash being boss. That's the word 20,000 to zero.com slash being boss to get five free photos. Thank you for listening to be boss Find Articles show notes and downloads at WWW dot v boss club. Thank you so much to our team and sponsors who make being boss possible our sound engineer and web developer Corey winter. Our editorial director and content manager Caitlin brain, our community manager and social media director Sharon lukey and are being countered David Austin, with support from braid creative and indicia biography,

Emily Thompson 1:04:22
do the work. Be boss and we'll see you next week.