I'm proud to share a transcription of my conversation with Shani Silver, founder of Single Serving Podcast, a podcast (and community!) dedicated to change the narrative around being single (spoiler alert: it's not a bad thing after all). In it, I share about my journey from litigation attorney (Shani and I met in law school!) to self love philosopher. I hope you enjoy this chat as much as I enjoyed having it. The link to the podcast episode is available at the end of this post.
Shani Silver: Welcome to A Single Serving Podcast. This is where we change the discussion around being single into one that doesn't suck. I'm your host Shani Silver. I'm a writer and Freelancer based in Brooklyn, and I've been single for 11 years. Whenever I see content for single women online, it's about dating, how to date, where to date, how to date, better how to survive dating. I think we deserve more than that.
On this podcast, it's my goal to expand what we talk about when we talk about being single and acknowledge the realities of it that non-single people don't get to see. I'll be joined every week by guests. Some will talk about the positives, the negatives, and all the parts in between, and hopefully laugh about them too. Thank you so much for joining me.
My guest today is my friend Melody Godfred. Melody is-- you'll hear, she's such a special person to me and to just everyone she meets. She radiates a wonderful, warm, loving energy that has been a beautiful, beautiful presence in my life for well over a decade now. I really like what she's doing professionally. I think that it's a really important message to convey to single women, but also to just anyone in general. I'm really grateful that she took the time to be a guest on my podcast.
I'm excited for you to get to know her a little bit. There's more information about her in the show notes if you'd like to scroll down and read those and I will shut up and run the episode now.
My guest today is Melody Godfred and she is-- I hesitate to use the term real friend because I feel like I've made some real friends from this podcast anyway, but she is a friend that I had before I started the podcast. We met in law school and fell deeply in love and we have been friends ever since. I wanted her to be on the podcast for a lot of reasons really, but there are professional ones too that make her a really special guest for me.
Melody is-- in my mind, I refer to you as a businesswoman because I think that you've launched so many wonderful things and done so many incredible things, but the phrase we're going with is-- remind me?
Melody Godfred: Self-love philosopher.
Shani: Self-love philosopher -- we must needlepoint that on a pillow. I really like that terminology. Anyway, this is Melody Godfred. She's a dear friend of mine. Welcome Melody to the podcast.
Melody: Thank you, Shani.
Shani: I'm so glad to have you.
Melody: I feel so lucky to even get to have this face time with you and talk to you.
Shani: It is amazing that this podcast recording is just an excuse for us to catch up. We haven't seen each other's face for a while. You guys can't see her face, but I can see her face because I'm using Skype to record podcasts now because it screws up less than the method I was using previously, so we're going to have a good time today. I will just hop into it, but before I do, give everybody a little bit of background on what you do for a living.
Melody: Sure. I have a company called Fred and Far which is a self-love movement. I started it in 2016 by creating a ring called The Self Love Pinky Ring. It's a ring that women can wear as a symbol of self belonging, and as a reminder to practice self-love and self-care. That is my primary job. It's what I love most in the world and I also have a resume writing company called Write in Color, which is another avenue for empowering people to claim their stories. It's about my 10-year anniversary of having that company as well.
Shani: We went to law school together. We are both former attorneys. I love talking to attorneys who no longer have to do that line of work, I think that's really great. The ring, she really didn't get into too much of how amazing this ring is. I have one, it's on my hand right now. The ring is absolutely beautiful. It is a triangular-shaped-- it's a sapphire, right? It's the lab-grown sapphire.
Shani: It's white and looks like a diamond. At least when I bought it, the intention for myself was I just wanted to buy myself a really nice goddamn piece of jewelry and that's why I bought it. The premise for me was a sigh of relief when I first read it because in the mindset that I was in back then before you had launched the business, it was very much about I don't get this big, gorgeous shiny sparkler until I get engaged like it's a fucking achievement or something.
It was the first time that someone had created something for me that I felt like I could buy for myself. It was this sparkly gorgeous thing and I love it so much. Really quickly, I always ask all of my guests if they're single. I happen to know that you are not, but maybe tell everybody a little bit about your day-to-day. What's your household look like?
Melody: My household is bursting at the seams.
Melody: I have a husband named Aaron, we will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary in 2020. Which is astounding mainly because I feel like we've each been 10 people in each of those 10 years. The fact that we've been able to keep it together as we've evolved through all these different phases deserves a medal. We've done a lot of work.
Shani: It does deserve a medal. I remember you sitting down at one of those round tables outside at Loyola and telling me about this guy you had dating named Aaron. This is unreal and now it's a decade.
Melody: You mean the surfer who lives two doors away with his grandma?
Shani: [laughs] Oh my God, he's still is though, dude, for real. They're the most attractive couple ever. It's not just the two of you in your house, is it? Far from it.
Melody: No. We have not one, not two, but three kids. Stella and Violet are our twin daughters who are seven and in second grade and it's outrageous to even fathom that that's possible. Then we also have a beautiful, bouncy, joyful, delicious baby boy named Theodore who we call Teddy who is almost 18 months. We also have a dog named Hank, so we're busy.
Shani: You're busy and you're gorgeous. I was looking at a photo of Stella and Violet or two separate photos of Stella and Violet. It was either on your Instagram or Aaron's, and I remember looking at pictures of them and how their personalities were showing up in those photos and thinking to myself, "Oh my God, my friend split into two people." All my favorite things about you exist in separate kids.
It was so cool to see that they got so many amazing things from you and Aaron and the way that those have shown up in both of your kids. I don't know what Teddy's personality is like yet, but I look forward to figuring that out. Right now, he's just like a delicious item to snack on.
Melody: His personality is fat and happy. He's a little Buddha. He loves to laugh, even if he has no reason to. He's a good reset for everyone around him because he forces you to be present in a way that it's really hard to accomplish these days. It's so easy to be distracted, but to have this person who's so grounding and so joyful in their energy, and who just wants you to pretend to eat him, who doesn't want to do that?
Shani: That's the best thing ever. That's Melody's situation. I have not talked to many non-single people on this podcast. I'm very, very happy to welcome you to it because I know that you understand my perspective. You also understand the last decade of what I have been doing very well. I am happy to talk to people who are in relationships and who have very different situations from my own because I like sharing stories together from them because I think it increases my perspective.
For sure, I don't have three kids and never will, but I love hearing the stories of what you are learning and what you're experiencing from having this bustling family that is so beautiful.
Melody: The thing that I never would have expected is that having this family is what ultimately forced me to come to terms with myself. You would think that being alone is when you get to know yourself the best. In my experience, I didn't truly get to know myself until I had a house full of people that I felt responsible for.
Melody: That has been really illuminating and is really what was the catalyst for all the work I'm doing now?
Shani: Yes, exactly. Oh, my God, I love that story. I literally have a list of questions I want to ask you, but can we just start with a little bit of background on how you created the-Self Love Pinky Ring?
Melody: Sure. We all grow up thinking that life is super linear, and as long as we're moving forward, then eventually we're going to get to the pot of gold, which is happiness. I did everything you're supposed to do. Like you, I went to law school, and I thought that was going to be a big, awesome thing. I got married, I moved into a house, I had a job, you would think that with all those things-- I even had kids, which was always something I wanted.
Ever since I was a child, that was on my bucket list. I got it and I should be happy, right? I got to the end of the line. What else is there after having all the things checked off your bucket list? I wasn't happy. That triggered a huge internal alarm bell because we all want to be happy. The fact that I wasn't made me feel almost ashamed to have everything I had and to not be able to appreciate it. I realized that, for me, it was because I didn't know myself anymore.
I wasn't that free-wheeling, music listening, art-creating 25-year-old anymore. I was like a mortgage-paying [chuckles] body-conscious, sleep-deprived, resentful person, and I wasn't happy with it. For me, jewelry has always been a way to celebrate. A lot of people grow up with jewelry being a way to commemorate milestones. I wanted something that was going to help me remember myself and reclaim myself. Wearing that first Self Love Pinky Ring was really an act of survival more than anything else.
It forced me every day to come to terms with the question, "Who am I? What do I want? What do I need? What makes me happy?" I started working on that. As I started getting feedback from myself, I started making changes in my life and lo and behold, once I started making myself and my needs a priority, I started becoming happier. I thought that if it worked for me, it would help other women as well and women of all walks of life. That was very, very important to me.
I think so often, we categorize women by the label, like, "Oh, you're single. Oh, you're married. Oh, you're a mother," but in reality, we are all women. At our core, we all deserve to be chosen. That shouldn't come from an external place. I wanted women to have a way to choose themselves. Now, four years later, it's been incredible to see the very different ways in which women have interpreted that for themselves, what it means to choose yourself. Even for me, it's evolved over time.
Shani: For me, it was about not waiting for someone else to buy me a really bomb piece of jewelry. It was I get to have it and I don't have to feel ashamed that I bought it for myself. I get to feel really proud of that because my friend Melody is telling me that every day on Instagram, and reminding me what it means to put yourself first and your needs first, whether you are married, a mother or a single whatever it is.
I think that we can really easily ignore our needs and ignore what we want and just chase life down, but this is a good reminder to stop. It's also just really, really pretty anyway. I really like your background story. I remember it well. I remember that time in your life well. This is a beautiful, beautiful outcome of that. To say nothing of the fact that you launched a business, that just actually blows my mind.
We have another close friend Swathi, who also launched a business. Sometimes, we'll do like three-way FaceTimes and listening to the two of them talk business matters is just so far over my head, but also, I just can't-- It's so funny to see people's strengths manifests in different ways. Like the two of you talking about business stuff scares the piss out of me, but then I'll talk about something and Swathi will be like, "I could never do that," or something like that.
It's just very much like watching your friends' strengths come to the surface is a really beautiful thing. It's really fun for me. Bonus that it ends with jewelry also. It's just a very good thing. One thing that you have made very clear since the launch of the rings and throughout your career and in a variety of ways, there is a focus on self-love. I hear the word a lot. Between you and Lizzo, it is just like in my day always, and I don't have a good definition of it for myself.
I'm wondering, from you, what is your definition or packaging around self-love?
Melody: Great question. For me, self love is commitment. It is a commitment to knowing yourself, being yourself, embracing all parts of yourself, caring for yourself and owning your worth. It is not a destination. It is not an achievement. It is a state of being. It's different every day. For me, it's really a commitment to yourself and to that cycle through self-awareness, self-care, and self-worth.
Shani: Because this is a podcast that I created for single women, how in your opinion, or maybe what you've seen-- you've amassed a following of people that are hanging out with you and going on this ride with you. How have you seen self-love matter specifically to single women? How have you seen it be beneficial to single women specifically?
Melody: I think it's this idea that you can in fact claim yourself and that that power doesn't exist in the hands of another person. It's this permission to stop waiting and to stop being defined by society or other people's timelines or expectations, and taking back that power and taking back your story. I've seen that for a lot of women, it's this light bulb moment, this aha moment of, "Oh, my life has value just as it is, even if I haven't reached these milestones that other people perpetually are asking me about."
How many times as a single woman do hear, "Oh, are you dating anyone?
Shani: For Fuck's sake?
Melody: Oh, don't you have kids?
Shani: Don't you want kids?
Melody: Right. Your whole identity is wrapped up in other people's expectations of what you should be doing. Having a reminder, especially in the form of a ring, which in our culture is so iconic and so symbolic of relationship status, it's quite powerful to be like, "I am fine just as I am, and I define my future and I embrace my present." The ring is not only a reminder to you, it's also a statement for the world. When they see it and ask about it, it invites this conversation.
Shani: It certainly does because it doesn't look like anything that anyone's worn before. It doesn't look like anything that has had a movement behind it before in any way. There are very few pieces of jewelry that come with a club membership, except for an engagement ring, you are part of the married club. There is no other item that you wear that symbol-- maybe a tiara, but that group is pretty small. There's just not anything that has made me feel like I'm part of this secret team as much as this.
I agree with everything that you said about choosing ourselves and getting to a place mentally where you are ready to choose yourself and understanding that in doing so, that does not mean that you are shutting out the idea of partnership too. It just means that you are putting yourself at the forefront of that discussion, rather than making everything about finding someone else is really, really important.
You can celebrate that with a pinky ring. You can celebrate that with whatever the hell you want to celebrate it with. I think acknowledging that choosing to be happy and choosing to put yourself first in this moment does not exclude you from being in a relationship and finding partnership. There's a tendency to think if we choose to be single, or if we choose to like being single, that simultaneously means that we don't want a relationship. I don't think that's what it's about.
It's about choosing to be happy while you're single, not choosing to be single because I don't choose this. I'm just going to enjoy it while it happens. It's a pretty big leap to move from being an attorney to everything that you do now. How did you make the switch from what you were doing before to really being this beacon of positivity and creativity within the self-love space?
Melody: I distinctly remember the day that I was sitting in my beautiful 20th-floor office that had an ocean view and it was sunset and it was just an extraordinary time of day and I was a first-year attorney, and I had maybe 10,000 pieces of paper surrounding me on my desk that I needed to review. I could feel my soul floating above my head to the top of the room and looking down on me with such profound pity. Just looking at me and thinking, "Really? This is how you're going to spend your life?" That feeling, that soul confusion is something that really manifested as health issues. I could not sleep at night, I would hallucinate, I had tremendous anxiety, and it wasn't because the work was hard or that I was bad at it, I was actually excelling.
It was that I was in such complete misalignment with who I am and what my superpowers are and what my gifts are as a person that my body was shutting down. Compare that to what I do now and what I've been doing ever since I left the law, instead of nurturing conflict, I nurture collaboration. Instead of being at war with an adversary, I am building community.
Instead of limiting myself to case law and precedent, I am being innovative and creative, and using my distinct voice to empower other people to claim theirs. Whether it's been through career counseling or starting this self-love movement and writing content that allows people to explore the ideas of self-care and self-love in their lives, every single day, I am connected not just with thousands of women around the world, but also with my truest self.
That is also what self-love is about, is going deep and finding your authentic self and nurturing that nature. I'm a firm believer that we are born who we are and that regardless of the environment that we're in, it is our responsibility to know our nature and to nurture it so that we can live an authentic life because that is how we contribute to the world. We are all one of one and unique among eight billion people for a reason.
The reason is that we are each brought into this world to make a unique imprint, to make a contribution, to make an impact. All you have to do to unlock that is by being yourself.
Thankfully, I've done that now in my career and I see the ripples its causing not just in my life, but in other people's as well.
Shani: In a lot of other people's. I tend to shit on attorneys a lot on this podcast. I don't mean to do that, but I think what the core of that really is, is that for a lot of us in going into law, we were doing it for reasons that were misaligned with what we actually are and who we actually are, seeing the earning potential, the prestige of it. Quite frankly, the job security that I thought it would have, but we took the bar the day the recession started so that shit can go out the window.
I don't mean to shit on attorneys. If you are one and you love your job, mazel, I'm so happy for you. For me and many of my friends, it was simply misaligned with what we were supposed to be doing. For you to come around and find what you obviously, are supposed to be doing, it's just been so amazing to see you blossom into all of this and to see people-- I like to see the way that people react to you, especially on Instagram within that community, seeing like the--
People support each other and they back each other up and they back you up and it convinces me very quickly that you're doing something right.
Shani: Anyway, follow her on Instagram because if you need a daily dose of self-love, reinforcement, and positivity like a shot in the arm, that is the place to get it. Along those lines though, I know that you get a lot of feedback and a lot of interaction with your audience. What is the most common theme that comes up for you around self-love or the most common question? What is the way that you address it?
Melody: One thing that people struggle with is self-love or self-care burnout. It's like, how do you maintain that? It's easy for like a day or two to drink your 80 ounces of water and to write in your journal and to exercise and do all the little things. Especially the external things that we equate with self-care, but that deeper work of unpacking yourself and knowing yourself, it requires you to commit in the long haul and sometimes that is a challenge.
What I would say is that having community is the single best way to nurture long term habits. I think self-love and self-care and this commitment to self-exploration is something that is a habit and it's best done with other people. Joining a community for example, like mine on Instagram where other people are also going through it where you have someone who's watching over you and rooting for you and giving you resources is a really smart way to make sure that you are able to sustain.
I also do think that one of the powers in the ring is that it is a physical reminder and your physical reminder could be a paperclip. I tell people this all the time. I took a break from selling rings this year for six months because I needed to reconnect with myself and do some deep work. People would contact me and say, "I really want a ring. How do I get it?" I would say, "You don't need the ring. If you want to commit to self-love, just find a symbol for yourself."
If the ring resonates with you, I'm happy for you to have it, but it could be anything. It could be your favorite coffee mug, where every morning when you're drinking your coffee, you take out a piece of paper and you ask yourself, "How will I know myself and care for myself today?" Then once you decide what that practice is going to be, schedule it in your calendar and honor it the way you would a commitment to anyone else.
I have found that using my calendar in support of my well-being as opposed to just in support of my job or other people has been the single most transformative tool. If it's in the calendar, I honor that shit. If it's just something I say I'm going to do and it's just floating around my brain, I am the first to sacrifice anything that relates to my own well-being, but if it's in the calendar, I don't do that. I would say community and calendaring, those are my two tips for sustaining a long term well-being.
Shani: Do you ever just say fuck it and like, "I can't think about self-love right now? I can't think about putting myself first right now." Is there ever a moment where you just-- What I feel like when I'm focusing on self-love and taking very good care of my well-being, my mental state, physical state, all of that, it feels like a lot of work sometimes. Every now and then, I just have to say like, "Fuck it," eat ghost pepper chips for dinner, watch a movie, and not think about what I could be doing better in that moment.
Do you ever have any moments like that?
Melody: Isn't that the definition of self-care? Knowing that in that moment, you need to give yourself a break and not feel guilty about it?
Shani: See, this is why we're friends.
Melody: Yes. I think it's all about how you think about things. If you are doing that and shaming yourself and saying, "I'm awful. I can't even get myself to eat a healthy dinner. I'm such a piece of shit," then you're just going to spiral out of control. If on the other hand, you say, "You know what? I have checked in with myself and myself needs a cheese pizza tonight and a bottle of wine." Sometimes that's what you need.
Shani: I want that right now.
Melody: You and me both. Clearly, I'm speaking from my own personal needs. I have found that when I honor that voice in the moment when I need it and I do it from a place of gratitude that, "Hey, at least I know what I need," then I don't need pizza every day for the next week. I don't secretly pine for wine. I actually got what I needed and then the next day, I eat my eggs for breakfast and try to eat fruits and vegetables and I get back into it.
To be forgiving and to be holistic, not in terms of spirituality holistic, but in terms of embracing that there are a lot of distinctive parts of you and all of them deserve your attention, even the part that wants to just take a break.
Shani: I feel like intuitive eating could translate to intuitive self-love very easily. Whatever you happen to need in that moment or whatever your body is telling you you need in that moment, you should probably listen to it and give it what it's asking for.
Melody: Yes. It's so much has to do with how your inner monologue is talking to you, like the way you choose to think. For the longest time, I thought that thoughts were something that were absolute and that they defined who I was. Then one day, my therapist who I found very late in life, said to me, "You know you can choose your thoughts, right?" I was like, "Stop it, that is such therapy speak." She's like, "No, let's practice. Something happens, what is your instinctive thought?"
My instinctive thought is like, "This person is trying to hurt me. Everything is shit." She'll be like, "Now, choose a different interpretation." Then the new interpretation was, "This person loves me, even if they're saying something that hurts me right now, they love me. They don't mean to deeply wound me. I'm going to let this pass. I'm not going to secretly hold it against them and start building a barrier between us so I can protect myself." I started doing that. I started resisting my intuitive fearful I started resisting my intuitive, fearful, self-protective thought. I started embracing like a more forgiving, loving, open thought and my experience of life changed. Same with self-love and self-care. If you think of it as something that's absolute, if you think about it as something that's insurmountable, if you think about it as something that's work and difficult and heavy, who's going to want to do that?
Shani: Not me. Not me. I feel like empathy as a general approach is trending for lack of a better way to put it. The older I get, the more I seem to see those around me reframe the way that they think and reframe the way that they approach things. I always think of what a shame it is that we're not taught how to do this at a younger age, but I also think maybe we wouldn't appreciate it as much now if we hadn't lived and experienced things the other way before.
Melody: You know Shani, being a mother of two seven-year-old girls, I can tell you that had we been taught all of this, our lives would have been easier. I am deeply committed to nurturing a generation of women who come into their adolescence and adulthood feeling whole, number one.
Two, feeling worthy of love from themselves and the world and recognizing that they are tremendous even in being flawed, even in having challenging moments, and giving them the tools that they need to go out into the world from that place of wholeness and self-worth.
Shani: Stella and Violet give me hope for the future. Just to let you know, they give me so much joy, but they've done it since they were in your belly. I remember when Swathi told me that you were pregnant. She came over to my house in Chicago and she had just come back from L.A. She sat down on my couch and there was this look on her face like I've never seen. It was like a look of disbelief. I looked at her I'm like, "What?"
She grabbed the sides of the couch and she was like, "Melody is pregnant," and then my jaw drops. Then she goes, "With twins." The scream that came out of my mouth was just like-- you were one of my very first friends to have children. It was just such a joyous moment because to think of how well I knew who you are and then to think of that being passed on to more humans just gave me so much joy for the future. It certainly come true.
You post thing sometimes about-- you'll ask them questions pertaining to self-love and their answer is completely unprompted are just divine. It gives me hope. It really does it. There's a little bit of sadness in me because I remember how much I did not grow up that way, but then there's also-- it's like it allows you to feel better about that sadness because it's not being repeated, which is really cool.
I think societally, your girls will grow up in a very different-- I hope will grow up in a very different space than I did, and Teddy, too. I mean, oh my God, you're raising a man. This is phenomenal. This is such great news. It's outstanding. It's you, and it's so many people I know and so many people out in the world that are doing similar things. It's incredible to see awesome change happen in real life. That makes me happy.
Melody: I'm a firm believer that if we were to swap calculus for a class about self-worth and self-love, our toxic culture would shift within four years. That one generation of kids would go out into the world. Yes, they may not be able to solve complex mathematical equations, but they will be able to engage with other people with a degree of emotional intelligence.
It's astounding to me that it hasn't happened yet, but I do believe that as our culture shifts away from jobs that relate solely on technical capability because machines will be able to do that, we're going to see that being courageous, kind, collaborative, a leader, and leading with heart is going to be the most prized skill set because computers and machines will never be able to do that.
Everyone is worried about AI. I'm actually really excited because I think it's going to force us to focus on the aspects of being human that are most human. I think that's what we need right now after this period of being so overwhelmed by the rapid change of technology because I feel like for a little while, it has swallowed us whole. Then I think it's going to spit us out and we're going to have no choice but to evolve and take a more feminine approach to being human. It's an exciting time.
Shani: I agree with you. I also think that I would be wasting a golden opportunity if I did not ask you a few questions about launching and running a business because I know I have an audience who might also be considering doing something similar. Let's expand them a little bit and tell them some of your story in that space. You know I know nothing about launching a business and it's not something that's a part of who I am authentically, but I'm very excited that I have friends for who it is. Go ahead.
Melody: You do realize that this podcast you're writing, everything that you're doing is, in fact, a business.
Shani: Well, i don't know.
Melody: No, you can't fight it.
Shani: Agreed in certain ways. Yes, I agree. For me, I don't know that it feels like a business in a traditional sense because my product isn't tangible and you've had to do so many like chain of command things that will never be a part of what I'm doing because my whole ability to function rests on me doing every single thing myself. From start to finish, this podcast is mine. No one else touches it. The editing is shit, but I do it myself.
I like to be self-contained in that I know I can do everything on my own. The idea of letting go of certain things and having someone-- I couldn't have someone go straight for me. That's just for me would not be a part of what I do and what I'm able to do or enjoy doing, but yes, you are right. In certain aspects, this for sure is a bit-- Shit. I hope so because one day this podcast is going to make money and I'm going to be really excited about that.
Until then, you tell me how you run a business because, for me, this is me at the kitchen table in Brooklyn on a Thursday afternoon. [laughs]
Melody: Yes. Well, I think what you're doing is really, really powerful. We're going to revisit this conversation in a year and see how many of the things that you just said are never going to happen will happen because the first thing I can say about running a business is you have to be flexible.
You go into it with this idea of what it is and then you put it out into the world and it evolves based on necessity, business realities, a changing marketplace, the needs of your customers, customers that want your product that you didn't even know you should be catering to. Having flexibility and being nimble is extremely important, and not taking it too seriously because at the end of the day, everything changes now a mile a minute.
I've had to learn that that is actually a good thing. It's a good thing that startups can use a platform like Shopify and social media and within like a week, all of a sudden have a website, a following, and a product or service that you're selling. If you are authentic in how you present what you are passionate about to the world, it actually resonates. Today's consumers would rather buy from a person than from an established brand who's been around for 100 years.
What a time to be alive that if you believe in something, you can bring it to market with a very minimal investment. You can start selling it and then you can change it and evolve it and grow with it. One thing that I did with both of my businesses is that minimum viable product. Just get it out there. You can always make it better. You can always change it. You can always add to it.
Sometimes we all get stuck in analysis paralysis especially as people who want to be entrepreneurial. You feel like it has to be perfect before you get it out into the world, but it doesn't. It just needs to be authentic. If you are trying to sell something that doesn't mean something to you, people will immediately know. There are so many businesses already out there that are failing for that reason.
If, on the other hand, you create something that is deeply resonant with you, it will resonate with other people because they'll feel it. I think that's one of the secrets to my success, is I put my heart and soul into it. I live it, I breathe it, I share the highs and lows of it, and I'm grateful that people recognize that and appreciate it. My biggest best advice is one, be real. Do something that means something to you.
Two, get it up and running. Go on the Internet, figure out what resources are available to you. Shopify, if you're selling something, without a doubt is the best platform. Don't look anywhere else. Have a social media presence, but don't take it too seriously because the days of the millennial pink perfectly curated feed-- P.S. I still use a lot of pink, but it's from a place of like, "We'll see how this goes," as opposed to a strategic plan.
As long as you're authentic in your voice and you're consistent, you're going to grow a following who cares about what you have to say. Then the third thing is evolve with it. Be forgiving, be willing to try new things, and if it doesn't work, let it go. It doesn't define you and your worth and it certainly doesn't define whether or not your company is going to be successful. Just keep going and keep trying and keep getting it out there and it will eventually work if it is true to you and you put in the time.
Shani: I bought your minimum viable product just FYI. I bought this when you only had the one style of ring. By the way, you could just have this one style of ring and sell nothing but and I think it would be a thriving business.
Melody: That's one of the things I learned. I thought that in order to grow, I needed to offer all these different things, so I made bracelets and cards and pins. The learning I gathered is that actually no, my most authentic product is still my best seller and all the other stuff was just me feeding my ego and thinking that there needed to be more. Whereas now that I've drilled it down, I think it's more aligned with the mission and movement and I didn't need all the other stuff.
It was just noise but I had to go through that process to learn. For a long time, Shani, all I could see is I wasted so much money on product development, photoshoots, website edits, production, and PR and it was all for nothing. It wasn't for nothing. It was experience. Now, I know for sure that what I'm doing is right. Again, that forgiveness piece and that curiosity and that willingness to move forward without knowing exactly where it's going to lead, in all aspects of life is advice.
If you're fixated on a specific outcome, nothing is going to ever turn out the way that you thought it would and you're not going to enjoy the process. It's the same with worry. I've realized that nothing I ever worry about actually happens. Other bad things that are worth worrying about happen, but it never looks exactly the way I worried it would. I'm no longer thinking about the future in that way. I'm just letting it unfold and I'll take it as it comes.
Shani: That's a big thing to hear from a mom with three kids that you've reframed the way you approach worry.
Melody: Yes. That is the ultimate act of self-care for me, is cleaning up my brain because if I don't actively police my thoughts, I can get in a lot of trouble. It's easy for me not to eat chips for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. That is not where I struggle. For me, it's making sure that the way I allow myself to think is healthy.
Shani: How'd you do that?
Melody: Three years of writing content around self-love and self-care and hearing the stories of women giving me feedback on their journeys. Then also putting that all into a book and making myself live through this book that I've written and just keep doing the work. I keep having to revisit things like choosing positive thoughts or questioning negativity. I'm choosing who I surround myself with because some people are just toxic thinkers and when I'm around them, I start thinking more negatively.
Then other people are just a ray of sunshine and those people feed my joy and so I should spend more time with them.
Shani: You are always a ray of sunshine though. In my darkest days, I would tell Swathi about how everything was puppies and rainbows to Melody. I was like, "I don't understand how she thinks this way and how this happens." You have always always, always been a ray of sunshine for me. Just FYI, you've been at this a while.
Melody: This is proof that it's easier to take care of others than it is to take care of ourselves. It is a testament to why I needed the self-love ring personally because making other people feel good is a superpower for me. It has never ever been a problem. Ever since I was young, I was giving my parents emotional support or taking care of my brothers' emotional needs, or my friends' or my husband or my kids but where was I in all of that?
I was buried under the weight of other people's trauma. That was comfortable for me because it gave me an excuse not to work on myself. Now, that I've done the work, I can actually show up for people by holding space for them as opposed to trying to solve their problems. At the end of the day, does anyone ever actually solve our problems? Does their advice actually ever do anything for us? You can share ideas, but now, the best thing I can do for a friend is what I did today.
Which is I text a friend that I'm extremely worried about and I said, "My instinct is to go behind your back and stage an intervention, but we're adults so here's what I'm going to tell you. You need to see a therapist. I will come sit outside the room and I will show up for you so you can do the work. I'm not going to solve it for you because I can't." I'm getting emotional because I'm so worried, but I can't solve her problem.
This has been a huge evolution for me to recognize that the only person I can heal is myself. I'm deeply committed to doing that and in doing that, I can help other people do the same for themselves.
Shani: Have you seen in this shift in focus from worrying about everybody else and wanting to do for everyone else and solve for everyone else, have you seen that since you've shifted your focus away from that that other people have made more space for you?
Melody: Absolutely, 100 million percent. For a long time, no one knew how to take care of me or how to show up for me because there was no room for them to do that. It has been refreshing for them to actually know what my needs are and to be able to do those things for me because it makes them feel like they have value in my life and that they aren't just this oppressive burden. People really come out of the woodworks.
People show up for me that I wouldn't even ever have expected anything from and it's because my energy has changed and there is room for that.
Shani: If someone is having a hard time coming around to this idea of self-love and evolving the way that they approach everything the way that they approach their interactions with others, their thought patterning, all of it. If self-love is a bit of a steep climb for someone, what is your advice for them in just getting this ball rolling?
Melody: This is going to sound very trite, but my advice is start with committing to drinking at least 80 ounces of water a day. The reason I say this is because the vast majority of us, especially women-- thank you, you're taking a drink of water as I say this, the vast majority of women are dehydrated. When you're dehydrated, your brain is foggy, you're more likely to be depressed, you're more likely to have negative thoughts.
Your body is not going to function properly, you're going to be bloated, you're not going to have good digestion, you're not going to have good sleep. It impacts every single inch of our being inside and out, mind, body, and soul. If you want a foundation for wellness, water is a good place to start because not only will drinking the water make you feel better, it'll get you in the habit of doing something that feels a little uncomfortable and foreign.
You'll start recognizing that after you do it a little bit, you'll wonder how you ever lived without it. The thing is, you have to stick with it because if you stop doing it for a week, your body will go right back to that place of self-neglect. Self-love and self-care are the same. If you let it go for too long, it starts feeling really comfortable to start sacrificing yourself, to start deprioritizing yourself.
For me, when I look at my water bottle now, it's another reminder. The ring is one and every morning that I put the ring on I commit and I say, "I pinky promise to choose honor and remember myself today." That is the Fred and Far pinky promise pledge. I say it to myself as I put the ring on. Then throughout the day as I'm hydrating, as I'm taking care of my body in that way, I again, reinforce that as I make choices, I need to ask myself the question of, "Does this align with what my authentic self needs?
Am I taking care of myself?" Again, it's that reminder, it's that shift and habit that it becomes a ripple effect and it becomes a lot easier to make other good choices.
Shani: I love you very much and I'm very glad that you came on my podcast. I want you to tell everyone about this book you wrote.
Melody: Oh, thank you. My book is called The ABCs of Self Love. I published it at the end of last year. The reason I wrote it is because another very, very, very common question that I get when it comes to self-love is, "Okay, I bought the ring, I believe. I want to choose myself, but then the question is, how do I do that? How do I love myself? How do I choose myself? What does that even mean?" After several years of doing this first-hand research and doing the work on myself, I was able to create a collection in the form of a workbook. The ABCs of Self Love goes through every letter of the alphabet, and not only includes a description of a theme and poetry that's inspired by that theme, it also has action items that you can do.
If you were to do one action item a day, by the end of the month, you'll have gone through concepts like authenticity, boundaries, dreaming. D is actually a very, very important letter in the book because it was inspired by you, Shani, the Daily Dream. I don't know if you remember, but there was a period where you and I would text each other every day a dream. We would take a moment out of our day to dream for ourselves.
That is the letter D in the book, and I talk about what we did and the impact it had on us.
Shani: I was so worried at the time that I was keeping myself really small and I wasn't allowing myself to dream very big, so allowing myself to admit wants, dreams, and desires was massive for me. We need to start doing that again.
Melody: I'm ready, let's start doing it because it changed my life, it really, really did, that is D. F is forgiveness, you have to write a forgiveness letter not just to another person, but also to yourself. It talks about the idea of union, union not being with another person, but union within yourself, embracing all parts of yourself and writing vows to yourself. Every letter goes through something, it's really the culmination of everything I believe in.
It's been so exciting to get feedback from women who have said, "This finally gave me a way to practice what I wanted to practice, but didn't know how." That's been a big milestone because I started as a writer. When I was young I was a poet and a songwriter. Even when I left law, the first thing I did as a way to rehab myself was write and publish a novel.
To come full circle back to my passion as a writer, and as a self-love philosopher, that's what I do.
I explore new ideas then share them with other people so that they can start thinking about how to translate that into action in their lives.
Shani: Will you create a calendar or daily planner next because I feel like that's a good move.
Melody: One thing I'm working on is 365 days of self-love.
Shani: There you go, attagirl. I want one like-- this is my planner, it's from Ban.do and I love it. Yes, I still use a paper planner, but like that written by you would delight me once a day, that would be so nice.
Melody: Now, I have the extra vote of confidence to do it. It's something I've been working on.
Shani: Tell everyone listening where they can follow you, find you, and get a pinky ring if they want one.
Melody: Yes, pinky rings came back last week, I am so excited they are back. fredandfar.com is the domain. Same on Instagram @fredandfar. I'm Godfred, that's my last name, where it came from. Same on Facebook. If you want to reach me, you can always email me directly firstname.lastname@example.org. This business is me. I've been through the whole spectrum of trying to outsource to other people, and what I have found is the personal connection with women is what keeps me alive.
I'm happy to talk to each and every person who needs someone to help them on this journey, it's my pleasure, and my privilege to witness and celebrate women. That's what I say because it truly is. Please connect with me in whatever format is comfortable for you, I really want to meet you.
Shani: I cannot encourage you to do that enough, although if you take up all of her time and I don't get to FaceTime her anymore, that will really upset me. Leave some time for Shani in there. Thank you. Thank you Melody for being on my podcast, this is so much fun and just in general, it's really nice to see your face.
Melody: Shani, thank you.
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