Today we’d like to introduce you to Dr. Melanie Ross Mills.
Dr. Melanie Ross, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Graduating from the University of Texas (hook ‘em horns), I earned a degree in Applied Learning and Development. Initially, I set out to become a teacher with the hopes of becoming a counselor someday. However, my course took a different direction for a bit.
I received a job offer I couldn’t refuse from a publishing company. I worked my way to becoming a Marketing Director by the age of 25, I loved the challenge of meeting my numbers, connecting with clients, and the fancy title on my business card. The independence and responsibility exhilarated me.
Life took over. I got married and focused on being a wife and a mother, placing the corporate world on hold. What I didn’t place on hold was my pursuit of a counseling degree. After 10 years of “on and off again” classes and coursework, I finally completed my Master’s. I loved all that I was learning so much so that I continued on and completed my Doctorate in Temperament Studies as well.
During this time, I also led small groups in my home. Together, we would read and discuss books related to overcoming past hurts, breaking unhealthy habits, and releasing old hang-ups. Offering a safe place for women to connect, share, and support – fulfilled me. I learned quite a few things during this season.
1) I realized that this type of environment wasn’t commonplace for many of the participants. Women craved an outlet that provided heart to heart exchanges.
2) I learned that as I set out to help others, I was actually helping myself the most. You know the saying, “The teacher learns more than the student.” This was me! As I studied codependency, self-worth, forgiveness, fears, family of origin life patterns, etc. – I found myself experiencing deep personal growth and healing. My past hurts were dissolving and multiple unhealthy habits no longer plagued me as they had in the past.
3) I realized what made these groups special was the fact that each of us were available, teachable, and loyal to the process. This personal commitment meant that we contributed in unique ways through our individual vulnerability. We learned how to apply to our lives all that we were learning together. I witnessed firsthand that a safe environment, authentic connecting, and trusted relationships transformed lives. This was what I called, “life bonding.”
4) After administering over 100 Temperament Case Studies for my Master’s and Doctorate dissertations, I found that many people had difficulty answering a similar question. Highly successful business men, rock star teenagers, beautiful young mothers, and retired grandparents struggled to answer the question, “Do you know why you have worth?” This broke my heart because I knew all things healthy stem from knowing our worth. Since our self-worth begins with being validated by the significant others and caregivers in our lives, these individuals had not received what they needed early on. As saddened as this made me, I knew that there was hope because embracing our worth can be learned! Isn’t that wonderful! It’s possible for us to gain an accurate perception of ourselves, no matter what the past has or hasn’t handed us.
5) My life flashed before my eyes (not literally). I saw clearly how my personal past hurts, triumphs, interest’s, and gifting’s could come together. I could use my educational background, be open about my own struggles and victories – combine my heart for counseling, love for marketing and creativity, and desire for connection – resulting in the creation of a brand based on authentic relationship building! I would call it, LIFE BONDS! I would provide life-giving material and bonding opportunities to teachable people.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It’s definitely a process!
My first hurdle was keeping my fears at bay, primarily my fear of rejection. Cognitively, I knew that I could not put myself out there if I chose to worry about what others would think of me. Emotionally, I still needed approval. I would ruminate in the middle of the night about whether or not my books were being well received, if anyone would sign up for the Life Bonds workshop, or if I had offended someone by an honest response in social media.
I learned that rejection is a form of protection. Not everyone would agree with my bright ideas. I wasn’t going to be everyone’s first choice for a public speaker, media expert, publishing contributor, workshop facilitator. I realized that I should not take rejection personally. Which is never easy when you are putting yourself out there. However, once I accepted the fact that people would judge and criticize no matter what I did, I released a great deal of fear. It was okay if I did not appeal to everyone and there would always be some unhappy, unfulfilled, and bored people seeking dim the light.
My second hurdle was my fear of failure through risk-taking. The small risks were fine because they were “covered risks.” The large risks, not so much. I was not giving myself permission to fall forward. My perfectionistic tendencies weren’t playing to my strengths. They were causing me to stop right before a big breakthrough. I realized that if I was going to help the masses, I needed to step out and try new things. This was when I stepped up and launched the Life Bonds™ podcast. I enjoyed it so much that I decided to launch the Life Bonds™ Web Chats. I absolutely had to let go of these plaguing fears in order to fall forward and offer life-giving opportunities to teachable people.
My third hurdle was a lack of focus. A double-minded man is unstable in all of his ways. I had to gain a singular focus in order to forge a stable path. My nature would want to please people, listen to voices that didn’t understand what I was trying to accomplish, and sometimes my ignorance led me to make some choices that weren’t in keeping with my brand. Staying true to myself and to my personal mission would help me maintain a singular focus. (Even at the risk of possibly upsetting some people that I respected and cherished.)
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Life Bonds™ Podcasts and Web Chats – what should we know?
Some have called me the “Life Doctor,” a Relationship Expert, a Friendship Expert, Temperament Therapist, and then there’s the go-to, “Dr. Mel.” I guess you could say that I specialize in helping people navigate life through multiple platforms, outlets, and avenues.
Books: As the author of a series of LIFE BONDS™ guidebooks; The Friendship Bond, The Couples Bond, and The Identity Bond. The books are meant to provide insight into the reader’s temperament type and help cultivate healthy ways of relating.
Podcast: As the host of the LIFE BONDS™ Podcast on iTunes we offer short messages to instigate thought on life topics worth contemplating.
Webinars: LIFE BONDS™ Web Chats allow attendees to sign up and come together as I teach and lead discussions on life topics such as overcoming perfectionism, embracing our worth, cultivating healthy friendships.
Brand Ambassador: I love partnering with corporations and non-profits to create out-of-the-box experiences for their audience. In 2017, I partnered with Clinique for a new product launch providing relationship advice to their clients. In addition, I joined Bank of America’s Friends Again campaign offering tips on reconciling friendships on national Pay Back A Friend Day.
Public Speaking: Whether I am speaking on one of my books or sharing from a recent podcast topic, public speaking is wonderful opportunity to connect and hopefully inspire an audience.
Social Media: Did someone say Instagram?! I love sharing through social media outlets! The feedback I receive encourages me to keep going! It’s an avenue to help whoever is needing what I have to say at that moment. It’s a great way for me to share from my heart, meet new people, and connect through images and copy.
I continue to be amazed by the creative ways and vast resources available that allow me the freedom to encourage and build up. I smile as I type because it really is extremely fulfilling being given opportunities to let people know that they are a meaningful vessel on this earth. I love challenging readers and listeners to cultivate healthy mindsets and ways of relating so that their lives are more full and abundant.
I truly believe that each of us has the right to be able to answer the question, “Do you know why you are worthy of love?” Once we can answer this question from an honest place, we are freed to not only love ourselves but those around us as well. Resulting in a heart of gratitude, joy, and courage wrapped in a life of purpose. Knowing our worth gives us the confidence to make necessary choices that will get us where we want to go in life.
The bottom line is until we learn how to embrace our worth, we aren’t looking at ourselves or others through an accurate lens.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I feel being true to myself is absolutely the most important aspect of what I do. The less masks I wear, the more free others are to take theirs off. The more honest I am about my own struggles, the more open others are share about their lives. The less I apologize for my victories, the more others will share and see their own. To me, this is success!
- Website: melanierossmills.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/drmelaniermills/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/melanierossmills/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/drmelaniermills
- Other: https://www.linkedin.com/in/melanierossmills/
Kelly Williams Photography