There’s so much power in creating a space for people to share their story.
Monique Medved is a champion for positive change, an advocate for raw, vulnerable honesty and full of love, life and laughter. She is the host of the Be More You Podcast and author of the book Sh*t You Think You Know. It’s been a wild time in Mon’s life lately and big things are happening. She’s handling challenges with curiosity and growing more than she ever expected.
‘The more ‘you’ you become, the more you evolve and change.’ Mon laughs. ‘Be More You provides the freedom to grow which, honestly, has been a ride. I can’t even explain how emotionally challenging, exciting and confronting it’s been at times. That’s the inner work. I’m hearing so many stories, experiences and perspectives. It’s giving people a platform to share, a safe space to not feel judged.’
Be More You is a space of total authenticity and vulnerability. It‘s been a powerful experience hearing the story of each guest so far, exploring topics we need honest conversations around.
‘The current circumstances we're in are making this possible.’ Mon expresses. ‘People are ready, they've had time to process what they've been going through and what's the next step? Sharing. It’s the scariest part, but absolutely necessary. When people see others fully owning who they are, it opens the floodgates for them. There’s so much power in creating a space for people to share their story.’
Mon hosted The Finally Found Podcast for over a year before pressing pause to pursue Be More You. She shares how much podcasting has taught her so far and where she’s heading next.
‘I understand the power of creating a space for people to share.’ Mon explains. ‘I know what it can do for a person. Stefan and I actually met through my podcast which was the first time he's publicly shared his story. I saw it unfold and thought, ‘There's so much power in this.' Community connection is so critical because we've seen what it's like to feel alone: depression is the global pandemic. I feel like this issue is getting a lot more limelight, which is great. Especially, I think, when it's young people leading the way. To be able to do that with the podcast, it's really special. And it’s only just getting started.’
In the first episode of Be More You, Mon tells us that life changes when we own our story. What she didn’t know then was just how wild a ride it was about to become!
‘I've grown more as a human being in the space of 6 months than I have in 20 years. It's been crazy. But it's beautiful chaos.’ Mon smiles. ‘It's been so absolutely necessary for me to evolve. We're never going to be the expert at everything. We can be good at stuff, gain knowledge in certain areas, but what we’ll always be an expert on is our own story. The only person who can tell your story, at the depth at which you understand it, is you. So when you get to a place where you feel compelled or ready to share - because you understand that it's all valid, all necessary, it got you to where you are today - you’re the one who has to tell it. People on the podcast are honestly terrified to talk, they don't know what's going to come out. I tell them, ‘I can’t share your story. You have to be the one to say it.’ We’re leading from a place of vulnerability. That’s what’s relatable to people, especially if they’re feeling a similar way. There's so much power in that, now more than ever.’
What we love about Be More You is the authenticity. Mon is letting herself be seen, leading the way through her own journey of acceptance and personal growth.
‘What’s perfect? Nothing.’ Mon states. ‘Why would I try to portray that? I just have to be me. That’s the coolest part about documenting everything along the way - we’re trying and screwing up, and that’s okay. I keep applying life lessons to podcasting and podcasting to life lessons. When people come on, I want them to feel like we’re talking over coffee. They’re so nervous until they start talking, next thing it's been two and a half hours. It's because we’re living in the present moment and there's nothing to worry about. When you take a step back and give a person space you say, ‘Hey, it's okay to open up to me. I might not understand what you're going through, but I can listen.’ At the end of the day, it's about saying to a person I see you, I hear you, I love you for you. You don't need to be anything more than what you already are.’
Mon’s passion for storytelling is a gift to herself and others, which is when we know we’re on the true path!
‘When I was a kid, all I wanted to do was tell stories. It was my passion. I loved reading, writing and taking photos and how it made other people feel, whether it was a story about ghosts or something with more depth as I got older.
‘When I see the things I'm doing now, I realise I am living my dream.’ Mon confesses. ‘I am filmmaking, I am writing, I’m doing all the stuff I want to but in a different way than I pictured. I think that's what we tend to do as humans, setting ourselves up with an idea of how it’s supposed to be, then if it doesn't happen that way, we think we’ve failed. But you’re actually in the middle of it. You just walked through a door you wished would open and you don’t even realise it. I have moments now where we’re doing the podcast or filming and I realise, this is happening. I’ve found my purpose.’
Mon draws incredible strength from the unconditional love she’s cultivated for her inner child.
‘I love her so much.’ Mon expresses. ‘She’s constantly reminding me, ‘Hey, remember when you were six years old and you wanted to do this, well you're doing it! I have such a strong connection with my inner child - or anything else you want call it. I'm a playful person who is curious about everything, so for me it resonates the most. There's this new level of trust that I have in myself that no matter what happens going forward in any area of my life, I'm going to be okay. I’m grateful for all past versions of myself. This connection to the inner child is what guides me in every decision that I make. If I have to decide something, I ask her ‘Do you want to do this?’ It's become an instinct.’
A breakthrough experience took place for Mon on a trip to Nepal, journeying on foot through the Himalayan mountains.
‘I remember being six years old writing a bucket list.’ Mon reflects. ‘My grandma bought me a Lonely Planet travel guide and I was on the floor in my brother’s room, watching a show called ‘20 Things to Try Before You Die.’ I was writing down all these places I wanted to travel, and I put it on the list. ‘Mount Everest.’ Part of me thought it was too big a shot, I couldn’t just go to Mount Everest! But I decided to write it down to see what would happen.
‘It was the most spiritually awakening experience ever. We walked for 16 hours a day, like moving meditation. I was in my head the whole time and I had no other choice but to be nice to myself. I spoke to so many demons, to my inner child, the inner critic, all of it. We were close to base camp when I met this guy who said to me, ‘Remember to look up once in a while.’ It’s very easy to keep looking down at the ground when you walk, but you miss the beauty. I was walking, being in my head and I thought, ‘Mon, look up!’ I looked up and it was the closest to heaven I’d ever been. I started crying. It was the moment my seven year old self woke up and said to me, ‘Finally, you’re listening. Everything I've done from that point on has been guided by her.’
‘Lately my life feels like a movie.’ Mon describes. ‘I've become the active observer, not the autopilot like I used to be, where I let the same patterns repeat. Now I’m like, ‘Oh, I've seen this before.’ If I did it that way last time, what can I do differently now? I'm able to think and act differently, because I know if it didn’t work before it’s time to learn a new way. I think a lot of us run away from that because it feels new. It feels uncertain. It's scary, but if we’re not willing to sit in it, how are we going to evolve and change to be the best version of ourselves? You can’t go under it, you can’t go around it. You’ve got to go through it. When we take responsibility for our own story, that’s when limiting beliefs start to disintegrate because we stop being our own obstacle.
‘I didn't know how to process and deal with my emotions when I was younger.’ Mon admits. ‘Now I know when it's time to step back, breathe and actually deal with it. That's how I know how far I’ve come, because I used to suppress everything which built up into anger. I think growth depends on how much you’re willing to try and change, whether you're going to let those limiting narratives about yourself hold you back or finally accept, acknowledge and let go.
‘It’s not easy. Shame and guilt block our self-worth. I’m working through that every single day but I can’t let it hold me back anymore. I’ve experienced what it’s like to live in fear and it’s not what life is about. We only have a limited amount of time to do what we love, so why are we waiting? I think that's the question we need to ask ourselves. Why? Every time you have a thought, and it triggers an emotion, ask why. Keep going. Keep asking why until you get really uncomfortable because that's the point. That is where you need to sit and try to unpack and understand.
‘Feelings confuse us, but when we give ourselves the opportunity to sit with it, to ask why we can feel into the answers. It’s a process and it’s tricky, confusing, messy and beautiful all at the same time. But we get better at it.’
‘I met Dan a year ago at a photoshoot. What I love about him is he just is who he is. It feels good when I meet somebody like that, because that’s exactly how I am too. I’m just Mon. I love the parties and what he’s doing in the community, bringing people together through cacao and music, creating a safe space for people to just be themselves. Dan is somebody who has found his purpose and in the process of loving what he does, he helps other people. He’s following his passion to create something bigger than himself, which is what the world needs.
‘Every time I’ve been caught up in a storm, I’ve always been better off in the long run. I think we can draw awareness from the idea that it’s not happening to us, it’s actually happening for us. We’re the author of our own story, so what’s holding you back? You’re the one with the pen. By turning my life around I’ve granted myself the freedom and permission to be whoever I want to be. I’ve found that when I’m true to myself, everything works out.’
Final question for Mon. What’s her sacred?
‘My passion for storytelling. The promise I made to myself when I was seven years old. It's staying true to that, true to her and creating platforms that are helping other people feel less alone. The podcast gives me a deep understanding for people. I feel immense gratitude for the whole experience. As long as I keep coming back to my inner child and pursuing my passion of sharing stories, that's it. I'm living my purpose.’
Written by our Sacred Scribe
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