Reality TV Producer Turned Mental Health Therapist with Melody Murray | Ep #79

May 16, 2023

Reality TV Producer Turned Mental Health Therapist with Melody Murray | Ep #79 Meet Melody Murray, a former Reality Television Producer and Director who decided to leave the entertainment industry to pursue a degree in mental health. Melody joins Shannon Russell on Episode #79 of the Second Act Success Career Podcast to discuss this drastic career transition.  Melody […]

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Reality TV Producer Turned Mental Health Therapist with Melody Murray | Ep #79

Meet Melody Murray, a former Reality Television Producer and Director who decided to leave the entertainment industry to pursue a degree in mental health. Melody joins Shannon Russell on Episode #79 of the Second Act Success Career Podcast to discuss this drastic career transition.  Melody explains how she was prompted to make a career shift after witnessing some issues on sets of the reality TV shows she worked on in Hollywood. She loved her job, but Melody wanted to have a larger impact on the world by helping people take care of their mental health. She is now a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Child Mental Health Specialist, Author, and Speaker. Melody and Shannon both share experience working in Television and they have a deep conversation about what really goes on behind the scenes of TV on Episode #79 of the podcast. Listen in!


Melody Murray

Melody Murray, Licensed Therapist



Connect with Melody Murray:
Web – https://www.melodylmft.com/



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Second Act Success Career Podcast
Season 1 - ​​Reality TV Producer Turned Mental Health Therapist
Episode - #79
Host: Shannon Russell
Guest: Melody Murray
Transcription (*created by Descript and may not be perfectly accurate)

[00:00:00] Melody Murray: I was tossing and turning and tossing and turning and like, I can't do this anymore. But what am I gonna do? But I can't do this. And I just had this moment where I sprung up and I said, I'm gonna be a therapist. I need to help people. I want to help people grow and evolve.

I don't want to capture them acting clueless and exploiting themselves. I felt like I needed to change my life because I want to help people feel better. I don't want to just film their destruction.

[00:00:27] Shannon Russell: Are you at a crossroads in your career? Ready for a change, but you're not sure how to get there? Don't worry. We are about to produce your best life together. Welcome to the second Act Success podcast. I am your host Shannon Russell. I am a former television producer, turned boy Mom. I left my dream job to find family balance, and in doing so I produced my dream life.

Now I am a business owner, podcaster, and career coach. My mission is to help other women like you find what they are truly [00:01:00] meant to be doing. If you are ready to start over in your career or pivot to a new purpose, then get ready to be inspired by stories of women who have done just. That we will share advice and actionable tips to motivate you as you move along on your path.

It is time to shine. So let's start producing your balanced life of abundance Second Act Success

we are back with a new episode of the Second Act Success Career podcast. I'm your host career coach Shannon Russell. On this episode, I will be introducing you to Melody Murray. Like me, Melody spent the first half of her career working in film, television, and casting as a producer and a director. However, she was moved to follow a different calling completely.

Now, melody is a licensed marriage and family therapist in a child mental health specialist. Her story of finding a new kind of success is [00:02:00] really inspiring and I can't wait to share this conversation with you. So let's take a listen. This is Melody Murray and her second act success story. Melody Murray, welcome to Second Act Success.

I'm so happy to chat with you.

[00:02:14] Melody Murray: I'm excited for this. Thank you so much, Shannon. Well, this is gonna be fun

[00:02:18] Shannon Russell: because we both have the same first act or very similar in working in television. So why don't you tell me about how you got into the entertainment industry?

[00:02:29] Melody Murray: I fell into the entertainment industry when I was in my undergraduate years of college.

I went to the University of Houston and I was studying hotel and restaurant management, and while I was doing it, I thought, you know, why don't I make a little side cash by acting? And so I was doing commercials and independent films, and I hosted a children's show for a while. Nice. And, and it was, So much, so much, so much fun.

But then, you know, you feel that you have to be an adult. And so I [00:03:00] graduated and then I got the corporate job and I hated the corporate job. And so I did it though. I mean, because that's what you're programmed to do. Yeah. And so I did the corporate gig for a while and I was miserable. And I took a chance and I went to the Houston Film Commission site, and most cities in the nation have a film commission site because people produce TV shows everywhere, movies everywhere.

And so I went on the site and I saw that there were two different positions that were open. I. One was to be the director of the Houston Film Festival and the second one was to be a production assistant on a Court TV show that was shooting locally in Houston. And so it's like the bottom rung job, which is production assistant and the entry director job, which is pretty high up.

Yep. So in these two separate organizations, and I called in sick from my corporate job. I printed up a bunch, bunch of [00:04:00] resumes, and I went and I staked out both locations and waited until I was able to talk to the top dogs, and I ended up getting both jobs.

No. And they kind of, I can't think of the word right now, but it's like, well, one started and then ended and the next one started. So I was able to do both things because the of just timing, it was amazing luck. Wow. And through those gigs, I was able to meet my entertainment mentor, who said, if you ever wanna move to LA I'll give you a job.

Hmm. And then when I worked in the film festival, I met one of my best friends that said, I've lived in LA before. I'm gonna go back after this is over. So eventually I moved to Los Angeles. I had a job at an apartment, which is very rare.

Very rare. It or not. It's very rare. And I just strolled right in and I had both things in place meant to be and yeah, and, [00:05:00] and that's just where it all came together.

[00:05:02] Shannon Russell: What was it about the industry that really spoke to you?

[00:05:06] Melody Murray: Multiple things. How you could dip your hand in multiple projects simultaneously just because of timing.

Yeah. Entertainment projects, they come together very quickly. They shoot very quickly. It's the editing process that takes some time, so you can do multiple things and just. Back them up based on the timing. The money was a major draw because you make so much money in such a short amount of time. Mm-hmm.

But then the backside of that is, is that when a job ends, you never know when the next one's going to come up. Yeah. But you just take that chance. You take the chance. And so I thought, I do wanna work at entertainment. I wanna be at a space where people are creating something that affects the world.

[00:05:51] Shannon Russell: Yeah.

And you're meeting all different people


[00:05:53] Melody Murray: is all about who you know. And I remember my very first job there. It was a pretty cush job. I was working at Warner [00:06:00] Brothers and I was, I had full benefits and I was there for three years. It was unheard of. That is unheard of. It was unheard of. This is my first gig, but then I decided like, I wanna be a producer.

And to be a producer, you're, you know, 99% of producers out there are all freelance. There's no guaranteed 40 hour work week, you bounce from project to project. And so I did my first project and when I was done with that first project, I was pretty scared because I didn't know anybody and everybody that I knew, they were all unemployed too.

So it takes a lot of guts to be able to just dive into the deep end of your career because it's all tied to like, can I feed myself? Do, am I gonna be able to afford a roof over my head? Yeah, it's a lot. It's really hard. It's so, you do have to have confidence. You have to believe in yourself. And even if you don't, I think sometimes taking the leap, that first leap.

We'll get you to that place where you say, I kick [00:07:00] ass. I work hard, people can depend on me. Mm-hmm. It will come. It will

[00:07:04] Shannon Russell: come. And it is, I always say it's the friendliest place because you have to be so friendly cuz you want someone to say, Hey, you know what I'm gonna call Melody. I. To have her on this next project because she is so friendly.

She's so nice. I wanna be around her. It's about taking your friends, booking your friends on your show. When you get to that position, don't you think it's really, and that goes back to who you know and who you wanna be around on these 60 hour shoots?

[00:07:29] Melody Murray: 100%. I've been given chances on many projects where I've had zero experience.

Mm-hmm. And people have hired me because of my personality. Yeah, and that's the thing, when you're working such long hours, you wanna be able to do that with people that you're going to like, yeah. People you know that you can laugh with, people that you know that are laid back at easygoing. You can teach them the techniques, you can teach them how to do things, you can teach someone the [00:08:00] processes. Right. But that personality piece that comes naturally. Mm-hmm. So you have to be a likable person.

Someone that can be a problem solver and just take the ball and run with

[00:08:10] Shannon Russell: it. So now you've climbed the ladder, you're a producer, and you and I both were producers. I found in my time in LA that once you get to that level producer, executive producer, there are less roles to be had.

[00:08:23] Melody Murray: It's sad how it becomes a cutthroat.

Space. Mm-hmm. Because the higher you go, the fewer chairs there are at the table. Yeah. And so I think that is where your true character comes to light. Because there are people that will cut others off at the knees and they can be friends. And I've seen it. Mm-hmm. And it's so sad to see. And it's so scary to see.

And I got to a place where I didn't wanna play that game. Mm-hmm. Like I'd kicked ass. I've traveled the world on other people's dime, which is [00:09:00] amazing, and then you get to a place where you think I'm an adult and I don't want to feel like I'm starting from ground zero every single new job.

And that's truly how I felt. I felt that every time I started a new gig. Another thing that hit me was, as a reality TV producer director, you're typically working with a younger. Audience now that has changed now, but whenever I was doing it, it was typically you're working with people are in their twenties, and I don't think that in that level, at that age, at that stage, that you're truly thinking that whatever you're shooting is going to last forever.

Yeah, and you're eventually gonna move past this reality TV presence, and you're gonna need to get a job, and you need to get your kid into preschool, and you're gonna need to do all these things where people do look at your personality and they look at your reputation and they wanna know, what do you bring to the table?

And so I thought, I'm working with these people and [00:10:00] I'm putting cameras on them, and I am filming their most destructive moments. Moments that now, because a camera is on it is going to last forever. And I felt a sense of guilt. Yeah. I felt a sense of duty and responsibility that I want to be a part of someone's resurrection, someone's growth and rejuvenation.

I don't want to film someone's worst moment. Yeah. And so I had a couple of projects back to back. Where I felt that there were either unethical things going on or something so deep that I didn't wanna put a camera on it. Mm-hmm. Like I felt this is a very sensitive moment.

And yes, if I put cameras on it, I'd get kudos from my colleagues, but my heart says this is a private moment that this person needs to have. And. I'm gonna give it to them. Yeah. Even though they're on a TV show. So there were a few different things [00:11:00] that made me say, Hey, this, I don't wanna do this anymore.

And then just the traveling, you know, I love to travel. But I got to the point where I was so tired of traveling, being completely gone and dropping out of my life, and then coming back to my life and sleeping for a good month just to recover from exhaustion and then reviving myself a little bit and then having to leave again.

Yeah. I got sick of leaving again and missing out on weddings and my friend's children's births. I just got sick of that.

[00:11:30] Shannon Russell: And for me, I worked a bulk of my career at MTV and something hit me where I said, Do I wanna be in my fifties, sixties shooting MTV spring break? Like for me, I did not want do that anymore. Right? Like you start thinking I don't think I can do this while my kids are at home. And now I'm thinking my kids are never going on spring break.

You just have these thoughts. I wanna get out before someone makes me get out. And that was where things started changing [00:12:00] for me. Mm-hmm. I just didn't want to be

[00:12:02] Melody Murray: pushed out. Yeah. I totally get that, the industry as a whole is a very youth oriented industry. And so yeah, the audience does decide who they're gonna watch and who they're not gonna watch.

And that goes beyond behind the camera as well. And so I think that that having the power to make the change is key. And I didn't think about that in the moment when I made my decision, but once I'd made the decision, I thought, this is pretty brilliant because I transitioned to mental health.

And the funny thing about mental health is the older you are, the more respected you are. True. And you know, it's such an interesting thing that there's so many industries that are geared towards the youth and in this industry, your life experience, it's prized, it's respected, and I can do this until the day I die.

Yeah. I can be counseling people and helping people, and the older I [00:13:00] am, the more celebrated I am.

[00:13:02] Shannon Russell: It's so interesting that thread of you being there saying, I'm gonna shut this camera off because it doesn't feel right for this private moment that this reality star is having. And I bet you that was when probably the wheels started turning and you said like, I need to respect this person and what they're going through mentally and emotionally.

And now you are living that, helping these people. I bet you you could get a lot of clients from reality TV shows right now,

[00:13:29] Melody Murray: I think that that could be its own industry right there. Yeah. Just being a therapist to reality TV people, because it doesn't matter how many seasons of a show that you have watched.

If you participate in a show, you're gonna have a completely personal experience that you never could have planned for. The process itself is more than you could ever imagine. Having not worked in this industry, the isolation is hard to deal with and just how emotionally charging all [00:14:00] the, the situations are.

Because then you realize like how many of your distractions get you through your day, and when those distractions are taken away, which they are, when you're working on a TV show, you don't have access to your phone, you don't have access to your computer and getting on the internet, you just don't have that because they wanna be able to capture your reactions to everything real time, but you know, have a camera on you as you're dealing with it.

People think that they can dive into that very smoothly. But you just have no idea what it's gonna be like until you're in it.

[00:14:35] Shannon Russell: Yep. It's just your emotions run high. Hey, it's Shannon. If you are enjoying this podcast, then you will love my weekly newsletter. It's full of career advice, productivity tips, and of course inspiring stories of women who have launched a new career that they love.

Just go to second Act success.co to sign up. Plus you'll get the My Success Vision Board to help you with your [00:15:00] 2023 planning as well. Now it's back to the episode. So talk to me about this change. You decide you want to make a pivot. Did you know you wanted to go into mental health right then and become a therapist?

[00:15:14] Melody Murray: You know what I did? So I worked on a show that. There were unethical things happening in front of and behind the camera. I was on a show where the star of the show was doing her personal mental health therapy on camera.

And as I was watching the interaction, as I'm, I'm directing my cameras and zoom in and zoom out and, you know, watch her the hands and watch the eyes and all that kind of stuff. I'm like, this is so much deeper than even the participants realize. Mm-hmm. Now paralleled that experience with, I had been in my own personal therapy leading up to that point.

Mm-hmm. Because I had the traumatic childhood. I had everything you could imagine happening to kid. It [00:16:00] happened to me and I bottled it all up and I repressed it all and I kept moving. But I had started therapy maybe a year or so before this project. As I'm watching this woman in therapy with her therapist, I'm thinking this is unethical.

Why isn't anyone saying it? Why are they faking like this isn't the issue? And um, we finished that day. I was off the next day, but I did not get vertical out of my bed in my hotel room until one in the afternoon.

And I was tossing and turning and tossing and turning and, and like, I can't do this anymore. But what am I gonna do? But I can't do this. And I just had this moment where I sprung up and I said, I'm gonna be a therapist. I need to help people. I want to help people grow and evolve.

I don't want to capture them acting clueless and exploiting themselves. And so I sent an email to my therapist and I said, Hey. I need to have a session. As soon as I get back [00:17:00] to LA I'm thinking of leaving TV and becoming a therapist. And so whenever I finally got back to LA and I had the session, I said, I need you to tell me if I'm.

Too crazy to do this, right? I mean, I was in therapy and so I thought, you know, maybe I'm not equipped, maybe I can't do this. Maybe it's really arrogant to think that I could try to help somebody I said, I need you to tell me if I'm crazy or not.

He goes, I think you'd be brilliant. I will write whatever recommendation letters you need. Oh. And he is still my friend and mentor to this day. But yeah, I felt like I needed to change my life because I want to help people feel better. I don't want to just film their destruction.

[00:17:43] Shannon Russell: Oh, what a brilliant step.

So you got your master's while you were still living in Los Angeles?

[00:17:49] Melody Murray: Mm-hmm. I got my master's. It took me a while because the money and entertainment is so beautiful.

[00:17:56] Shannon Russell: That's what I was gonna ask you. How were you still working while you were going for your masters [00:18:00]

[00:18:00] Melody Murray: is a lot of money and so I worked for a full year.

I decided to be a therapist, but it took me some time. because I was really afraid of. What that shift was gonna be like for my livelihood, what it was gonna look like day to day. So I still, I worked for a full year and I banked a bunch of money to cushion the blow, and then I made the decision that my first year of graduate school was strictly going to be school.

I was just gonna study because I needed to be able to just shift my brain to this new environment. So I worked solely for the first year, and then the second year I bounced back and forth. I did school for three months, TV shows for three months, school for three, and worked for three.

And it just came together like it. I just, I feel like I manifested it. Because it just, the timing just aligned that when school was going to end, there was a TV show that was going to begin that I could hop on. And then whenever that was gonna wrap, school was going to start. that helped [00:19:00] the transition tremendously.

[00:19:02] Shannon Russell: Even if you had to work on a show that you didn't really connect with, you were like, okay, I'm doing this for the money, which is going to lead to the bigger picture, the better. Good.

[00:19:11] Melody Murray: Exactly. And there was a moment like where I completely walked away from TV and I was doing mental health completely. And then I was living in Seattle at the time and one of my former bosses says, Hey, we're shooting a season up in Seattle. Do you wanna just come in for a day here, a day there?

And I said, absolutely. And I came into that project directing that project with the eyes of a therapist. Mm-hmm. And so there were things that I picked up on that I didn't pick up on the previous times I had directed the exact same show. Wow. It was an extraordinary experience.

[00:19:46] Shannon Russell: Wow. So you would continue to do that if the opportunity came up?

[00:19:50] Melody Murray: 100%. I would direct again, and I've done on camera stuff now as a therapist. I've been interviewed by the New [00:20:00] York Times, the Business Insider, the Washington Post on the How You Blend both worlds, the The Psychology Behind Reality Television.

I've been interviewed, so I've been able to blend these two worlds that I love so much that I never even thought. Thought was possible. So I would absolutely direct again now with the director's eye and the therapist's mind. Oh, I love

[00:20:25] Shannon Russell: that so much. You're going into it and you're looking at it differently.

So maybe if there was something that felt uncomfortable on set, you could shift it. You could play a part to make it better for whether it's the cast members or the crew, and you could have a bigger, more important presence in what goes on on that

[00:20:43] Melody Murray: set. And not just viewing what's happening, but helping the people that are involved so that it satisfies so that the entertainment value is remains intact, where people are getting something that's entertaining, but it's also helping the [00:21:00] participants so that when they leave this moment, they take away something that improves their lives.

[00:21:05] Shannon Russell: Maybe a lot of our listeners don't understand, because I always have that conversation, which I'm sure you do too, of reality TV isn't real. You try to explain how much of producing and coaxing from us happens off camera, but there's so much realness to the feelings of the people involved, they need to have a person like you on set for all reality shows to just be there. Right? Like there

[00:21:30] Melody Murray: you go. Because these are people real lives and they're going back to their lives. Once the cameras are off, these people are going back to their real lives. And so there was, before I even thought about becoming a therapist, there was something that I always had a problem with.

In the industry, which was oh, we don't have respect for the cast. And I would fight and scream and yell. We would not have a job if it weren't for the cast. So how dare you disrespect them and disregard [00:22:00] their emotions. These are their lives. We would not be there if it weren't for them.

Yeah. And so that was so important to me because they were gonna be walking away from this and gonna have to continue their lives in their communities. And how dare you just treat them at this as this one trick pony that, you know, as soon as the cameras are off, you walk away. But they have to deal with, the debris they have to the debris to deal with all the stuff that has come from this moment.

Yeah. Absolutely. And I, I believe that as a producer and a director, you have to be accountable for that.

[00:22:33] Shannon Russell: You know, I've been out of the industry now six, seven years. Mm-hmm. And social media is completely different now than it even was then.

That. I think it's far worse now that there's so much more on social media for them to go back and deal with people in their hometown talking about them and this, that and the other, that having someone like you to go to is, is so

[00:22:54] Melody Murray: important. There are certain shows that do provide aftercare to the participants, which I [00:23:00] think is very ethical and necessary cause there are things that will come up in these interactions and typically the interactions are very, the emotions are heightened.

Yeah. And you can quickly shift to fight or flight mode when you are being confronted by someone. And the ripple effect of those confrontations is huge. Mm-hmm. And you have to be cognizant of that. But if you are not in touch with your own personal emotional space in your. Own experiences. You're just gonna gloss over those moments and just think, oh wow, we got a good block or segment.

Or scene. We got a good one. But not really realizing that all the people that participated in this, this is gonna shutter through their lives for a long time, potentially. Yeah. And I think that that's an important thing to keep in mind, that you really do have to pay attention to what your impact is in someone's life and being in someone's environment.[00:24:00]

And I don't think that that's something that's, Take it into account as people decide to produce a reality show.

[00:24:05] Shannon Russell: Mm-hmm. But Now you are living this different life where you get to truly have an impact on someone's life and outside of the industry, outside of the fake of tv. How happy are you in your life today?

[00:24:18] Melody Murray: I work with children, I work with adults, I work with families. And, for four years I worked in a hospital emergency room. Mm. And you know, whenever patients come in and they are in crisis and they're feeling homicidal, they're feeling suicidal, I would do an assessment to decide if they got hospitalized or not.

And I was always connecting with their families as well. And I feel that what I do now, it sticks to me in a way that helps me feel good about my time on this planet. And we all have an impact. We all leave a residue. And what is that going to be [00:25:00] for you? What is that going to be? And for me, I decided that I did wanna help people feel better, and whatever I can do to help people's lives be smoother and easier and more enlightened because I believe in the ripple effect that we all have as individuals.

So the decision that I made to switch, I'm grateful that I made that decision. I'm grateful that I shifted out of that world. And the funny thing is, is that I have so many people that I used to work with and some people that I didn't work with that come to me and they ask me, how did you do this? How did you walk away?

Why did you decide to walk away? How do you feel now that you've decided to walk away? And I'm glad that I did it. I love television and no way, shape or form did me leaving it mean that I hated it. I just needed my life to mean more. I needed my time on this planet to mean more and the money will [00:26:00] come.

You know, I assumed working in mental health that I was gonna be broke, and I prepared myself for that state, and now I'm making the same money now that I was making then in television. And I didn't expect that at all, but that's the thing. It's like you can create a bridge between your career choices between one industry to another.

You can create the bridge. Mm-hmm. And the skills that you have in your one industry, you can translate those to the next. You really can. You just have to sit and think about it. You know? The last thing I think someone should feel whenever they're wondering what should be my next step is that my life is gonna be completely broken down and everything that I now know is out the window.

It's not true because you bring yourself. To that next industry. You bring all of who you are to that next field, and then you make it work. Mm-hmm. And you problem solve and you come up with multiple [00:27:00] streams of income. You figure out ways to make it work for you. But I think that it's really a beautiful thing that just as a whole in society, people aren't working at jobs for 40 years.

There was a sense of security in that, but we all know that there's no such thing as security anymore. No, it just doesn't exist. And I think that we are all in the place now that we respect that. When you move from career to career, from job site to job site, you take your past experience, you bring it in, you grab new experience, and then you go to the next experience with a whole new skillset.

You bring all of those different things that you've learned together. They all come together to help you make the next situation even better. So I think that, that, that way of working and finding new employment, I think it's a blessing that I have brought my producer mindset into the hospital setting. I.

Into the mental health setting where I'm all about [00:28:00] efficiency, making things happen faster and smoother, that if I had just worked in the mental health space, maybe I wouldn't necessarily work with the sense of urgency that I have now. Maybe I wouldn't look for ways to do things faster and quicker and easier and cheaper, which is what you're constantly doing when you're.

Working in television, you are confronting an issue quickly because time is money. And I have been applauded for that mindset in the mental health arena. It's just a skillset that other people just don't have here. Right, and working in a hospital emergency room. I was the queen because I was constantly prioritizing and reprioritizing and moving people all over the place and moving them quickly.

And the pats on the back were really generous. And I think it was because I came at it from a different headspace.

[00:28:56] Shannon Russell: You were directing, you were directing what needed to go down [00:29:00] 100%. Yeah. And everything you're saying, I'm like, yes, yes, yes, because you're building a life's resume, I always say, mm-hmm.

You're taking those skills. And it was scary for me to go, what can a television producer do anywhere else? It's such a niche industry, but it really is looking at that and knowing that you can take those skills and really build that bridge to your next career, to your next act. It's so, so true, and people like you and I.

Who branched out from the industry are examples of you don't have to stay stuck. You can find what you want to do and, and what I always say is produce your best life figure out what's going to bring you peace and you can check it off your list. We did that. We traveled, we made the money, we had the experiences, we worked with the celebrities.

It was awesome and dream career. But now we're building the second dream career for ourselves

[00:29:53] Melody Murray: mm-hmm. I agree. I think that it's my progression. It sounds like yours was [00:30:00] too, the natural progression of, you know, adult maturity where, you know, you know, in your twenties you are looking for the glitz and the glamor and the stars and, and, and the cameras and all that fun stuff because that's where your head's at in the time and at that time.

But as you grow older, You truly understand what's most important and what is someone's inner monologue? How does someone truly feel about themselves? How do I truly feel about myself? Mm-hmm. And what do I have the power to do to change that? You know, you just get older and you realize, I can pay for my own plane tickets.

I don't need to have someone else take care of this, and I can create that experience on my own. I want my life and my time to mean something, and this is what I choose for it to mean. You become empowered the older you get. Yeah. And then you've built the confidence to know that whatever change I decided to make, I'm gonna be okay.

Mm-hmm. I'll figure it

[00:30:57] Shannon Russell: out.

[00:30:58] Melody Murray: It takes time and it takes [00:31:00] belief in yourself.

And I think sometimes that even if you don't have the belief in yourself, sometimes you have to look to other people that have made the leap and go, if they could do it, so can I. Yes, and I've done that quite a bit in my life. If that person could do it. Me too. That person's an idiot. I know that person's an idiot and they did it.

I'll be all right. I'm not saying it's not scary. But I believe, and I relied on my past experiences of hustling to make things happen. I'm like, I can do that again. If I have to do that again, I ha I can do that again. Yeah, I can figure it out. On a dime,

and so you have to rely on yourself. You have to give yourself time to understand what you've been able to pull yourself through. Lean on your own understanding of what you're capable of. And take the chance because you can't rely on some big company to have your back forever.

It just doesn't happen. And I think that that's something that a lot of people realize. The great resignation. But I was applauding, [00:32:00] anytime I heard of somebody quitting their job, I was like, yeah, really? Yep,

[00:32:04] Shannon Russell: same here. I know.

[00:32:06] Melody Murray: I was so excited and now we've now moved into quiet quitting where people are like, screw you.

My self-care is what's most important. I'm gonna do what I wanna do. I'm not bending over backwards for this company. I like that. I respect that. And if that's what first steps you need to take before you take off on your own, fine, yeah, fine.

So create your plan, dive in, sock some money away for that rainy day, but take a chance on yourself.

Yeah, because life is too short to give over these really prime productive years to some other entity that could just toss you away at the drop of a hat,

[00:32:49] Shannon Russell: and then you wake up and you realize that you don't have contacts anywhere else, and it's that much more of a struggle for you to find your next step.

So, mm-hmm. Absolutely.

[00:32:57] Melody Murray: I have always had that moment where I can reach [00:33:00] out to a bunch of people that I've met and say, Hey, my situation has changed. What you working on? You got any space for me? And I would always have someone say, yeah, you gotta be here in two weeks a month. I'll have something for you in six weeks, whatever.

Yeah. But that's the beauty of being able to bounce around and that is what builds your confidence to bounce around.

[00:33:19] Shannon Russell: Right. And you know what's really a great thing, and I always tell clients too, is that. You can go back to that. You and I could go produce a show together tomorrow if we wanted to.

So when you do change to a different career, you're still that person. You can still go back and work that role. And that's the beauty too, of knowing. You're still that person. Your identity is not wrapped up in that your identity is you, but you still have those skills.


[00:33:44] Melody Murray: So I, you know, I love that you said that. I so love that you'd say that to your clients, because I think that that helps decrease the fear mm-hmm. Level. Mm-hmm. It's like you're not abandoning your former life or your former career. You're [00:34:00] enhancing it. Yes. And if you ever need to go back, you can. Yeah.

But how amazing is it if you were to take a chance on yourself and it just, it worked, it worked, it took off. But you've got this as your background. And on the, on the back end of mine, like the business that I have, like I do multiple things and I do dip back into that TV world. I haven't abandoned it at all.

If anything. People seek me out more now because I'm able to marry these two worlds that are so closely connected. So I think that's something to consider too, is like what is tangential to what you're currently doing. Mm-hmm. So then you blend these worlds and you can use both of them. You can leverage each against the other.

[00:34:44] Shannon Russell: So tell me about these other things that you do. I know you are writing a book, couple books. Mm-hmm. So tell me about the books. Tell me exactly

[00:34:52] Melody Murray: what your day-to-day is like. Sure. So day-to-day I do a variety of things and I have to mix it up so that I'm not [00:35:00] overwhelmed, but I'm also not bored.

Mm-hmm. And so I see clients Monday through Thursday. I do my individual client sessions virtually. And the beauty of what I do is that I can do it anywhere. But I also, I consult on TV shows, so whenever I have friends that are developing TV shows and they wanna know, is this character trajectory real? Is this. True. I will consult and I'll read friends materials as they're developing projects and I'll put my 2 cents in or, uh, you know, if you're trying to create a character with narcissistic personality traits, but that's not narcissistic and this isn't the decision that they would make in this situation.

I also get interviewed quite a bit. I've gotten interviewed over the last couple years by the Business Insider, the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Atlantic. So as celebrities are having mental health, Issues, or if there are TV shows that have a mental health [00:36:00] angle to them. There've been a lot of suicides on some shows, not on the shows themselves, but on the characters once the show wraps.

Yeah, because they aren't prepared for what their life is going to look like when everything wraps. So I've been interviewed quite a bit. In different newspapers and magazines. I've been interviewed on camera on different shows. I've got segments on the doctors. Taraji b Henson has a Facebook show called Peace of Mind with Taraji.

I was on the very first episode, the premiere episode Oh wow. On P T S D with Gabrielle Union. So being able to speak about mental health in a broader sense, I think has been very fantastic because I want to help people understand that mental health treatment. It shouldn't be stigmatized. It's not weird.

It's not sorcery. It's, it's, it's conversations with someone who's got your back and that won't judge you. And then I'm writing, like my very first book is going to come out very soon. It's called Mourning The [00:37:00] Living. Wow. It's a personal project where it's a, it's a story that started from my relationship with my older sister who has severe mental illness and substance abuse issues and she's still here.

The title is Mourning the Living When The Loved One You've Lost Is Still Here. Yeah, because we typically attribute mourning to someone who's died, but we have to grieve, you know? Ex-partners, ex-friends, parents who are toxic. And so that's what that first book is about. And then the next book is called The Birth and Death of Motherhood.

You know, it's about my choice not to become a parent. Trying to destigmatize that because the pressure is put on women so much that mm-hmm. You're supposed to be a mother and if you're not a mother, then what are you, what's wrong with you? And so, you know, that's what that book is about.

And then I have another book that I'm writing on, it's called How Do You Wear Your Trauma? So it's a combination of mental health, you know, heavy and then just, you know, stuff [00:38:00] that people are, Dealing with and thinking about it and contemplating. And then online courses. I have an online course that I'm working on that it's based on suicide assessment.

Oh. You know, I've had four different people close to me take their lives in the last year. Oh. And so this course is something where people can read up and feel. Confident in asking certain questions. This is not about putting on a therapist hat, but this is about assessing, you know, if the people around you are at risk of taking their lives and the things that you can do to help yourself feel that you're being proactive in this situation.

So online courses, books, tv, being interviewed in newspapers, like I, I just feel like we all have the power to influence the people around us in positive ways, and we have to go for it. If there's anything I can do to help someone around me feel better, I'm gonna do it.

[00:38:56] Shannon Russell: Yeah. Oh, you just got your hand in everything and you're [00:39:00] doing so much good and bringing so much knowledge and positivity into the world to help clients and others. I love it. Melody. Oh, so where can my listeners connect with you? Where are all the places?

[00:39:12] Melody Murray: Sure. My website is melodylmft.com and LMF T stands for Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist so people can catch me on my website, which is www.melodylmft.com.

That is also my Facebook handle. You can also find me there at Instagram, @melodylmft. And you know, I've, I've just got the goal of bringing mental health to the masses. I, I am pulling away, you know, slowly from doing individual therapy so that I can help people as a group. Mm-hmm. And something I've started in Houston, Texas is, you know, this weekly.

Open forum where I'm talking to women about what's happening in their lives and just giving [00:40:00] advice and support and sharing resources to make people feel less alone as they're dealing with common life things. Mm-hmm. You know, we're all holding so many things in, and we shouldn't, we shouldn't, we shouldn't feel alone in it.

And I, and if, if there's anything I can do that help people feel more comfortable, feeling more vulnerable, I'm gonna do it.

[00:40:20] Shannon Russell: so amazing. Thank you so much. I'm gonna link to everything every way that my listeners can connect with you in the show notes. And I am so happy to have chatted with you.

I know we have mutual friends in the industry and when we connected it was like, oh, we've gotta talk. I wanna hear your story. And yeah, and I'm just so excited. So I cannot wait to see all of the other future. Good. You're putting out into the world. And I'm excited for your books as well. So thank you so much, melody.

It's been such a pleasure.

[00:40:48] Melody Murray: Thank you, Shannon. I've loved this so much thank you for what you're doing to help people know that they can cross over into whatever they wanna cross over into. So thank you.

[00:40:57] Shannon Russell: Thank you to [00:41:00] Melody for taking us along as she recapped her journey from the entertainment industry to the mental health industry.

She found her calling and she is truly doing amazing things to help others. I hope that you grab some gems of inspiration from this conversation. And to catch up on all episodes of the podcast and to find ways that you and I can work together so that I can support you on your journey to finding your second act, just head over to secondactsuccess.co.

Let's meet back here next time for an all new episode of the Second Act Success Career Podcast. Take care of my friend. Thank you for joining us. I hope you found some gems of inspiration and some takeaways to help you on your path to second act, success. To view show notes from this episode, visit secondactsuccess.co.

Before you go, don't forget to subscribe to the podcast so you don't miss a single episode. Reviews only take a few moments and they really do mean so much. Thank you [00:42:00] again for listening. I'm Shannon Russell and this is Second Act Success.


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Episode #76: Turn Something Personal Into Profit