By age 10, Brittany Berger had been diagnosed with anxiety—and other diagnoses followed. For many years, she felt mental illness was a “flaw” that would keep her from ever pursuing the things she really wanted in life, including building her own business.

When she finally accepted her mental and chronic illnesses as part of her personality and body—instead of a fault—she was able to focus on ways to manage them instead of constantly suppressing them. 

She embraced new business models instead of trying to follow the frameworks built by people with different brain compositions than her, focused on marketing and productivity tactics that took her personal strengths and weaknesses into account, and pivoted her brand to embrace mental illness and incorporate mental health advocacy.

Once Brittany realized her mental illness was a superpower that could be leveraged instead of something to be ashamed of, everything got better.

More nuggets in this episode:

  • Mental illness is the same as physical illness, and people with mental illness are the “normal ones” (2:23)
  • Seeing a therapist who understood chronic and mental illness—and no longer feeling alone—changed everything (5:55)
  • Committing to regular journaling led to incredible realizations that forever changed and improved her business (7:46)
  • Energy management shifts how you organize your days to account for (instead of push through) limitations (9:13)
  • “Tricking the brain” can help when comparisonitis kicks in…and so can a great quote from comedian Amy Poehler (13:17)
  • Surrounding yourself with people with shared experiences can help you feel less alone (14:58)
  • Talking openly about mental illness isn’t just complaining; it can make a real difference (17:15)

Brittany Berger is the founder of WorkBrighter.co, a digital media company that helps productive unicorns go beyond working smarter to a version of productivity that makes room for “unproductive” things like rest, self-care, and fun. She started Work Brighter after 5 years of working in high stress startups that prioritized hustle, growth, and scaling over self-care and mental health. Now that she’s changed her own mindset, she spends her time helping other high achievers define balance for themselves, advocating for mental health awareness, and dancing…always dancing.
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Resources:

“Quiet” by Susan Cain

“Rest” by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang

“The Body is Not an Apology” by Sonya Renee Taylor

“Unfuck Your Brain” by Faith Harper

What is the Spoon Theory? from WebMD

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