Galen’s Story

Galen Bernard GA Headshot.jpg


Ever since I was a teen, people have thought me courageous. On the surface, it made sense.

I left school in 8th grade to self-direct my education. By 22, I’d lived so many places the first question I always got was "ok, where are you now?" I passed on status jobs and financial security to pursue work that made me more alive.

"I don’t know how you do it" friends said. "You don't care what anyone thinks. You just do what you want." One called me James Dean. Another said I was Superman.

The truth? I was terrified the whole time. Because the other thing I’d heard is: "You just don't blend, period."


I lived my life so afraid of doing the wrong thing, of not being wanted, of ending up alone and adrift, that one day I realized I couldn't even risk bothering a waiter for a lemon to go with my iced tea. (I'm from North Carolina, so tea is a big deal.) 

I tried it all to break free. Therapy, medication, retreats, books, spiritual guidance, drinking, lovers, moving, and movement. The treatment that always worked best? Doing the damn thing I fear and finding out it feels okay on the other side. Discovering that no matter the outcome, the thrill and wholeness from action is worth it. 

My courage is still a work in progress. I don't pretend I have all the answers. But if you want an honest conversation about what's truly possible in life and what tends to hold people back, I will listen and share a few secrets I've learned. I'm intimately familiar with those moments of paralysis that leave you wondering "what if…" All around me, I saw the pain and missed potential in a lifetime of those moments. So I decided to create an antidote



  • Coach, speaker, and writer for people seeking an uncommon and courageous life.

  • Trained in peer support and once one of two directors for a North Carolina chapter of the country’s largest grassroots mental health organization.

  • Mentor for StartingBloc and Watson University.

  • Coach for multiple accelerators and education programs.

  • Former executive director of the innovation space New Leaf Initiative, which put State College, PA, on the map as one of Entrepreneur’s best U.S. cities.