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Melissa + Doug’s Co-Founder, on her Journey from Profound Darkness to Radiant Light.


Thirty-two years ago, Melissa Bernstein cofounded Melissa + Doug toys with her husband, Doug. Since then, the company Melissa + Doug has created over 5,000 children’s products and sold billions of dollars of toys.


Throughout her long and incredible career, Melissa kept a secret that had been plaguing her since childhood.


A couple years ago, on my friend Jonathan Fields’ Good Life Project podcast, Melissa revealed that she has struggled with acute anxiety and existential depression. Suffering largely in silence, she was still able to build a life many of us would consider ideal. Six kids, a successful, beloved children’s brand, and working side-by-side with her best friend, husband, and business partner Doug.


In her incredible new book LifeLines— An Inspirational Journey from Profound Darkness to Radiant Light, Melissa shares hundreds of poems she has written since was a child. Each verse and couplet working with the opposing forces of darkness and light.


The book really is kind of breathtaking. 650 pages, with hundreds of full-color images, exploring the tragedy and transcendence of being human. Poetry, nature, music, and a handful of other themes she explores in great depths became her lifelines, and her healing.


In our conversation today, we talk about the duality of producing so much great work, while suffering so deeply. We hear how she turned her darkness into fuel for achievement, her daily practices, and how she gives her mind a much-needed break. (I call this Permission to Chill).


We spend a good amount of time exploring her new community, and the movement Melissa and her husband Doug have created to coincide with the book— LifeLines. This conversation is a great reminder that we are never alone in our suffering, and that there are proven ways out. 


LifeLines has also launched a new community and website to get people connected to resources, awareness, and to one another.


Melissa’s husband Doug may have written the sweetest About the Author page I’ve ever seen. 


In it, her perfectly summarizes this long-form interview you’re about to hear: “Melissa shows us that when darkness descends, and it seems there’s no escape, there actually is a way out, there actually is hope, and there actually is a path that can lead to meaning and purpose.”



Please enjoy this vulnerable, and ultimately joyful conversation with of my longtime Sheroes, and new friends— Melissa Bernstein



In our conversation, you will learn:



  1. How her and her husband Doug founded, and built their toy empire Melissa & Doug.

  2. How she discovered she her sensitivities and existential depression.

  3. Her big “coming out party” on Jonathan Fields’ Good Life Project podcast episode.

  4. How her family supports her new calling, and some of the challenges.

  5. How to turn some of your struggles into meaning and purpose through community, non-judgment, and personal practice

  6. Her daily creative mantra for staying curious and getting into the heart.



Read an excerpt of Melissa’s
brand new book on Amazon




Send Melissa a direct message












This podcast shares ways to expand your container as a business leader, and as a human being— to hold more MAGIC, as we continue to navigate so much change and uncertainty.

Our show explores 4 powerful permissions with guests and listeners: Permission to Chill, Permission to Feel All the Feels, and Permission to Glow in the Dark, and Permission to Glow in The Light. Emceed by yogi, Dad, and executive coach KC (Kristoffer Carter).

Learn more: http://thisepiclife.com

Emceed by yogi, Dad, and executive coach KC (Kristoffer Carter).
Learn more: thisepiclife.com




Access all of our episodes:
Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher

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