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My name is: Gigi Sagansky. 

I’m known for being: The host of the Driven Minds Podcast by Type7! I found an incredible partner in Type7, which is the creative editorial platform of Porsche. 

I'm talking about: The importance of de-stigmatizing conversations about mental health (which I like to call “mental strength”!). There is nothing more powerful than hearing people’s stories, sharing your own and learning that no one is as alone as we might think we are. 

You can find it at: Anywhere you listen to podcasts! It launched December 2020.

What inspired me to launch it was: My own mental health journey! I was diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and severe OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) when I was 10. Growing up, I felt so alone in my self-constructed shame cave because I believed my brain was broken and I didn’t know how to fix it. It was only years later that I realized nothing needed to be repaired and that I held the key to ridding myself of this constant feeling of shame. The answer? Talking about it—which was the most radical thing I could ever imagine doing. I started having conversations with my friends, and we realized both the power and freedom that comes with sharing the things we felt so ashamed about. A year later, I mustered all the courage I could find, threw caution to the wind and took it to the edge with this podcast! Now, anyone can listen in and, as scary as that is, the freedom outweighs the fear. As my second guest Sofi Tukker says: “RIP shame.”

How it works is: In the bi-monthly series, I invite my cultural heroes onto the show to discuss how they navigated through the most challenging times in their lives. We learn their strategies and hacks, what held them back, how they moved forward and what they learned along the way. If one person feels less alone after hearing an episode, then I’ve done exactly what I set out to do!

What makes it special is: We tend to put successful people on pedestals. I’ve found that the insidious world of social media is often to blame, and this rampant sharing of good times and filters can really take a toll on our collective sense of self-worth. When all we see are the highlight reels, it is easy to believe that everyone else is living better, cooler and more worry-free lives than we are. The human experience is the biggest beautiful mess, and I hope that hearing the stories of struggle from those we admire will help us accept our own doubts, anxieties, heartbreaks, failures and everything else that makes us human.

One thing you can’t miss is: The unfiltered vulnerability!

My favorite secret detail is: That I die from overwhelming anxiety and nerves before, during and after every single episode. I’ve spoken to people (cue: my therapist) about this and my main takeaway is that I should interpret this as a positive sign that I care so much!

For me, addressing “mental strength” in this difficult time is important because: It is everything we are, and everything we have. It is our past, present and future. We are our minds.

One tool that has really helped my mental strength in this time is: Once a week (usually on the weekends), I don’t set an alarm. I let my body wake up when it wants to, and I don’t check my phone until the afternoon. Technology is painfully addictive, and blue light is clinically proven to increase anxiety and depression. The days I use my phone the least are always my happiest ones. It is during these peaceful and phone-free mornings and afternoons that I am able to drown out the noise of the world and cultivate my own inner world. And that is the world that matters most.

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