How Neuroscience Helped an Executive Coach to Cope with Chronic Illness and Emerge Stronger Than Ever

Bernice Lee, a coach and speaker who’d helped thousands of professionals worldwide to achieve their career goals, was ready to give up her own dream job and close her business. She used her knowledge of neuroscience to make her comeback.

Bernice Lee had reached the lowest point in her life, and she felt hopeless. More than ten years earlier she had complained to doctors about feeling tired all the time but blood tests came back normal so they attributed it to her being a new mother, traveling too much for work, or being too stressed. They suggested she eat healthy, sleep better, and exercise more. Now it was 2022 and she had chronic pain in her muscles and joints, horrible headaches, brain fog, and debilitating fatigue that was unrelieved by sleep or rest. “My body felt toxic,” she recalls. “I felt so ill, I thought I was dying.” She was partially bedbound and mostly housebound for nine months.

After eliminating other possible causes, doctors concluded that she had Myalgic Encephalomyelitis, commonly known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS). This disease has no definitive cause and treatment. The best option is to manage symptoms and hope for the best.

As a Brain-Based Coach, Bernice helps entrepreneurs, executives and other business professionals to navigate difficult periods in their careers, such as dealing with high stress levels, heavy workloads, difficult bosses, disengaged employees, being laid off, and existential crises. Then she enables them to achieve inspiring goals such as boosting revenues, receiving promotions, successfully changing jobs or careers, receiving industry awards, becoming a TEDx speaker, and much more.

She did not expect that one day she would have to bring all of her professional expertise to bear on herself in order to heal from a debilitating chronic illness.

She shares four strategies she used to cope with her disease and ultimately thrive – strategies that anyone can use to rebound with resilience whenever they face difficulties in their professional or personal lives.

Four Strategies to Rebound with Resilience

  1. Set a clear vision and goal of what you desire on the other side of the challenge you’re facing. What do you want in your life that is missing now? In stressful times, many of us default to survival mode, blindly going through the motions. There are two networks in the brain: one focuses on taking action whilst the other focuses on our motivations and deeper meaning. Generally only one can operate at a time, which means we need to regularly tap into our overarching vision and values or we risk losing the why of it all and the motivation to proceed. For example, upon receiving her diagnosis Bernice set a goal of healing as quickly as possible. Additionally, her passion for helping others fueled her conviction to persevere through her illness even when she was ready to give up.
  2. Seek help and support. Studies show that confiding in empathetic friends, coaches or mentors are proven ways to enhance personal resilience. On her health journey Bernice relied upon knowledgeable health professionals for treatment guidance and fellow ME/CFS sufferers for emotional support.
  3. Take small yet meaningful steps towards your goal. Bernice’s clients discover that consistently taking incremental steps is the key to getting unstuck and ultimately achieving amazing outcomes, whether they are looking to expand their businesses, advance their careers, or improve work-life balance. When Bernice’s illness was at its most severe, for instance, she slowly built up her walking endurance, adding one extra minute when she felt ready.
  4. Regulate your emotions with proven techniques. When we feel sad, anxious, helpless or angry, reframe difficult experiences by reflecting on the benefits we can gain from them as well as practice gratitude and mindfulness. Changing our perspective is one of the most powerful methods of returning to a neutral or positive mindset and then forging ahead again. For example, when Bernice was laying in bed, too tired to listen to music, she was grateful to still be alive.

Bright Outlook

Just over a year after her diagnosis, Bernice’s energy level is still far below 100% but she has less pain and is happy and productive, ramping up the number of private coaching clients she serves and winning accolades in 2023. Her story is not just a testament to her own strength and determination but a guiding light for anyone facing career uncertainties and personal hardships.

In the years to come, Bernice Lee envisions a world where personal resilience becomes a cornerstone of professional success. Her goal is to teach and inspire more people around the world. 

What distinguishes Bernice Lee is not just her accomplishments as a Brain-Based Coach, but her extensive and deeply personal experience in helping people to apply neuroscience in daily life so that they not only weather difficult stages in their careers – but they emerge stronger than ever before.For more insights about how to reduce stress, increase personal productivity, and enhance leadership skills with the help of neuroscience, connect with Bernice on her social media platforms LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook.

Forbes Staff is a revered member of the prestigious Forbes England team, dedicated to providing outstanding content and insightful journalism. With an extensive knowledge of the local business landscape and an unwavering commitment to unearthing captivating stories, Forbes Staff showcases their expertise in the realm of business reporting. As a respected and cherished contributor to Forbes England, they offer readers invaluable perspectives on the vibrant and dynamic business ecosystem of England.