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Member Highlight - Chelsey Gilfillan, CEO "Birds of Feather"

Hi, my name is Chelsey Gilfillan, my Instagram handle is __Birdsofafeatherflocktogether and I am a Mental Health Advocate and blogger who has a passion for work life balance.

My brand, Birds of a Feather, was started as a safe space to talk about all things mental health and with zero judgement. You will see I get rather raw in my personal blogs - I share my life in hopes that someone else, even if it is just one other person, will hear me and realize they are not alone.

During COVID, my side hustle, Chelsey G Consulting, took a rather large hit which caused me to hit pause and really recenter myself. I took that time to focus on my brand, bringing my mental health blog to life and to start carving my way into making a difference through my voice and social platforms.

When it comes to what I am an absolute expert at, I can really only say one thing, and I think even then I am not so much an expert as someone who has serious experience with this and that is Mental Health. I am bipolar type 2 and I have been battling an uphill climb since I was 15 years old. It's been a ride - but I am beyond thankful for where I am, what I have learned, and ready to help other women who felt the same form of “lost” that I did for sooo many years.

Tell us and our lovely readers what is it that you do? 

Well, I do lots of things! But mainly I wake up each morning with my main man Herby, who happens to be my dog son! That is right - proud dog mom over here! And start my day on a continued practice of putting my mental health first.

 At 33, my sole purpose and goal is to stop the shame stigma that comes with mental health.

What is your story? How did you end up here?

I was diagnosed when I was in my twenties with Bipolar Type 2, and life didn't stop per se - but it would never go back to how it was. I found myself building other people's dreams while I was deteriorating mentally. I ended up in the hospital and was still putting my employer before my own needs and they were happy to watch me do it. 

The largest issue was that none of my employers, no matter how hard they tried, understood that I needed time to heal post-episode and I have been doing that dance since I was 15 years old, but I thought that once I had a solid diagnosis life would get easier when it came to my work life and balancing it and my mental health - no go. So what was one to do? I quit my job.

I decided I was going to take all personal experiences I have gone through, along with my rather over the top personality and bring the topic of Mental health and work life to the forefront.

It is important to me that I show other women, no matter how hard it seems, we too can be in control of our mental health and also live a healthy work life.

Work-life-balance is possible and a lot of employers say they support it, as if it was a trend, but I am here to say that it is a requirement for a full and healthy mental state.

Do you have a “WHY” for why you do what you do?

My WHY is mental health and finding a way to end the stigma that surrounds it - I feel like I was meant to be here to help talk about the things that make us uncomfortable, if that makes sense.  

It is so important to make sure I am, at all times, focusing on bettering myself and bringing awareness to mental health to help others take control of their own so that what happened to me in the workplace can be avoided for other strong women moving forward.

What are your plans for the future?

My plan is to have my mental health podcast launched by 2021 which will be a blast! I am beyond excited about this. But the ultimate goal is to become a speaker and advocate within the mental health community. Man, just writing that out was a rush. Sometimes I catch myself just questioning such a  thing - but I know it was what I was born to do. 

What is the best about being who you are? 

One of the things I love about me, is also what I have the hardest time with. I truly love that I am bipolar as it separates me from the rest. We are all one of a kind, but I find that I have an emotional drive within myself that at times can be all-consuming but - I would not want it any other way. It made me a born leader. 

What does your day look like? 

I am a total morning girl! I love my coffee and mornings. I try to get up and out of bed around 630/7 am, but girl trust me! I also sleep in and miss that mark! 

From there the day is my oyster! I like to try and take a few moments for my mental health. Being bipolar my thoughts are scattered so it takes time to really zone in and get everything on a clear plan (this is a daily mental struggle - and is why routine is so important to me). 

I want to say from here I just rock my day, but due to my mental health, it really is an up and down situation. For most days, I am rather motivated and work for about 5-6 hrs in the morning and take a mid-day break to spend some much-needed cuddle time with my co-worker, Herby! (My mini dog) and from there I will pick back up in the afternoon or evening. But, that is a good day. A regular day is usually spent working for a few hours, getting outside, listening to music - this is KEY for me if I am having a hard day, and making sure to keep my mind as healthy as possible as I experience ups/downs a few times a day. 

I think it is important to take the pressure off ourselves of “needing” to do sooo much in one day and really turning our focus on making sure we are getting what we need from our day mentally, physically, and spiritually. If we aren’t well - our business cannot be.

What business-related tips and advice do you have for our readers? 

Of course,  money was a huge issue I faced when COVID hit, as I started Chelsey G Consulting, my freelancing company where I focus on Social Media Management & Brand Development,  in 2019. But my one piece of advice is to take a breath and slow down. Anything is possible and we are capable of so much - we just need to realize that each hurdle comes for a reason and it is how we handle it that will bring the best outcome. My biggest tip is to ask for help/guidance when you need it! Find a mentor, someone you can really look up to, learn from, and go to when shit is hard. There is NO SHAME in asking for help. My mentor is literally my all around go to person. I call or text her when I have questions, doubt myself or what I am capable of and she always calls me out on my Sh*t. WE NEED THAT! Hand holding does not always work.  I would not be here today if I did not ask for help. And legit, she is someone I freelanced for and our connection was unreal - Alexa, CEO of Healthy Dash of Social - mad love for her. 

I also think it is important to take educating yourself into your own hands. Sign up for courses! For example, I am a freelancer on the side - gotta hustle to make my brand flock! - and when COVID hit, I lost clients which meant I lost money. I knew I needed to do something to stand out - so, I started a newsletter and I legit had no clue where to begin. So, I signed up for courses - from there I realized I actually had soo many amazing courses available to me and they were willing to work with me! When I asked for help - it was there. When I discussed that I needed a payment plan or an extension on time for completing the course due to the hurdles I was facing - they all came back with solutions because I asked for the help/guidance. 

Courses I just LOVED:

Jenna Kutcher’s Email List Lab

I love all things, Natalia Benson

And I even signed up for the Empire Building Masterclass which has been a total game-changer for me when it came to helping build my vision and brand!

What mindset advice do you have for our readers? 

I would love to say that I don’t suffer from anxiety, lack of motivation or heck, even ups and downs of doubting myself, and if I am even capable of what I am doing! But girl, that would be a lie. 

Those sneak up on me daily and I use to actually work really hard to run away from those feelings. I would avoid them or all-around ignore them. Hands up anyone? But what I did find was that not accepting that these issues were arising was actually working against me. 

It is easy for us to doubt ourselves and ask “am I good enough?”, “Do I actually know how to  do what I say I am doing?”, “Why should I be an advocate for mental health when my own mental health struggles at times?”....these are all questions I struggle with daily and my advice to you is to look in the mirror and say “Yes, you should!”. I know it sounds lame, but do it - you need to be your number one supporter and you are capable of your dreams and goals.

You also joined one of our courses - which one? Why did you join it, and did it end up being helpful in any way? 

I did! And I am loving it! I joined the Instagram Empire Masterclass. 

This course really helped me figure out my end goals with myself, my brand, and my voice. It also helped me figure out how to correctly focus on my followers, my niche, and what I am looking to achieve. 

We are sure our readers would love to check out your website and your social media. Maybe you even have some special offers that our readers can grab! 

I would love to connect more and share all my tips & tricks to owning your mental health while also chasing after what you want - because girl, we are capable of having it ALL!

You can follow along on my socials:

IG: @ __birdsofafeatherflocktogether

FB: Birds of a Feather

The Blog: https://www.birdsofafeather.me/blog

I am so thankful for the opportunity to be here and just getting this opportunity to open up and talk about what I am doing at Birds of a Feather and how Mental Health really needs to be accepted and most importantly, respected, in the workplace.

I am forever grateful to you all for taking the time to hear my story, and just for your time. And of course, to Girls Building Empires for the amazing chance to share my story! Be sure to check them out on Instagram: @girlsbuildingempires or if you need all the deets all the time, like me, sign up for their newsletter! Trust me - no regrets!



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