I don’t just want to tell my story. I want to give people the space to tell their own stories. Stories in which people followed their own inner voice. Went in new directions. Broke rules. Grew. Because there are so many unbelievable stories that need to be told!
The Story of Jana Berger
Who are you?
I’m Jana, 28, from the Munich area. I started my own business with a content and social media agency a year ago and I also run a mom blog. Together with my husband and daughter, we live with my mother in a multi-generation house. As a couple we try to live and work on an equal footing. I fought very intensively for this for a few years. Because we’ve been together for almost thirteen years. When our daughter was born three years ago, it was difficult not to fall into classic role models. I have questioned everything. I basically do that all the time. I almost dropped out of school before I graduated from high school and later actually dropped out of my studies after four semesters. It didn’t feel right. Not after me.
Something happened to me anyway. I have my own head and act according to gut feelings. Life is such a great gift. We have a duty to live it. The way we want it. Each of us is so unique for a reason. Namely to enrich with this uniqueness. Ourselves and others. When I came out of school, I really doubted myself. In this system, in which there was no place for me, I had almost dissolved. I developed extreme social phobia and depression, which I also had to be treated with medication for. Until I realized that it was okay to be myself. Sometimes happy, sometimes sad, sometimes strong and brave, sometimes fearful. Sometimes like this; sometimes like that. And always different.
What do you see as your calling?
Maybe I’ll open doors that weren’t there before. Show that everyone can be brave. Everyone can live on an equal footing. Feel valuable and love the way he is. No matter where it comes from and where it is. Sometimes I think that the customers who book me to build a brand look for and find something completely different with me: themselves. I come and go like a wave. I used to suffer a lot from it. I wondered why I lack consistency. Why I’m always drawn on. But that’s just me. I am there when I am needed and I leave when my work is done. This is my destiny: to touch people’s lives for a brief moment. Sure, there is also the writing, the social networks, all the marketing stuff and now and then a creative photo. But basically I want to show people what they really are. Tell their stories, work out their strengths and show what makes them so special. Sometimes through an article, sometimes through a few pictures, sometimes through an entire online presence. Sometimes just like that.
When did you start to follow your own inner voice?
I’ve always been like that. As a child, I knew that very well. I often spent hours talking to my depressed uncle at night. About broken relationships, about alcohol consumption, drugs, violence, suicide. I was maybe six at the time. I always knew who I was. Life has always sent me difficult people. The ones that were lost. The ones you couldn’t save or change. And then they were gone. But I took one thing with me: the confidence that it will always go on somehow if you choose to live. That you don’t have to be afraid. Especially not before not fitting. Who cares.
I wrote a lot as a small child. Poems, lyrics, stories, articles, blog posts, posts. I kind of write all the time. About anything or anyone. I disposed of most of my trash in my youth. Because they talked me and my skills so bad. The confidence came back through my daughter and Instagram. The love and affirmation from outside healed me. It gave me new energy and the fighting spirit to show it to everyone.
What stumbling blocks did you encounter on your journey?
I come from a difficult family. We never had much money either. I met my father twice. Once as a toddler and then again as a young adult. I didn’t feel seen Refused somehow. Not as a full human. My opinion never interested anyone. I was so lost, so invisible and incredibly hurt, every single day. I came from nowhere. And that’s a long way.
Most of all I stumbled upon myself. Or rather, about many different versions of myself that weren’t real. I had created to finally be able to swim with the current. Versions that made it easier for me to belong. Pretty, easy to deal with, wide reach. It worked really well for a while and brought me forward, also professionally. But at some point you yourself look in the mirror and see how the facade is leafing through and underneath it comes back to the person who you are. Man yourself. And that’s okay. I am at a point where I can bear this. And where my greatest weaknesses have become my greatest strengths. I am very happy about that and somehow proud.
Are there parallels between your path and the Stranger’s project?
The Stranger project touched and inspired me a lot. I think I still have the path he took with his desert symphony before me. That there is something that I want to dedicate myself to with all my heart. Quiet. Without saying: “Here I am, buy me! Give me likes and call my name! ”. It is this intrinsic motivation that has left a lasting impression on me. But yes, in a way I always went my own way. Even if there were still so many people who wanted to pick me up.
How would you encourage other people to follow their inner voice?
When I go for a walk, I often look at the moon and I think: Hey, we’re part of a huge universe. Then I try to look at life from above and realize how small our problems and fears are. Does anyone in another universe care what decisions we make today? And be so daring. In the end, you always get applause for unusual actions. Even if it takes a while. In my opinion, following our inner voice is our duty as human beings. At least someone told me that once. Since then I have seen the world very differently. Thoughts, wishes, talents and our intuition are not there to ignore them. They are the tools so that we can go our own way.
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