Thursday, April 11, 2019

Q&A with Heather Hansen

Heather Hansen is the author of the new book The Elegant Warrior: How To Win Life's Trials Without Losing Yourself. She has been a trial lawyer for more than 20 years, and she hosts The Elegant Warrior Podcast. 

Q: Why did you decide to write this book? 

A: I had won awards for advocating for my clients, but I still found it very hard to advocate for myself. I avoided conflict, and when I had to engage it made me nervous. 

Then I realized if I took the tools I used to win in the courtroom, I could use them to succeed outside the courtroom. I knew I had to share this knowledge with anyone who wanted to advocate for herself, her ideas, her customers, and her business.  

Q: You've written the book from the perspective of a trial lawyer. Can you say more about who you see as the primary audience for the book? 

A: Anyone who hesitates when it is time to advocate for herself. Many women struggle with setting boundaries and learning to object. This is for them. Many who have been bullied or hurt try to avoid similar hurt by avoiding conflict. This is for them. And many struggle with knowing they could use their voice to change the world, if only they knew how. This is for them.  

Q: How was the book's title chosen, and what does it signify for you? 

A: When I was a young woman, I lived with my grandmother in the summer and I was a salad girl at a restaurant. My grandmother would insist that I have earrings and lipstick when I left the house. It was her way of telling me that I could teach the world how to treat me, and my presentation was part of the lesson. 

But when I became a lawyer, we called the rooms where we prepared “war rooms” and our stories of our cases “war stories.” I realized that one could remain elegant, even in times of war. 

The root of the word elegance is to choose (much like “elect”) I believe you choose your elegance and then the hardest work is maintaining it at times of trial. 

Q: What do you hope readers take away from the book? 

A: I hope they learn their power to choose their elegance, and then accept the responsibility of maintaining that elegance even in times of trial. I hope that the book provides tools to help them do both.

Q: What are you working on now? 

A: After the book launch I plan to do online workshops and master minds to allow readers to dive more deeply and to create armies of elegant warriors. I’ve already been asked to create some retreats for the community, so that is in the works. 

I also hope to write an Elegant Warrior for Children. We aren’t taught how to advocate for ourselves as children. If we start young, we will get better faster. And then everyone will benefit.

--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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