Heather Hansen embodies what it means to be an Elegant Warrior. With over twenty-five years of experience as a medical malpractice trial attorney, Heather has been consistently named one of the top 50 female lawyers in Pennsylvania and has been an anchor on the popular legal trial streaming site, LawandCrime.com. As an esteemed voice in her field, she has appeared on CNN, CBS, MSNBC, and Fox News, and contributed to Global Grind, Thrive Global, and KevinMD. Heather has done pro bono work with the Support Center for Child Advocates.
Now, Heather is sharing the lessons she’s learned from the courtroom in her new book, The Elegant Warrior, and teaches readers how they can win life’s trials without losing themselves in the process. We spoke with Heather about some of her top tools for life — here’s what Heather had so say!
What are some of your “top tools” for life?
Heather Hansen: 1) You always have a choice. No matter what the situation, you can choose how you will respond. You choose. Remembering this in times of trial reminds me that I have an impact on every situation, even if I don’t like the situation. I can choose my response. 2) The words “could be” are magic. Studies show when we use those two words, more possibilities become open to us. And “could be” allows me to see things in a different light. What I think is happening TO me, could be happening FOR me. It reminds me of Byron Katie’s first question in The Work." Is it true?” I ask myself “what else ‘could be’”? 3) You are a magnet. Take responsibility for what you attract.
What does it mean to be an Elegant Warrior?
HH: The ability to be true to yourself, both who you are and who you feel destined to be, no matter what inner and outer wars you face. The Elegant Warrior works to maintain that elegance even when she has to advocate for herself, her ideas, her family or her business.
How do you practice self-care while also hustling and following your passion?
HH: I believe self care begins with setting good boundaries, and that isn’t easy. I work on asking myself what is right for me in each situation before I agree to something that doesn’t work for me because I’ve acted too quickly or to appease someone. That is the hard part of self care. The rest is fun—the time with girlfriends, the monthly massages and the daily meditation are all part of it as well.
What are some of your top tools for caring for your mental health?
HH: For as long as I can remember I have given myself the gift of an hour first thing in the morning. I get up, and before I look at the phone I journal at least a page, read at least a chapter and meditate for at least 10 minutes. Then the day can begin.
If there’s one thing you could tell your past self, what would it be?
HH: You are exactly where you’re meant to be. Often I was in a rush, or looking around wondering what I was supposed to be doing. I’d remind myself that the Universe has plans that work when mine don’t and to trust in the moment.
What advice would you share with people who don’t know what they want in life and/or their career?
HH: Give it time. You are not a tree—if you don’t like a choice you make, you get to choose again. I believe we’re meant to have MANY jobs and MANY lives over the course of our one life, so there is always time to begin again.
What’s a lesson you learned because of a “failure”?
HH: I am not my successes or my failures. When I started trying cases and had a string of wins, it was really easy to see myself as my wins. I was terrified of losing. When I lost my first case I was knackered. Then I realized that I was not the win or the loss. I was more than what I was doing, and I could always go back to what I was being.
What’s one message you think the world needs to hear right now?
HH: Slow down and listen. We all have something important to say, but we’re often rushing about without being present. When we listen, with all of our senses, we can create connections that can change the world.
What’s your favorite quote/saying?
HH: Aerodynamically, a bumblebee should not be able to fly. However, the bumblebee doesn’t know that, so it goes on happily flying anyway.