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By Katie Marshall
Hannah Brencher is a writer, TED speaker, and communications expert. She founded The World Needs More Love Letters in 2011. In 2015, Hannah co-founded If You Find This Email. Her first book “If You Find This Letter” was released this March.
1. What is the most liberating thought you’ve ever had?
The thought that I might finally be able to live a life free from fear and anxiety.
2. What did it liberate you from?
This ongoing story I’ve listened to in my brain for so long that I would always be fearful and always play small.
3. What does it mean to live a good life?
To challenge yourself. To find the comfort zone, only to break it. To eat good food with good people. To have conversations that are hard but necessary. To give yourself the decent chance to fall in love. To try your best to love people right.
4. What illusion have you suffered from the most?
The illusion that perfection is a place on the map I can actually get to.
5. If you could go back and whisper in the ear of your 16-year-old self, what is the one thing you would tell them?
Don’t do it just because your friends do it.. Fall in love with your passions early instead of the party scene.
6. What does live feel like? (Real love, not hormonal love or I-like-the-idea-of-you-so-I’m-on-a-high love).
Real love (as I am learning) is self-sacrificial. It is growing with someone. It is calling someone up to to be the best verson of themselves. It is taking a person at 100%— not 90 or 80 or 60. Real love is making a choice every single day to invest your best energies in seeing that person across from you be who they said they wanted to be.
7. What does your daily routine look like?
I wake up early. I make a cup of coffee and read my bible. I spend the morning writing. I open up my inbox around noon. I invest in my projects in the afternoon. I finish the day with writing thank-you notes and sending emails to readers.
8. What is your favorite thing to look at?
9. Describe your perfect weekend.
Having nowhere to go but a coffee shop with a good book. The perfect weekend is a hike and then Netflix and wine on the couch with someone you love.
10. What do you worry about the most?
Making the wrong choice.
Because then the right one never gets made… you missed it.
12. What makes you cry?
Almost all iPhone advertisements. And those videos of soldiers coming home from war and surprising their family.
13. What do you doodle on the sides of your papers?
My name usually.
14. What is the most serendipitous thing that has ever happened to you?
I left a love letter on a train in New York City and it spiraled into a movement. That’s pretty serendipitous.
15. How did your biggest struggles become the pathways to your greatest success?
My anxiety and depression— and the choice to be focal about my weaknesses— has opened up a door for me to talk to people about their struggles.
16. What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Make coffee and thank God I woke up.
17. What do you wish you had more of in your life?
18. What do you find to be the most genuinely beautiful thing in the world?
People who love one another until the end.
19. If you could be free of one thought or fear, what would it be?
You are not qualified to write.
20. If you had the chance to tell every single person in the world just one thing, what would it be?
You’re okay. And you’re going to make it. It seems simple but I think it’s a reminder we need a lot more often: you’re okay. No need to be on top of the world… just being okay and being here is enough sometimes.