Alexandra Franzen shared motivational words with HOPE, offering a fresh perspective on happiness through simplicity.
HOPE: We live in a world that is fixated on getting one another’s attention, often with distractions from the media and endless to-do’s. Yet you promote that simplicity leads to more joy. Why is this so important for the work that you do?
FRANZEN: To quote one of my lifelong heroes, Mister Rogers: “I feel so strongly that deep and simple is far more essential than shallow and complex.”
I think about those words, often. I’ve come to believe that unnecessary complexity is a burden. It holds us back and keeps us stuck. But simplicity is a liberating force. It frees us to do more. (Or do less, and do it better.) For me, the answer to just about any question is: “Let it be simpler.”
HOPE: Looking back on your life, what’s one experience that has influenced what you are doing today?
FRANZEN: I’ll never forget the day I received a mysterious, two-sentence email from a woman I barely knew in a city I’d never been to. Her name was Danielle. She’s now an extraordinarily successful entrepreneur. Back then, she was refining the shape of her business and was seeking a communications manager to help simplify her world. She hired me — even though I was fairly inexperienced at the time — just based on an intuitive hit that I could help her.
Her vote of confidence felt like lighter fuel for my business. She wasn’t just a great “boss” — she was a true catalyst for my career, opening me up to new opportunities at every possible moment. I’ll never forget the way she treated and supported me in those early days. One day, I hope to be that kind of catalyst for somebody else.
HOPE: For every woman seeking happiness, but still dealing with some traumatic experiences, what advice would you offer? What would you say to women who are afraid to take risks?
FRANZEN: Whatever you’re feeling right now - it’s all temporary. You are resilient. You are limitless. And whatever you want to create next: You can choose to let it be simpler.
HOPE: Knowing what you know now, if you could convince women to adopt a new habit, what would it be and why?
FRANZEN: Spend a little less time locking eyes with your computer screen and a little more time locking eyes with the person you love. (And/or: Dishing out compliments to strangers.) You’ll feel way more amazing. I speak from experience.
HOPE: It’s evident that now you’ve had a successful run with your career. So what can HOPE expect next from you?
FRANZEN: An online school for teenagers. It’s about writing and public speaking, but really, it’s about self-esteem. I’m also working on an erotic novel, my fiction debut! I’m also working on a book on crafting the perfect responses for “awkward conversations.” Plus lots more musings and lessons on writing, creativity and productivity — with less drama and more love.
Read more of our interview with Alexandra Franzen in our “May/June” issue of Hope for Women Magazine.