We had the good fortune of connecting with Briana Hansen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Briana, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
There’s so much pressure to “succeed” in our world, yet nobody can ever really hone in on what success actually looks or feels like. There are moments when you feel a sense of accomplishment, but those are fleeting. It’s the everyday grind that we have to change our perspective about and define, for ourselves, what success really means at this point in our lives.
I say all that because I used to exhaust myself chasing “success.” I had ideas of what it looked like in other people and pushed myself to conform to that. I would spend as much time as humanly possible doing whatever creative work made me feel like I was closer to whatever definition of success I had landed on that day.
As I’ve come into my own self, I’ve relished in finding balance. I think work is only one element of your life. And the definition of it changes based on your own personal goals, feelings, needs, and gifts. When I became a mother, I was terrified in many ways because I knew that the days of spending all day every day essentially doing whatever I want with no one to answer to were over. I thought I hadn’t yet achieved the “success” I had in mind, so I wasn’t sure how I would ever do it. But the truth is, the experience of motherhood has transformed me and helped me wake up to a world around me begging to interaction. And in doing those every day activities that I used to run from or hold grudges about, I find more of my own power. So when I do put back on my creative hat in order to engage in some work, I am more effective in every way.
I’m certainly not the person who has said this, but nature is the best teacher. Flowers bloom in their own time and without any recognition or worry about what’s happening around them. If we judge our whole lives on the fleeting moments of blooming, we miss out on the whole journey that got us there.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
What I’m most proud of my art is the fact that my voice is a balance of light and dark. I used to run from the dark, making people laugh as much as I could to try to get us all to ignore or forget about some of the heavier stuff in life. But as I’ve grown in my maturity and been gifted with a number of miracles and tragedies, I’ve learned the beauty of weaving the two together. They’re two sides of the same coin. So I have learned to work diligently to create stories and experiences that simultaneously recognize the heaviness while bringing it more light.
I also have learned that as much as we talk about growth, we don’t often focus on that fact that growth often means letting go. Or, if we do talk about it, we don’t give people the tools to learn how to do so. If you’re an artist or a creative, that has to include being willing to let certain aspects of yourself continuously grow. And that means letting go of parts of your life (or people or shows or projects or choices) that no longer serve who you are becoming. Learning that is something I’ve been continuously challenged by because I’m a relentless optimist who wants to see every little project through. But the times I have learned to let go, the space created in that process have brought some of the most magic into my life.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’d start and end our week at the beach because that’s one of the best parts of Los Angeles. I’d probably go up to Will Rogers Beach since there’s plentiful parking and usually fewer people. I’d make sure we do at least a few hikes — two of my favorites are Millard Canyon and Temescal Canyon Falls. I’m not a huge foodie, but I would make sure we hit up the Inn of the Seventh Ray in Topanga is one of the greatest hidden gems in the whole city. And, of course, we’d go see comedy shows.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are so many people that deserve a shoutout since I’ve had so many teachers – on purpose and on accident – along the way. But when my husband, Alex Leavitt, entered my life, he ushered in a completely new era of stability, love, unwavering support that not only sees me for who I truly am, but encourages it on every level.
Also years ago a comedian I admired, David Pasquesi, engaged in a Facebook messenger conversation with me even though I was a stranger to him. He took the time to listen and offered life-changing advice that I still think about and refer to often.
Cameron Rice Photo, AmazeVR