"Q&A With Haley"


Book: She Is Without Limits

Author: Haley Hoffman Smith 

Author Bio:
Haley is currently a junior at Brown University, in Providence, Rhode Island. She Is the CEO and Founder of Lit Without Limits, our sister non-profit which she started at age 18, and the author of She Is Without Limits, an interactive guidebook for young women. A writer, entrepreneur, and self-proclaimed “Carrie Bradshaw”, Haley has devoted her first 20 years to female empowerment, creative play and intends to do the same for her next 20 years and beyond.

1) How do you approach a conversation with someone who has different opinions or beliefs than you do? Do you think the division that exists in this country right now can be mended?

HS: There has to be love and a desire to understand. No one is "bad" because of their beliefs. A lot of the time, when two people who share different views come together to talk, they both remain closed-minded. It is typically motivated by an agenda: "I will listen, but then I'll convince them of my way." No, there needs to be a true desire to understand. That's the only way to strike a compromise. I'm truly not sure if this can happen on a large enough scale to mend fences right now, but a lot of what I do in my work in She Is Without Limits is gives a platform for women to share their own stories and experiences. There's something about storytelling that really exposes the humanity of the story teller. It's hard to judge someone or continue to criticize them once you know what they've gone through, or how they've been shaped by their circumstances.

2) What was the writing process like for your book? Idea etc.

HS: These ideas had been floating around for a while! I had always wanted to write a book and knew exactly what I would say. I was fortunate to have the 'push' to do it. Writing it had a significance: I knew that somehow, someway, it was going to be out in the world. It wasn't just for me. I devoted to doing a chapter a day, which sounds insane, but I had to just get my ideas down on paper. And then I let it marinate for a second. I finished my sophomore year of college and came back to it this past summer - Kelly Hart, my biz partner, took on the editing process and had a lot of eyes on it. We really had to morph it and be brutal - we wanted to make sure it was in the best shape it could be in and was accessible for all women.

3) What’s the best advice you've received about happiness?

HS: It can only come from you! So often, people rely on money, fame, success, another person... I have found that my truest happiness has come from moments I spent alone in a coffee shop, watching some creative genius grab hold of me, spending hours lost in the experience of creation (whether that be an idea into a business, a graphic design project, a blog post...) You just have to find what makes you lose track of time, what makes your cheeks "Warm and buzzy" (as I say in my book).

4) Why should people read your book?

HS: I think if the name calls to them, they should read it (Aside from the gender pronoun, because I think men could benefit too!). If there is some way you are feeling limited, it's worth a read. Maybe just one chapter will appeal, and that's okay. I cover a lot of ground, but I wrote it with the heartfelt intention to change people's perspectives about themselves and to really understand what they're capable of.

"IT IS NOT UNTIL WE FULLY RECOGNIZE OUR SELF-IMPOSED LIMITS THAT WE MAY EFFECTIVELY ELIMINATE THEM." - HALEY HOFFMAN SMITH

5) Do you plan to write more books in the future? 

HS: Yes! I have absolutely no idea what my next one will be, but the idea excites me! And, I really like the idea of writing with someone. It was fun to have the contributors join this first book.

6) What’s your best advice for getting through writer’s block?

HS: It's probably the result of trying to write something inauthentic, or, pushing yourself at an inopportune time. My best pieces have come when the idea has taken hold of me - it doesn't even feel like I'm rationalizing what I'm writing, it's just flowing from an unknown source. This usually happens if I haven't written in a while, and is always articulated best if it's something that really rings true with me in the moment, or strikes an emotional cord.

7) What does it mean, to you, to be without limits?

HS: To have no doubt in your mind that anything that sounds remotely interesting to you, you can do. That any life path or version of success that sounds appealing to you is within reach. And you don't have to wait for "one day", that day can be today, all you have to do is go sit down with a large latte and make a game plan and trust that you will find the will in all the consequent days to follow that one vision.

You really do become what you envision. There have been so many times where I've actually been surprised that what I've fantasized about actually came to fruition! Never doubt the power of your mind and visualization. In the weeks before my book was published, we were having some difficulties and it just seemed like a challenge to get all the pieces into place.

I was also really concerned with how everyone would receive the book - here's my whole soul and life story, would they like it? Kelly and I had been playing with the idea of having a launch party to celebrate its release, and those plans weren't going well either. So - and I know this may sound crazy - I stood in my tiny dorm room, closed my eyes, and visualized standing in front of all my friends and family and thanking them for their support. I imagined my dream launch party, and the publishing going off without a hitch, and my book's words really benefitting people. And that exact moment unfolded in my actual reality just a month later - at the same place I had envisioned (which had originally been a long shot).

I'm not sure this story is totally relevant to the question, except to say - you can literally have whatever you want, as long as you want to help others. You are without limits here, as you are. The only limits are those you put on yourself.

8) What do you believe are some advantages of being a women entrepreneur, that most people don’t think about?

HS: Female creative energy!! There is truly nothing like it. Women, especially when they come together, get so much DONE because of it! They feed off one another's energy and next thing you know, all the company's problems have been solved and a FUN strategy is in place to accomplish it. :)

 

PLACES TO FIND MORE FROM THIS AUTHOR

Facebook: Haley Hoffman Smith
Facebook (Company): She is Without Limits
Facebook (Non-Profit): Lit Without Limits
Instagram: haleyhoffmansmith
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