“What was one great thing that happened to you today?” With Beau Henderson & Amanda Hudes

Instead of asking your family at dinner, “How was your day?” ask, “What was one great thing that happened to you today?” You won’t believe what a difference it will make to the energy of the room, to the feeling between the family, to the rest of the night! If you say, “How was your […]

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Instead of asking your family at dinner, “How was your day?” ask, “What was one great thing that happened to you today?” You won’t believe what a difference it will make to the energy of the room, to the feeling between the family, to the rest of the night! If you say, “How was your day?” how many people do you think say, “It was such a great day!” vs saying, “It was okay,” right? If you start it out with a positive, asking for them to mention something that was great that day, they have to focus on that, and many times they will actually feel better afterwards.

As a part of my series about how to live with Joie De Vivre, I I had the pleasure of interviewing Amanda Hudes.

Event Planning Expert and Coach, Amanda Hudes, helps women and couples overcome the stress that comes along with planning weddings and other events and look and feel their best for the special event. She is the creator of Smiling Through Chaos, an event and wedding planning and coaching business, as well as the author of Amazon Bestseller, “Smiling Through The Chaos Of Wedding Planning.” Amanda focuses on the positive and the “happy” in situations, the solutions, and the creative and customized ways to make clients feel special.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share with us the backstory about what brought you to your specific career path?

I love that you asked me this question, because the backstory created such a passionate desire to help women and couples celebrate life in the biggest way possible.

I had a really wonderful, stable childhood, in the same house, attending the same school, with great friends and an amazing family. It wasn’t until the very end of high school when it felt like everything was tumbling down like a ton of bricks. My dog, who had been a part of our family for 13 years, passed away, my siblings were off at college, my romantic relationship with my boyfriend was emotionally unhealthy, almost all of my friends were single and going to college parties, drinking and meeting guys, I knew I would be leaving in a few months, and I was feeling lost for the first time in my life. I became depressed. And it took several months to grow stronger and start to love life again, but as I did, I came to realize that I never wanted to get to that dark place again, and I would appreciate every single day. As I went through the remainder of my schooling, graduating from the Fashion Institute of Technology and becoming certified from the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, I learned so much about myself and what I wanted out of life, and my mission in life became helping women feel beautiful. As my mission has expanded throughout the years, it has now grown to helping women and couples celebrate life, through large and intimate events and developing a healthy mind and body. I have heard so many times from clients that the first time they met me they could feel my passion for my career and wanting them to have the most amazing experience ever.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

The most interesting is this time period because it was so unexpected and tested me in so many ways! From needing to take action right away and reschedule events, working double and adding additional vendors into the mix when the original vendors were no longer available on the new date, to the emotional piece of it and being there for my clients during this stressful time. But it was more important than just “being there;” I needed to keep them smiling and excited for their big day. By listening, checking in, keeping my own energy up with them on phone calls, and even creating virtual weekly dance parties on Instagram Live to make the heavy days a little bit lighter, I showed them I cared in ways bigger than just “being there.”

Can you share a story with us about the most humorous mistake you made when you were first starting? What lesson or take-away did you learn from that?

Part of my business is Fashion Styling, making sure everyone looks and feels fantastic for their big event. Thus, when I work an event, I don’t just wear all black like many Event Planners do; I look at the style and colors of the event, how reserved or edgy the clients are, and I make the appropriate decision of what my team will wear at the wedding or event. At one wedding in particular, I wore a beautiful floral dress to a vineyard wedding, and it made total sense. Everyone really liked it and I was feeling great, but I was missing a couple pieces to the puzzle at that point because I hadn’t considered that I would be standing outside for the entire day and night during a cool Fall season. While the couple and guests stayed warm dancing, during the reception I started to get really cold. I had brought a nice faux fur coat, so I put it on, thinking I would only have it on for a few minutes to warm up. But I couldn’t take it off because I was still so cold! I’m not a coffee drinker and I started drinking so many cups of coffee just to stay warm, but then I had to go to the ladies room often. I’m not sure if anyone else knew, but I kept thinking, “Oh my gosh, I’m layering next time and wearing tights!”

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?

When I say I have the most amazing family, I truly mean it. But I know how blessed I am. Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, I have been taught, by both watching and listening, to work hard for what you want. Even now, any question or decision I have to make, no matter how big or small, I have never been made to feel that it’s insignificant when I call my father to ask his thoughts on the matter. And my mother is the most supportive, loving person I’ve ever met. They have both shown me that leading your life with doing good for others is the only way. I have the type of family that will be there no matter what, and throughout various struggles in my life, I have never doubted even once that my parents or siblings would be there, and that’s beautiful. It has made my work ethic strong, my desire to help others a must, and the word “impossible” deleted from the dictionary. It has led to a desire to show my children that being ambitious, working to become the “best you” every day, and following your intuition pays off.

Ok thank you for all that. Now let’s move to the main focus of our interview. The United States is currently rated at #18 in the World Happiness Report. Can you share a few reasons why you think the ranking is so low?

When we watch or read the news every morning, there might be a few pieces of information that are about uplifting topics, but most that make the headlines are about the worst of the worst. I have been watching and reading the news more lately than ever because I have to know the latest for upcoming events, but pre-COVID-19, I would only read the necessaries. We have to stop, as a society, focusing on the toxic, on the horrific, and start focusing on the people doing great things in this world, on the businesses that are giving back, on ideas that will help people live a happier and healthier life, and not just add those in as an aside. We, as Americans, are so overworked and, especially now, so overwhelmed with work and family that we don’t make time for balance, for fun. We are not only expected to work at the office, but also once we get home from work, never really having the off button anymore. And that’s not healthy.

Can you share with our readers your 5 strategies to live with more Joie De Vivre? Can you please give a story or example for each?

Make time every single day to do something you enjoy, whether for 5 minutes or 5 hours. I’ve had the craziest of busy days, but on those days, I know that I need a 10 minute dance party in my office, a half hour of laying on the couch watching a funny show before bed, or even a 2 minute phone call to a friend who I know will make me laugh.

Instead of asking your family at dinner, “How was your day?” ask, “What was one great thing that happened to you today?” You won’t believe what a difference it will make to the energy of the room, to the feeling between the family, to the rest of the night! If you say, “How was your day?” how many people do you think say, “It was such a great day!” vs saying, “It was okay,” right? If you start it out with a positive, asking for them to mention something that was great that day, they have to focus on that, and many times they will actually feel better afterwards.

Watch more puppies or babies. Have you ever noticed that at a certain point we lose our giggle? When you make a baby or toddler laugh, you can just feel your smile get bigger. When you see puppies cuddling or playing together, it just gives you the best feeling. The innocence of both are so real, and we need that to get away from the seriousness of life and to just sit in awe of how adorable babies can be.

Self-reflect in a positive way. Self reflection is so important, but sometimes we do so in a way that’s really harsh to ourselves. It’s wonderful to learn from mistakes and do better the next time, with grace. We do not need to feel shame or allow guilt because we have chosen to move forward and do better.

Delve into something you love every day. So many of us are working jobs 8–10 hours+ a day that we don’t enjoy. I don’t think there is one job where we are going to love every second of the day, but we can love our work. And even if you don’t love your job, there are ways to make it more fun. Sometimes just adding music to the background of your work can make it more enjoyable. It’s about “finding the happy” and adding it to your day.

Do you have any favorite books, podcasts, or resources that most inspired you to live with a thirst for life?

“The Four Agreements” by Miguel Ruiz has been a go-to guide for life since I first read it many years ago. I have given this book as a gift to clients, friends and family because it has so much impact.

“Real Good Company” is an inspiring podcast. One of the hosts is also the Founder of “The Giving Keys,” which employs people trying to get out of homelessness, so I support them often as well by purchasing self-love and outward-love gifts of jewelry from them. I love surrounding myself with inspiring, motivating, and good people.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” that relates to having a Joie De Vivre? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

“Life is a journey, not a destination”

I have a bracelet with this quote, one of my many quote bracelets, but it shows us that each phase or moment in our life is a stepping stone to the next. Sometimes we go through times in our lives that make us question everything, including ourselves, but remembering this allows us to continue on with faith and even greater understanding.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Oh yes, that’s a HUGE part of my everyday goals.

There are so many forms of success, so in the form of emotional success, from giving people compliments as I pass them to making sure I am smiling and laughing every day myself, nothing makes me happier than seeing people’s smiles grow bigger when I do or say something to help them enjoy life more. I also bring my children to volunteer several times a year, for what they see and do as children will make them even better people if we teach them to do so.

In the form of success within my business, for every client booked, I make a charitable donation, as well as additional donations throughout the year. I am also on the Board of Advisors for the breast cancer non-profit organization, “Evolve Pink.” And when it comes to supporting others chasing their dreams, when I see people working hard, I share their posts to help grow their businesses and show support. As I have always said, if only good can come from doing something, why don’t we do it more often? Why would we ever hold in a compliment? Why would we ever be competitive when we all have something unique to offer the world?

Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?

Oh, this mind is always creating! As soon as we were told to quarantine during COVID-19, I started working on an offering through Smiling Through Chaos that would allow people to still have their big events, just with a smaller guest count. There is no reason to settle! As I worked with vendors to create a streamlined process so we could plan events in only a few weeks, I always kept the same goal in mind — smaller guest count, jaw-dropping, major moments, statement decor, and events that would create long lasting memories. As I began sharing the news about this new offering, called, “The Experience,” I saw articles coming out about micro weddings. “The Experience” allows couples and hosts to still have their wedding and event without having to make it “micro.” You can still have your WOW moments!

I’m also working on an online TV show with a few other fantastic professionals, which I’m super excited about! It’s going to be epic, full of open discussion, ideas, and so much more. It’ll be launching in a few weeks, so be sure to check back in to find out more!

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I would love to inspire a movement of love and appreciation for ourselves and each other, a reminder that there is so much good if we only decided to see it.

Thank you for these excellent insights!

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