Self Care: Happiness for Meeting and Event Professionals
By Beth Buehler
With so much talk about how to safely and successfully hold meetings and events during the Covid-19 era and people feeling the impacts of the pandemic at home, work, school and everywhere, Destination Colorado took a little detour and looked at self care and happiness of meeting and event professionals at its member meeting in May 2021.
Lady Fuller, who recently established Happiness MBA and owns International Gifting Company, shared her philosophies and ideas with the group during her talk “I Prefer Happiness.” The presentation was followed by a rooftop reception at the new Monarch Casino Resort Spa. Along with big views, a tostada action station and a specialty cocktail, the group was treated to networking face-to-face for the first time since Covid.
“One of the main benefits of Destination Colorado membership is the peer-to-peer camaraderie and networking,” says Executive Director Kelly Layton. “Our membership is very engaged and committed to supporting meetings and events throughout Colorado.” The next membership meeting will be at the end of July. Email Lauren at Lauren@destinationcolorado.com if you would like to be included on the invitation.
A new business is born
Most people in the meetings and events industry know Fuller, a Destination Colorado board member, as president of Aspen-based International Gifting Company. However, when Covid hit revenues for the business took a big hit seemingly overnight but was surviving. Instead of sinking in misery and waiting for things to turn around, Fuller took action.
“I had the business under control and knew there had to be more meaning for me. I’d been helping people free of charge for a long time, and I went back to school and got my master’s certification in habit change and life coaching,” shared Fuller, who previously earned her MBA from University of San Francisco and also works as a suicide prevention instructor and advocate.
“I am now a success coach and also in the meetings industry running a corporate travel incentive business,” she said. “During Covid and before Covid, I knew that I wanted to do something else with my life. That is my Covid story, we all have one!”
The result? Fuller established Happiness MBA. Her goal is to get people moving upstream toward happiness. “No one taught me how to be happy and what that really means. I got my master’s degree, and no one sat me down and told me what I could do every day to make me happier. We should be able to get our MBA in happiness or get a certification; they’d pack that course!” she said.
“I Prefer Happiness” presentation by Lady Fuller
The Impact of Habits
Fuller started off by encouraging attendees to think about their own lives and how habits change what they do every day and impact life as a whole. Sometimes, these habits lead to anxiety and wondering why we don’t feel happier.
“How do you have a life with no anxiety? You can take a look at your daily habits. Habits are little things we can digest and adjust,” she explained.
Approximately 96 percent of what we do as individuals is habitual, so our brains can save space for other things. For example, brushing teeth is a good habit and something we do on autopilot. Bad habits are often choices we made a long time ago and are still doing.
Fuller asked attendees to write down one habit in their daily lives that they would like to change. “You have to identify habits to change them,” she stressed. It may throw you into “awareness hell” knowing you need to change something, but it is a start.
An example provided was buying cookies in the cafeteria every day when the true benefit is seeing friends there. For a more healthy option, she proposed getting water instead and focusing on the reward of seeing friends instead of the cookies.
Or if your bad habit is procrastinating, focus on productivity. “We waste 3 to 5 hours a day procrastinating. Productivity is really quite easy; it’s focus! Focus on three things you have to get done every day, and get them done by 10 a.m.”
Key for anyone, including meeting and event professionals, is recognizing that changing a bad habit requires inviting in a good habit and realizing the benefit. For example, not drinking alcohol results in clarity.
The Background Story
Sharing her own journey toward habit change and pursuit of happiness, Fuller explained what ultimately led to starting Happiness MBA.
Fuller appeared to have an idyllic life growing up in a huge, 150-year-old house in the Garden District of New Orleans with a mom who was a model and ballerina and a dad who was businessman. Tragedy struck when her mom died by suicide. “I didn’t even know what suicide was. … And no one even talked about it, it was like it never happened.”
As a young teen, Fuller drank alcohol for the first time and realized it made her feel good and took some of the pain away. In New Orleans drinking is widely accepted, she noted, “so it wasn’t different or weird compared to anything else.” Fast forward 10 years, and Fuller was 24 years old and living in San Francisco, finishing her MBA, and still drinking and partying like everyone.
“I knew in my heart of hearts this wasn’t the full version of myself. Inside of me I had terrible debilitating anxiety, probably caused by drinking and the childhood trauma,” she shared. As a result, Fuller sought more external measures in the pursuit of happiness like starting a business, marrying, having children, living in a big home and residing in a cool Colorado ski town. “But I was really unhappy. I did everything that everyone told me to do and ended up having to go to therapy. I had to really look at my life and realize what I was searching for wasn’t outside myself.”
After quitting drinking, getting a divorce and feeling the impact of the Covid pandemic, Fuller said, “I thought there has to be something else.”
Meeting and Event Professionals Can Find True Happiness Too!
So what is happiness? It is a personal concept for all of us, but Fuller’s definition is simple. It’s the “idea of being unbothered,” she said. “Happiness is not out there but inside you.”
Frequently, recognizing and fully understanding personal happiness involves change work. “We look at beliefs and what we learn from our parents or others while we are young. Beliefs shape our identity and identity shapes behavior,” she explained.
Plus adding in positive habits like drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep (Fuller offers a 30 Day Sleep Like a Baby program), and developing a morning routine also can have a great impact on the feeling of well-being.
Morning is the perfect time for meeting and event professionals to start to drink water, enjoying a quiet 10 minutes to think, reading something positive, writing down a gratitude thought, and affirming yourself. Setting the tone for the day and being grounded makes it easy to realize that a happy life is totally doable.
Wrapping up, Fuller challenged attendees to see if their actions are in tandem with their top priorities. “What is your top goal and definite purpose? What goal, if I accomplished it in the next 24 hours, would have the most impact? Now do that at least one hour a day.”
As a benefit to Destination Colorado members, Lady is offering a free coaching session. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org and begin or further your journey to happiness!
Beth Buehler has been editor of Colorado Meetings + Events magazine for 16 years and helped launch Mountain Meetings magazine in 2013. She has planned numerous meetings and events and enjoys exploring Colorado.