We had the good fortune of connecting with AMANDA HENNESSEY and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi AMANDA, what role has risk played in your life or career?

I really like adventures. In my mind, adventure is made up of the following formula: possibility + risk + beauty. In other words, there is a possibility of a rewarding outcome AND I am willing to take a chance. Taking calculated risks helps me feel awake and excited. Do I love jumping out of airplanes into shark-infested waters? No. I’m not usually craving physical risks. I’ve always felt drawn to creative, intellectual, and business risks. I feel confined by too much of a predictable routine.

When it comes to calculating risk, my first step is to get really quiet to see what my gut tells me. If I have a sense of peace and excitement amidst my nerves, then I will start doing research. That said, I’m not someone who needs to read every single article or review ever written before moving forward. Nor do I ask everyone around me what they think. I trust my inner GPS a LOT.

Also, over the years I have seen that my belief system and feelings ABOUT the risk I’m taking really matter. For example, I moved to San Diego in September.

(A little backstory: I fell in love with California back in 2016. I saw that gorgeous Pacific Ocean and within minutes told my husband “let’s sell everything we own in Boston and move here!” Because I work for myself, I couldn’t go to my boss and say “please transfer me to the San Diego office.” What I could and did say was “Self, please visit California often, figure out the ideal location, and build a foundation of relationships. Then move there when the timing feels right.” Over several years, I increasingly spent time living in San Diego, exploring different areas of the county, making friends, and building work connections.

My husband and I had lived in the Boston area for many, many years. Our families and many of our friends live there. So, it was a very big decision to uproot and build a new life on a different coast. After living bi-coastaly, I finally commited to move in September 2021. Myhusband decided January 2022 was the right time for him.)

After making this decision, I  chose to believe my life in San Diego would come together. I chose to cultivate a mindset that included thoughts like “I’m able to continue serving my Boston clients”, “I’m collaborating with inspiring people”, “money is fun and comes to me”, “I work with fascinating clients”, and “I land on my feet”. Yes, I felt vulnerable when I got here, like a newborn giraffe. I still had some anxiety about how it would unfold. But I was committed to believing that I could create a fulfilling beautiful life in this new sunny place.

I believe that we take a lot of little quiet internal risks that lead up to bigger more visible risks. Allowing ourselves to think differently is one of those quiet internal risks.Through taking small risks like this, we may find that we’ve outgrown old ways of operating and discover we need to make changes. Allowing ourselves to entertain the idea that we deserve to pursue what we really want to do is another quiet internal risk. We may get in touch with a yearning to have a new career, lifestyle, or relationship and then feel restless and haunted if we don’t take action.

Once we’ve taken these internal risks, it becomes time to start taking external risks. This could be as simple as finding that safe person to talk about the risk we’re contemplating taking. That person may support us wholeheartedly or they may say something really unhelpful, which doesn’t feel great. The good thing about the nay-sayers is that they can cause us to go deep within ourselves to double-check that we’re really all in or that we’re not really committed and need to recalculate.

I believe that our own opinion is the one that matters most.

My biggest risks include: spending my junior year in India, pursuing an acting career, moving to NYC, moving to Boston, leaving a full-time job to do freelance work, co-founding two companies, founding two on my own, raising my prices, and my latest risk – moving to stunning San Diego!

What should our readers know about your business?

I’m a public speaking coach. I help innovators and visionaries to speak with power and ease so they can change the rooms or zooms they are in without self-doubt or losing precious sleep. Through one-on-one coaching and customized corporate workshops, I help these game-changers experience public speaking as an adventure with exciting risks, discoveries, and massive rewards rather than as a horror movie with terror, hiding, and dread.

I love what I do! My background in performance, my own struggle with stage fright, and my passion for personal growth all blend together in this kind of work. I also have had day jobs in a variety of environments – from a tech start-up to a tech giant, from an intense NYC law firm to a nonprofit for the arts. All that I learned from these work cultures helps me understand the challenges my clients are facing.

As I teach clients how to craft powerful messages, manage their nerves, and rehearse, I also encourage them to move towards self-acceptance. Self-love is a huge confidence boost! And when we allow our public speaking experience to be about creating a great experience for our audience, amazing things are possible. When we make the experience about getting approval, respect, and being liked, that’s when things get awkward and weird.

It’s totally normal to want approval and respect, but I have found we are more likely to get those things when we focus on the real task at hand. The real task at hand is communicating a message that makes people think,feel, and take action.

As for how I got started, this career path found me. Years ago a woman in my community approached me. She knew I was an acting coach and actress, she figured I could help her with her presentation at the bank where she worked. I was game to try and so I coached her on her content, nerves, and delivery. I found the process to be rewarding and way more creative than I had anticipated. I loved finding ways to add a bit of humor to her talk!

After that experience, I added that I offered public speaking coaching to our acting class website. Over time, more and more individuals and companies reached out and hired me to help them. I eventually decided to launch Boston Public Speaking as its own entity. Working with individuals from so many different fields brings me a lot of joy. My work is never dull! In 2019 I launched San Diego Public Speaking.

Also In 2019 my book, Your Guide to Public Speaking, was published. I’m very proud of this book – it contains all that I’ve learned from my own performance challenges and also all that I’ve gleaned from working with a wide variety of interesting people. It’s also a very cute size, it can easily fit in your medium-sized purse!

This year I launched Speak BOLDLY, my first group coaching program. I’ve taught many groups in a one-hour, half-day, full-day, or weekend capacity. I’m excited to see what unfolds over our 7-weeks together. Plus the benefit of having a built-in audience to practice in front of is a great opportunity.

Since late March of 2020 I’ve been primarily working with clients virtually. I do miss working with people in person, but so appreciate the convenience of online coaching and also the ability to work with people from all over the world.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?

We would definitely spend time in Encinitas! We’d enjoy the beautiful meditation gardens with the fabulously large koi. We’d look out at the Pacific Ocean and bask in the sun. We’d enjoy the walk to Moonlight Beach and fall in love with the painted rock garden that’s on the way. We’d go for a walk on the water’s edge, building our appetite up for Swami’s. We’d get a great night’s sleep and go to the San Diego Zoo Safari park in Escondido. We’d love the beauty of the various settings and we’d get such a kick out of watching rhinos run and seeing elephants drink water. Our minds would be blown as to how close we could get to the kangaroos. We’d go for a beautiful walk in Torrey Pines and grab a nutritious lunch at Flower Child in Del Mar. We’d save room for more yummy food at Trilogy Sanctuary in La Jolla. We’d love the views, murals, and cute gift shop! We’d also be sure to go to one of the fabulous events at FEMX Quarters, where we’d hear inspiring speakers, or make a vision board, and connect with other lovely souls. And we would be sure to see the sunset every single night.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?

I’m grateful to Christine Gallager (Founder of She’s Got Clients) for her support and wisdom over this past year. She’s helped me to envision exciting big things for my business and has also given me practical steps to create the business and lifestyle I want. This has been priceless during this year of transition to the West Coast!

Website: https://www.sandiegopublicspeaking.com/

Instagram: @amandaghennessey

Linkedin: Amanda Hennessey

Facebook: @bostonpublicspeaking

Other: bostonpublicspeaking.com, bostonactingclasses.com, leapmediatraining.com

Image Credits
Molly Hamill, Jessie Medina, Art Hennessey, Nile Scott, Angela Garzon

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