Smart characters, staying calm and making valuable contacts

Having told you last week that I rarely talk about TV, it’s dominated my weekend.  Kind of.  Something happened on Friday that was totally out of my control: a planned power cut resulted in my Tivo box blowing out.  (Blowing up without the bang?  I don’t know the technical term.)  Four hours on the phone to Virgin (not me) led to an engineer visit today, three days later.  As I write this we are still TV-less, a state that is less distressing than you might think, even during Christmas week.  I’m eagerly awaiting the engineer’s arrival right now: coffee is brewing, mince pies are cooling, my best smile will hopefully encourage him to replace the old box with a shiny new one, full of interesting, fun programmes to entertain me whilst I honey up the parsnips.

The problem with this sort of thing is our reliance on other people, often at the end of a phone line.  Polite, condescending and unable to deviate from their predetermined script, the conversation tends to go in circles, often didactic and rarely satisfying.  Doesn’t it make you want to scream?!!  I’ve learned over the years to not let it drive me crazy – that won’t help.  Instead, I stay calm – meditation helps.  In this instance I reminded myself that most of TV is a load of rubbish, which is why I generally only have it in the background while I’m working or playing scrabble.  (Apart from Homeland, which requires special concentration being paid to Mr Damian Lewis – who, coincidentally, my Facebook friend Karen bumped into in Selfridges last week.  I’m not too proud to admit I was extremely jealous!!)

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So wrapping gifts this weekend gave me an opportunity to catch-up with one of my favourite box sets: West Wing.  After my second run-through in 2012 I felt like I was actually working in the capital of the free world.  Those smart, sassy people became substitute colleagues, holding intelligent conversations and making me think hard, laugh, mentally fight for them and sympathise through their tough times.  Weird?  Not so much.  It seems that freelancers and business people who work alone can feed off characters they admire.  We can mentally transcend environments and place ourselves in an appropriate frame of mind for the setting, becoming more productive in whatever we’re doing in the real world.

Working alone for much of the time is one of the reasons I love networking and collaborating with other small businesses.  Sharing ideas and support with like-minded individuals is fantastic and inspiring, and shouldn’t be underestimated.  If you don’t network – either because you’re too busy, too shy or simply don’t know where to start, you’re welcome to join me in 2014.  I’m happy to recommend good places to make valuable contacts for different industry sectors, and I know who serves up great lunches along with the business opportunities.  Although, we’ll probably all have had enough of food by the end of this week!

Wishing you a wonderful Christmas if you celebrate it, and a magical week even if you don’t.  I hope it’s filled with peace, love and laughter – and the people who make you happy.

It’s not too late to write your letter to Santa if you haven’t already done so.  I borrowed Madonna’s this year.   “Come and trim my Christmas tree, with some decorations bought at Tiffany’s.  I really do believe in you; let’s see if you believe in me.”  I’m real… here I am: @WeekendWitch.

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