FAQ – Taking time to reflect and connect

I was recently talking with a group of people about how to make the most of Christmas and New Year. After a while, two words jumped into my head that seemed to summarise what everyone was talking about; connection and reflection. The more I thought about this, the more I realised that the Christmas break is the ideal time to do both.

Reflect

Whatever kind of a 2021 you’ve had, the end of the year is the perfect time to reflect on what’s happened… Not just personally, but from a business perspective as well.
Some people have had it really tough. I was speaking to an artist called Ben recently who’d had cancer, and Covid, and lost his father, and had to move house, all in 2021. Things like that give you perspective. I hope your year has been better than Ben’s! (He’s doing well now, and is very positive and busy.)
  Reflection allows us to process what’s happened, the positive and the challenging. If you look back at 2021, what have been your highlights? What changes have you made in your life and work that you’ve relished or have gone well?
  One thing I do, is to write down all the jobs I’ve done, then work out which ones I’ve enjoyed the most, and which ones have been the most (and least) profitable. It’s a brilliant exercise to do.
  I did this throughout my decorating career and that’s why I ended up doing a lot of renovation work on big old houses, I got a lot out of it, and it was profitable. Bashing out new builds wasn’t my cuppa, but perhaps you love them, or they’re good for the bank balance? Work out what kinds of jobs and kinds of customers to go for in 2022.

Connect

The last couple of years have been incredibly difficult to keep connected to friends, family, and work associates. Although lots of things have opened up now, at the time of writing I know three people who are isolating at home with Covid.
  Some people have felt more isolated than others and it’s important to recognise that.
What brought it to real focus, was watching a two minute film a friend of mine made about how older people can feel very isolated when they get home from a hospital visit. A staggering 46% of people over 75 go back to an empty home after being in hospital. The film shows an old chap waiting for the phone to ring, but it never does.
  It seems almost criminal in a time when we are supposedly so connected with phones, emails, instant messaging, and travel largely opened up again, that so many people still feel isolated.
  It makes a huge difference when people get in touch, whether it’s a phone call, a card, even a hand-written letter, or just popping in with some cake for a coffee?
It’s not just a good idea for personal reasons, it’s the perfect time to get in touch for business reasons too.
  Send a card to all the clients you’ve had over the past two years (the ones you like anyway). You could buy some charity cards, or even get some cards made… A picture of you in decorating whites with a santa hat on perhaps?
  Send a card or an email to your favourite suppliers saying ‘thank you’ for the good service they’ve provided over the past year, and you hope they get the chance to have a really good break over the festive period. Sometimes we’re quick to complain, but not so good at saying thank you for good service. Christmas is a great time to redress that balance.
  Some of you, like me, will be old enough to remember the BT ads from the 1990s with Bob Hoskins telling us “It’s Good To Talk” (you can still find them on YouTube, I just did and they made me smile!). As Bob would say, why not get on the blower?
  So, as well as having a proper break this Christmas, and doing all the stuff you love
doing at this time of year, plan in a few quiet hours to reflect and connect.

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