I know that this is a very strange title for a musing and probably has quite a few of you wondering, "œWho the heck is Hugh Muir, and why do I need him in my life?" Keep reading and you"™ll see why.

I"™m a solopreneur. For those of you who"™ve not heard that term before, it simply means that I"™m self-employed and have no other employees in my business. It"™s just me, myself, and my overactive imagination, the latter of which does come in handy since I"™m a writer and editor.

Some days I"™m crazy busy, and others I"™ll have a few hours where there is nothing in my inbox for me to work on. It"™s those "˜others"™ that sometimes gets me into trouble.

A few years ago I developed an online buddy support system with another virtual assistant who is self-employed as well. He resides in another province so we communicate mainly through instant messaging and occasional phone calls (on his dime I might add, as I"™m too frugal to purchase a "˜real"™ long distance plan. Hey, VoIP works for me and is inexpensive! What can I say.)

Two days ago we were kvetching through instant messenger and got chatting about how some people have absolutely no sense of humour, especially irate clients who expect everything to have been completed yesterday when they"™ve only sent you the work to be done an hour earlier. Since both of us have clientele from the US and Canada, we frequently switch back and forth between the two different spelling formats of each country. In his haste to type the word "˜humour"™ in the IM box, he pecked out "˜humer"™, then "˜humor"™, followed by "˜humour."™ By this time I was snickering and since I was having one of my non-busy days, I responded, "œDon"™t you mean "˜Hugh Muir?"™ That did it for me. I started laughing and couldn"™t stop until I had tears running down my face and a stitch in my side.

It suddenly occurred to me that this one trait, my whacky, off-the-wall, slightly warped sense of humour, is what has gotten me through all the rough patches and obstacles I"™ve faced in growing of my business. For example, when I first opened my doors for business and noticed nobody seemed to be beating a path to them, I got very scared. Then one day I simply decided that while I was waiting for those unknown clients to line up, I"™d plant beautiful flowers along the front of my walkway. This way, I reasoned, at least they"™d have something nice to smell when they arrived.

I firmly believe that if you can cultivate the ability to be able to laugh at adversity, or find something funny in a down situation, then you"™ve developed an admirable trait. I know for a fact that laughter reduces the level of stress hormones and increases the level of health-enhancing hormones like endorphins and neurotransmitters in your body, plus it just plain feels good. Another benefit of laughter is that when you"™re with other people and one of you starts chuckling, it sort of becomes this contagious "˜smiling"™ disease. The next thing you notice is that most of your group is laughing as well.

Laughter is also a terrific ice breaker when trying to engage new clients in conversation. I"™m not suggesting that you try to be a comedian and crack them up with witty one-liners every 2 minutes, but I"™ve yet to see a book on business building where they strongly suggest that you NEVER smile or say something funny. In fact I warn all my new clients that I don"™t have a very good filter on my mouth and to be prepared for the unexpected when talking with me.

So, the next time you"™re feeling frustrated because your client list isn"™t as big as you"™d like, or your bank account isn"™t even close to what Madonna pays her personal trainer, (I couldn"™t find an accurate estimate here or I"™d have shared it with you!), go ahead "“ laugh. It"™s free; it feels good; you won"™t gain a pound from it, or have to go to confession because of guilt. And you just might find that your day and disposition will improve.

Invite "˜Hugh Muir"™ into your life. I can guarantee you he"™ll be a very nice addition to your household and life.

PS "“ To all the actual real life "˜Hugh Muir"™s"™ out there, I do apologize for borrowing your name for this article. I"™m certain that you"™re very nice gentlemen and most definitely have developed your own sense of humour"¦ or humor"¦ or however you spell it where you live.

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