How blessed are we? We get to have the most wonderful chats with the most interesting people – people worth meeting – on The Coffee at Eleven Show every week. And this past week was no exception.

The show was born out of COVID and as it gathered momentum mid 2020, it attracted an eclectic regular live audience, members of which stumbled across it in various ways through the various levels of lockdown; James Finnegan was one of them.

He arrived to no fanfare one day to listen to an interview with fellow Kerry resident, Pat Falvey. Afterwards, James messaged me to apologize for ‘gatecrashing’ which sparked up a text chat whereby I let him know he wasn’t gatecrashing and indeed was welcome back any day the show was going out live. (it was weekdays then, Fridays now)

He came back next day. And the next.

And stayed.

And we fell in love with him.

And you will too.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I invite you stick on the kettle, grab a coffee, and think with James and me for a bit in your preferred way.

Yours Truly: You are more than welcome to this episode one of season three of The Coffee at 11 Show brought to you by WIG-WAM Mastermind Coaching. Delighted that you’ve chosen to join us. And thank you for being here, and in particular, I’d like to welcome our very special guest this morning, Mr. James Finnegan, all the way from the Kingdom and in Tralee. James, please pop in and say hi. Show us your coffee mug.

James Finnegan: Good morning, all. Happy New Year. If we can still say that at this stage. And I think Eamonn’s part should have gone on a lot longer.

Yours Truly: I think Eamonn would have liked that, too. But hey, we’ve got a show to run. Come here. It’s wonderful. And it’s lovely to have you all here and thank you indeed for joining us. This is really exceptional, Cathy Merra. You’re more than welcome back from New Hampshire. Great to see you here, the early bird in New Hampshire. I think we’ve Geneva in the room. Yeah. We have Geneva in the room, and we’ve even got the pretend Capital in the room – messing – Seamus there, waving away. looking for attention. Looking for attention.

So let me just tell you about James Finnegan. As I said in my preamble yesterday on social media, everyone’s favorite granddad. James Finnegan is his name. I asked what’s your business do? He says, “Jack of all trades. Master of one or two.” And I really liked that. I really like that because most people say master of none.

So this man is backing himself. How long established? Wait till you hear this. “Going since 1959, and still trying to establish myself.” How many employees? “Three,” he says. “Me, myself, and I.” He goes on to say that James is a husband, father, and grandfather. He spent the first thirty years growing up in London, and I presume the last 50 here, working in the bank and living over the pub his parents ran in Hammersmith, AKA the university of life. Love that. He was involved in choirs and soccer. He married Kathleen in 1989, and on a whim, moved to Kerry, and he worked for Tralee Golf Club, the Football Association of Ireland, UEFA until a relatively minor accident had life-changing consequences. I want to pick at that one, if you don’t mind.

And he is now retired, indulging himself with writing, and by the way, we’ve all experienced his writing. It’s beautiful. Performing. We’ve experienced that. It’s beautiful, too. And community activism. And wait till you hear this. This is wonderful, right? Something nobody knows about you, except for Seamus O’Donovan. “My distant cousin has just been sworn in as the 46th US President of the United States of America. And if that’s not enough, ladies and gentlemen, if that’s not enough, “I have sung for three popes.”

There you go. Two last things, then we’re going to open it to the floor to your fan base, were two things. One is what are you taking with you from COVID?

James Finnegan: That’s a brilliant question. Without in any way degrading the experiences of those who are sick and those who have passed, and those left behind, what I’ve learned from COVID is a couple of things. One is that anything is possible. All those things that could never be changed, that can’t be amended, that can’t be developed, suddenly could be. And we had time. We had time to stop. You’ve had an idea of what my life was like before, but now everybody had to slow down. And look at what I’ve got out of it. I’ve met this group. I’ve met Raymond and the Tangible Group. I’ve visited places all around the world. I’ve gone to the White House. I’ve gone to the South Antarctic. I’ve gone to the Toastmaster meetings all around the world now. And I see I have some fellow Toastmasters in with me today. So that’s my confirmation. What I always believe before, that anything is possible. And to use that fancy word, you just have to pivot that right way.

Yours Truly: I love it. So that’s what you’re taking with you from COVID. You’re not going to let go of the fact that anything is possible into the future. Beautiful. Thank you, James. And then the last question before we open it up to your fan base is what one tip would you give anybody? Because we’ve all, I think, struggled at some point through COVID. All of us at some point have had low moments. What’s your one tip for anybody who has hit that and may hit it again?

James Finnegan: I think family is all important. Friends is all important. Keep yourself busy, be it reading, be it writing. There’s always a new project coming. There’s always something different coming. And always say yes. That’s what I’d say. That’s the big thing. Always say yes. Worry about the technicalities and how you’re going to do it later. But always say yes.

Stay safe, stay in touch.

The Coffee at Eleven Show goes out LIVE every Friday at 11am IST here: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82661656072 All welcome for FREE.