FRANK SOBEY: Not a time for sitting back
I'VE taken a battering over the past few weeks with one thing and another and find myself writing this with very little energy left for anything more than simply touching the glass screen of my iPad.
Big stuff has been going on including the fact that the company I founded with my brother-in-law has ceased trading.
Harbour Sports is yet another retail casualty in the deeply troubled fiscal landscape.
We live in curious times with daily reports of folk falling off the edge and that hurts.
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A few years ago I featured in a video made for a local legal firm offering advice for people facing redundancy.
My take on the subject was that we always need to be positive, which given the catastrophic impact of job loss is hard to do.
Having to face the fact that you are not needed in the team, telling your family and those around you that you have lost your job is not easy.
The interviewer said that it was all very well for me to say that because I had my own business.
My answer was that in these uncertain times that couldn't be taken for granted because everything could change in the blink of an eye, and change they did! Harbour Sports fell over.
In the words of Biblical text, that time had come to pass and I found myself telling staff that their jobs had gone, closing the doors and going through an insolvency process which is still going on.
All emotionally draining and curiously also physically challenging. It's not the way I thought things would pan out, but then I guess that is true for many these days.
Harbour Sports, after 35 years, had become something of an institution and messages of support have arrived from all over the world. People can be very kind.
So why am I telling you this?
Well, it made me reflect upon changes locally and, in particular, a comment made by a lady who lived in Torbay many years ago and has recently moved back.
She couldn't believe how the place had changed and how the vibrancy seems to have seeped away.
I have a certain empathy with that feeling since I remember times when the area seemed to share a common heartbeat.
Certainly in the early days of Harbour Sports the community energy was highly infectious and the English Riviera seemed to sparkle.
Ah, you might say, everything looks better when you look back and the sun is always high in the sky. Perhaps it does.
But if her observation is correct then I think that we need to worry.
These are difficult times as our political leaders keep telling us.
Certainly, personally, at the moment I feel that the gradient is a little too steep. Hmm, and so it is.
So do we simply hunker down and wait for the pain to pass? I think not!
This is not a time for sitting back and quietly waiting until the gentle heating of the lethargy pool that leaves us all struggling to swim. What's a lethargy pool?
Of course, it doesn't exist but I want you to think about the changes around us that create a feeling of lethargy.
The things that seem to drag you down and like Harry Potter dementors suck the life energy from you!
Job losses, rising utility bills, increasing food prices, poor weather, the harbingers of economic gloom and those that walk around looking so glum all add to a feeling of communal lethargy. I have many reasons for feeling glum just now but don't want to lose the smile.
I remember chatting with Debra Searle, soon after her epic solo paddle across the Atlantic, about setting your day.
Doing what she did required huge inner strength and we can all learn from that.
In another part of my life I teach people who will go on to become counsellors, mentors and life coaches.
My starting point is to get them to celebrate each day and to 'set' each day first thing in the morning.
It's about deciding what sort of day you want to have.
Now it is more than likely that things will happen to knock you off course, but that shouldn't worry you too much because often it simply adds to the excitement.
Have a go at this tomorrow morning.
When you reach the mirror do check for a reflection. That is always, in my opinion, worth doing.
If there is no reflection you've either dropped off the edge during the night and it your spirit looking for you or you have become a vampire. If it is the latter then a whole new career awaits you.
Of course you will see your reflection and, hopefully, you will recognise what you see.
Now smile and get on with the day.
Don't let the dark side spoil your journey.