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I will try my best to update this webpage with  thought provoking and interesting content, as often as I can.  Please feel free to leave comments as  there is much that can be learnt from the sharing of ideas.

By pa360, Feb 1 2015 09:22AM

"I went on the court with just a ball, a racket and a hope and that's all I had. It's inspiring for you guys that want to be the best you can be, you never give up because you never know what can happen and who you can inspire and influence."


The above comment was made by Serena Williams, who yesterday defeated Maria Sharapova, in the Australian Open final, to win her 19th grand slam singles title. The win puts Williams second in the pantheon of all time singles titles winners - just three behind Steffi Graf's open-era record of 22.


By the way, we will come back to Serena's quote later on.


I would imagine that most tennis fans are familiar with the extraordinary story of Serena Williams and her older sister Venus. They would have heard about the barriers that the sisters faced on the road to success including their upbringing in one of the toughest neighbourhoods in Los Angeles and the lack of training facilities to support their career development. They would also be aware that the sisters were coached almost exclusively by their father Richard, who had an unshakeable belief that his daughters were destined for greatness.


The rest as they say is history, because today Serena and Venus have amassed 26 grand slam single titles between them. Countless other titles including Olympic gold medals have been won along the way. Much as this is an inspiring and heart-warming story of triumph over adversity, I must confess that there are no surprises here. Vision, ambition, dedication and commitment are not only key ingredients of the William's story, they are also key ingredients of success.


Now back to Serena's quote.


I understand that Serena Williams is estimated to be worth in excess of $100 million. Ms Williams could retire now, having achieved more that she could have ever dreamed of and safe in the knowledge that her place in history is secure. However, in her post match-winning quote, Serena pointed to what will surely be her true legacy, which is the countless others who will be inspired by her example. Some like Serena, will go on to become grand slam winners and others may not. But even for those that do not, like Serena herself, they may still achieve more than they ever expected.


Sometimes all that is required to get us on the ladder of success is 'a ball, a racket and a hope'.

By pa360, Dec 30 2014 07:49PM

I was speaking to a dear friend of mine before Christmas and she mentioned that several of the colleagues in her team were keen to take a voluntary redundancy package that is currently being offered by our mutual employer. It transpires that several of her colleagues had reached the point where "they had had enough" and thought that their careers and interests would be better served by looking for pastures new.


To be honest, I always find it slightly troubling whenever people express the desire to "get out" at all costs or when a belief begins to gather currency that the grass must be greener on the other side. I know from personal experience, very early on in my career, that to act in haste is to repent at leisure.


Strange as it may sound, it is at a time of chaos, upheaval and uncertainty that leaders, innovators and problem- solvers emerge. I am reminded of a quote from Winston Churchill who noted that: "a pessimist sees difficulty in every opportunity, whilst an optimist sees opportunity in every difficulty". Looking behind that quote, there is an even more powerful message, which is that character is forged, not during good times, but rather during times of great adversity. Former US President Richard Nixon, in his final speech before leaving the Whitehouse described it this way: "Greatness comes not when things always go good for you. Greatness comes when you are really tested, when you take some knocks, some disappointments, when sadness comes; because only when you have been in the deepest valley will you know how magnificent it is to be on the highest mountain".


Pain is called pain for a reason. It is something to be endured not enjoyed. However, that which tests the limits of our endurance can also help us to become resilient and discover strengths and capabilities that we would not have discovered otherwise. Resilience is evidence of strong character and strong character is evidence of a strong personal brand.


Greatness is called greatness for a reason too - because even in chaos there is profit.



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