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At the age of 30, Roger Federer is the oldest person to have won a Men’s Singles Grand Slam Tennis title. With his win at this year’s Wimbledon tournament, he also equalled Pete Sampras’ record of number of weeks as the World Number One (and surpassed it the following week).

What is so remarkable about this achievement? It’s just that after having won his last Grand Slam in 2010, he was written off due to the dominance of a younger lot in the shape of Nadal and Djokovich.

Similarly, Tiger Woods was written off after his personal traumas and extended absence from golf. Yet he’s back with three tour victories this year already and is the World Number Two.

How do they do it?

The starting point is this: while the world had written them off as ‘has-beens’ they did not see it that way. Their personal belief and conviction drove them to single-mindedly pursue their goals and come out on top.

In the corporate world, we need to deal with right-sizing and down-sizing, losing that promotion to someone else, or worse, losing our job due to a restructuring or merger. The trauma this brings impacts us as well as our families. What we need is resilience and self-belief to help us through these tough times.

How often are we defeated by setbacks, and worse, other people’s opinions? How are we progressing towards our goals using adversity to impel us? If we look at the stories above, we will see a familiar pattern: desire, belief and expectation. There is much inspiration around us if we are open to looking.

Waiting for adversity to strike before developing resilience and self-belief is leaving things a bit too late. Start by observing your emotions at work when things are not going your way; are you easily upset or are you in control? In personal situations too, are you able to rise above them?

Take responsibility for your outcomes and see the difference.

– Leon Menezes
The writer is General Manager, HR, at a multinational company.

First published in the Careers Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on August 5, 2012

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