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  • Writer's pictureSakthivel Thevar

"My walk of disappointment!"

This picture was taken moments after I was informed that I had run out of time to finish my Ironman 70.3 race earlier this year. An experience from my recent attempt at an Ironman 70.3 triathlon earlier this year taught me invaluable lessons about resilience and the power of determination, both of which translate seamlessly into the professional realm.

As many of you know, the Ironman 70.3 triathlon is a grueling test of physical and mental endurance, combining a 1.9km open water swim, a 90km bike ride, and a 21km run which has to be finished within 8 hours and 30 minutes. I had been preparing diligently for this event for months, envisioning myself crossing the finish line triumphantly. However, sometimes life throws unexpected challenges our way, and it was no different on this race day.

After a successful swim phase, the scorching sun and unforgiving heat led to severe heat exhaustion at the 70km mark and a damaged bicycle after a fall during the cycling phase. I decided to carry on with the race though I was strongly advised to stop by the medical staff on site. I managed to finish my 90km cycling and embarked on my 21km run.

By this time, I had drastically slowed down during my run due to severe cramps and was told by the officials that I had to retire from the race with just 7km left to the finish as I had run out of time. It was disheartening, to say the least, but I soon realized that there were powerful lessons to be learned from this setback.

Out of the numerous lessons that I learned from my first failed attempt, the biggest lesson that I apply in both my personal and professional life today is to be resilient in the face of adversity.

The disappointment of not finishing the triathlon could have left me defeated, but I chose to view it as an opportunity for growth. Resilience is a vital trait in both personal and professional life and embracing this failure as a stepping stone to success has strengthened my resolve to persevere in the face of setbacks at work, knowing that growth often emerges from difficult moments.

Just as in the race, where I pushed my physical limits, the professional world presents obstacles that demand resilience. It's during these times that I draw my strength from my experiences as a reminder that success often lies just beyond our moments of disappointment and failures.

Today, as I move forward from this experience, I cherish the growth that emerged from what initially seemed like a disappointment. While the Ironman triathlon seemed like an unfinished business at that time, the strength I gained from this endeavor has positioned me for greater success in both my personal and professional pursuits.

Remember, life's challenges can serve as powerful catalysts for growth and success. Embrace them, learn from them, and let them fuel your journey to greatness to live life by your design.


Sakthivel Thevar is an award-winning leader in Financial Services and a highly sought-after international speaker and Maximum Performance coach within the business and corporate circle starting his career in the most challenging way possible, as a military officer and Airborne Ranger in the Singapore Armed Forces.

I would love to share more about my career in the financial planning industry with as many individuals out there so let’s chat if I can add value to you.


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