Rocky III and the eTMF Specialist: Finding and Keeping Your Eye of the Tiger

Written by Nicole M. Palmer & John R. Nocero

There’s something incredibly alluring about underdog stories; they tug at our heartstrings and allow us to see parts of ourselves in the character’s triumphs and defeats. For many, the movie “Rocky” is not just a cinematic masterpiece but a reflection of the highs and lows of life itself.

JRN: It is a tale as old as time. Man fights to get success. Gets it. Loses it. Rebuilds himself to another level and gets it all back tenfold. I don’t understand those underdog stories, but I understand gaining everything and then losing it all and then gaining it all back again. That is my story. Rocky III is my movie. I first saw it when it came out in 1982 and it is my go-to, my glue movie when I lose ambition or things get hard. At the beginning of the film, Rocky is riding high – he has the newly won heavyweight title, movies, endorsements, money, he has the world in the palm of his hand. There is a younger, hungrier fighter though nipping at his heels – Clubber Lang – who’s being ducked by Rocky, or Rocky’s manager, because he knows he will annihilate him. Rocky gets the fight and is knocked out in the second round. His manager dies, his title gone, his confidence shattered.

Until he receives a visit from an old foe, now friend, who’s the best and Rocky needs to be taught different to regain that Eye of The Tiger. At first, he is hesitant. He is afraid. It takes a conversation with Adrian on the beach to make him realize that he needs to face his fear – go through it – and if he loses, he loses but he loses with no fear – and he can live with that.

When it is time for the nail-biting rematch with Lang, Rocky uses Apollo’s stydle to frustrate Lang in Round 1, but in Round two, Clubber comes out and knocks Rocky senseless, including knocking him down twice and leaving him bloody. In the third round, Rocky has no choice – goes out and goes through him, knocking him down and out, regaining his title.

Nikki, it’s always easier to stay ready than get ready. Why do you think people lose the eye of the tiger and how do TMF professionals get it back? Do they get complacent, give up, feel like they don’t have a choice, or do they give in to their own fear? Can people feel more afraid of success than failure because expectations are higher? Your post today was spot on – In the fast-moving world of Trial Master File (TMF) careers, you’ve got to be your own number one fan.

NMP: When comparing the narrative arc of Rocky Balboa in the movie with the professional life of an eTMF (Electronic Trial Master File) Specialist, there are striking similarities. Both fields, boxing and TMF careers, require dedication, discipline, and determination to succeed. But what happens when that drive fades away? What happens when external pressures, personal doubts, or unforeseen circumstances knock us down?

Complacency: One of the primary reasons we lose the ‘Eye of the Tiger’ is complacency. Just like Rocky, after tasting success, TMF professionals can become content. The initial hunger that fueled their journey diminishes, and they find themselves coasting. This relaxation can be a fatal flaw in a competitive environment.

Fear of Failure vs. Fear of Success: Often, the fear of failure is seen as the main adversary. But in some cases, it’s the fear of success that holds us back. With success comes heightened expectations, increased responsibilities, and the ever-looming question, “What’s next?” For some TMF specialists, the sheer weight of what success entails can be paralyzing.

Overcoming Doubts: The journey of a TMF specialist isn’t linear. There will be times when self-doubt creeps in, especially after a setback. However, just like Rocky’s realization after his conversation with Adrian, it’s essential to confront these fears head-on. The journey to redemption is never easy, but the sweet taste of success after a fall is unparalleled.

So, how do TMF professionals regain their ‘Eye of the Tiger’?

1.      Self-belief: Remember why you started. Rekindle that passion and remind yourself of your worth and capabilities.

2.      Embrace Change: The world of TMF is ever-evolving. Stay updated, be adaptable, and always be open to learning.

3.      Seek Mentorship: Just like Rocky sought Apollo, find mentors who can provide fresh perspectives, knowledge, and motivation.

4.      Face your Fears: Recognize your apprehensions, confront them, and channel them to propel you forward.

In conclusion, the story of Rocky Balboa is a testament to the human spirit’s resilience. Similarly, TMF professionals, with their unique set of challenges, can find inspiration in Rocky’s story. To succeed, one must continuously nurture their ‘Eye of the Tiger’ and remember always to be their biggest advocate. In the words of the author, “you don’t owe anyone anything. Except yourself.”


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