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In this blog you will get to follow Compello employee Martin Polash who has set the ambitious goal of competing in table tennis at the Paralympics in 2020. Besides following Martin’s exciting journey, peaks and valleys, you will get to read about other inspirational topics of importance including diversity, bullying, disability in the workplace and more. Hop on!

Playing big is the only thing I know

Picture of Martin A Polash

Written by Martin A Polash

Martin works as a Partner Account Manager at Compello. This is how he describes himself: I’m a passionate table tennis player with an ambitious goal; to compete at the Paralympics in Tokyo 2020. I blog to inspire, and to raise awareness of para sports and all our amazing athletes. I have an awesome son and wife who is also my best friend. I’m fortunate to work for my sponsor Compello, selling software services for digital invoicing processes.

Since my blog was launched, I’ve gotten tremendous support and positive feedback from readers for my lofty goals. I really appreciate it!

In table tennis I always strive to be the best. That does not mean that I am always best but it pushes me forward and challenges me to improve. I learned early on that setting very high goals for myself was good for my overall mood and strategically smart. By having a big goal and a vision of what my day would look like, things are really exciting. You would be excited too if you knew what’s going on in my head, the scenarios and goals I’m creating since Compello announced their sponsorship of me. If you’d like to know more about what they are, just ask me. I’d be happy to share.

I wish more parents would encourage and teach their kids to aim higher than they are comfortable with. Especially if you have kids with physical disabilities. Just because we’ve been dealt a bad hand at birth doesn’t mean we can’t fulfill crazy dreams. 

I recently read a book that mentions Helen Keller and was dumbfounded. Asking myself how is THAT possible? If you, like me don’t know who Helen Keller is, let me inspire you! Helen lived over 100 years ago. Before the age of two she suffered from an illness that left her both deaf and blind. As a relatively new parent, I know this is before she could even speak. In spite of this, and the help of a teacher who wasn’t afraid to have big goals, Helen learned to read, write and speak. She even authored and published several books. To me, and I assume many others, what sounds like an impossible goal is in reality reachable. This certainly makes me want to set even bigger goals now. How about you?


A couple weeks ago I played in a tournament in Motala, Sweden. Motala Summer Open precedes a training camp that is attended by many national team players. One of my goals with participating in the tournament was to show that I belong among the top players. I feel that I achieved that goal! Although I wanted to do even better I finished in third place in class 6-7. In the semifinal, I lost to the eventual winner and a really good national team player Michael Azulay. By the way he is Sweden’s best class 6 player.
It was also awesome to play Anna-Carin Ahlquist, for the first time. She is one of the most successful para table tennis players Sweden has. She has pretty much won everything imaginable, including a gold medal in the Paralympics 2012 in London. Even if I lost the match against her, I was proud of winning a set. It was the highlight of the tournament for me.

Motala Openwith Michael Azulaywith Anna-Carin Ahlquist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Sweden we are taught to be “lagom”. The equivalent of being “average”. In my opinion this is a flawed mindset. If we instead set high goals, we might not reach the goal, but most likely we will reach higher than if we set an average goal. I prefer to play big rather than watching from the stands.
Another positive benefit I’ve experienced is that I instantly raise my game after a big goal has been set. After I found out that I was getting a sponsor, my next performance in practice was better than ever before. I was on fire!


I wish more parents would encourage and teach their kids to aim higher than they are comfortable with. Especially if you have kids with physical disabilities. Just because we’ve been dealt a bad hand at birth doesn’t mean we can’t fulfill crazy dreams. And please encourage them strongly to play sports. Since my table tennis comeback into para table tennis I’ve seen first-hand the magic that sports have for people with disabilities. It’s a confidence booster, it’s active and fun. Fun has been my key to table tennis success. Let them have fun and the success will follow.

I will surely teach my son, Luca, to have crazier dreams that me. And when he loses an important game, chances are, he will cry. Just like I did once upon a time. But so what? Losing and failing is a great lesson to learn early on.

Stay tuned!

/Martin

 

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Here is a selection of a couple of inspirational persons with disabilities who dared to dream big:
  • Stephen Hawking - British physicist and world-renowned scientist who was diagnosed with ALS at 21.
  • Franklin D. Roosevelt - The former US president was in a wheelchair due to polio.
  • Jen Clare - British girl, born 2009, with severe CP who has undergone major operations and today dreams of becoming an astronaut
  • Ralph Braun – Founder and former CEO of Braun Corporation, a company that produced the first wheelchair-adapted vehicles in the world. Braun was diagnosed with Duchennes muscle dystrophy.

Also read:

My encounter with Para Table Tennis

From a young boy's dream to a family man's realization