Find your why

 You don’t know what goes on in anyone’s life but your own. And when you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re not messing with just that part. Unfortunately, you can’t be that precise and selective. When you mess with one part of a person’s life, you’re messing with their entire life. Everything. . . affects everything. - Jay Asher

 

There is no secret that the lead up to the SEA Games was tough for me. Everyone could tell by how emotional I got on the podium receiving my first medal. For me, competitions have always been the reward. I train hard so that I can relax and just enjoy what I love doing - skating and competing. I know that I have trained my hardest and given my all, so I can walk away knowing that there was nothing more I could have done. Unfortunately, the months, the night and even the very day of the competition was riddled with many challenges and what I like to call "character-defining" moments. I remember dad said to me the night before about how every one of these tough situations was just going to make me even stronger. I recall joking that every time he had said that, life seemed to throw at me even harder and more challenging situations to deal with. So I told him I was done with growing through tough times and that I'd grown enough! But all jokes aside, it was a hard journey and to those who knew what was really going on, they agreed that it was far harder than most. Maybe that is what makes the champion and separates first and second. I can't know for certain.

 

Many people that have been following me post- SEA Games have commented about how positive and motivational I am and how it has inspired them. I take a great responsibility in that. So I want you to know that I have my tough days too. I just choose to spread the good and the positive instead of dwelling on everything that is weighing me down. That's how I move forward.

 

I'm going to be honest - I don't think the hard goes away. I don't think it ever stops getting easier. But here's the secret: the good gets greater.

 

People always ask me: was it worth it? To that I say, that's not the right question. If you balance out all the bad that has happened to me, the bad far outweighs the good. I heard someone once say that to be great at anything, you had to be a little insane, because nobody that was sane would go through all the crazy. I can tell you with a certainty that I wouldn't wish the way I was treated, the bullshit and the tough times I've endured in the last year and a half on my worst enemy. But at the end of the day, we do what we've got to do and we endure the things and people that we have to, in order to get to where we are going. The bad will never outweigh the good if you don't have big goals and dreams. If you don't have a bigger purpose for everything beyond yourself. I will also say this: it has made me appreciate the good in my life so much more. The people in my life who have really stepped up. My family who have sacrificed so much - emotionally, but also financially. It has been taxing on everyone in my family.

 

To everybody that has messaged me telling me that I've inspired them to push a little harder or dream a little bigger... to the organisations that have come forward asking me to speak about what I'm passionate about and the causes I advocate awareness for - this is what I endure the bad for. YOU are the ones that motivate me to keep going, keep grinding, and ignore all the naysayers. So from the bottom of my heart, thank you.

 

So find your why. Your reason to keep going. If your why is bigger than the bad, then nothing can stop you.

Get comfortable with the uncomfortable

"When we are are no longer able to change a situation - we are challenged to change ourselves." - Viktor E. Frankl

 

Sod's law states that everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. In the last few months, that adage has never rung more true. Hurdle after hurdle seems to have cropped up in the lead up to the SEA Games. Obstacles that even I couldn't have prepared for in my "What If's" preparation for staying ready. Yet, as I fly back home today for the opening ceremony and start of the SEA Games, there is an overwhelming sense of gratefulness and happiness.

 

Mostly because it has given me a greater hunger for what I want to accomplish. But also, because it has shown me time and time again that throughout the hard times, I have an incredible group of people around me that don't just show up, but go beyond. The unwavering support of my amazing family and friends has given me the strength to stay strong in the face of adversity. When I couldn't be strong, they lifted me up instead. Without them, I could not do what I do. They know who they are, and this moment is every much theirs as it is mine. I literally would not be here, with my head held high and my resolve unwavering, if not for them. Thank you. Beyond that - many people have also surprised me in their compassion and support, renewing my faith in the love and goodness that exists in this world. Always remember that hate cannot drive out hate; only love can.

 

I know that the challenges are far from over and that the universe will continue to test my strength and resilience. Nonetheless, a sense of calm has washed over me. I am excited for the challenges to come- in fact, I welcome them with open arms. I know that whatever happens, I can handle it. I have done the work and put in the hours, and I am ready. The ride was hard, but I'm ready to enjoy the view. Motivational speaker Eric Thomas has a great line, that all men are created equal, but some work harder in pre-season. Dreams are free; but the hustle you have to pay for.

 

The great thing about sport is that it pushes you - physically and mentally. The same goes for every obstacle that stands in the way between you and accomplishing your goals. In a world of uncertainty where things going wrong is a matter of centimetres and degrees, one thing is for certain - no matter how tough the storm, when you walk through the other side and the dust settles, you won't be the same person who walked in. Setbacks and challenges are the springboard to grow stronger. To be strong when others are not. To overcome more, survive more, and ultimately, achieve more. The relentless will to be unstoppable is what changes you. When no one would blame you for giving up, but you show up and get right back to work - that is the sweet spot of learning to grow and push past what you are capable of and becoming the person you are meant to be.

 

You don't grow strength in the good times - the struggle, the pain, that is where the courage and the unbreakable is built. These qualities are made in the hard times. If not for the hard times, you wouldn't know how far you could go. Get comfortable with the uncomfortable - this is what makes the great.

 

Come support me and the rest of the Malaysian National Short Track team compete at Empire City Damansara MYNISS on the 29th August from 2.00pm - 4.30pm and on the 30th August from 11.30am - 4.00pm.

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Eyes Forward: SEA Games and Beyond

After a solid 7 weeks of volume training in Korea, it's nice to finally be in Calgary for a month long training camp for a change of scenery (and pace - I'm ready to do some speed sessions now!!)

This marks the beginning of lots of traveling - Canada, Malaysia, Korea, Italy, Korea (again) Malaysia (again), Korea, Hungary, Netherlands, Shanghai and then Korea again all within the next 5 months. I'll be doing two month long training camps to prepare for the upcoming competitive season which kicks off in July with the test event of the SEA Games.

My last update was a while ago, and I apologize for my absence. I had planned to write an update back in March looking back at the end of the season and the milestone of competing in my first World Championships as the first female representative from Malaysia. Alas, as most of you already know, the day before the competition, I fell in the official practice and injured my ankle. After a lot of tough decision making - and tears - I decided to withdraw. I needed to look after my body first, before my pride.  

I've learnt a lot about the real meaning of how it 'takes a village to build an athlete'. This past season I've gratefully had an incredible support team come together around me: my coach; my teammates who motivate me; my training teammates who constantly push me; my partner in crime without whom I could not survive training; my best friends who message and FaceTime me constantly; every single one of my family who have made sacrifices financially and gone above and beyond to support me both physically and emotionally; the support of MapleZ who provide me with the best blades; my strength and conditioning coach; my nutritionist; my strategist and sounding board; my psychologist Phillip Lew from MSN who sends the best motivational quotes and videos; of course the incredible support team from MSN and OCM who support my dreams and make me proud to represent such a great country; most importantly, ISAM and in particular the President, Mr Billy who's overwhelming support and belief in me has helped to grow me into the athlete that I am. To everyone else who constantly checks in, sends me positive words of encouragement or even just gives me a cheeky like - thank you for your support too.

I'm a big believer in trusting the process and waiting for your moment to arrive. This last year has really tested my faith in that. 

 

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than fear.” - Ambrose Redmoon

 

I realize now that everything happened as it has meant to go. Given the chance to redo or change the obstacles of the year past, I realize now that I wouldn't, with the wisdom that all those experiences were needed to create and prepare me to be the athlete that I have become. 

I still have a lot to learn and improve, and I'm humbled by the high level of inspiring athletes around me, but I am also excited by the big leaps of improvement I have been making in training. Each week I am getting stronger than the next and even more motivated by all the exciting things to come this season. Namely, representing my country on home ground at the SEA Games and the World Cup Olympic Qualifiers. 

Lots of big goals and big dreams - but if it was easy or expected, it wouldn't be worth it. The one thing I love more than this sport, is proving people wrong. Just because something has not been done, does not mean it can not and will not be done. 

To those who have tried to push me down and make me feel small for growing tall-

Thank you for pushing me to skate even harder and even faster. 

To the disbelievers and the small dreamers-

Not every dream will be accomplished, but the fool lies in never having dreamed at all. Because those who never dream, never accomplish.

To everyone out there challenging the norm and doing something that nobody else believes in-

Stay foolish. Work hard. Dream big. Have the last laugh.

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Reflecting on 2016, Looking forward towards 2017

❝There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.❞ - Nelson Mandela

This year has not been without its struggles and hardships. I graduated from the University of Nottingham in June after a long slog that resulted in me deciding to chase my dreams. Despite the hurdles that I knew lay in wait, I decided to jump, not knowing whether my parachute would open, but always keeping the faith that I would somehow land on my feet. Training eight hour days in such an austere environment has definitely given me insight into the meaning of putting in my '10,000 hours'. While I'm no where near mastering my field, this last six months has indeed taught me what unwavering focus, sacrifice and pure guts can foster. 

This year, I got pushed far beyond my limits, but I also learnt to redefine what I thought was possible. Despite everything, it was a rewarding year. One filled with lots of challenges, but more importantly lots of love. For that I am ever grateful to my family and friends who not only support me on this wild adventure, but believe in me and my crazy dreams. Thank you 2016, and here's hoping that 2017 is filled with much of the same.