Lessons From a National Diver – Myra Lee

This article is a part of Discere’s ‘Insights with Experts’ series, where Discere co-founders interview professionals across various industries. Read more here.

Episode 16: Dan Swift – CEO at Empire Selling Insights With Experts – by Discere

Dan Swift is CEO of Empire Selling, a digital sales training and transformation company. Dan has over 20 years of leadership experience spanning sales, marketing, and business development, having successfully launched LinkedIn’s flagship product Sales Navigator and catapulted social media management technology Sprinklr to a $2bn valuation. With an emphasis on ‘bringing the human back’ to business, he believes that business leaders can be successful without sacrificing empathy.
  1. Episode 16: Dan Swift – CEO at Empire Selling
  2. Episode 15: Martin Foakes – Exploration, Outdoor Activity
  3. Episode 14: Khayla Black – Biology, Neuroscience
  4. Episode 13: Michael Skok – Entrepreneurship, Investing
  5. Episode 12: Thomas Chu – Grit, Passion and Perseverance

Who?

Myra Lee is a former Team Singapore National diver . In 2010, she competed in the inaugural Youth Olympics Games held in Singapore. In her event, she managed to persevere past a back injury she faced in the Girls 10m and made it to the finals. In 2013, Myra took part in the SEA Games and won a bronze medal. She subsequently took home the silver medal in the Women’s synchronized 10m platform at the 2015 and 2017 SEA Games. Myra is currently situated in a successful corporate role. In this interview, we find out how the skills she learnt as an athlete benefited her in this corporate role among various other advice! 

a quick summary

It was the very opportunity to compete in the 2010 Singapore Youth Olympics that inspired Myra to take on diving. Being someone with a strong background in gymnastics, she joined diving with a sense of optimism. However, while diving and gymnastics share similar skills such as an adequate level of ‘aerial awareness’, Myra described it as a completely different experience. One example being the level of pain one experiences if they even slightly miss-land a jump, which according to Myra is understatedly painful. But it was this very aspect of the sport that drove Myra’s passion for diving. The profound difficulty of diving only amplified the enjoyment Myra derived when she landed a ‘perfect jump’, a feeling she talked about as ‘indescribable’. 

Myra felt as though her character was refined during her years in diving. Myra talked about two specific characteristics she developed which helped her out in later walks of life. 

Teamwork – While diving is a solo sport, she was very much part of ‘team Singapore’, through experiences such as travelling abroad in foreign countries she was able to build a sense of companionship, a transferable skill for any workplace.

Absorption of Criticism – While it is always hard to hear that you are in the wrong, if you don’t take heed of criticism from the relevant figures such as coaches, you will find it very hard to develop. For Myra, this built a sense of patience and discipline. 

Myra referred to what an athlete experiences behind the scenes as being far from what is portrayed in news sources or social media. As all the best athletes can relate, Myra’s journey off and on camera did not come without the absence of failure and setbacks. The most significant of which for Myra was the back injury she faced in the 2010 youth olympics. As she dealt with the aftermath of the event, she described wanting to give up. Unfortunately, she failed to qualify for the 2011 SEA games and was finally accepted into the 2013 SEA games after years of persistence. Even by this point, she was told that she wasn’t good enough. However, while faced with the avalanche of setbacks, she did not let her failures define her. She also referred to the diving coach which ‘saved’ her and supported her throughout the 2015 and 2017 SEA games, emphasizing the importance of mentor-like figures in all journeys. 

Myra described the incorporation of sports into our education systems as invaluable components. Relating back to her experience in the 2010 youth olympics, she talked about how it can enable students to cope with failure and emerge stronger. It’s these skills from engaging in extracurricular activities which allow us as students build a breath of experiences and learn from them. A trait we have witnessed multiple of our experts exhibit. 

To conclude our interview, Myra left us with a very valuable piece of advice. She reminded us to not let our failures define us. While it can be very easy to let our failures overcome us, we should realise the amount we can take from it and use it as an opportunity to grow. 

“There is so much more that you can take away from your failures than to let it define you”

Myra Lee

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