January 28, 2015

What Does It Take to be Extraordinary?


Increasingly, more people are telling me that they think I’m inspirational.

My first thought is: Who? Me?

My second is: Who am I not to be? Why shouldn’t I believe in myself? (Reading along the lines of this poem Our Greatest Fear by Marianne Williamson.)

My third response is to allow, receive and surrender to the compliment.

These are some of my achievements which lead toward my nomination for an award in 2014:

Appointed sex expert for Men’s Health Singapore, and Men’s Health Malaysia around 2011

Recognised as one of ‘Top 100 Inspiring Women in Singapore’ by CozyCot in March 2011

Published my book Love, Sex and Everything In-Between was published by Marshall Cavendish in Oct 2013

Spoke at numerous medical conferences in Singapore, Malaysia, and Australia.

The Truth

Now, I don’t believe for a moment that the above achievements mean anything to anyone if I make them feel like crap about themselves in my presence.

And trust me, I totally own how some people have felt like crap around or about me before—call it “Getting up on the wrong side of the bed” or “bad hair day.” I own my moods and also how they swing.

To all the people I ever hurt or am going to hurt, I am sorry.

Through the years (especially during the last two), I have learned (and still am learning) how to manage my moods—with all the extra work in being the best version of myself.

The majority of people who actually said I am an inspiration said so either during or after a physical interaction with me. This includes my clients—which invariably have also been some of my best teachers.

What does it take to be an inspiration?

I’ve asked myself what it takes for a person to be an inspiration.

To me, a person who inspires would have to come across as extraordinary or having some extraordinary quality or qualities.

I have never pretended nor laid claim to be inspirational or extraordinary.

In fact, I have always thought myself ordinary—although different (and have, at times, been called strange or weird).

Then it came to me.

Inspiration Defined

What if—extraordinary people are ordinary people who do just that bit extra?

By extra, it would mean pushing themselves just a bit more each and every single day?

In doing so, the extra becomes a habit.

Which evolves to be a pattern and then…

It is the way they do everything.

What if—what might look easy and effortless could have begun, as in my case:

With a desire to serve,

An intention to be 

A decision to cultivate the discipline most people dream about.

Their desire to make a difference is stronger than their reluctance to hide.

What if—the extra in extraordinary is and always has been there within us?

If more of us were stewards of our own extra?

If more people just tried extra hard, extra-long, extra their all?

If more people called one another out on their extra?

Then, I believe the world would be extra special because everybody would be extraordinary.

Right back at Me.

I never set out to be extraordinary and never saw myself as inspirational, but I am willing to lay stake to the word “extra.”

I am a work in progress.

I am not perfect.

But I am willing to put in extra time, extra effort, then extra-long if need be.

I will try.

My source of inspiration is my mom.

You may wish to read more about her here or subscribe to my free (not selling anything) Mother’s Day videos dedicated at celebrating a mother’s love.

I leave you with this quote:

“Heroes are ordinary people who make themselves extraordinary.”  ~Gerard Way

It’s Your Turn!

Anyone can rise above the ashes to an inspiration. What about you? Who is your inspiration?

What does extraordinary mean to you? What does it take for a person to be an inspiration? And would you agree with my definition?


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Author: Martha Lee

Editor: Ashleigh Hitchcock

Photo: flickr

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