Updated: May 11
Often my clients tell me "I can clearly see that you love your job!". They are right, I really like it: to be in contact with people, helping them achieve their goals, supporting them in their difficult moments. I can't say that I jump out of bed like a marten every morning, I probably look more like a sloth in this sense, but it certainly doesn't put me down, quite something else, it gives meaning to my day, it's part of my Ikigai.
What do you want to do when you grow up?
I must admit that it has not always been like that: I'm not one of those people who knew what they wanted to do in life since they were children. I remember a classmate of mine at the primary school who wanted to become a math teacher, while I still believed I could join a men's football team in a US college (which was obviously impossible, but when you are 7 years old no one tells you the truth). The fact is: today she does the math teacher and I have a job that I didn't even know existed until a few years ago. I purposely used the verb "to do" and not "to be", because I believe that the work we do helps us express ourselves and our potential, but it is still something we do, it is not who we are.
I remember that in the eighth grade exam they asked for a thesis in physical education and I chose to write about bones and muscles (I guess something was already there at that time), but the choice of high school and university went towards another direction. A pathway that I do not deny and for which I am very happy, because if I hadn't studied languages and economy I would have never received a job offer from the United Kingdom. However, sport was always in my mind: the passion for training and a healthy lifestyle filled my days away from the office. At some point I said to myself "It's useless to continue reading books, websites and watch YouTube videos without following a logical pathway, you need more". So I enrolled in university again, but this time in England. I didn't do it with the intention of changing my career, I was just thirsty for knowledge. Thanks to this decision, I received a job offer as Assistant Physiotherapy at Queen's Medical Centre hospital in Nottingham where I gained experience in rehabilitation.
Reading these lines, it might seem that things went smoothly, but reality was quite different and actually it wasn't that easy: I had a full-time job in the hospital while studying at university, and at the same time I achieved certifications in Personal Training and Sports Massage Therapy to start offering these services to my first clients as soon as possible. For some years there were no free evenings, weekends or holidays, but I gladly did it, because today I'm really happy with the result: I have a BSc (Hons) in Sport and Exercise Sciences and an MSc in Applied Exercise and Sport Medicine which allowed me to improve the quality of my services and help more people to achieve their goals.
A career that I chose
As you can see, my career change was not out of the blue, it took me a while to realise what I wanted to do: the potential had been there for a long time, but I couldn't see it, or maybe I didn't want to see it, because I was afraid to look inside me and choose, at 32 years old, to start all over again. I could have continued to go to the office where I had a safe job, without too many responsibilities, but I still had 35 years of work ahead of me before retirement and I wanted to spend this time doing something I really enjoyed, instead of waking up every morning hoping that the weekend would come quickly.
Today I can say that "I don't work because I must, I choose to work". When I think about the reason why I chose this job, different thoughts come to my mind; it was a choice that build up over time. It's the experiences I've lived that have brought me here.
The passion for sport has been there since I was a child, however, I had never thought of making it a profession. Rehabilitation came later and it played a really important role: having always been very active, I lost count of the injuries I had (if you think that my first injury was while I was still in my mother's womb: fine, but not as great as start). The knee surgery and its consequences instead, I remember them very well: the pain, the sense of inadequacy, the lack of confidence, the hope that one day everything will be over and I could finally go back to having a normal or at least manageable life.
About that experience, I remember the good therapists and the "less good" ones very well and it is this thought that pushes me to give my best every day; this is why I continue to study and practice, so that those who come to see me could know that they have found a good therapist. A knowledgeable Sport Therapist who offers a high quality service, who is a point of reference and, above all, a support for anyone who has a goal to achieve.
The legend of the Koi carp
Why did I choose this job? To let people know the potential of the human body that is inherent within them, but in which they no longer believe. A forgotten potential which, once rediscovered, will not only allow them to achieve their goals, but will totally change the way they approach life. Japanese people see in an ancient legend called "the legend of Nishikigoi" (a small Koi carp that transforms into a dragon), the symbol of courage and perseverance that will lead the human beings to self-awareness. I believe that we are all little Koi carps and my mission is to make you, who are reading this article, a Nishikigoi.