When leaving school and looking towards my future career possibilities, I remember having around 5 different ideas.
They were; Athletics Sports Coaching, Physiotherapy, Graphic Design, Cabinet Making and Aerospace Engineering.
I remember being advised to think carefully about whether I wanted to mix my sporting pleasures with work, with the idea being that perhaps the enjoyment of activity would be lessened by also having to do it for a job; i.e. ‘don’t mix business with pleasure’.
In understanding this at the time, I chose not to pursue a career in the sporting world with the rationale that I would prefer not to run the risk of the enjoyment I got from sport lessening due to over exposure.
My decision eventually led me into Aerospace Engineering through an apprenticeship, then finally into the Airbus Wing Design world.
I’ve done ok there, and I appear to have a good reputation, but whether this was the right decision or not, I’ll never know, but what I do know now is that I would advise a young adult leaving school to follow their heart… so in my case I would advise the young me to have gone into the sporting world. Had I received that advice 23 years ago, I would probably have ended up as either an athletics coach, or a Physiotherapist, or similar.
The problem with the Engineering world is that if you have the right mind-type, it can be interesting, and there’s always something interesting to get involved in. But this interest comes at a price (well, it did for me). The price paid is to be constantly distracted from the tiny voice that keeps screaming “THIS ISN’T FOR YOU!!!” 
The problem is that if the mind is busy, it forgets to follow the heart.
As a result it took me many years before noticing the voice, the voice of my heart, and now I realise that for me, this interest in Engineering was never great enough to justify, in hindsight, the pursuit of engineering as a career.
It was never something that I had any real interest in. It is quite simply something that I can do.
So, what’s prompted this change? (Probably more of an ‘awakening’ !)
To be honest, I’m not sure, but I think it may be something to do with my latest path in the world of Martial Arts – Goju Ryu Karate.
I have followed Martial Arts for 15 years now, but it wasn’t until October 2009 when I started studying under Shihan Dan Lewis of Daigaku Karate Kai, that I truly started to learn.
I think it is his passion for using the body to generate power through correct alignments (not just for kicking and punching, but for all areas of an active lifestyle) that began to bring to the forefront of my mind that I should be involved in the active sporting world.
However, I think the main change came when, last year I went with my son to an athletics match in which he was competing, and whilst sat there in the stadium I suddenly realised that I would love to be in a position where I could help these children and young adults with their sporting goals. Not from the position of coach, but from a position of ‘fixer’.
It is well known amongst active people that in order to get better at something, one must push themselves hard in training. The unfortunate affect is that often active people are ‘broken’!
Believe me, I know… often I’m one of them!
It was of course, also the summer of the London Olympics, and the feeling of wanting to help athletes reach their goals grew and grew until I realised that I could actually get myself trained so that I could help these athletes reach the greatest of all sporting goals – Olympic Gold!
So I am now booked on a Sports Therapy diploma course that will take the next year or so to complete.
From there I hope to be able to develop a career that will enable me to help those young athletes, and to help any other active people in achieving their goals in life.
…and in turn, I know it will provide a fantastically rewarding experience for me… something that engineering has never given!
What advice would I give the young me?
Follow your heart; pursue that which makes you smile.
Don’t allow yourself to simply fall into a job as it may well be wrong for you