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MARI’S STORY

Society is very good at setting a benchmark sequence when it comes to achieving the “targets of life”.

For instance, they say, you should study hard and get good grades at school. Then study some more, get a good degree, professional qualification, a job that pays well, build up a career, get married and have kids by your 30’s, pay your taxes and hopefully live happily ever after. 

This is the sequence of events that is supposed to make you feel like you have achieved your targets in life, right?

Well, not quite, at least for me.

I haven’t followed that sequence at all, in fact have started kind of “up side down” and still feel achieved.

I believe it’s not the sequence of the decisions but the decisions themselves that shape your life. 

Here are the 6 decisions that literally shaped my life, and you’ll see why…

DECISION ONE (more like three in one)

Already confessed, followed my own sequence. I got married straight after school, moved abroad to a foreign land ( Cyprus), had my son when I was 19, then been stuck in a bad marriage for 7 years.

Most of my marriage was a never-ending fight, and difficult times. Towards the end, I remember there were days, when I just didn’t want to wake up the next day. I thought my life was over. All I wished for was peace of mind, peace of heart and a harmonious home with my son. I felt trapped, numb and could not find the strength to get out of it, until one day..

DECISION TWO

After seven years of suffering, I ‘ve somehow found the strength to walk out of it. The fear of being threatened and abused was very real, and it happened, but I did it anyway. My vision of a beautiful life with my son kept me going.

At the beginning, I was as low as anyone can be after a divorce and a bad marriage. Physically, mentally, emotionally all zero, professional qualification none, and not to mention a zero bank account. In fact, everything seemed to have been below zero. Where do you start, when you feel like that and you have a child to raise as well? 

DECISION THREE

I had to pick myself up and take some action. Job hunting with no CV and no experience, go figure!

That’s when good friends and links come in handy and soon after I have been offered a junior accountant position in a small firm. I had no idea about accounting at the time but It seemed I could do bank reconciliations very easily without too much supervision. The owner of the firm was impressed and offered to finance my studies if I wanted to take this further and get a proper qualification. Of course, I said yes and decided to begin my studies and my journey in the financial and taxation world. I started small with the LCCI (London Chamber of commerce and Industry qualification) and passed all three exams with distinction. 

I’ve continued to aim higher and a few years later, I have acquired my second professional qualification as a Charter Certified Accountant by ACCA, at the same time working for one of the top big 4’s firms, excelling at my job, as a single parent and manager in a demanding work environment.

I could afford myself a decent life, private school for my son and our little luxuries. Life was good to us. What was once an impossible dream, seemed to have now become reality.

But just when you think that you have reached your ultimate goal and have all you wanted, it is amazing how life brings your attention to something else. It is almost like it disagrees with you settling for something less than you deserve. Almost like is telling you “time to make a change, there is something better”. And then, of course, it leaves you with the whole job to find out for yourself.

Not easy at all. But I believe that it is in those moments of uncertainty, doubt and cloudiness when you really have a chance to shape your destiny and become that special person that you are meant to be. 

My passion for good nutrition, training and being active was always a vital part of my life. It helped me a great deal, especially through stressful stages of my life. In fact, it was my anchor during all the storms I have been through.  It always gave me a big breath of freshness, positive energy and clear mind. And I really needed that last one. It turns out there are so many physiological responses and benefits to your overall health and wellbeing if you keep active. It keeps you sane, literally. 

DECISION FOUR (the big one)

So I sat down with myself and realized that what I was doing for a living was not really expressing who I really was. I was there because of the security it was offering. Everyone who is raising family and kids would look for the same thing. It was rewarding, but with time I began to find it too stressful and could not see myself going up that corporate ladder anyway.

I was trying to figure out what my calling was. I knew there was something else that I am meant to be doing but could not figure out what. It was almost like the elephant in the room, but I could not see it at the time.

Then something funny happened that afternoon. 

As I was going to the gym, someone stopped me on the street to ask me what kind of professional sport I am practicing. They thought they knew me from TV or something. I smiled and thanked them.

Later when I got there and was getting ready for my class, someone thought I was the fitness instructor and asked me a few fitness related questions.

There were many similar occasions throughout the years and it always made me smile, but i’ve never paid attention or took it seriously.

 It seems that my calling was always whispering to me, but I could only hear it until I was ready. How amazing life is when things like this happen to you.

That evening especially after all the happy hormones from the exercise, I’ve realised that my fitness anchor, was my calling and that fitness and wellness was a big part of my life.

Without having a particular plan, I have decided to give up something that was secure for something that may or may not work. How crazy is that?! But it was closer to who I really was. It felt like the best expression of myself in life at the time. 

DECISION FIVE

It was so exciting when I decided to study Sport Sciences and Nutrition. Not long after and I was holding my qualification as a Specialist in Fitness Nutrition and Fitness Trainer with a special distinction. There I was, quitting my career to follow my passion. New chapter, new beginnings.

From that moment on, my life is about helping people to gain back their self-confidence, passion and zest for life. Since I have walked quite a long distance in those shoes, I know there is a way to have a balanced healthy lifestyle, even in times of storms and challenge.

Everything was going smooth and life seemed so “light” in Cyprus with my new passion. They say that if you love what you do, you never have to work a day in your life. True. It never felt like work and it still doesn’t.

Back in the UK, my sister Paula was going through her own storms at the time. She needed help with weight loss.

I’ve put together a tailored vegetarian diet plan for her and suggested targeted excercise. One year later she was 20 pounds lighter.

And then she suggested that should make my way towards UK, to explore new opportunities and help more people.

DECISION SIX

So here it comes, last big one. After thinking long and hard trying to wrap up 20 years of life in Cyprus, I’ve decided to move to London in March 2015. 

Since then I continue to show people the way to a healthier and happier version of themselves. I have helped many people and guided them through their physical transformations.

The feeling you get when someone tells you how much you have influenced, motivated and inspired them to change their habits into better ones, cannot be equaled or measured in any currency in the world. There is no greater feeling than the feeling you get when you contribute to other people wellbeing. I feel fortunate to have the privilege of making a difference in one’s life and to experience all the wonderful and unique feelings that comes with that.


I’ll make sure to keep you up to date, but in the meantime

Stay healthy, be happy and be awesome!