After an injury that prevented her from doing what she loved, former professional basketball player Ines Subashka has found her zest for life again! She has rekindled her passion by becoming a personal trainer and helps to keep people motivated and healthy through her website www.inspiredfitstrong.com. Ines is truly inspirational and I hope you become inspired by her words from the interview we had with her! What does “purpose” mean to you and what do you feel your purpose is? To me purpose means to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and live well. To me purpose means happiness- the happiness to wake up every morning with the desire to work, and to go home at night with the desire to be with your family. Purpose is something that comes from deep down in your heart… that spark, which lights a burning fire in your heart, a fire to be somebody, to help somebody, to make a difference in your own life and life of others! Purpose is what gets me up every morning. The desire to show the world, that we are all powerful enough to make a change, powerful enough to make a difference, to be the difference! When and how did you discover your passion? Since I was 12 I had a passion to play basketball. It was my life, everything I dreamed about and everything I wished for. I dedicated countless hours, countless days, trying to make myself perfect, to be the best basketball player ever. Unfortunately when I was about 15, I dislocated my right shoulder for the first time. After that I dislocated my left shoulder, and for the next three years I was in an enchanted circle dislocating my shoulders, being in rehab for six months, then coming back stronger. When I was 18, I was about to sign a contract to play basketball in Italy, but I dislocated my left shoulder horribly. Doctors said I couldn’t play anymore. And I was devastated. I felt like my dreams, my life, everything shattered in front of me just for a second. Basketball was a passion that was gone…a passion that left a hole in my heart and my life! I spent half a year, feeling sorry for myself, not willing to talk to anybody, not willing to live… I just existed…cried all day long and didn’t find any strength to keep going and any meaning to keep living! One day I realized that I have two options. To feel sorry for myself for the rest of my life or get myself together, try different things and find a new meaning! I wandered a little bit. I knew that sport was my life and that sport is what makes me feel alive. I started practicing swimming! I felt great doing it, but I couldn’t become the all star athlete I used to be. It was fun, but it wasn’t something I wanted to do. Swimming was a part of my life, a period that helped me cure and find myself again! One day my coach wasn’t in town and she left me to coach the younger boys and girls on the team. After the workout one of them came to me and said “Ines you are really good at coaching, why don’t you become a coach? You have a great approach to people!” That’s when something hit me and I decided that even if I can’t be the star athlete I used to be, I could at least help others. I decided that I would dedicate my life to helping people get healthier, helping people find themselves through working out. I decided that I would help athletes get stronger and never experience my injuries, because of having unprofessional coaches, who do not know how to condition them! I gave it a try and I loved it. There is nothing better than seeing the smile of a previously unhealthy person, who lost weight because you helped him. There isn’t such a feeling as seeing people overcome their fears, seeing people break their limits, seeing people strive to be better, to be somebody, to be something more, to make a difference! I love my job and everything I do! How did your life change after this discovery? What was different? It helped me leave the past and live in the present. It helped me forget my past disappointments and outlive my fears. It helped me find true happiness, meet the most inspiring and positive people ever! It helped me find what I was meant to do! On the outside nothing was different… but inside of me everything changed! I feel like a hole new person! I know have a different outlook on life! I know that I my life is in my own hands. I know that I have the power to change things. I know I have the power to turn failure into success, disappointments into motivation, fears into hopes and pain into happiness! What does it feel like when you’re doing what you love? It feels like I am myself again! It feels like the best place in the world. It feels like my life is full of meaning again! Feels like I can make a difference! How has having a passion affected other areas of your life? With no doubt positively. A person could be productive only when he is in harmony with himself. And when you find your purpose, you are in harmony with your inner world and all that reflects in everything you do. Today I am driven, passionate, positive and optimistic. I know that no matter what I have to do, no matter the obstacles, I can do it! What are the difficult parts you’ve encountered while pursuing your passion and what gets you through them? There are a lot of them. Every beginning is hard. I have days when things don’t seem to go well. When I began coaching people, I didn’t have a lot of clients. Some days I’d go to work out and nobody came, but I knew it takes time. Today my schedule is really busy. I have workouts all the time, I have a lot of clients and I am really thankful for that opportunity. When I started my website, I used to write articles and I got no comments, I didn’t have as many visits as I wished! But I knew that good things take time. I knew that all successful people that we see on TV had the same hardships, but they didn’t give up and kept going! I knew that when you are successful, the lights are on your success, but nobody asks about the failures and disappointments. And trust me they are inevitable! You just have to want it with your whole heart! You just need to do what you love, long enough for others discover it, passionate enough for others to notice it! Then, everything will fall into place! How has your body image changed over the years and how do you view yourself now? I’ve been one of those women who struggled with their body image. There were times when I really hated the way I looked. I’ve never been obese or something, but I’ve gone through some tough times in my life, when I redirected my negative emotions towards myself. I was an emotional eater for a couple years and it was really ruining my body and my mind. Through a lot of effort, I realized that the relationship I have with myself is the most important. If I hate myself, I can’t attract anything positive in my life. I realized that the more I focus on the way I want to look, the further I got from there. One day I just woke up, and let go of the self-hatred. I decided that I look great, and even if I still want to look better, I will do it gradually. I focused on other stuff in my life and just used food for fuel and not for comfort. Today I am more than happy to say that I love myself and the way I look. I am still in the process of shaping the body I aim for, but I am enjoying every second of the ride. Remember that you are all beautiful! Don’t waste the person you are and your beautiful life, just striving for perfection! Just enjoy every single moment. Live in the present and patiently wait for the future and for your success. It will come. Just make sure to stay positive! What are some of your favorite workouts? Well, to be honest I love every workout! I love flipping tires, I love doing sprints, deadlifting and squatting. I love double unders. There isn’t anything I dislike! Workouts make me feel alive, so no matter what I do I feel great! Are you religious or spiritual or both or neither? Does that relate to your pursuit? Well, I’d say I trust in God but I am not fanatic. I think that having faith is what keeps you going, when things get hard and ugly. Do you have advice for people who are living without a passion or are trying to find theirs? Yes! Ask yourself what makes you happy? What is that thing you could do all day long, that thing that makes you feel accomplished and successful! When you answer that question, just go ahead and do it! No matter if it seems impossible, if you want it strong enough you will find a way to make a living from it and enjoy having a job that you love, a job that will help others, a job that will make you feel like you made a difference and you lived a life with purpose! Just listen to your heart, it knows better where you want to be, and where you were meant to be! Don’t let others discourage you! Remember that truly great people, help others achieve their goals. SO if somebody is being skeptical, then he is not worth your time! The people you need in your life are those that will help you get closer to where you want to be,no matter how far you are, or how impossible it seems!