Being a refugee is not my label nor does it define me. I am Sanja. I will always

be Sanja. Then my other roles and titles follow: daughter, wife, mother, coach,

author, friend, businesswoman, colleague, refugee, speaker, and the list goes on.

I am who I am and am comfortable in my own company.

I love my name. Whilst I was in my mum’s belly, my brother named me. Mum

says he used to lay his head on her pregnant belly and say, ”Hello Sanja, please

kick. It’s Dado here, your brother.” And apparently I would kick. This was a bond that

a brother and sister have – a very special one.

In saying this, I am confirming that I as an individual in my own right, am

grounded, balanced, and feeling strong about who I am. I choose to better myself

every day and my past experience do not stop me from evolving; in fact they

enhance my growth through gratitude of what I have gained and who I have become.

My past has made me stronger, wiser, more resilient. At one stage I thought my

past was breaking me down, but then I realised it was making me stronger by

making me hit rock bottom. It is not so important how low we hit the ground, but

rather how high we bounce back up.

To grow, we must let go. Letting go and deciding to implement gratitude and

forgiveness in my daily life had transformed me as a person. Letting go of being

perfect, letting go of reaching unrealistic expectations of myself and others. Forgiving

myself first for being too hard on myself, and instead being thankful to my body and

soul for serving me and for being healthy and functioning normally. Forgiving others

and practicing compassion without judgment, because they too are most probably

going through challenges in their own lives unknown to others.

I talk a lot about gratitude. The reason being is because by focusing on what we

do have lifts our mood and focuses the mind on positive aspects of our lives that we

often take for granted.

We can’t change the past, but we can choose the way we look at it. I was never

one to be stuck in the past, but at one stage of my healing journey I feared the

future, which in return created anxiety I was feeling. Now, I don’t dwell on the past, I

don’t fear the future, I am simply in the now. From my perspective, being present is

the best state one can be in.

The experiences I have had up until now in my life have created the

opportunities for learning, growth, and strength. Being a child refugee, a migrant, and

a new kid on the block for most of my early years shaped me as a person today who

appreciates diversity, has empathy, and strives to inspire others to shift their mindset

from one of a victim to one of a victor.

I don’t give up. Giving up is never an option on my solution list. If a plan A

doesn’t work, I look for a plan B, but never do I give up. Persistence and positive

mindset are my resources I tap into every day to reach my goals, and I highly

recommend those for you too. Being persistent and consistent will deliver the

outcomes you want in life.

Overcoming hardship and adversity have empowered me to achieve anything I

put my mind to. You, too, were born to bloom and can live the life you dream of by

seeing the opportunities and not the challenges, as well as learning lessons and not

giving up when you fail.

Become a victor, not a victim.