I wish I could tell you a story when someone inspired me to be the best version of myself, but my biggest breakthroughs happened because of haters, narcissists and abuse. 

I did have an occasional angel here and there that helped me thrive, but what pushed me the most was when people didn’t believe in me. 

When I wanted to become a jazz singer, a guy from my band told me that I shouldn’t go in that direction, as I wasn’t not good enough. It was definitely a wake up call and truth-be-told I realised he was right – I wasn’t good enough, but that actually pushed me to work my ass off and become the best that I can be.

When he heard me a few years later, he was blown away and asked me to join his band again. I said no, with pleasure. I had already built a name in the jazz world, so I didn’t want to hide in someone else’s band. I did appreciate his acknowledgement, and just for that – it was totally worth the effort. I am truly grateful though for his comment, because it pushed me to prove him wrong, and it ended up being the greatest thing that happened to me. I followed my passions and worked hard to polish my skills, which might not have happened otherwise. 

Another example is when I decided to move to Portugal after college. I looked at the map of Europe and decided to go there, because it was sunny, I liked Portuguese people and I wanted to learn their language, so I decided to give it a go.

Everyone thought I was crazy. “Who goes to Portugal?!”, they said. Spain was more popular at the time, so it really didn’t make any sense. On top of everything I decided to move to the South, into a small town, mostly because I knew people there and figured it would be easier. 

Life in Portugal was pretty awesome and I still feel it’s my second home.
This is a beach in Faro, Algarve.

One would think that in a small town like that you wouldn’t have any opportunities, but that is where I learned to sing jazz and Bossa nova, working with one of the top jazz musicians in the country who “happened to be” in that city for some reason. Talk about coincidence, right? In fact, my singing talent got me a contract with him, a residence and working permit to stay in Portugal (Croatia wasn’t in the EU at the time).

I stopped believing in coincidences long ago, as it has been proven to me more than once that when you’re aligned things fall into place naturally – you meet the right people, get the right opportunities that move you forward and get all the resources you need to manifest your vision.

These were my humble beginnings in Portugal…I slowly worked my way up from cafes to big bands and national TV!

Several years later I was one of the few in Croatia that spoke Portuguese, which got me a lot of work. I worked as a tourist guide with visitors from Portugal and Brazil, and people hired me for gigs because my specialty was Bossa nova (I actually understood the lyrics), which was also not common.

Yes, nobody went to Portugal and that in fact gave me an incredible advantage when I came back to Croatia and later on in the future. 

Performing with the Big Band of the national radio of Croatia at one of the major Jazz Festivals in Zagreb.

All this to say, every time people didn’t believe in me it triggered something in me that I wanted to prove them wrong, so I would go ahead and do it anyway. Mind you, I have changed my pattern since then – I don’t wait for haters to trigger me. I learned to follow my passions without that kind of a push.

Word of advice – just because someone tells you your idea is crazy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it. Especially if you’re the only one thinking it could work.

Visionaries had ground-breaking ideas and insights because they didn’t follow the crowd and didn’t do what everybody did. They did it despite the haters and nay-sayers.

Follow your gut, your passions and what you feel is right. If you play your cards right, it might just pay off.