Zorana’s Story: Never Give Up
Introduction: Zorana Ivanic is a Professor for social media – that’s right😊. She goes under the name of “Profa za drmr,”– which is short for a Professor for social media on the Serbian language. It’s the coolest name, and it could not suit her better. She is fantastic at her job. She is killing it. And she was kind enough to share her story with us.
I was so happy I ran to her profile several months ago, and I am using her tips and knowledge to build qualitative content online myself.
I am so glad she said “yes” to this interview. You are about to meet an amazing soul who doesn’t let the physical challenges get in the way of living a happy, fulfilled and joyous life. Zorana is enthusiastic, eager for life, and motivated. She teaches her own example that nothing can be your excuse not to live fully and achieve anything you want.
The results she has in her business are amazing. And she is really a remarkable and beautiful person. You can check her Instagram profile.
I choose Zorana for this interview because she is proof that children and grown-ups living with physical and/or mental challenges can live a quality life and be happy and successful.
Maya: Hi Zorana. I am so happy to know you, and I am enjoying this conversation very much. Tell us more about your personal story and your health challenges.
Zorana: Hi Maya. Before we start, I’d like to thank you for this opportunity. I think this is a very important subject. If my mother had the opportunity to get to such content or to have someone like you – it would help her get a better perspective. Because mainly all the parents of special needs children hold themselves from admitting things and it’s hard for them to see the situation for what it is. So, thank you once more for this opportunity.
I was born as a healthy girl, a chubby little baby, and when I was around 7-8 years old, my body started to react differently than usual. For a long time, my parents and I have researched and went to many doctors and shamans – we tried both traditional and alternative medicine. Still, even today, I don’t have a 100% confirmation of my diagnose. But they’ve told me that I have generalized dystonia or, more precisely, unwilling muscle contractions. I don’t know for sure whether that is true, and at the end of the day, I don’t care. (smiles😊)
Maya: What was the most challenging period in your life? And when did you completely accepted your situation?
Zorana: Un, well, definitely middle school was the most challenging time for me. I think that bullying in schools exists even today. There was a boy who molested me physically and mentally. Because of him, I got a nickname that, in English, it would be translated as “girl who is falling apart.” And that is very, very, very painful for me even today. I have an inner battle about this, but I still cannot forgive him. Although I am trying. But that’s ok, you know. I always say that forgiveness is the most difficult thing we have to do. So, I will take my time and go easy.
The second part of the question is my favorite subject: the moment I’ve accepted myself. That was literally last year, somewhere in March. Because, the moment I’ve started my business and created Profa za drmr, I literally gave myself permission to be me: open, punctual, honest, funny, creative… Before, I would always put limits and boundaries of my personality to fit in or something. But I was drawn to something else, and that moment began in March.
Maya: This is a question I’m sure is very important to all special parents: What is your parents’ perception while growing up? Can you tell if their and your acceptance came at the same time?
Zorana: I can’t speak for them, but somehow, I think that they as parents never accepted entirely. Especially my dad. I think he still tries to find a solution for me, and that’s ok till some point. I understand that everyone wants to help their child. Very often, I think about that and it comes to me that the most difficult thing for the parents who have special needs children is to watch their children suffering and in pain and they can’t help them. I’ve cried a million times when I tried to imagine just for 1 minute how my mother must be feeling. But I can’t do anything about it, and I have no choice. This is my condition. And my parents have no other choice but accept it, although they always try to ease things for me. And That’s ok.
Maya: Yes, of course. Parents are always trying to help their children as much as possible. I am so under the impression of something I’ve read in Glen Doman’s book, What to do with your brain injured child. He says every child, no matter the condition, no matter how little it understands and is unaware of its environment, it is very important for the parents not to feel sorry towards their child, because even if it doesn’t understand words, it feels the emotional burden that it is the cause because of its parents’ sadness. This is in almost every one of my articles, and I can’t point this enough: you don’t accept for yourself. You accept for the sake of your child.
Zorana: You nailed it. Exactly.
Maya: In the introduction on your website, you say, “I am a spiritual junkie…”, and I think that is something you and I have in common. Tell me more about your spiritual practices and how you find spirituality a tool for a better life?
Zorana: Yessss, I am, and this is also one of my favorite subjects.:) I am being completely honest now: all people kind of start with the law of attraction. And that, too, was my case. I learned the basis that I should only “think positively, and everything will be great.” When I was 17-18 years old, I was in a very bad place.
Law of attraction was a straw I was holding to strongly, and I couldn’t see how much it’s damaging me at the time. Let me explain: I was a fresh college girl, and one of the exams gave me a very tough time. On top of that, I had a brief relationship with a guy, which left mental and emotional marks on me. I was traumatized facing his parents. They had a hard time accepting a person with special needs as their son’s girlfriend (but this is another topic😊). For a while, I was suicidal and felt even worse that I can’t be positive and optimistic at the moment. So very quickly, I fell into some dark place.
Depression and suicidal thoughts were part of my every day. I didn’t have the knowledge or “mental strongness” to get myself out of it. I was trying to think only positive, pressuring and blaming myself each time a negative thought would appear.
But as it turned out, this Law of attraction is much more than it seems and very deep. Because it’s all right to cry and express negative emotion and all that.
I don’t use too many personal development tools, but I do practice writing and journaling. It’s my favorite—especially fill-in morning pages or something around my work. Or I simply investigate negative emotions if that’s what I feel at the moment.
I would sit with my notebook, and here I go: Ok, why am I feeling this way? And while answering, I am letting out all the shit that’s on my mind on that paper. All of it. I call this cleansing. And I write further: Ok, how would someone who has overcome this, see this problem or negative emotion? (for example).
There are plenty of questions you might ask yourself. As this works for me, I am sure it would work for anyone who tries it. I say this without any hesitation or modesty. If all people even try to implement this – they could change so much in their lives. Uuuh – it would be awesome.
Maya: One of your most read articles on your blog is the gaming company’s visit to Korea. I was so excited while reading that story. I literally felt your joy and excitement that you are actually there. Tell me more about that.
Zorana: That’s one of my favorite experiences that I’ve created for myself. I was in Korea at the time for medical treatment (South, just to be clear😊).
I had one month till my flight back to Serbia. My favorite video game is Aion. I played this game during my depressed period to escape even for a while from the reality when all that shit happened to me at college, and I can say that in a way that game saved me. I think if it wasn’t for that game, I wouldn’t be here today.
I said, ok, here I am in Korea, and who knows when I will be here again. Why don’t I try and send an email and test my luck? I really have nothing to lose, and I could gain a lot. So, I send an email to several departments of the gaming company. You can find the email I’ve sent on my blog.
I used casual language, just as I am talking to you right now, and I explained how their video game means a lot to me, helped me a lot, etc. I wasn’t pushing, like, “Ou, I would like for you to invite me, so I visit the company that is the creator of my favorite game…” No. I was mainly writing to them to let them know that it helped a lot to me. And if there is a chance for me to visit – great. If not – that’s cool too.
It was important that I know I took all the steps that were up to me, and if this works out – awesome; if not, I am fine with that either. I am at peace.
And I think it was 7 days before I was supposed to get back home when I got an email with approval for me to come and visit them on Tuesday – and Tuesday is the day of my flight back to Serbia.
I said: Oh, that doesn’t work for me, I can come either the Monday before the flight, or earlier. So, we managed to find appropriate timing, and I went there, and they gave me a fantastic tour. (see video)
They have shown me how they are creating the music, the costume design, etc. I’ve received many gifts, and they took an interview with me. It was a really incredible experience and accomplishing one of my biggest dreams.
Maya: The results you have with your business speak for themselves. You are definitely very talented in online marketing. Your Instagram profile has over 11.100 followers, and that number increases each day. How did you find your ikigai? When did you knew that this is what you want to do?
Zorana: I have to tell you; I was looking for my passion for a long time. It wasn’t clear for me since my young age. I never said: wow, this is it.
In high school, I was making a hand made jewelry. In college, I tried network marketing. Then I was doing public speaking, I mean – even with this voice of mine😊. I attended seminars in Pula (Croatia), Beograd (Serbia), which was a huge and very dear experience for me.
But it wasn’t THAT thing that awakens true passion inside me and pushes me forward. Digital marketing came somehow naturally to me. Following that road of public speaking, I started to get to know copywriting, digital marketing, and all that goes with it. It served me very well for announcing and presenting my presentations and workshops at the time.
Because of digital marketing, I could present myself better and sell my services. The idea of “Profa za drmr” was conceived in my head while I was at my last job where I was running the social media (FB and Instagram) for that company. And I found myself in a position where I didn’t know how to say “no.” Because of my unknowing or inability to stand up for myself and say “I can’t” or “I need a little break,” I was obviously very inexperienced. It was my first job in a company, and I was young and callow. – didn’t know how to speak up, and after a year, I burned out. My body literally said “the end,” and I just lay down in bed.
This has happened to me before; when I get too tired, my body locks me up or gets very sharp pains in my neck, and I can’t move. That happened to me in February last year. And I decided that it was time for me to get out of that job. They negotiated with me different job opportunities, like working only 4 hours a day and similar, but I couldn’t accept that. Something from the inside told me that I should stop everything I was doing and lunch my business as Profa za drmr (Professor of social media). That happened at the beginning of March, and it worked out just great😊.
Maya: The rest is history. You use a lot of humor in your work, and your clients obviously like it. Describe your creating process. How do you stay motivated?
Zorana: To answer this question, I would like to explain motivation a little because personally, I think that waiting for motivation is big bullshit. Because a million times I found myself in a situation to say, “O my God, I so don’t want to work today and prepare this article or this program – get this thing out of my face.” 😊
But I know that I need to do that and to stay consistent. And I just sit down and start the process, and at that moment, motivation fills me from tip to toe. That is the thing that I … wouldn’t say that people are making a mistake, but they have this weakness to wait and wait to be ready, to get inspiration, and then they would start.
It doesn’t go this way. It’s actually the other way around. Action is not created because of the inspiration, but the action itself creates motivation and inspiration. Start doing. That’s all.
Maya: Absolutely. Please walk me through the step-by-step process that you went through to get to where you are today. What was the first thing you did?
Zorana: Well, I think on the one hand it was when I dared to follow my dream, and on the other hand, it’s the acceptance.
When I say acceptance, I mean, “Ok, I am where I am. Is this ok for me here? If not, what can I do to make it better? Who I want to include in this process?” something like this. When I am at the point of accepting the situation, I see how I could change it. And then comes the first thing I’ve said: to take some steps, action, etc. So literally, acceptance was the first thing.
Maya: What is your biggest success/victory?
Zorana: Uh😊. Without hesitation – self-love. This was a huge challenge for me – to accept my body entirely. Mentally I like myself – very much. I like the way I think and speak and my sense of humor. But it was quite challenging to accept the physical part of me. And this process of self-love kinda was completed by lunching “Profa za drmr”.
Before that, it was like, “O well, I love myself but look at this body.” But after that, it was like I gave myself permission for the first time, and it was so liberating for me. Today I can proudly say that no accomplishments or business success, or travels, or writing a book can replace self-love for me. To me, it’s my biggest success.
Maya: What is your day like? What do you need to do every day?
Zorana: I will disappoint you with this part a little. Because if you expect me to have some awesome killing success routine – I don’t.
Maya: I don’t expect anything. 😊
Zorana: Well good😊. At the end of the day, the reason why I started my own business is to live life on my terms and in a way that works out for me the best. With that being said – I don’t get up at 5 am. But one thing is part of my every day, and that’s writing. It doesn’t matter if it’s just writing my thoughts or filling out my “happy pages” or an article about something that inspired me. That is a very constant thing for me. The other staff is changeable. Sometimes I do exercise or read a book. Sometimes I take an online course or watch a movie. And sometimes I just chill.
Maya: What do you wish you could have done sooner?
Zorana: I like this question a lot. I will tell you – literally nothing. I believe (this might be disliked by someone), but I believe in Divine timing or the perfect timing of the Universe.
Everything that happened to me, everything that is happening now, and everything that comes for me in the future is for my growth and for me to learn some lesson. So, I think I haven’t missed anything so far, nor I ever will. In the same sense, I believe that others haven’t missed opportunities also.
Because everything that is happening right now is with a perfect reason. I understand that it’s difficult to accept this if we are in a challenging period, and it’s unclear for us why we are the ones who have to suffer this way. I say: just take it easy. It will become clear to us sooner or later.
Maya: If a kid walked up to asking for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give ’em your best tip, what would it be? What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Zorana: I would say: follow your joy. I was doing exactly that, for example, when I wrote an email to that gaming company. Which resulted in me visiting them. As long as you don’t hurt others or jeopardize them somehow, you should always follow your joy. For example, suppose I become someone who earns money by creating drama videos on YouTube and making people fight. In that case, I should think if my actions hurt other people. I am starting the drama – so yeah. It’s that simple. So, my advice to that kid would be: follow all of your joys as long as they don’t hurt others.
And what’s the best advice I’ve received? I would say it’s “Don’t give up.” This advice somehow gave me freedom.
Maya: What do you consider the main differences between those who have successfully accepted their life situation and those still stuck in negative emotions and “Why me” mode?
Zorana: Victimization. Or better said: playing a role of a victim. How do I know this? I was in that role too. I was in the mode “why me, why no somebody else?” And after a while, I realized that this way of thinking is a little selfish. If I think, “why me” I understood that if not me, then it would be someone else. Well, then why not me? It’s the same.
Whether it’s them or me – it’s the same. Because if it was them, they would also have a hard time. I don’t have a hard time anymore btw, but while I was in a victim role, It was difficult for me a big time. Today I can finally say: it’s ok to be me. This experience made me stronger in so many ways. It made me emotionally stronger; it brought me things, people and experiences I wouldn’t have otherwise.
This is a stupid example, but people always let me go first in a bank. :)😊😊
(note from the host of the interview: When she said that we laughed so loud and hard, I almost hit my head off my desk. People, look how amazing and cheerful she is. We had the most amazing time over coffee and Zoom chatting😊)
(continuing – Zorana): I always joke, like, wait, if this condition of mine dares to “torture me,” I might as well use it for sometimes to get what I want, like not waiting for a line in a bank.
Maya: What advice will you give to the special parents?
Zorana: My main advice would be if they can – and I know this is a big challenge – but if they can not project their own limiting beliefs on their children.
They might think that their child cant do many things, but that is not entirely true. It happened before for me to tell my parents that I want to try such and such or to travel alone, and their first reaction was – of course – fear. And that’s fine. But it kills me a little when their first reaction is panic. Let me try, let me go, and it’s alright for you to be here to catch me if I start falling, but let me try first so I can learn.
So, I would recommend to all the parents if they have a child like me – although I am not a little girl anymore, I am still someone’s child: to not project their limiting believes on their children.
Maya: Do you want to add something? Maybe there is a question I didn’t ask, but you want to talk about it.
Zorana: I’ve enjoyed this interview a lot. Thank you for all the questions. I wouldn’t add anything. I think we’ve covered all. It felt great talking to you, and that is very important to me. Thanks again for this opportunity, and I have nothing to add.
The conversation with Zorana was very inspiring and fun. I had a great time doing this with her.
Once again, I am putting all the links where you can find her:
Visit of the gaming company in Korea:
Other articles you mind be interested in: