artist spotlight May 13, 2016

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Gordana Jakopcevic : interior designer/cancer survivor/fit people business creator

"They sometimes say that illness is gift, I don’t know if I agree completely but breast cancer definitely changed my life for the better.

For 18 years I worked in the design industry creating beautiful interiors, kitchens, bathrooms and living spaces. It allowed my creativity to flow yet to some extent I always felt like something was missing. 

Before my diagnosis I was living a normal life, going through the motions. Married, kids, job, house, minivan, life was typical. But I was unhappy. I was unhappy in my marriage, I was unhappy in my job -- I had a great job, I made 6 figures a year helping people build the homes and interiors of their dreams but it wasn’t my passion. I longed for something more. 

In 2008, after my third baby and after making the decision to re-shape my body I began Crossfit. I started to finally find purpose. It was my catalyst for change. That very same year that I was diagnosed with breast cancer, got divorced and was told never to lift five pounds over my head again. 

Those were crazy, bewildering times. Through Crossfit and because of breast cancer I was truly able to find my path and Step Into My Strength. It was during that time that I was determined to prove every doctor who told me I couldn’t lift heavy wrong. I was determined to prove that building a strong body and mind is integral for living a life filled with purpose and passion. 

Not long after, I got the courage to jump. I left my job designing homes and interiors and leaped into a passion that I would not have found otherwise. Today I’ve built a successful business where I get to empower women to Step Into Their Strength. Through one-on-one coaching and group programs, I’m on a mission to empower women to know their own worth, love their bodies, get strong and create the lives that they love. 

You don’t need a life threatening diagnosis to create a life that you love, though. I believe in the power of the human body and in the strength of a woman. An empowered woman is capable of changing the world. I truly believe that every woman has a gift inside of her waiting to be unleashed and a strong body and mind will help you achieve all of your dreams and desires.

Thich Nhat Hanh wrote: “A serious illness can be a kind of mindfulness bell that starts our true practice and gives birth to our spiritual life. So our sickness may contain a positive element which helps us to grow. It’s a bell of mindfulness for us and everyone around us.”

Seeing the gift in my illness has allowed me new creativity beyond what I thought I was ever capable of. It’s opened my mind to the possibilities of massive transformation, compassion and love not only for myself but for all who are ready for growth."

Gordana's website is:

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