by Gwendi Klisa
Personal Brand Photograph of a Performer

You can achieve anything

You’ve got to love Sara, a pole dancer and aspiring circus artist from Denmark. Firstly, she’s a brilliant performer, but I’m sure people mostly love her for her spirit as she shows her people that they can achieve anything.

Her initiative is infectious and she actually inspired me to create this personal brand series, so I’m very honoured to have her to kick it all off.

Looking at Sara’s Instagram feed you’d think her personal brand got to be the rebel, but there’s way more than meets the eye! To really understand what she gives to her community you need to know her story, which reads like phoenix rising from the ashes, empowering others to push on through with their dreams, encouraging them to achieve anything they can dream of.

Talking to her you really get the feeling that joy is something she takes seriously, which complements her heavier side, giving her a lovely warmth and heart.

Creating a personal brand around full authentic self expression, while keeping it light as well as showing others that if she can do it, they can do this too would be the way I’d go about my business if I were Sara, building deep connections to her audience.

What’s the one thing that you excel at, that you do better than anyone else?

I know what it feels like to fight for something that everyone says you can never do.

I understand the struggle, fear and sadness that comes from not being able to live out your dream. And I know what it takes to say “screw it!” and go after it anyway.

When I first got accepted into circus school, it was a dream come true for me. However, after only a few months, I found out I needed two hip surgeries, taking me out of the game for at least a year.

I was devastated – finally my dream was within reach, and now I lost it again?

But I had no choice so I went through the surgeries, but my left hip didn’t really heal the way it should, it was still falling short.

Two doctors and three physiotherapists told me the same thing – you can never become a circus artist. The training is too hard for your hips and you won’t be able to do any real flexibility training either. Because the professionals said this, my parents said the same thing. I live with my parents and have always had a very good relationship with them, so their opinion meant a lot.

I started seeing a psychologist to help me work through getting over my dream of becoming a performer. This was probably my darkest hour. And yet, I felt like I wasn’t done yet. I couldn’t let it go. And so I began, ever so slowly, to start training again.  I now practice slack rope walking (my primary discipline) six times a week and do flexibility training four times a week.

List the three most important principles you live by

Just go for it

Whatever you want to do, try it out! Just go for it, have fun with it, see what happens. If you don’t start, you’ll never get where you want to be. I used to have a motto “we’re all going to Hell one day, you might as well enjoy the ride”. I thought I was a badass rebel back then, so of course it had to be Hell, but the essence still rings true for me – I’m here for a good time, not a long time.

It has to bring you joy

No matter what part of your life we’re talking about, it has to bring you something good. Your career, your friendships, your hobbies, your living room… make sure it brings you joy. Life is so short, so make sure you get the best of it. And if you discover something in your life that doesn’t give you joy, get rid of it. This can be so hard, especially if it’s a person that drags you down, but you’ll feel so much better without this person in your life! Consider it a favor to them, too: if they don’t bring you joy, you might not bring them joy either.

You are in control

This kind of ties in with the two others. I’m a firm believer that I am in control of my own life. You may not control what happens to you, but you do control your reaction. This is something I’ve worked a lot with, especially after my surgeries. They happened to me, I had no choice but to go through with them. But afterwards, I realized that I had two choices – I could give up on becoming a circus artist and for the rest of my life tell the story of how unfairly life treated me OR I could muster all my strength, get back up and for the rest of my life tell the story of how I took control of my own life.

Do you keep hearing the same compliment? What is it?

I have one that I feel like I keep hearing. It’s “you are brave”.

And yes, I think I am. Because being brave doesn’t mean you’re not afraid (then I wouldn’t be brave at all!), it means that you push through your fears.

Seeing as anything with hospitals and needles scares the shit out of me, I had some fear to push through during the time around my surgeries. But bravery is something we all have inside us. Sometimes we have no choice. Sometimes we just need to be put in some extremely scary situations to find it.

Why do people seek you out?

I get the feeling that people come to me to discuss dreams and ideas that might not seem realistic. I disregard words such as realistic because I truly believe that we shape our own reality. So when people need a little push or some motivation, they come to me.

List three words that describe you, how do people introduce you?

Depends on who is introducing me… which just goes to show that you can come off very differently, depending on who is looking at you.

I would describe myself as passionate, clever and ambitious.

My mother would probably say naive, imaginative and stubborn – all these can be interpreted both as positive and negative. In this case, a loving mixture, I’d say.

And my friends would probably say passionate, fun and stubborn.

What’s the secret sauce you add to your working life?

It has to be bring me joy! It’s not like I’m laughing my ass of every day I’m at work, but I want to work somewhere I can enjoy myself. Right now, I’m working two different jobs and practicing my circus, which I consider my third job and hope to turn into my only job and income.

But no matter which job I’m at, I try to do that little extra – because that makes it fun for me. If I’m bored at my job it’s usually because I’m half-assing it and not giving it any real attention. But if I actually make an effort I get to see the results of my work, and I like that. It brings me joy.

It’s kind of a circle – I make an effort because it gives me joy, which makes me want to make an effort, which brings me joy…

What makes your heart beat faster? What gives you energy?

Let’s get the cliché answer out of the way first – being with my friends and family recharges me.

I’ve known my best friend since I was two years old, and we’ve been through everything together, even her mother dying and her moving across the country. She’s the person who knows me best, and the person I can bring all my ideas and dreams to. I wish for everyone out there that you find a friend like her, because nothing gives me more joy and energy than spending time with her.

Thinking about my future makes my heart beat faster. I’m all for finding happiness in the present moment, but when I see my dreams for the future I see myself living as a circus artist in New York City, performing and inspiring people to chase their dreams just like someone inspired me.

Doing circus makes me blood flow and my heart beat faster, and I never feel more alive than when I do exactly that.

Find out more about Sara and see how she keeps following her dream to achieve anything

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