Too many of us grew up only seeing one kind of boss or leader in the media. The lack of representation for other groups reinforced harmful stereotypes and acted as a self-fulfilling prophesy, but would our opinion of what a leader looks like be different if the media did a better job at representing the true diversity of leadership in America?
Women and other under-represented groups are already leading many great companies, organizations, & academic institutions; others are authoring best-sellers, building engaged audiences, leading movements and more.
We had the honor of connecting with many of the best and brightest female leaders from in and around the city and we asked them our question of the month: What is the best advice you have for someone who feels like they are facing insurmountable odds.
We encourage you to check out the female leaders we’ve highlighted below, follow them on social media if you find their work or story interesting and most importantly do your part to #fightstereotypes
Emily Hood | Recipe Developer | Food Blogger and Social Worker
While I have faced challenges in my life, there are many other people who have faced things more challenging than I can possibly imagine. On social media and my blog, I am a recipe developer/food blogger, sharing healthy and Whole30/paleo focused recipes with my community. However, the rest of the time I am a School Social Worker, and I have the opportunity to work with students and families who face challenges that truly do seem insurmountable. Some of the students I work with have an incredible amount of resilience and strength, and it is part of what helps them through their daily challenges. While I am may not an expert on how to face challenges, I am honored to be able to work alongside the students, parents, and families that trust me with theirs. They allow me to walk alongside them, listen to their struggles and pain, and try to problem solve where to go next. So my best advice? Find a listening ear, a family member or friend, a counselor or therapist – going through a challenge that feels too big to handle will feel much more manageable if you can do it alongside someone you trust.
Jennifer G. Thompson | Artist | Educator | MFA Candidate
I think the best advice I have for someone who is facing a challenge that seems insurmountable, is to write down what your challenge is. Then, break it down into achievable steps and do your best to check each one off. It may seem hard, but please don’t forget to ask for help, take time for yourself and pray everyday. I know in life we all will face insurmountable challenges but you are going to make it to the other side victoriously. I believe in you. Believe in yourself.
Alleah Austin | Hairstylist + Makeup Artist
My advice would be to embrace the challenges in life, no matter how big or small. I think a lot of times when things get rough, human nature makes us want to give up. But I truly believe a lot of hard work and failure is behind most success stories. Challenging times are inevitable, but if you change your outlook and look at your challenges as an opportunity, your outcome can change.
Samantha Bedgood | Cookie Artist
My biggest piece of advice for someone facing a challenge that feels insurmountable is to ask for help! Find the people that love and support you and lean on them when you need it. They may have a solution or perspective that you wouldn’t have come up with on your own!
Angel Morris | Journalist by day, bargain hunter all the time
Consider your resources. Do you have family, friends, colleagues, acquaintances who can assist in any way? Are there groups in your community to whom you can reach out? Whether it’s a personal goal or an actual need you have, there is often someone in your circle who can help if you’re just willing to ask. We’re all put on this earth to ease one another’s burdens, in fact. Let others aid you however they can, then turn around and support the person behind you!
Hannah Kingsolver | Photographer and Bank Teller
It’s cliche to say, but everyone needs to hear it at some point or another… NEVER GIVE UP. Some people need to be reminded more than others that when there is a set back, you find a way to overcome it. Life is the BEST thrower of curve balls, and wow… you may strike out over and over again, but that’s life. YOU have the power to choose what your next steps should be. Set small goals for yourself until they become bigger and bigger, and when you’ve made it, reach higher. Just NEVER stop trying because if you do, you’ve already lost. Improvising and adaptability is key to over coming insurmountable issues, and it starts with your mind set. Just know that whatever problems you may have, there will always be a way to solve them if you are willing to improvise and adapt to those curve balls. You got this, and there are people out there who believe in you!
Davelyn Davenport | Personal Trainer & Mental Health Advocate
The best advice I would give is first shift your mindset. Within any challenge you are facing a positive mindset will propel you over the mountain when you thought there was absolutely no way you were going to scale it. Going into anything with the mindset of defeat guarantees you a loss before you even step on the battlefield. You have to be able to visualize yourself winning. Manifest it! Our minds are so powerful and we wield everything, positive or negative, upon our lives. So speak and think all things positive. It starts in the mind. The second piece of advice I would give is to stop forward looking. We are a generation of forward thinkers that we get so anxious for what’s to come before we barely began to crawl. Remain in the present and work on taking the action steps, small or large, before you deem something over or out of your reach. The last piece of information, and to me ties all these together, is change your environment! If you are constantly submerged in a negative space, with negative minded people & energies (this goes for what content you follow on socials as well), nothing positive can flourish. You become a product of that space. Find positive groups, whether online or in your community, and allow that positive energy to radiate within your soul. Free yourself from negativity and no challenge that you come across will ever feel insurmountable again!
Marilu Villegas | Photographer
Put God first in all of your projects, never give up your goal, your never ending dream. But give up your fear, your “can’t”s, and the excuses. Do not place limits on your mind and never stop seeking knowledge. Be diligent that nothing and no one will put out your fire or your vision of the things you want to accomplish. Keep persevering and set your sights on the goal, clinging to and embracing with all your strength what you want to achieve.
Alondra Islas | HairArtist
I would tell them , to never give up or loose hope. You will always be your own worse critics but at the end of the day you are capable of doing a lot more than what you think you are! Nothing is too much of a challenge as long as you are determined!
Alex | Marathon runner | Student & Barista
When facing something I feel is insurmountable, I always take a step back and detach from the situation at hand. I look at every possible outcome and possibility, then immediately take action. Is there something I can do NOW to get me further to a positive outcome? If so, then I begin planning and taking the steps needed to tackle the challenge. Don’t talk about it, be about it; anything is possible when you take control by actively working for what you want. On the other hand, if there is nothing immediate to be done, I may be frustrated, but there is no reason to waste precious energy worrying about situations out of my control. Bottom line? Detach, plan, and take action.
Nicole DeVoss | Speech Language Pathologist with a specialization in social learning
We all go through periods of our lives where we feel we are facing challenges that are insurmountable. My advice is to take a step back and not let yourself be defined by the problem. Obstacles in life exists, so we can either resist them or accept the reality that they are in front of us. I love using the analogy of ocean waves when thinking of challenging times in my life. I can either try to fight off the wave (which would be futile) or accept the wave and let it wash past me. Once I have that perspective, it helps me realize that challenges are part of life. Don’t think “why is this happening to me?” but instead flip the script and think “what can I learn from this?
Stephanie | Photographer | artist and model
It is something I have to tell myself a lot as well because having anxiety and running your own business that isn’t always where you want it to be, you just have to tell yourself when you think you are going through hell, keep going cause who stops at hell. Things may not be how you want it at the moment but you just have to keep pushing through it and work through your problems, don’t just quit because it got hard.
Sara Price | Sales Consultant | Photographer
When faced with a difficult challenge the best advice I can give is to trust your gut! Its amazing to receiving constant support and advice from everyone but at the end of the day your the one in control. You know your own limits and strengths, never be afraid to lean on them. Continue to have faith in your decisions and remember it’s not the end of the world!
Nnedimma | Singer | songwriter & Medical Student
The best advice I can give is to believe in yourself and have faith. Work indefatigably to fulfill your goals and always be intentional with your actions. Even in the face of adversity, you can succeed.
Brenda Armendariz | Personal Trainer
Erase the words “ I can’t “ From your vocabulary. And replace it with “ How can I “ Words are powerful, and if you train your mind believe in yourself anything is possible!
Chelsea Paterson | Personal Blogger & Teacher
When the problems of the world overwhelm you, it’s such a gift to know that there is no problem you face the God doesn’t know or fails to understand. Finding reasons for our struggles might help us understand them, but even when our circumstances don’t make sense, trust in God’s greater plan. “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take hear! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 “And we know that in all things God worlds for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
Anastacia Sadeh | Mother | Friend | Artist
Feeling like we have met a challenge that is insurmountable is hard. Really hard. These are the moments when our hope snaps like a bone breaking from too much unnatural weight. It sounds like a sickening crack in our emotional mind. It is in those moments when something as hard-wired as breathing often turns into a dare. We have all been present for these miserable moments. And we must understand we can get through them. It isn’t what we face that is usually as insurmountable as the unrealized blinders we subconsciously wear, born of surviving previous chapters of our lives. These blinders block our vision and thus our abilities to push forward into unfamiliar territories that demand new emotional ‘default settings’. Being still long enough to acknowledge our tumultuous feelings is the first step to moving through the challenge. When these types of challenges hit me, I must often force myself to lean into my faith until my mind can slow down. I then re-conceptualize the situation’s parts into smaller and more attainable pieces. I have learned that leaning into my faith gives me the courage to ascertain what parts of the crisis I can change and what parts I cannot. It more often than not leads me to reach out to trusted friends for support. The vulnerability it takes to do that is not always easy, but humanity’s mutual need for authentic connection is strengthened through sharing our truths. I can remember once seeing a bird fly desperately around the ceiling of a grocery store when I was a child young enough to still reach up for my mother’s hand. To my surprise most people there that day chose to ignore its frantic flight and go about their checklists. I felt very sorry for it. I didn’t realize that the adults around me didn’t possess any better tools to free it than I did despite their age. No one knew what to do with it, so they ignored it. Our feelings surrounding crisis are often like that frantic bird. They fly around in a panic from being trapped and then are ignored for lack of better options. Had someone trusted in their ability to find a solution, they might have acted on it. Had they acted on it, they might have caught it. And If they caught it, they could have then freed it. The insurmountable events of our lives are all made up of parts. I try to be still. I try to focus on where my faith brings me that day. I do what I can with each smaller part of the whole and then I hand the other over to God. When I have done those things, then I go on with my day and do my best to be present for it. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither are solutions for seemingly insurmountable challenges. They are, however, chances to better understand ourselves, our faiths, and our purpose.
Lisa Willis | Jewelry Designer
The best advice I could give to someone in this situation is to trust in their own power and also trust that the Universe will bring out strengths in them that they didn’t know they had. When you’re faced with a challenge there’s only two options; to deal with it or to run away. Imagine how much more pain you will feel if you just give up. If you at least try to overcome any challenge in life, even if you ultimately fail, knowing that you tried is a source of pride. The resiliency of a determined spirit is unmatched.
Ashton Little | Bar Method Fitness instructor & Dance Teacher/Choreographer
Life is full of tests, trials, & challenging seasons. I used to think that the goal was to live a “comfortable” life. What a naive thought! My best advice would be to live in the present moment and shift your focus to the creator instead of mountain in front of you.( it is tough to do.) Meditate on whatever is good, noble, authentic, & just. EVERYTHING starts in the mind & life and death lie in the power of your tongue. Speak life & choose to persevere. It IS a choice,. Some days are victorious, and other days may feel like you are taking several steps back. It is okay to fall apart, but its never okay to quit running the race!
Corina Garza | Makeup Artist & Business Woman
Set goals! Take one day at a time, also be teachable and always do your own research. Learn from your mistakes and keep positive attitude.
Madeleine Glenski | Copywriter
When something seems totally unachievable or completely out of reach – whether it be a task, a goal, a life-long dream, etc. – I’ve found that it helps to determine steps it would take to achieve it and focus on those individual steps rather than the end goal. For example, it can be overwhelming to think about becoming fluent in a second language, but determining and achieving small steps to eventually get there, such as watching a movie in that language or signing up for a one-time class, doesn’t seem so daunting. When I take this approach, I make actual progress toward my goals rather than waste time thinking about how out of reach they may feel.
Sammi Stalker | Fitness Enthusiast
The best advice I have for someone who is facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable is that when you think you can’t, you most positively can. Mindset is everything. If you mentally tell yourself that whatever challenges you are facing are impossible to overcome, then you are not even giving yourself a fair chance to prove yourself wrong. You need to walk into any given situation, good or bad, with a positive mindset that you can overcome anything! I promise you that it is worth it, it is always worth it. There may be things you come across that feel like the end of the world, but it will pass and you will get through it. You will walk out of every challenging situation stronger than you were before. You just have to find the strength on a daily basis to believe in yourself!
Maria Eleanor Liceralde | Licensed Esthetician & Phi Brows Microblading Artist
When facing what seems to be an insurmountable challenge it’s always important to remain positive in order to develop and create solutions. Visualize your goals, take risks, be persistent, stay strong, and be true to yourself. No matter what life throws at you, never give up! Work hard, be positive, and this too shall pass.
Ciara Martinez | Health and lifestyle coach
My advice for this is to get up everyday and focus on what you can do THAT DAY to make it the best possible. Don’t dwell on what went wrong or how you messed up yesterday. Work hard and be consistent and you can change anything about your life that isn’t satisfying you:)
Mariam Rehan | Makeup Artist
I would suggest people to keep yourself abreast with the latest trends and changes so that you can quickly adapt to your environment and just practice, practice and practice so that you can be the best version of yourself and can handle any challenges head on. Lastly, don’t ever give up no matter what and always look on the brighter side of things!
Blown by gaby | ombre specialist
I’ve been in this industry for over 7 years and I was very discouraged in the beginning it took me a good 5 years to be comfortable and confident in my industry. Hard work pays off gaining the right clientele takes time. Be patient with yourself and give yourself room and time to grow.
Belen Gomez | Hairstylist & Makeup Artist
The best advice I can give , sounds very cliche , but to keep pushing through the rough times. Honestly at the end it will only be you living YOUR dream. Things happen in life but you will always have to look at the bright side, it may take a couple days , weeks but it takes many wrongs to get to your right. With door closing new ones will open and it’ll be one of the best things that could happen and lead to more greater success!
Sabrina Rae Santoro | Copywriter | Social Media Marketing Strategist
Life works in interesting ways sometimes, the truth is, you won’t ever be given a situation you aren’t strong enough to get through. The bigger the challenge the more rewarding the results will be. Remember, diamonds are made under pressure. Keep going.
Tracey Mitchell | Published Author + International Speaker
Pain is no respector of persons. We could swap stories on how we’ve fallen apart during life’s darketst moments. But I’ve learned we lose ground when we bury our hearts in our insecurities or take cover beneath the security blanket of denial. Refusal to face greatest challenges does not dissipate the storms; rather, it empowers them. A victorious life is not stumbled upon; it is cultivated. It’s the result of choosing to be bold, brave -fearless-when everything in you wants to cower in defeat. If you are serious about defeating the things that seek to destroy you, you must decide to be fabulously fierce and face your problems head-on. Ask yourself the difficult questions: – Am I willing to trade my best days for a life spend wallowing in the pit of unrealized expectations? – Will I permit the claws of injustice to strip me of my God-appointed destiny? – Will I enthrone feelings of loss, empowering them to steal my peace? – Will I wast my life grieving over those times when I was blindsided by hurtful situations? You don’t have to agree to any of these things, but is your choice. I challenge you to bypass the quicksand of self-defeatism. Reach deep inside and find your brave heart.
Christina Nguyen | Nonprofit Marketing Expert & Entrepreneur
There’s a saying that I often tell myself and to others, “The universe only gives you what you can handle.” The more challenging the situation life gives you, it’s because you’re meant for greater things and this can be applied in work, school, family, relationships, etc. As a survivor of sexual assault and subject to gender and racial discrimination, I know what it is like to feel as if there are no solutions or way out of the darkness. It is through voice and expressing our challenges together that makes us better, stronger, and human. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. And more importantly, don’t be afraid of greatness. Also, sometimes all you need are carbs and a shoulder to lean on as a starter kit 🙂
Nikki Pecoraro | Dallas Wedding Photographer | H&N Photography
Don’t ever give up. I know, sounds cliche but it’s for real. Challenges feel insurmountable because it’s asking for more of us than we know is there. It requires us to unlock what is there but we don’t necessarily know it yet. When we face those challenges (knowing that giving up isn’t an option) we find ourselves learning and growing so much from those challenges that we once thought we would never overcome. It’s in you. You have the ability and the means even if you don’t know it yet. We’ve found that those challenges we once thought were crazy have turned out to be the challenges we are most thankful for because it has grown us, stretched us, and equipped us for the next part of our journey. Challenges build character, build confidence, and build creativity. Welcome the challenge and never give up.
Nicole Myers | AdTech Associate & Aspiring Girlboss
Breathe. The first and best piece of advice is to simply breathe. Every day is a fresh start with new possibilities and things to be grateful for. Often, I find situations can feel insurmountable because we focus and get too entrenched in the big picture leaving us completely overwhelmed. Personally, I have been there several times. Wake up challenging yourself to find the positive in at least one aspect of life. Remind yourself of where you have come from and the strong capable human that you are now. Begin to parse the situation down into smaller manageable pieces or steps. Just take it day by day. Build confidence in who you are by taking on this challenge head first. Soon enough you will be on the other side and stronger for it.