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.
Chereece Thier | Mompreneur (Entrepreneur)
Achieving my goals and dreams took persistence to overcome my greatest obstacle which was myself. Once was able to overcome myself everything fell into place. I overcame myself by getting out of my own way and creating a new path. I started small going to the gym, running, and listening to motivational speakers on YouTube. I regained my confidence in myself. I would tell everyone, Don’t stop keeping going for your goals and dreams. Don’t take, “No” for an answer. “No,” is just another opportunity to find another way!
As an entrepreneur faced many obstacles such as caring for my four children while working on my business and creating a new brand Suits 4 Dads. Suits 4 Dads provide a clean gently used suit to a Dad who is overcoming Parental Alienation, which in most cases these amazing dads just need the right tools to overcome their struggles. By providing a suit to him, we are helping him regain his self confidence for his day in court against his Alienator.
I leave you with this quote by Eleanor Roosevelt, “you gain strength, courage, and confidence- by every experience in which you’re really stop to look FEAR in the face. do the thing that you think you cannot do.”
Sara Jenness | 2nd grade teacher & Glitter Tumbler Artist
Take a deep breath. Just step back and breathe for a second. You can do this. There are so many situations that create busyness and confusion in our day to day lives. With today’s need to hustle and fill our calendars we are often faced with challenges that feel insurmountable. When I feel myself faced with a challenging deadline and covered in glitter, not enough hours in the day, kids hanging off my legs at work and home, the most important tool I have found in my busy life is creating a detailed list and setting mini goals for myself and my projects I need to accomplish. When that feeling of panic starts to loom, nothing feels better than a handwritten list on crisp white paper. Taking a project and dividing it into smaller pieces with attainable deadlines, helps to provide small successes that fuel my fire and help provide a sense of accomplishment to keep me moving forward. I will even write down the amount of time I think each step will take. This helps me be able to slide pieces and parts into sections of my time throughout the day and head off some of that trepidation that comes from overwhelming tasks. As I see my list shrinking and start to see the anxiety and feelings from that challenge in my rear view mirror, I recognize how good it feels to push forward through that adversity and end up on the other side. Remember, you CAN do this!!
Sherry Ruffy | Psychology Student & Travel Enthusiast
Take a deep breath and remind yourself that you are a lot stronger than you give yourself credit for. No challenge is insurmountable because you are capable of achieving anything you set your heart and mind into; never give up, especially not on yourself. Don’t focus on the result(s), but rather, focus on the process. When you feel overwhelmed, take it slow and reflect on your goals and motives. Stay consistent, be patient, and have a better attitude about the challenges. Above all, take care of yourself. Life can be tough at times but so are you!
Leah Hall | Personal Brand Strategist
The best advice I would share with someone that is facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable is – each challenge provides two options, learn the lesson from the challenge to develop or pivot from the challenge and allow the lesson to enhance your outcome. Each day you will have experiences that challenge you – the key is not to allow those perceived challenges to hinder you from reaching your goals.
Being able to overcome is a choice. Choose to see that challenge simply as a step to your next win. Take ownership of your story, your success, and your journey.
Michaela Drazkowski | Beauty and Motherhood Blogger
Just keep on trying no matter how many times you fail. It could take 1 time or it could take 100. If you put your mind to it you can do it! Don’t look for the easy way out, really work your butt off for what you want or you will never succeed! Practice Makes Progress!!
EDEN | Filmmaker & artist
“If you can dream it, you can do it!”- Jimmy MacElroy
Emma Chase | Virtual Health & Fitness Coach
Just start…and keep going. Be okay with walking this journey imperfectly. Anytime we do something new, we aren’t going to be good at first, so be willing to fail forward a LOT. That is how you can GROW forward. When you have moments of doubt, discouragement, or despair, use sweat and prayer to find the strength inside of you to keep going. Remind yourself of how you want to feel when it’s done then focus on whatever you need to do to get to where you need to be. I like to keep an evidence journal where I write down 3 things everyday that prove I moved forward towards my goals. It helps me to see that I’m on the right path. Just start and don’t stop until you get there.
Michelle Schaefer | Avon Independent Sales Rep
I love baseball and that sport offers a lot of lessons on challenges. I think it was Babe Ruth who said, “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.” Each time you fall down, lose, feel defeated, get back up and try again. Even successful people like Babe Ruth had times where they were striking out and could not break the streak. When I feel like I am losing control and surrounded by chaos, I take a forced pause and reflect on all that is good in my life. I take myself into a place of gratitude. I believe when we are filling our hearts and minds full of all of the positives, it crowds out those feelings of failure and fear. It always helps to recall a past challenge I that at the time seemed beyond my capabilities and once I remember how I conquered, I get back to beast mode of breaking it down, making a plan and taking action. Reshaping the focus of our minds and staying true to what is in our hearts is beyond powerful. Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve. Believe in yourself and find your path through.
Kylee Kristiane Wilkinson | Entrepreneur
Doubt can manifest negativity when we are blinded with difficulty. By trusting the design of hidden lessons, we learn detachment from fear provides peace. Seeking the truths of our creator has brought me clarity throughout life’s roller coaster of unpredictable.
Megan Renee Linnell |Creative and Mental Health Advocate
I had a therapist once in a group program that painted a picture for her broken out-patients: if you beat yourself up because you used to be able to get up and go out with your friends after a long day of work… (look good, socialize, and spend hours outside of the comfort of your own home), but now you find yourself lying in bed for 16 hours a day not even able to take care of your hygiene, let alone deal with anxiety from going out and mingling amongst a crowd of strangers, take a breath and first give yourself grace to heal: and once you’re ready – save yourself the guilt with this motto: “No More Zero-Days.”
Meaning, if you used to go out dancing and now that seems like an insurmountable task, start simple. If you can’t even find the energy to do your make up and your hair after trying to take a shower for an event that takes 100 steps, then how about taking one. If lying in bed is all you can do, maybe get up and go to the bathroom and start a shower. If you feel like you can’t finish it then turn it off and go back to bed. But that was not a zero day; you took a step. Perhaps the next week, after a few days of getting out of bed, you’ll be able to take a couple more. Perhaps next you’ll wash your hair, and that’s progress. After, you’ll start to brush your teeth. Perhaps next you’ll send your old friends a text that says “xoxo, maybe I’ll see you again soon.” not committing to plans, yet? That’s fine
But when you’re lying in bed, don’t daunt yourself with what feels impossible. If step one hundred looks and feels impossible, remind yourself you don’t have to go there yet. Look at what you have control over, even if it’s small, just start there – usually there’s a lot of growth just in what we are able to hold and please, be kind to yourself.
PS, I know this sounds bizarre and cynical, but true hope lies in knowing that if I don’t put any honest effort into conquering an intimidating, fear-filled thing in front of me, the default consequence will be failure; so for me it’s comforting knowing that even just *meeting* the obstacle with a courageous approach means I’m that much closer to winning. And if I can liberate my spirit by shedding what’s holding me back and I take one step, what would be the difference between my first and my hundredth?
Jashele Tillman | Web Developer & Creative
Allow yourself time and space to navigate any challenge – mentally & emotionally. Focus on what you can do in the moment and focus on what is in your control.
Kayla Ouellette | Baker & Pastry Cook
The best advice I have is to always try your best and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it.
Shannon Van Kirk | Health and Fitness Coach
I see this all the time as a coach because changing a lifestyle can be so hard.
The easy answer…just start! It’s not really easy though is it? We are our own worst enemies when it comes to overcoming challenges and starting something new. The human brain is actually hard-wired (like caveman days-wired) to be scared of change. It sees something new and wants to run in the other direction. New = BAD. When it comes down to it though, taking on something new is all about mindset. It may sound totally foo-foo, but if you believe that you can, you will. Its as simple as that.
When I take on new clients and coaches the first thing I tell them is to make messy movement. It doesn’t matter what you do or what you know, just start DOING. Even if its messy, at least you moved. Everything in life is figure-out-able. Take the first step and figure the rest out along the way.
Haley Park | Student & Lifestyle Photographer
You’ve made it this far. Every trial you’ve faced throughout your life, you have made it through. I look back on my life and some of my once biggest challenges seem so minuscule when looking at my life today. Take some time to reflect on what is most important to you and spend your time and energy pouring into those things. The rest will fall into place. One of my favorite verses is Matthew 6:26, “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?”
If God watches over the birds of the sky, He’s watching over you.
Rest in that, you’ve got this.
Yorjelhi Prieto | Makeup Artist | Aspiring Youtuber & Mom
The advice I have for someone who is facing a challenge that feels insurmountable, would be to take a step back and look at everything you have around you. Take a look at everything in your life that is going well and continue to focus on that. Seeing the good in your life and being surrounded by your family and loved ones helps you get through the tough times. Always remember that after every storm comes a rainbow. That goes to show that sometimes we have to go through tough situations to enjoy the good times even more. We have to focus on the positive more than the negative in order to live a healthy and happy life. You can overcome anything with a positive attitude. All of our experiences whether they’re good or bad make us stronger and it’s part of what makes everyone unique.
Sierra Nicole | Model | Singer | Dancer | Actress
The best advice I would give someone who thinks something in their life is insurmountable or too difficult to overcome would be to take a deep breath and get out of your own head. Then after that remind yourself of who you are,and remind yourself that you can do anything you put your mind to. We are in charge of our own path,destiny,and future so don’t give up before you start.
Noelle Rogers | Software Engineer | Graphic Designer & Cosmetologist
When I have gone through personal challenges in my life, the advice I give myself is ‘will this be as big of a deal as it is right now, next week – next year – in 5 years?’. It helps me remember to put perspective on my life and remember the purpose of why I am here. When facing something that seems impossible, remind yourself what you want to get out of it. Will it make the future you a smarter person? Will it help your future self reach your goals? I also enjoy breaking things down into small do-able tasks. This way, instead of one huge list item that needs to be checked off, you have many smaller items to check off and keep yourself motivated through the process of overcoming a challenge you feel is insurmountable.
Marina Nellie | Creative Coordinator (@2911church) | Director of Marketing (@sayyestothedresser) and Photographer (@mrandmrsvillegas)
Fear and a lack of peace are two entirely different things. However, we can often times let fear be what guides our life, acting as the Holy Spirit. Yet, it is not our guide but a crutch masking itself to keep us from being brave. The Holy Spirit speaks in truth, peace, and love yet we confuse the two, forgetting that God is not a God of confusion but of peace.
God was for Israel, not against them. He said he would smooth out their roads and lead them when they were blind. You can’t lead a blind person if they refuse to follow. However, if you were blind and you knew that the perfect guide was with you at all times… why refuse?
God clearly tells us, “For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7).
Yet, when we are on our faces in fear asking God what to do, we listen to that fear to tell us how to live our lives.
If good is the enemy of the best, then fear is the enemy of power, love, and self-discipline.
What then is to be done about life’s decisions?
You must be able to know that when God is truly guiding you, even when it is scary and unknown before you that does not mean it is bad. This just means you need the faith to trust our guide. The guide who, “…will never leave you nor forsake you.” (Deut. 31:6).
Take that fear and throw it out the window, let yourself have child like faith to look fear in the eyes and say, “you are not who my Father says I am. I walk in power, love and self-discipline” Because at the end of the day we know who wins this life and it’s our Christ who was raised back to life.
Natalia Ronceria Ceballos | Consultant & Executive Director
No matter the area of life, it is crucial to always take a step back, assess the situation from a new vantage point, & acknowledge the resources you do have that can help. Lean on any support systems (people) that you can, ask for help if needed, break down the challenge in to smaller steps, and start chipping away; in short, take action. Even if small steps. Take action and keep moving forward. Before you know it that insurmountable challenge will morph in to a lesson learned, and then just a memory to reflect upon.
Alex Morgan | Realtor & hitting instructor
When faced with an adversity that seems impossible to overcome I look inside myself. I ask myself if I believe I gave it everything I’ve got to try and overcome the obstacle. If I can give more effort, or even approach a task with a better attitude, then I will make an adjustment and come back attacking. Ultimately, you are in control of your own destiny. It’s a matter of if you want to look back wondering “what if”, or if you want to look back satisfied knowing you did everything you could. Your best is all anyone can ask for.
Anya Melkozernova | fashion designer and fiber artist
The best advice I can give is to be patient, all good things take time. Things happen when you’re ready for them and sometimes you just have to give yourself time, wait for yourself.
Samantha Nungaray | Mother | United States Navy Sailor & PostPartum Doula
If you are going through a challenging part in your life, remember that there is a reason you going through this. You may think that the challenge will never end or you don’t know why you have to go through this, but there is a reason. There is a light at the end of the tunnel and there will be a great blessing.
Look up, keep your head up and remember you are a strong, beautiful person. Don’t let anything get in the way of you meeting your goals in life.
Jessica Noto | traveling photographer | videographer and mixed media artist
Never give up! Ever! If you are born with the desire you were meant to do it. My whole life people have told me you can’t make a living as an artist! Guess what? You can! Don’t be afraid to ask for help. You will find that people who have achieved success are most happy to talk about how they did it and would love to offer advice.
Sara Moni | Costume Maker and Model
The best advice when facing an insurmountable task is to break down what is making it seem impossible and tackle what you can. Reward yourself for any accomplishments and take your time.
Lauren Paez | entrepreneur and energy healer
In my experience when I have faced challenges that feel insurmountable, I have learned to never give up and to believe in myself. Anything is possible! A couple of things that help me to face these challenges are positive thinking and vision boards. Thinking positively helps me to stay in a healthy mindset, even when things feel overwhelming. I realize that in life not everything that happens is going to be a positive experience. However, when something negative occurs I have learned to take the experience as a lesson. I acknowledge it so that I can learn from my mistakes, but I do not dwell on it. Vision boards can help people plan out their goals and dreams. I also use vision boards to help me map out how to overcome challenges. Positive thinking and vision boards can both help you to manifest positive things in your life.
Teresa Arteca | Barre Instructor & Studio Owner
Stay confident and believe in yourself. Nothing is impossible. You can do anything you set your mind to.
Stephanie Paver, MS, RD, CSO, CNSC | Integrative and Functional Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
Your perception is your truth, and your truth is your reality. If you believe something is insurmountable, then it is. If you believe that you have the power to overcome and conquer, then you will. The power of the mind is unbeatable. You don’t have to know how you will overcome the challenge, but having the belief that it is possible will enable you to fight to make it happen. Having this type of conviction does not come easily and may require inner reflection to re-write your self-limiting beliefs. This is something that takes daily work and repetition. Changing your beliefs will change your behavior. A great book on this topic is You Are a Badass, by Jen Sincero. One of my favorite quotes by her is “You are a bad ass; it’s not open for negotiation.”
Dresden Whitehead | Nutritionist | Wellness Coach
I feel like I am currently facing an insurmountable challenge in life myself. When I look back on life and remember times I’ve felt this way before, I appreciate the personal growth I’ve experienced and the support I received from those I was in relationship with. My best advice is to find positive relationships and surround yourself with those individuals. I would also suggest finding ways to serve others in need. There is something healing about helping someone else in need. Lastly, but most importantly, conquer the battle in your mind first. Visualize yourself already victorious over what you are facing, and then get through each day by focusing on adopting a positive mindset and filling your thought life with things you are grateful for.
Brittney Cocco | Christian | Military Wife & Mom | YouTuber & Social Media Aficionado
First, and foremost, God. If He brings you to it, He will bring you through it. Secondly, dig deep. Why are you doing whatever it is you are doing? Are the results going to be worth potentially hard work, long hours, and investment? If so, chip away, one step at a time. Proceed as if success is inevitable!
Nichoelle Adler | Mom Hat and Margaritas Blog
The best advice I would give to someone who is facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable is that with depths of the sea untouched, and an infinite universe we only have room to succeed if we want it bad enough. Things may seem impossible or unobtainable but we are the only ones getting in the way of achieving the end goal by convincing ourselves it is so. When I’m not feeling motivated to start tackling the task at hand I like to break it down into smaller steps and goals, sometimes getting through the first few steps creates the momentum to knock it out. Meditation has been a big help for me, clearing the mind to gain a new approach can cause the insurmountable to be more straightforward. It seems like everything adds up to a huge task in our day to day adult life, prioritizing the things that bring you happiness come first my friends!