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.
Tania Martinez | Makeup Artist
I have learned that every situation in life is temporary. So when life is good, make sure you enjoy and receive it fully and when life is not good, remember that it will not last forever and better days are on the way.
Allison Caffrey | Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger
My advice to anyone out there who is facing an insurmountable challenge is to reevaluate the way you are approaching it. It often helps to take a step back and get a different perspective. In life, we should not be afraid to ask for help. I often used to tell myself I could do everything on my own, but the truth is, I couldn’t. It’s okay to ask for help, and it often can lead you to new ways of thinking or getting something done. Once you gain that new perspective, make a plan on how you are going to achieve the goal that is posing a challenge. Once your map is laid out, carry out your plan and achieve your goals. You never know what exciting opportunity lies ahead once you climb the mountain.
Salomé Palomino | Owner and Photographer at Photos by Salomé
When faced with an insurmountable challenge, I find that stepping back from the challenge to gain perspective is helpful. I can start to get a grip on a challenge when I have a clear head and can see the bigger picture because it is easy for me to feel overwhelmed and defeated in the midst of it. This can manifest in talking it out with someone I’m close to, going on a long drive or walk, or writing everything I’m considering doing and feeling.
Caryn Nicole Paolini | International Health & Fitness Coach, IFBB Pro
Remember that it is not the lack of hardships we face that make us strong, but our true strength is found in our ability to keep moving forward and overcome them. Whenever I’m faced with a challenge, the first thing I do is take my focus on large, overwhelming, or far away the end goal seems, and instead shift my focus to small actionable steps I can take in the present. I, quite literally, set 3-5 small daily commitments to myself that #1 will move me closer to the end goal of overcoming the challenge and #2 that I know for sure I can and will follow through with. Nothing builds confidence in oneself like following through with your word to yourself. In taking this approach to challenging situations, I find that it takes the anxiety and pressure off of how insurmountable the challenge itself seems and actually puts you back in the position of power! It’s okay to start small with those daily commitments because they will create a snowball effect, and each day those small wins will add up to the big success of overcoming!
Guen Garrido | Data Analyst and Debt Buttkicking Coach
Research, plan, and take baby steps to reach your goals! Especially today with so many tips, tricks, and advice you can instantly get online you can find a way that works for you to achieve whatever you want! Be intentional with every action you take, celebrate milestones to keep you motivated, and lastly always be grateful because gratitude brings you peace in your heart, especially during the most challenging times of the journey.
Judith Viola | Hairdresser and Friend
Look for the intersection where beauty and thought congregate, and act from that place. Choose joy over fear, even though they often feel the same; if you pay close attention you will know the difference. Release all other responsibility in the outcome and allow yourself to be wholly supported by a power greater than yourself, because ultimately you are not the first or the last person to be going through what you are going through
Michelle Bucud | Instagram Minimalist
Throughout my life, I have faced many challenges that seemed impossible to overcome. I have survived cancer and divorce, and most recently have faced bone necrosis. When you are addressed with these situations, your brain automatically thinks and imagines the worst case scenario, or even the worst imaginable outcome. Being told I had cancer the day before I turned 21 wasn’t the most ideal way to spend a birthday. I cried for a few hours, then I said ‘enough’. I couldn’t control that situation, nor could I have controlled the others. What I could control was how I dealt with each new day that came my way.
Your brain and body will automatically go into survival mode. At least mine did. I mentally shut off all the “what-if” scenarios and just faced cancer head on. I could only bring my positivity and commitment towards the goal – remission. I get it. The word cancer instills fear into everyone. You hear cancer and automatically think death. But I knew that my doctors and that medical team were going to do everything possible that they could. For me. And I made it a top priority to do the same.
So my advice to to someone facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable? Take it one day at a time, and make sure to put more than 100% into changing your preconceived outcome.
Olivia Hermosillo | Nutritional Therapy Practitioner | Holistic Health Blogger | Ancestral Foods Advocate
It’s important to remind yourself that nothing is given to you in life that you can’t handle. There may be moments where you feel like you’re drowning in life’s challenges but realizing that you are, indeed, capable of working through it can be just what you need to keep on going. I also like to dig deeper and try to figure out what I can learn from the challenge or situation, to use it as an opportunity for growth. This isn’t to say it’s not comfortable, but there’s power in being able to sit in the mess and notice it for what it is, and then working through it in a way that’s in line with your values and goals.
Kelly Agrey | owner and creator of Habitation Box
The best advice for someone who is facing some challenges and is feeling insurmountable is to forget about your stress because more than likely you can not do anything about the things that stresses you out. I face this feeling the most when I am thinking about sales. The truth is, no one can force someone to buy something, I just have to keep doing what I do best and customers will continue to be attracted to my brand. With this said, my advice is to take life day by day, continue doing what you do best and always do everything with passion.
Adetutu | Lifestyle and Mommy blogger
Last week I found myself re-watching the help, Viola Davis character who lost her son spoke on how just ONE friend saved her life just by being there. I say that to say, it’s okay to lean on others when life seems unbearable. Please reach out to someone. It is perfectly okay to ask for help. And remember tough times never last, when there is life there is hope.
Misty Kearl | Model with San Diego Model Management
When it comes to facing life challenges I’ve noticed that everything comes to pass & not to stay. After experiencing physical & emotional pain starting at a young age from a near fatal car accident, growing up on welfare, divorced parents, bullying & abuse I’ve noticed that it’s temporary even though it may feel like a lifetime. I recognize that the purpose of life is to have joy but to also experience it’s opposite in order to know the difference & to gain knowledge. To never give up no matter what challenges life may bring. I’ve been married for 16 years & am a mom of 4 which has it’s blessings and it’s challenges but is so worth it in the end.
Angelea Iafornaro | Esthetician & Creator of ‘Suga Skincare
I would have to say that having been in this position many times myself, somehow I always pulled through and they absolutely will too. I didn’t overcome my challenges by them becoming easier, but by growing and becoming stronger myself. We are much stronger than we give ourselves credit for, and it is those difficult hurdles that actually help us the most to get better at what we do. You will laugh at the mistakes you made and the challenges you faced one day, I promise. Without struggle, success wouldn’t have its value. Keep going and never be afraid to fail—it brings you one step closer to succeeding!
Kamila Gornia | Business Coach, Heart Behind Hustle®
Think about the past times you’ve faced big challenges… you’ve always been able to figure it out, haven’t you? You were always able to land on your feet, and each and every time – you survived. What you’re experiencing right now may feel insurmountable, but this is just what happens when you step outside your comfort zone. Feeling uncomfortable is a GOOD thing! This is where growth happens. Just think about how much stronger you’ll be once you’ve done it. Because you can! Find evidence around you to prove to yourself that you CAN do this.
Danielle Perkins | San Diego Interior Designer
Lean on others (and give them credit for it). Bringing minds together to tackle something bigger and better than one can do alone.
Cara Sipan | Owner and founder of Next Native
Owning a business, bettering your life or sticking your neck out in any way will be scary and bring uncomfortable situations as you come out of your comfort zone. I think the best way you can overcome a challenge that seems insurmountable is to find a way to change your lens on the situation. Most of the time, the only thing standing in your way is you and how you are choosing to perceive your issues. Go out in nature, be alone, imagine yourself as a tiny speck on this giant rock and understand how small your problems really are when looking at the big picture.
Make a list of every major challenge you have already faced and come out of safely. Keep it , re-read it and add to it over time and you will gain respect for yourself and your resilience knowing you’re stronger than you’re giving yourself credit for in this moment. You have overcome and will overcome more. So I guess my advice is to embrace it, let go of the resistance, own it and face it head on. Sometimes the only way out is through and you’ll be so much wiser and ready to take on the next challenge when it’s over.
Karely H Robledo | General Manager
Life is full of Challenges, the more we grow the challenges become harder for our life, but it is part of our life cycle. Personally I have gone through very hard challenges and at the time I thought they would be insurmountable, but I am wrong! Feeling safe and believing in me was what made me change my mentality, how poor I was! Now all I do every time you present me with a challenge is to believe and trust me to move forward and reach the goal. Nobody said it would be easy, but that makes it more interesting! Success in your life and that this challenge that is presented to you today is not an impediment to continue with your life.
Rita Olds | Copywriter & Speaker
If you’re facing something that feels insurmountable, remember: you’ve done challenging things before and you can do it again. Everything was once hard before you master it. So acknowledge your feelings (whether it’s fear, frustration, or insecurity) but don’t beat yourself up. Tell yourself 1,000 times if you have to that you can do it and you can do it scared, afraid or unsure. Being hesitant in the face of a challenge is normal: pause don’t stop. Go slow if you have to, but go and face the challenge. It’s the only way you grow.
Stefany Chen | Artist & Cosplayer
It’s okay to ask for help. From gaining new perspectives to offloading some burdens, help can come in many forms. Even taking a step back and having a cup of tea at a cafe can be considered helping yourself. It’s about distancing yourself from the challenge, and acknowledging that every challenge is an opportunity to benchmark where you are and grow.
Kelly Shaughnessy and Tammy Harper | Registered Dietitian Nutritionists and creators of the Lettuce Explain podcast
(Tammy) When I’m faced with a challenge that feels insurmountable, I try to take a step back and think, “This too will pass, you just need to get through it.” In hindsight, a lot of the challenges I’ve faced, have been blessings in disguise because they’ve changed my course in a positive way.
(Kelly) I always remember that I am stronger than I think I am, and I know this because of all the hurdles and obstacles that I have made it through thus far. I think, “If I made it through this or that life event, I can accomplish anything.”
Karen Leigh | Macramé Artist
My advice would be to take a step back & try to look at the bigger picture. Give yourself some time for exploration of options & to consult your friends and family!
Dominique Scott | Personal Trainer and Indoor Cycling Instructor
I would advise someone that everything in life is temporary. Pain and suffering is temporary. In life we are constantly forced to overcome obstacles, and although it can be difficult at times, in the end we become stronger from facing these challenges. Sometimes it’s very hard to 8 imagine yourself actually moving on, or getting through whatever obstacle is thrown at you, instead of thinking about the future, look at the past. Think back to other things you thought you’d never get through, yet here you are. Think about the progress you’ve made over the years. Remind yourself to be patient, and that this too, shall pass.
Olivia Sosa-Haley | Owner of Online Boutique & New Mommy
The first step to facing a challenge is to take care of yourself. Do something that is good for your mind and body then take it step by step. Time takes care of making what’s suppose to happen, happen. As long as you never give up, no challenge is insurmountable, but a learning experience. Keep your head high and be proud of your progress.
Jordan Taylor Younis | cook | baker | writer | corporate moonlighter
Find purpose in it. It’s daily work. It’s not easy to find purpose in challenges, or in seasons fraught with pain, discomfort, lossless, fear and unknowns. But purpose exists in everything, not just in the good things that we plan or orchestrate for ourselves. To believe that requires more than just positive thinking. It requires some faith.
I keep this verse tucked away in my mind: Consider it pure joy whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that your testing produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you will be mature and complete, lacking nothing.
That doesn’t mean we have to walk around gleefully joyful when things are hard, or that there won’t be days where the challenges don’t eat us alive. But maybe we can conjure up the faith to believe that perseverance will pay off, that there’s a refining aspect to all the challenges that come for us and that we’ll eventually see the benefit. Maybe we can find it in ourselves to believe that we might come out on the other side of challenges having grown in character, grit, attitude, grace, perspective and completeness. Look for the purpose. It can always be found if you look with faith-filled eyes.
Aurora Bacon | Aspiring Fashion Stylist & Influencer
I remember I would have really bad anxiety attack’s when challenges would come my way. When I finally realized that this was just a moment, that’s when I started to believe that I could overcome any challenge. I would advise not overreacting because it causes you to make the wrong decisions. Try to remain calm and gather your thoughts so you can make smarter decisions. The change in your attitude increases your chance of overcoming the challenge. Learning how to accept success and failure as a life lesson keeps you moving and never quitting.
Gloria Diaz | Photographer & Lifegroup Leader
When it comes to realizing that you’re facing a challenge, there are two things you can do:
1. Run away
2. Face it
Describing a circumstance as Insurmountable means that the situation you are in, is too big for you to conquer. When people believe that a situation is “insurmountable” they already give the situation power to overcome them before even trying to believe in themselves first. There is a story in the Bible about a young Shepard named David. He was the smallest and least qualified to fight anyone. All he did was cater to a herd of sheep. Yet, one day a giant named Goliath came around and not a single (qualified) soldier was courageous enough to face him in battle. Although David knew he was not a soldier, he took the challenge and volunteered to face the giant himself. Nobody believed in him; not even his own brother. But he believed in himself and RAN towards Goliath. Many are familiar with this story and know that David ends up killing Goliath with a single stone that he slingshot straight at his forehead.
David could have walked away from the situation knowing that this giant was way too big to fight and he could’ve went back to his sheep where he belonged. However, what people didn’t know about David’s experience, is that he would kill bears and lions that would come to prey on his sheep. You see, the situation looked different and felt different, however; the courage & endurance was always there. Sometimes, we go through things that at some point in our lives we overcame or “got over” and when something similar to it happens again down the road, we say “Oh, I’ve seen this before. I know how this ends. I can’t handle that again.” and we run away instead of saying “Hey, I’ve seen this before. I let it overcome me once, and I won’t let that happen again. I know what to do now”. We don’t go through things like this because “that’s just life”, we go through things like this to grow and mold into the person we were meant to become. My advice to someone that feels like they are facing something insurmountable, would be; Don’t be discouraged by your surroundings. The culture on the inside of you, will dictate the culture around you. Fight the good fight and conquer your challenges because I promise you, you will always win. You may not get the job you wanted or feel like that pain will never go away, but when you make the first step to change, you’ve already won the war. You’re biggest fight will always be against yourself. Believe that you are stronger, better, and smarter because you are. You’ve made it this far. Your future is ahead of you; not behind you.
Alanah Purtell | Director of Idiello
Everything feels like failure when you’re in the middle of it. If it isn’t scaring you, challenging you, then you’re not really growing from it. That moment when you’re staring down the barrel of what might just be an insurmountable challenge will definitely feel overwhelming, but it should also excite you; you’re on a frontier.
María Gómez | Women Empowerment | Girl Boss
There is absolutely nothing that a human being can’t overcome and you are given challenges in life that put it to test. Even when it’s overwhelming you should never ever stop trying because it’s your last line of defense. When you are faced with challenges than can either make or break you , in the end it depends not on how hard you fought but on how many times you got up after life knocked you down.
Soph Kessner | Spiritual Business & Intuitive Marketing Mentor
The best advice I can give someone who is feeling like they are facing something insurmountable is to first, breathe. Slow down, and ground back into their body and to feel their heart beat. To know that no matter how challenging, impossible, scary, and unfamiliar this moment may feel– it’s only temporary.
You are alive. and even if it makes absolutely no sense at all in this moment, there is a gift in all of this if you trust and believe that life, source, universe, is unfolding perfectly for you.
How can you choose to fall more in love with this moment and tune into what existence is wanting to teach and show you?
Lean into the uncomfortable space and know that this is where the real growth is. Have patience and be kind with yourself, you’re human– you’re allowed to have a messy, emotional, human experience.
Know that you are held, you are loved, and no matter how tough moments may be, that there is something far greater for you to do on this planet if you just stick around a little longer and continue to breathe.
Create space to fall back in love with yourself, make time to do things that light you up and bring even the smallest glimpse of light and joy back into your life– you’re so much more magnetic when you’re actually happy.
Give yourself permission to let go of the things that no longer serve you and choose to put yourself first, choose YOU.
Choose to honor your heart, your soul, your own body first.
This is where all the magic happens.
Breathe deeply, trust, slow down, tune in.
And know, you’ve got this.
I love you.
Prince Caroline | hiphop dancer and sporty girl
If that someone really wants to overcome that challenge, all he has to do is keep fighting, because if you really believe in it, nothing is impossible.
Raina Mae | Entrepreneur & YouTuber
My best advice to anyone who feels like they’ve reached a point where there’s no direction and they’re feeling lost is to put down the “road map” and start navigating your own path. The “map” may have the roads taken in the past but it doesn’t have the roads created by you. Navigate your own destiny, enjoy your journey, and conquer your destination.