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Perspective & Advice for Those Facing Insurmountable Odds

Throughout our journey with Voyage, the one thing we have learned over and over is that hidden within every challenge is a blessing or opportunity. It’s up to us to determine whether a challenge we face will be a step back or the catalyst for a step forward.

We had the honor of connecting with some of the city’s brightest leaders and role models 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.

Below, you’ll find their advice and links and other info so you can learn more about them, their work and how to connect with them. We’ll be interviewing many of these amazing individuals in the coming weeks, stay tuned.

Peter Wilson | Musician | Songwriter | Producer

Photo credits: Valente Martinez @lentvmartinez

The best thing to do when the you face insurmountable odds, Is to stay focused. It’s so easy to look at all the things keeping you from success, and just give up… Instead, focus really hard on what the next step in your journey is, even if it may seem insignificant at the time!

I try and think of life like a giant skyscraper. We all want to get to the top and enjoy the view. Some, were born at the top, others have an elevator, but the rest of us have to take the stairs. Normally, stairs in a skyscraper are dark, cold, and uninviting. It’s easy to lose sight of why you’re climbing the stairs in the first place! You’ll get tired, and not want to move on. Usually one of two things will happen here.
1. You’ll stop climbing because “you’ve put in a lot of work” and if the universe wants you at the top, the stairs will start moving on their own and get you there.
Or 2. You keep taking those steps one at a time. No matter how hard a climb it is. Because you know that you’ll eventually make it to the top.

Every successful person has tired and failed thousands of times. The only difference between them and everyone else is they don’t get discouraged and give up after getting turned down. Instead, they use that experience to learn from and grow! If we all took the time to learn from our past experiences, the world would be a much better place!

Instagram: @Peter.j.Wilson

Dainty Dessert | Cake & Sweets Designer & Camila Farrell | Founder & Head Chef in Charge

The key to this question is “feels.” We have all had specific feelings that eventually go away. No matter how impossible an obstacle may feel, theres a greater feeling of accomplishment when it’s conquered.

Website: (created by SPFSocial)
Facebook: @Dessert.Dainty
Instagram: @DaintyDessert

Danielle Kortava | Owner | Free Spirit

The best thing helping me through life’s difficulties, is taking moments throughout the day to practice my yoga and meditation. I focus on the positives in my life and breathe. When self doubt or fear of failure arise, I recognize this as a moment and like all moments – this one will pass. I believe that times of victories and challenges are lessons. I ask myself, What is the universe showing me during this lesson? What am I to take away from it? Is there something I should be doing differently? Is there something I could be doing better? Am I reflecting with kindness? Yoga helps me recognize and release energy and tension I may be holding inside. Meditation helps me to relax and focus on what is real, who I really am and what my life purpose is. It returns my focus. My creativity flows when these two practices are in my life. They make me feel happier which brings positive energy all around me. I truly believe that when you are facing insurmountable odds, it is important to ride that wave with as much focus and intent as you can.


Monica Bussell | Happy Wife & Mama | Fit Lover and Home Design

Life is fragile and Beautiful we don’t know what the future holds for us , good or bad could be me or you, whatever the adversity is will shape us stronger and wiser than yesterday teaching us a lesson giving the opportunity for change and growth helping us to figure out who we really are and what makes you really happy!

My way I faced Insurmountable odds were being honest and true to myself, fallowing my heart, practicing optimism and making a change having faith that good thing are in the way! I try to live a balance life and do the best I can adding a little bit of fun each day taking care of my health, money and LOVE!

Instagram: @simplyathomedesign
Facebook: @simplyathomedesign

Kevin Powers | Professional UAS pilot & Freelance Cinematographer

I have been in this position many times, as a Marine in combat, starting my own company KAPtureDM, challenges in building drones that people have always told me was impossible, and building them as described despite the difficulty. My advice is to trust your gut, don’t allow the word impossible to enter your mind, don’t be embarrassed to ask for help from people that know more than you if required, and lastly you have to be willing to push yourself beyond the normal in both work ethic and physical/mental exertion. You will beat those odds, and you will be extremely proud and more confident in yourself every time you do this.

Instagram: @kapturedm, @dronegear 

Sanja Stranjac | Real Estate Agent

One of the hardest lessons I’m still learning is to be vulnerable. I’ve worked really hard my whole life an being dependent and needing help makes me feel weak. Durning these two years of fighting cancer, I’ve had so many people in my life reach out and show support. My friends, family, clients, even people I just met, have all been so amazingly supportive. Being there for others has always come to me naturally, but being on the receiving end is a lot more challenging. Cancer has really made me stop and value life on a whole another level. I’m excited about this new treatment. I’m filled with love and life. I want to be there for others. I want to inspire people to stay positive and open their hearts. Staying humble and allowing others to contribute has kept me going. Having a strong community helps us get through anything.

Instagram: @Agent_Sanja

Bob, Katie & John | Griswold Group Real Estate powered by Compass

There is no wasted energy. Put in your best effort and stay with it. Success is the product of sustained energy. Keep it up and stay open. Results can come from unexpected places. There is no wasted energy!








Allison Whitt |Principal of DesignX Architecture + Interiors

When faced with particularly challenging circumstances, I am reminded of a quote by Desmond Tutu about how to eat an elephant, which is “one bite at a time,” meaning, everything that is overwhelming should be broken down into small, digestible pieces or tasks. Instead of feeling paralyzed by not knowing where to begin, start with the most manageable tasks and work your way forward from there, enlisting help along the way if and where necessary. Remind yourself of the end goal and visualize how you’ll feel once you get there. It also helps to actually write down all of the individual components or short term goals you need to reach in order to complete the larger task, and allow yourself a reasonable timeline to achieve them, checking them off and adjusting your timeline as you go. At the end of the day, if you aim for thoughtful planning and forward motion, you will eventually get where you need to go!

Instagram: designx_ai
Facebook: @designxai

Tanya Malkon |Woof Out West Owner | Dog Mom

Image Credit: @wrigleyandtheo

Good things take time, so enjoy every minute of your life, good or bad, Just keep moving forward.


Instagram: @woofoutwest 






Shannon Bean | Craft Enthusiast & Office Administrator

If you feel like you’re facing insurmountable odds, here is my advise. Breath, you’ve got this! Seems too simple right? But here’s the thing, life is full of unexpected change and this obstacle, won’t be the last one you face. Try to take the challenge head on, look at it from a different perspective, ask for advise from those around you. And when, not if, but when, you conquer this, you’ll come out stronger and better prepared for the next challenge life throws your way.


Instagram: @LittleGiftiesSD


Michelle Plastiras| Realtor

My father, Chris Plastiras is a huge mentor in my life. He has always told me to take a deep breathe and know that you can overcome anything in life. I realized (after many years) and working with a lot of different types of people from all walks of life, that no goal/dream is unachievable, and there is a solution to quit literally every problem, sometimes you just need to get a little creative.

I’m also a firm believer in positive self-talk. The only person telling you that the odds are against you is well, YOU.So slow down, and know that it’s just fear that is preventing you from moving forward, or finding that solution, or reaching that goal/dream. Most of our negative thoughts or maybe something we consider “odds against us” are just our fears that can be over come. So show up, work hard, and don’t give up. Plus the reward is so much better when it took some grit to get there.

Website: and
Instagram: @michelleplastirasrealtor

David L. Wales Jr. | graphic illustrator

The best advice I have for seemingly insurmountable odds is to put belief behind your skills. There’s almost always a way out, you just need to find it. If you truly want things to happen you need to give it your all, stay the course and be patient…it won’t happen overnight, but nothing great happens in a flash. Learn from your mistakes, failure can be the best teacher. Insurmountable odds: consider the billions of stars and planets that have been discovered, versus existence of life at all. Do whatever it is your life’s mission to do.

Instagram: @FuryDuneDesign

Colin Shepherd | Cinematographer & Video Editor

Best advice when facing insurmountable odds? Sure sounds overwhelming, right? I currently work a full-time position as digital specialist in San Diego and in my spare time I love to keep myself busy doing freelance opportunities as a videographer, video editor, and even as an aerial cinematographer. With that being said, I have learned myself to stick with what I do best and enjoy. I go from there as I grow my experience in filmmaking. It takes one step at a time to become successful and to overcome your work goals. Most importantly, it takes patience. So to answer the question in my case, I always keep myself in mind to not put too much weight on my shoulders, otherwise, I’d be a wipeout.”

Instagram: @cfsfilms

Patrick Youhanna | San Diego Realtor

Always stay positive and try your best. Sounds simple and cliche but it goes a long way. In my field I can relate it to when a home that my buyers are interested in has a lot of Offers. I tell them to stay positive and we’ll put our best good forward and use my skills to gain advantage but in the end whatever is meant to be will be. I’m a firm believer in that.



Susy Thomas | Real estate Professional

Aim for small successes. They add up one day at a time.

Instagram: @route56realty


Courtney Shortney & Jake Kuhler | Acrobatic and Movement Artists

Photographer: @joejohnson

Courtney: Just know that regardless of what situation you are currently in, that in time, it will change. If you’re unhappy with where you are RIGHT NOW, just keep going. It will change, it always does. Trust the process and your strength to continue will overpower your fear of the unknown.

Jake: I’ve learned a 3 step process.
1) don’t worry about what you can’t control.
2) use your support network(family, friends, coworkers) as a resource to ground yourself.
3) list the steps toward overcoming the adversity and take them one at a time.

Instagram@shortneyb @jzkuhler


The Jules | illustrator

Image Credit: @silkherhoney

I’d say, everything that is happening now, it is only temporary, every feeling/event is temporary. Treading through the hardship is the real win. Picture in the end, regardless of what happens you will triumph, you will succeed in ways you didn’t think would be possible. It’s all about waiting and sticking around. Evidently, sticking up for yourself.

Instagram: @thejulesjules

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