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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 female 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 women in the coming weeks, stay tuned.

Cassandra Rico | Hair & Makeup Artist

I always try to tell myself that if I don’t at least try, then I’ll never actually know if it can’t be done. The key is to just get started. Don’t think about it too much, just start, go- begin trying to get somewhere and from there, who knows?… You may find exactly what you need to finish this challenge you almost thought was impossible.


Writer and producer Kristen Castillo, President of the National Academy of Arts and Sciences | Pacific Southwest Chapter (NATAS-PSW) Regional Emmy Awards

Don’t give up. It gets better but it might take time. In the face of a challenge, make the best of the situation; always take care of yourself; and lean on loved ones for support.

Laurel Ryser | Model & Blogger

When I think of someone who has a insurmountable problem that they don’t believe they can over come, I picture someone who may be afraid to take a leap of faith, or trust themselves to make the right decision. A piece of advice I would give someone who is going through something like this would be something that a very special person once told me, and that is; fear kills most dreams. I think this can be interpreted in so many different ways, and in regards to challenges, I think it is important to face them head on and not be afraid of any consequences you may be worries about, because you never know what may be on the other side. In my own personal experience, any challenges I have ever overcome in my life has been because I wasn’t afraid of failing.


Libby Dowell | Special Events Coordinator

When you are facing something that is insurmountable, start by taking a breath. The times when I feel most hopeless and helpless is when I am trapped, caged, and are struggling to find the chance to breath. It’s in these moments that I feel tiny and unable to make progress on any difficult challenge. The ONLY way that I can move through these difficulties is by taking time to BREATH. Look at the situation – not in a panicked, desperate state – but in a calm, relaxed and focused state. This gives me the time to realize that whatever I am facing has been faced before and will be faced again. That I am not alone in this, and that  things can happen with patience. That is the only way I was able to conquer my anorexia. Talk about something that made me feel completely powerless. I thought that my anorexia would be like a straight jacket I would have to wear for forever. But, with people around me supporting me and with time and LOTS OF BREATH, I have shed the jacket of anorexia and have put on brand new clothing of freedom and joy.


Amy Baack | Wellness Blogger & Yoga Instructor

Scott Bennion

First, it’s important to feel remember that you have all the strength you need already inside of you. You can do this. You must believe it, because it’s true.

Every challenge feels impossible until you’ve done it. The only thing you need to do is TAKE ACTION. Some kind of action—big, small, something, right now, in this moment to get to where you want to go. This is how you reclaim your power. And momentum (taking action) starts to fuel motivation. And as you build motivation, it will become easier to build momentum. The two work together in a cycle, and soon the challenges will feel easier and easier, and you’ll have to use less effort to tackle them. So know that it will get easier, you will get stronger, and soon this mountain will be just a dot in the distance behind you.

Donna Jackson | Your Keto Gal and Self Love Coach | creator of  the programs for women: Your Soul Beautiful and Your Soul Sexy

Besides drink “ketones and chill” (kidding, not kidding, since they really do help with your mood)…

There isn’t a simple answer to this because when you are in the midst of the challenge, there literally may seem like there is no way out! So here a few things I would really make sure are in place (and what I wrote my first online program, Your Soul Beautiful, about.  I’ll just note a few of them.

Community aka Your Tribe! Have people around you that “have your back” no matter what! That can handle you at your worse and that will be the safe space for you to be “you” as you navigate through it.
“Feel the feels”! If you are angry, be angry! If you are sad, be sad! If you are disappointed, it’s OK to be disappointed! Allow yourself to move through every feeling until it’s complete. Otherwise, you will be the tough guy/gal and in reality you are just stuffing it and that can show up worse down the road.  Just be YOU! Even when you may have lost sight of who/what that really is.

Last, be present one moment at a time and TRUST the Universe/God and KNOW that this is just a learning moment and could be the best thing that came out of the worst thing that has ever happened to you.

Tara M. | Counseling Graduate Student and Nail Enthusiast

I’d say to remember that the world does not become easier, but through challenges, we become stronger and more resilient! If we think about challenges in the past that we’ve faced that we felt were insurmountable at the time, they probably look so minuscule to us now! We overcame those challenges and we can overcome the next ones.


Sarah Cloes | Creator of Au Naturel and wellness enthusiast

Remind yourself that you are capable of so much more than you realize. You have overcome obstacles in the past, and you can overcome this now. Break it down into as many tiny steps as are comfortable, and just take the first step. The rest will fall into place. 

Lauren Pak | Content Creator & Social Media Specialist

At one point, every challenge has probably seemed like an impossible task. When I’m faced with a challenge, I focus on  keeping a clear head so I can decide what my next steps are and how to make the best decision possible. Depending on  what the challenge is, it might be worth exploring advice from family and friends you trust, finding resources online that  you can  relate to, and taking some time to digest and clarify. Something cliche (but true for a reason) is that the anything  good is worth fighting for, and the best things in life take hard work. Keep your chin up, stay strong, and set your sights on  your main goal so you can keep moving forward.


Michelle Hardy | Model, Actress & Filmmaker

Life with always have obstacles, it will never be perfect or run smoothly. Challenges are a part of life that we need in order to get stronger, wiser, smarter, and tough. Without them, life would be a boring place where everyone is dumb because they don’t have a challenge to complete. Think about video games or games in general, there’s always a challenge or mission to complete, some harder than others, but once you complete it it levels up the character making them stronger. In real life its the same way. Sometimes a challenge we face may feel hopeless or insurmountable, but those are the challenges that makes us the strongest, once you lose all hope you realize you just had to believe in yourself and go for it, and even if it doesn’t turn out how you wanted it too, it was a lesson learned that made you stronger and smarter. My advice is to bring on the challenge and to know that no matter what happens, you gained something from it, as long as you stay on the positive side.


Lovely Juanitas | Artist

When faced with a challenge that is insurmountable, it is easy to give up and feel defeated. My best advice to anyone who is facing a difficult challenge is to never give up on yourself. As cliche as it sounds, the key to success is to never give up. Put positive energy towards your goal, work hard, and remain passionate. We all have the power instilled in us to be successful and achieve our goals, we just have to believe in ourselves, stay focused, and trust the process.


Dr. Rose Schlaff, DPT, WHC, IF | Women’s Sexual Health Coach and Doctor of Physical Therapy

If you are reading this right now feeling like there is an insurmountable challenge in your life, I see you, I’ve been there and I can guarantee you and I will be here again. Life is all about navigating big challenges, challenges that at times seem impossible to overcome. You are resilient. You are strong. You’ve overcome hard things in the past. You can overcome hard things now.

The first thing to do when facing a seemingly insurmountable challenge is to get clear on your why – why are you even doing this hard thing? Your why is what keeps you going in moments when it feels nearly impossible not to give up. Ask yourself, “How will it feel when I overcome this challenge?” Focus on the emotions on the other side and hold onto the vision of that future version of you – how do you feel? Focus your energy on what you DO want, the destination you’re interested in running towards instead of focusing on what you do not want (what you want to run away from).

Break the challenge into teeny tiny bite-sized pieces. Ask yourself, “what’s one simple step that I could take today that gets me closer to that goal.” Bonus points if you can make the steps so easy it’s nearly impossible to fail. For example, if you want to run a marathon, the small step you could take today would be to walk once around the block.

The third step is to get support. Humans are social creatures, we need a tribe around to support us. That could mean someone to listen when things are hard, someone who is going through the same hard thing we’re going through or someone who has already done the hard things we are trying to do. We are not meant to do things alone. You are strong and you also deserve help and support on your journey as well.

Melissa A. Mead | Chief Operations Officer of Happiness, Cupcake’s Chronicles LLC

First, what we may think to be insurmountable, I’ve learned that in most cases it is not; as most situations are temporary—Unless a tsunami is heading your way.  As sure as the sun will set and the moon will rise, I have always told myself that tomorrow is a new day and in the scheme of things, what felt insurmountable at the time was only a blip on the radar.

Take a deep breath and face your issue head on with good intentions doing what you know is right and do it with kindness and grace.  If you do the right thing with good intentions, a positive outcome will surely follow. Never give someone the power to make you feel anything less about yourself.  Look at the rescue dog cupcake, from cupcakes chronicles, she was scheduled to be euthanized 24 hours before she was rescued and now she is a world famous dog hanging with Celebrities and raising money for multiple charities and even has an animation series in the works.


Jennifer Hsu [Black Jade] | Music Producer & Vocalist & Audio Software Research Engineer

Usually, when we think a challenge is insurmountable, it’s because we think we need to do it perfectly the first time. Aaliyah said it best: “If at first you don’t succeed, then dust yourself off and try again.”


Kelly Anderson, Ph.D. | Clinical Psychologist

We all face tough challenges at times. When a person is struggling with something that feels insurmountable, it can become overwhelming fast. And when this happens, the first thing I recommend is to stop and breathe. Take a few deep breaths and try to slow your mind. From there ask yourself—what is the smallest first step I can take right now? Getting started is usually the hardest part and breaking a challenge into smaller, more manageable chunks tends to reduce stress and help people gain a sense of control. Once you accomplish the first step, set your next small goal and keep going! Don’t forget to reach out for support if things become too difficult.

Victoria Duke | Marketing Director & Aspiring Day Trader

When I am facing a challenge that I feel is insurmountable, I reach out to someone who has been in my shoes and has already found a way to overcome the challenge I’m facing. It’s comforting to know you’re never alone facing these challenges by yourself. 9 times out 10 some else has already gone through exactly what you’re going through now. For example, when I’m trading and I have a day where I take a big loss, I feel like I’ll never make it work in the market, I feel an overwhelming amount of failure like this challenge is insurmountable. Then I turn to my mentor. He has taken losses in the market 100 times bigger than the ones I’m faced with and yet he persevered, he didn’t quit trading because of a loss. He learned from it and turned around to make back what he had lost, plus some! It’s very inspiring to chat with someone who has already faced the challenges you’re going through and can tell you from experience, “It’s going to be okay, you’re going to get through this and you’re going to be great!”


Amanda Alcorn | Blogger at Bright Beauty and Designer at Ad Astra Designs

Your will is stronger than you think, and certainly stronger than how you feel.  When you can face the unconquerable mountain and start climbing despite your fears, you’ve won the most important victory already.  We are capable of far more than we give ourselves credit for – we can’t let our doubts betray us from our true potential.


Belle Delgado | Multitalented Artist

I like taking a step back from everything to appreciate what’s around me in the present moment: Reminding myself to have gratitude for this time even in the darkest places and remembering everything happens for a reason. Each obstacle you overcome and/or will face in your life is for you, and for your growth. Remove the blockages in your path whether that be; physical, emotional, or mental. Gain control of the thoughts and emotions that may weigh on you, and recognize you are only HUMAN! Forgive yourself and others for we are not perfect. And in knowing we aren’t perfect, forgive those who have hurt you even if they never gave an apology. Lastly, We all live day by day thinking we have so many years ahead of us, when in reality we don’t know that for certain. Don’t take life for granted, be humble, and have the confidence to live and lead a happy life! <3


Ty Nolte | Editorial Makeup Artist

We all have to keep going , no matter the circumstance. When life gets you down, look back at the good you’ve done and the things you have accomplished. Life is really an adventure it takes you places you never thought you’d go, and when you feel like what you’re going through is too great to overcome, always stay positive and always keep a smile!


Ana Sofia Juarez | Certified Personal Trainer | Fitness Model

In life you are faced with many challenges that feel insurmountable, but what gets you through it all is mindset. It’s all about POSITIVITY towards life.

You have two choices when facing a challenge, you can sit and dwell on it and drown yourself with negative thoughts or sit down and come up with a plan on how to tackle the challenge. I know it sounds easier than it truly is. You have to train your mind in looking at life in a different perspective. Take every challenge no matter how big or small, as something that is going to help you grow as an individual. This challenge could be preparing you for something bigger.

My perspective on life is that everything happens for a reason. This is something that I live by. Know that no matter if it’s good or bad, it’s the path you’re supposed to be on.

The key to having an overall positive mindset in life is being happy with yourself as a person first. You don’t have to be perfect, no one is, it’s just that constant personal evolvement into the best version of yourself. An overall healthy well being means being healthy as a whole. Healthy mind, body, and soul.

Treat your body like a temple. Nurture every aspect of it. Remember you only have one body in this life.

Once you have a positive perspective on yourself it is easier to find the brighter side of challenges we face.  Remember if it doesn’t challenge you it won’t change you. Be your own biggest fan in life!


Margarita Medina | Strategist & CoFounder of Carbón Agency

I would say to them to try what I do: take a deep breath, think of the challenge is an opportunity to test and/or learn a new skill and most importantly, remember that you are probably not the first to face this challenge. Picture the outcome you would be most happy and proud of.


Stephanie Rhoades | Hairstylist

My life has been full of challenges, I have faced so many obstacles but one thing is for sure when you are facing something that seems so huge ,like you will never make it out alive … take a deep breath don’t give up keep pushing. I promise everyday things will get better and better as long as you don’t give up. It’s okay to crumble for a moment it’s okay to cry but then you get right back up and keep going. My clients and my friends always tell me I am so strong, I believe it’s because of the many challenges that have been thrown my way, I face them even if it’s hard and it has helped shaped me into the strong independent woman I am today. As long as you never give up you can accomplish anything.


Martha Guziak | Start up photographer & Full time business student

When someone is facing a challenge that may feel insurmountable, the best advice is to remember that everyday is a new day. You have to remember your past has taught you lessons and your future is your motivation to never give up on your dreams. The sun doesn’t shine everyday, but when it does we appreciate it a little more. No matter how difficult things may be in the moment, you have to stay positive because things can always be worse. Everyone handles their challenges differently, but when you over come your obstacle, you grow as an individual and you learn to appreciate the effort that much more. I’ve faced challenges, but I’m still here, living, appreciating the good that comes with each day.



Kiara Davis | Independent Writer and Visual Artist

There have been many challenges in my life that felt insurmountable until I looked at them from the other side. Numerous times over the years, I’ve wondered how I made it through these challenges and the simple truth is: I woke up. Instead of giving way to hopelessness, I woke up and carried hope for the next minute, which became the next hour and the next day. Even when I didn’t know how anything would work out, I remained open to what the next 24 hours could offer. Some people think there has to be a master plan to “figuring it out” but the foundation of every plan is waking up and deciding to try another day, especially on the days that feel impossible. There is often so much pressure to have all of the answers but sometimes waking up is all we have. I want you to know that on those days, that IS good enough. That IS an accomplishment. My advice to the person facing what seems to be an insurmountable challenge is this: Wake up and take life one day at a time; open your eyes to tomorrow. Pace yourself and be gentle with yourself as you step forward. Waking up instead of giving up is a choice worth being proud of. Many of us have lost people to the weight of challenges in life, and at times we have lost ourselves. Choosing to stay on the journey of finding yourself in the midst of the challenge is commendable. Be encouraged. Challenges are not made to break you, they are made to mold you in ways only challenges can. Even when you have been broken, each day that you wake up is a day of being rebuilt piece by piece; each piece stronger than the one that existed before. I once wrote a piece titled, “Choose You” which states, ‘though I have been broke, broken, lost, hurt – I am still beautiful because I am still fighting by waking up every day and choosing to try again…’. I have lived these words repeatedly. I say to you like I’ve said to myself – keep fighting, keep trying and stand in your power on the other side.

Lauren Leola | Brand storyteller and artist

Have the courage to ask for help. A new perspective comes with a new set of experiences and skills that may be the key to joint success.


Jeanette Saucedo of Holistic Spa Palace

Well as I will always say, you are your own competition; you will go through challenges that are manageable and then you will go through challenges that feel almost impossible. You are your only challenge when it comes down to it so remember to take a deep breath, clear yourself from anything in your way, and motivate yourself with positive words including I am going to finish this with strength.

Sherrie Rochelle Blondin  | Professional Photographer

If you are facing a new challenge or being asked to do something that you have never done before don’t be afraid to step out. You have more capability than you think you do but you will never see it unless you place a demand on yourself for more. You can do this!


Kara Seager | English teacher | running coach | Independent Thirty-One Gifts Consultant

Definitely break challenges down into steps and start with step 1. What can you do right now or today to face that challenge? And most of all, don’t be afraid to reach out to others for help. You’ll be surprised how many people want to help you succeed! 

 Joceline Preciado | Realtor | Entrepreneur

Whenever I go through a difficult experience in life, I always try to imagine myself being another person solving the same problem. But not just any person! To be honest, one of my ultimate secrets to successfully overcoming a tough time, is to envision myself being one of my role models, enduring the exact problem I am going through. It is always a strong and brave woman such as Sheryl Sandberg, my mother, Elena Cardone, Oprah, or an inspiring artist like SandOne. Who I’m imagining I am always depends on the type of woman the situation is asking me to be. I have learned that sometimes you have to ask yourself how someone else would react to the exact situation you are going through in order to find a solution. Someone who you know is fierce enough because of what they’ve been able to overcome. This is why it’s important to use the law of association to your advantage. I try to listen to these type of females 24/7 by using their books, social media, etc. because they don’t know me, I don’t know them, but having their experiences in my head provides me their insight and that leads me to make decisions similar to theirs ultimately helping me get through the bad times! “You are the average of the 5 people who you associate with the most.


Vanessa Wade | Founder of Wiley Body

When faced with a challenge that feels insurmountable my biggest piece of advice is to make a list of things you need to do to complete it and do one task at a time, and if you have the resources, delegate those tasks. Breaking it down into smaller tasks will make it easier to get through. Also, keep going! You’ll be so happy you worked through your challenges and pushed yourself to keep going. 

Kelcie Midkiff | Home Stager & Interior Stylist

Consistence is more powerful than resistance. Brainstorm actionable steps, no matter how small or insignificant they may seem, and do one thing every day that puts you closer to conquering that challenge. Celebrate those small accomplishments and understand that the resistance you feel is essential to creation and innovation. 

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