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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.

Stephanie Thompson- Licensed Esthetician & Wax Specialist

Anabella Cruz

Never give up. Push through the stressful time to reach your dreams because if it is really something you desire, your dreams will come true. Always stay humble, expect nothing and appreciate everything. Help whenever and wherever you can and learn from your mistakes. The best is yet to come, just keep your head up and your feet planted on the right path to success.

Miranda Achard

No matter how much someone tells you “you can’t do it,” no matter how impossible something feels, just take a second to step back, take a deep breath, and work through it in your head. You’ll be amazed at the things you can accomplish if you slow down and take even just a small moment to think.

Kiana Lyz Cerney- Plus Size Influencer & Miss San Diego Plus America

Clothing: Soho Girl Plus My Publicist : Red Walk Talent PR California Plus America: which is the Pageant System I Reign in.

No obstacle is ever too great to overcome, if you believe in yourself. There’s a purpose for why you’re here, and if you believe in God he has a plan for you set in place. Just be you and be Unique, because that’s what makes you beautiful.
One of my favorite quotes when I’m down is this: When You’ve Reached Rock Bottom, There’s Only One Way To Go,
And That’s Up.

Isabella McNeil – Media, Public Relations and Communications Specialist

Nothing is insurmountable, it may seem like it at the moment, but focus on the positive, even if it is a small, tiny glimmer of good – use that to overcome and move forward. What may seem like a setback, may actually be a big step forward in the long run.


Jennifer Meram – Marketing Manager + PR Consultant

Sometimes life is just about taking things day by day and tackling the small challenges before the bigger picture. And when that doesn’t work: fake it. Pretending you know what you’re doing can give you the courage, motivation and insight you need to move forward and accomplish something you didn’t think you could.


Belinda Kraemer – Recipe Developer & Healthy Lifestyle Advocate

Take a deep breath, be brave for 30 seconds, and take a small step towards conquering that challenge. Every little bit of progress makes a difference, and you don’t need to overcome big challenges all at once.

Simone Del Rosario – TV news correspondent

Take it one step at a time. If you break down a seemingly insurmountable challenge into smaller steps, it becomes less daunting. Focus on what’s in front of you, achieve it, and move on. Before you know it, you’ve achieved success.

Emma Felicelli- International Business and Management Student

Take things step by step, and be patient. Whenever a challenge comes our way, we have a tendency to get overwhelmed and try to tackle all of the issues at once. We often find ourselves in these isolated situations where we feel like no matter how much time and effort we put into something, it’s never going to be enough. It’s important to remember that the best solutions won’t always appear overnight, and that your patience will be put to the challenge.

In my case, I try to first understand the problem, so that I know exactly what to focus on and I establish my end goal. Then, I create a draft, where I put in the steps I need to follow in order to achieve it. It’s completely fine if these steps change along the way, as long as I meet my final objective. Finally, I keep myself motivated with a positive mindset by taking a step back and analyzing the progress I have made, even if its minimal.


Janet Amador Biology student

The best advice I can give someone who’s facing a challenge that they feel they can’t overcome is to first dissect the problem at hand and figure out what can be done first. Whether, that’s creating a plan or changing your overall attitude. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Everyone faces different challenges in life and it is okay to ask for help or guidance. Once your whole attitude changes for the better everything starts to fall into place.

Amy Ha – Administrative Assistant & Influencer

The best advice I could give someone who is facing a challenge is to take a step back, breathe and look at the big picture. Don’t let an initial thought or feeling hold you back from challenging yourself to be great. With persistence, confidence and a positive outlook, anything is possible!


Kelsey Keanna – Freestyle Indoor Skydiver and Financier

The best advice that I have, and personally follow, is that if you find a path without any obstacles it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.  When the challenge is inundating and those obstacles seem too numerous – break them down into smaller tasks and goals; then write them down and then cross them off as you complete them.  It sounds so simple and almost rudimentary but I’ve found it to be a way of mentally tricking myself into success.  Also, the satisfaction you get from “x-ing” a task off your list is essentially a hit of dopamine – you’ll feel great!


Marisa Johnson- Professional Tennis Coach and Player

The truth is… no one can have a good life without having challenges. I know you know this and probably heard it a million times but just think; how can you experience happiness? It’s because you’ve faced challenges and hardships. This trial at the moment might feel like the world is ending, that you have no purpose and that you can’t go on. You may also be asking why such a trial has come your way when you’ve done your best to do everything right. Although your heart is aching please listen: you are not alone. You never are. You will experience these bad days but they will soon become good days because you are getting stronger through this pain. Yes there is happiness and hope ahead. Just keep doing what’s right, perhaps say a prayer or reach out to close friends and TALK. You will smile again and your journey is not over. “Other people will find healing in your wounds. Your greatest life messages and your most effective ministry will come out of your deepest hurts.” Stay strong. Smile. 

Kristie Higgs – Fitness Profession & Creator of GirlHustle

There will always be challenges to face. Anything great you’re trying to accomplish will have opposition. Just like in the super hero movies. Challenges are the opposing factors that we have to overcome in order to reach our goals. In order to accomplish any challenge you face: your “why” will define whether you run and hide or stay and fight. It needs to resonate deeply. This applies to career goals, relationship goals, health & fitness goals, etc. Your “why” needs to be strong enough to withstand any storm (challenges, excuses, set-backs, etc.). Challenges are daunting; they exhaust us, and make us question if we really have it in us. But, if your why is solidly anchored, then here is my ultimate advice: “Learn to rest, not to quit.” Resting will be like Thor’s hammer, Superman’s Cape, or Captain America’s Shield…when we rest, we will have the consistent strength to overcome anything. That is the secret to successful people. They do not quit. They rest and keep going.

Paige Danielle – Beauty and Fashion Creator

To know that whatever challenge or circumstance you’re facing will not last forever and there will be something beautiful on the other side of it. Also, know that it will bring growth & strength once you have gotten through that season of your life.

Krista Fettke – business major at sdsu

Trust yourself and trust the process and know that things will workout okay in the end. If it doesn’t, then maybe it’s for the best.

Becca Gutstadt – Acro Yoga/Inversion Instructor & Life Coach

What I would say to someone who is facing a challenge that feels insurmountable is to start small. Break the challenge up into bite-sized chunks that feel more doable. I like to make lists to help me clearly see the steps I need to take to get to my goal. After accomplishing each smaller task, do something nice for yourself/some self-care as a reward, and cross that step off the list!


Brie Strang- Doctor of Physical Therapy & Climber

When facing something particularly challenging, my advice would be to never stop trusting yourself and your abilities. It always seems impossible until it is done.


Olivia Tait- Student & Entrepreneur

When I decide to embrace a new challenge and the goal seems to feel farther than before, I remind myself why I agreed to take on the challenge in the first place. Another way I overcome challenge is by surrounding myself with a strong support system. I have found that when I surround myself with people who uplift me and support my goals, they are much easier to achieve.

Cori Vera: real estate professional

Whenever I am faced with hardship I make a list of at least 10 things I am grateful for, and 5 things I love about myself. I then will call someone in my life, usually another woman, that is a POSITIVE minded person that I know I can count on to remind me of joy and who I truly am and “this too shall pass.”

Christina Ng- Personal Chef & Culinary Educator

With any huge obstacles, I’ve learned to ask for and accept help from my community/peers/superiors/tribe/friends. Though it feels momentarily that the world may be against you, it’s by coming together that we can overcome road blocks, big and small.


Nicole Pleskow – Single Mom and USC Graduate Student

With hard work and dedication, anything is possible. There is no challenge that is too great, believe in yourself always in everything you do. Find something that you are passionate about and let it motivate you to achieve all of your dreams.


Stephanie Rangel, Registered Nurse

You can accomplish anything you set your mind to, don’t be afraid of a little hard work and dedication. The only one stopping you is you.


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