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.
Erica Benjamin – Dessert Artist, Lularoe Fashion Retailer and Nail Artist
The best advice I could give for someone facing that challenge is to not overthink it. I find that if I find a quiet place to sit and really think about the challenge I’m facing I can disect it into pieces and come up with a solution on how to go about each part. I feel it’s easier for us to get overwhelmed when we try to tackle the big picture and focus on our end game but we have to realize there are lots of steps along the way that we need to focus on before we get to there. Often times once i complete these baby steps the big challenge doesn’t seem so scary anymore and I have more confidence to achieve it!
Kari Geha- Owner and Photographer
Once upon a time I was faced with a situation that felt impossible to overcome. I was very sick, in the hospital ICU for 4 months, in and out of comas, hooked up to machines; ventilators and chest tubes, and told by a neurologist at the time that I would never walk again, and possibly have severe brain damage. I was extremely crushed. Luckily, I’m quite stubborn, and I had the support of my fearless family and a team of pulmonologists that would not allow me to quit. Because of them, I’m living as if nothing happened, and can hike up mountains to photograph elopements, while doing a job I love. My advice, is there will always be someone that doesn’t believe you can do it, or achieve your dreams. You need so surround yourself with the people who do believe in you and will lift you up. You also need to know that you can achieve what you want with hard work and a strong support system. With that, you can overcome insurmountable challenges!
Alexis Alba- Hairstylist & Creative Owner of Muse Modern Salon located in Denver!
It’s easy to feel beaten and undefeated when you are faced with all those big problems at once but it does not mean give up fighting, but simply time for you to fight harder. We all go through seasons of life and in the tough seasons its times like these test your grit, and test your mental toughness on who you think you are, So when everything in you wants to do nothing and quit these test days are something that champions understand & live by! “Easy never pays well!
Brianna Dell – Floral Designer & Registered Nurse
Accept help! None of us can “do it all”. Whether that’s a friend, family member or someone you hire, decide what you can tackle on your own and what you need help with. Absolutely everyone needs help. Don’t shy away from seeking it out when you’re starting to feel overwhelmed.
And on that note, learn to say “no” to things that aren’t a priority for you. Invest that time and energy into things that help you feel like the best version of yourself.
Finally, seek community. I’m a firm believer that finding a community of people who are in similar places in life as you (personally, professionally and both) can make a world of difference when you’re facing challenges. It helps so much to be able to talk to someone who has been where you are and can speak to it.
Sophie Ulibarri, stationery concierge + paper architect
“Worry is wasted energy.”
Pam Zola, Owner of Pam Zola Weddings
Find space to be alone with the challenge, to think about it and write about. And also take time to be with those who love you, to feel their love and to talk about the challenge.
Rachael Teufel, Cake Artist, Experience Maker, & Bluprint Instructor
When facing a challenge that seems impossible to overcome I make a handwritten list and break it down into much smaller tasks. These smaller tasks are very attainable when looking at them individually and not as intimidating as look at the big picture. And you to feel accomplished when you can cross it off the list!
Shanna Fisher – shanna m. photography – Wedding Photographer
I don’t believe any challenge faced is too great to overcome. Every challenge, somehow or someway, can be tackled. My best advice is to surround yourself with like minded peers, either in your industry or profession. Having a great community & support system to help you through the hard times is priceless. Not one person knows the answer to everything, so when you have people around you that might know how to help you solve an issue, you can be guided to overcome any challenge. You also get to learn so much more about your business and mold great new friendships. For myself, it’s truly helped me strive in my profession and business to be the best I can while living a dream I’ve always strived for.
Jennifer Blume – Wedding Planner
Break every challenge that seems insurmountable or overwhelming into tiny pieces. Start by making a list of everything that needs to be done to overcome the challenge. For example, if the challenge is creating your website, start with the step of just claiming your desired URL. Completing each step will build momentum and the challenge will be completed more quickly than you imagine.
Erika Schultz, Licensed Acupuncturist & Clinical Nutritionist
My best advice is to take it one breath- one moment- at a time. Find comfort in the knowing that every moment is passing and this too will pass. The less resistance we hold toward feeling the uncomfortable feelings the more they wash over us and we are free from them.
Hannah Seeley- Branding, Website & Stationery Design
Genuine & authentic growth take time. We tend to be so impatient with ourselves & demand an unfair level of personal perfection. We get so caught up in believing we are not enough that we forget to look back & see how far we’ve already come. So no matter what the struggle is, whether it be personal, professional, performance based, etc., we must remember to give ourselves grace!! And be true to ourselves!! Life goes by quickly & we are so much stronger than we think. Trials sharpen us as individuals and fill us with new strength & perspective. And before we know it, provide us an opportunity to look back & be filled with gratitude for being forced to move & to grow.
Allison Celenza – Intuitive Artist & Creative Entrepreneur
What I choose to do when I’m feeling challenged is reframe the insurmountable challenge as an opportunity for growth. I truly believe that challenges present themselves in order to shake us out of our everyday routines and patterns. Even the act of taking on a challenge creates growth for the soul and allows us to prove to ourselves that we are in fact capable of so much more than we think. And then one day we’ll look back on those challenges with gratitude because they transformed us into strong, wise individuals.
Ashley Eugene Energy Healer and Mind, Body, & Spirit Empowerment Coach
Stay positive and always look to the light and love. Remember that you are in control of your energy which directly affects your life. When you are in aligned with love and purpose the universe conspires to fulfill our desires. Be flexible. So often the very thing you think you want is held off because there is something so much better waiting for you. Keep these things in mind.. A obstacle is simply a detour in the right direction. Worry is prayer for what you do not want. So do not worry.. Visualize and feel yourself living in your goal as often as possible. Remain aligned with your purpose and you will overcome in ways more beautiful than you could ever imagine. Always remember the universe has your back!
Rachel Bastarache Bogan–entrepreneur, filmmaker, author and rollerskater
It’s okay to feel overwhelmed. It’s okay to be terrified. But take courage and give it your best shot. The worst thing you can do is never even try. Don’t kick yourself for the rest of your life by not trying.
Hannah Henry- Floral Designer & Business Owner
I find that sometimes a challenge that feels insurmountable is really a lot of small things tied together that need to get done. As writing helps me process my thoughts, I will write down a list off all the details or tasks that I need to accomplish. Once I see everything on the page in front of me, I identify which tasks are causing stress, which are a priority, and which ones can wait until next week. I then write down a plan of action to accomplish what needs to be done. I remind myself that I just need to take one step forward at a time.
Alisa Sauter- Pastry Chef & Owner
Sometimes the solution lies in a change in perspective. I think sometimes we are conditioned and set on things going a certain way, so when that doesn’t happen it can feel as though there is no answer. If you allow yourself to be open to different ideas on how to overcome the problem though, more often then not you will be able to find a solution. It also helps to have a support system (family, friends, colleagues) that can help you find that perspective and look at things in a different light.
Maddie Clough – Creative Director and Artist
Keep rising to the challenges you face. Take each day as a step in the right direction and never doubt your worth. Things come slow or not at all and the real glory is in the journey.
Dana Spaulding – Founder + CEO, Wander + Ivy
Face your fear of failing. Stop worrying, get out there and tackle whatever challenge is in front of you. You may stumble along the way, but you’ll be incredibly proud of yourself for taking on the challenge.
Jennifer Cranford – Denver Blogger
When things feel insurmountable, it tends to be because we’re going about them the wrong way. Sometimes it’s best to step back from the challenge, take a deep breath and reassess.
Carly Day, mother and makeup artist
The best advice I have for someone facing what feels like an insurmountable challenge is to persevere. Persevere in prayer; in conversations with trusted loved ones; endure in trusting God and believing Him for all He promises. The word endure means to suffer patiently, or to remain or last. God doesn’t require us to overcome by our own strength but he does require us to endure, which doesn’t feel so simple to us when the challenge doesn’t seem to be letting up. Ezekiel 22:14 the Lord asks “Can your heart endure, or can your hands be strong in the days that I will deal with you? I, the LORD, have spoken and will act.” I have found that in the midst of my challenges at home with my kids (like learning to be patient or sensitive to their needs or forgiving them again and again) or in the cyclical nature of negative patterns in my marriage, the Lord has shown me how dependent I am upon Him for absolutely everything. He has also gently reminded me that my very breath is a gift and I’m not as entitled to “conquering all” as my pride would lead me to believe. I can show up for each new day with a childlike faith that God has me and all the details… I don’t have to be the master of my challenges right now because He truly already is…. and He is growing me in His timing if I am simply willing to show up and receive His love as enough. In the face of my ongoing struggles, I’m given the opportunity to practice forgiveness towards myself and others for wrongs or shortcomings. In my experience thus far, those are the more important factors in the process of overcoming my obstacle or challenge. My pride could always use a little chiseling for the sake of closeness and trust in God.
Brittany Wassmer | Photographer
No one climbs Everest without a Sherpa. In other words, you need a tribe, you need people who know the way, you need help. And you need to listen to those people. All it takes is one step at a time, even if that step is the hardest one yet.
Mercedes Leahy – Passion-Seeking Vlogger & Realtor
If I’m feeling overwhelmed by an insurmountable obstacle, I try to take life one step at a time and look at the bigger picture. Every challenge you face is like a mosaic. Each small move in the right direction is one tile, each tile coming together and eventually forming one beautiful mosaic!
Carolina Vasquez – Cruelty-free Makeup Artist
Usually when I’m faced with a challenge that is insurmountable, I try not to let it overwhelm me because the problem usually becomes more difficult to deal with if you’re also overwhelmed. I try to use what I’ve learned from past scenarios and experience to overcome challenges. Being calm when faced with obstacles definitely helps, too.
K Kouhai – Cosplayer & Artist
When facing something that seems impossible to overcome, I take said complication and break it down into pieces I know I can complete. It helps me feel accomplished and motivated to keep going when each small chunk towards a bigger goal is achieved. It doesn’t matter how long it takes to reach that goal, what matters is that you did it! Never Give Up!
Mariah Sun- model and hip hop artist
Nothing is insurmountable! I used to pray for the life and opportunities I have now. I left an abusive marriage as a stay at home mom to two kids, and managed to upgrade my life tremendously and still chase my dreams. If you dwell on negative thoughts and keep negative thoughts and words around, that’s what you manifest. Of course something bad can always happen, but on the same note, something good can always happen too
Cynthia Guzmán- Mua/Model/entrepreneur
My advice to someone who is going through a tough time is to find something you love to do everyday , to take each day slowly day by day and don’t rush yourself . Reflect on the negative things about yourself and about your company and cut it out your life and you’ll be way more peaceful. Everyone has a struggle . Make yours beautiful.
Genessee Erickson – Mother & Denver model
There is no issue or problem that comes into our lives that is unmovable or unshakable. You are as strong as you let your mind be. Remember what makes you happy and stay true to yourself.
Black Forest Photography: Portrait Photographer
Never regret a day in your life, even if the problems seem insurmountable. The good days bring happiness but, the bad days give you experience.
Laura Gravina, Wedding Hair Artist & Braid Specialist
Never give up on yourself, your creativity and work on your brand. It’ll all be worthwhile!
Destination Photographer and Mother
Number one, take care of you first. Don’t rush into any hasty decisions or try to move on or figure it all out immediately…allow yourself to be vulnerable and honest if needed. Slow down to listen…make sure to give yourself time. Time to sit in the feelings, to sit with yourself in the moment, gather your thoughts and your strength…then, when you’re ready, you walk forward with clarity and give it everything you’ve got. Bring the strength, confidence and awareness that you can trust the journey you’re on, no matter how big or small the obstacle, you got this, you can do it and you will know what to do. You are stronger than you know and someday, what was once thought as an insurmountable challenge, will be something you draw strength and confidence from and possibly use to help others too. There is nothing you can’t do. You can and you will be great. Trust.
Emily Walkup – Brand Strategist & Designer
Sometimes the hardest steps to take for any challenge can be the first. Takes those initial steps, get past the fears of failure, and commit to the direction you feel in your gut is right for you! If you’re afraid of failing, you’re afraid of getting better. Take that insurmountable challenge and think to yourself…I have been assigned this mountain to show others it can be moved!!!