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.
Kiera Queen | Chief Clinical Lead Orthodontic Assistant and Scentsy Consultant
I would tell them that the situation might feel hard right now and that it may feel like the end of the world but that I promise a year from now they will be able to sit back and laugh at the situation. They will look back and feel proud of themselves for being strong and chugging through. All projects and life lessons take time and effort, nothing comes easy. Blare some music, sing really loud, and force a smile on your face to remember what you are working towards. Always keep your head up and mind focused on the end goal.
Regina Foster | enthusiast Food Photographer and Traveler
One of my favorite quotes that I’ve ever heard about challenging yourself is “Just Do It”. I mean, it might not that easy but when facing with some challenging situations in your life which are getting you out of your comfort zone it is always a big step forward. Sometimes we fail, but we’ll never know until we try. So, don’t be scared ever and go for it!
Megan Mears | Audiologist and Author
Set small goals for yourself along the way and reflect on your accomplishments. These small achievements will keep you motivated as you work toward the larger goal.
Jenna Scheele | lead photographer of Amethyst Aperture
My advice would be to stop and take a deep breath. We always forget to breathe in times of stress. And do not be afraid to ask for help. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve had to learn but it’s worth it. People want to see you succeed and asking for help won’t change how strong you are.
Jessa Raskin| Mom | Musician | Artist
Give it another minute. Then another. Do one tiny thing that can move you towards your goal and then rest in the trust that you are moving forward. It’s okay to pause, regroup, and get back to climbing your mountain tomorrow. As a single mom who struggles financially and who feels overwhelmed often, I sometimes have to lay down the problem and rest. Worry only makes it worse. So I go and look at beauty, sing, hang out with my kids… whatever feels best… and I know that with rest I’ll be better able to tackle my problem. I tell myself “be like the water”, meaning rest and let yourself be carried to your destination and flow easily around obstacles instead of fighting to swim and feeling like you’re drowning. Tomorrow can bring magic and opportunity that you just can’t see coming today. So rest in love and trust. Ask for what you need. And just give it another minute… and then another.
Barre Forte LoHi
Though some of life’s challenges feel overwhelming – or even impossible to overcome, always know that you are stronger than you think you are. You can do more than you think you can. Our favorite quote at Barre Forte LoHi is, “When there is nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire.
Bianca M. |Health and Wellness Enthusiast | Aspiring Health Coach | MUA
In the midst of despair I think it’s important to first accept the truth of the situation. I say this because, for many years I was in denial and pretended to be happy in order to spare my unstable and abusive marriage. In 2011, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. PCOS is a hormone imbalance that makes it hard to get pregnant. My weight had skyrocketed to 250 pounds within just a few months. I started a very unhealthy diet and did not exercise. I depended on traditional Filipino sweets like leche flan to comfort me in my deep depression. While living overseas in the Philippines, I became unhappy with who I was and with my body.
I spent many nights in bed crying, trying to figure out where I went wrong. After introspection and reflection, I came to accept my reality and decided it was time for a change. I asked myself, where would I rather be? How do I get to where I need to be? These questions helped me analyze my current situation while facing a challenge that felt insurmountable. I set goals to get my life back together!
To be honest, there were moments where I did become fearful during this challenging time in my life. At times, the fear of what could go wrong would overwhelm me to the point of paralysis. Eventually I was able to recognize when my fear was crippling me, and would remind myself fear is a trap. Sometimes in life you can be your own worst critic. Don’t let negative thoughts control you. Believe in yourself and rebuke any doubt. You can only grow stronger from situations like these. Once you make it through, you will be thankful for the scars.
Long story short, I’m now single and living a healthier and happier life. I no longer have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome, and gave birth to my “miracle” daughter in 2014. With a healthy diet and exercise, I have lost 90 pounds and I’ve become very enthusiastic about health and wellness. I consider myself an advocate of self love, whose purpose is to inspire and motivate others, who are going through a similar struggle, to take control. My motto is no matter what trials your face in life, always love and take care of your self to the best of your ability.
Matthew 17:20 “if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there”, and it will move.
Mikaela antonelli | adventurous wedding photographer
What I do is always make a list of things that I need to get done and take it one step at a time. Becoming a photographer was such a scary task but I took it one shoot at a time, one client at a time. It really helps make your goals seem much less scary that way.
Anna Johnson | spiritual & emotional wellness blogger | teacher
My best advice is two-fold. First, never lose sight of your purpose. Everyone has been created for their own and unique purpose. You are the only you there is, which makes anything that you create and produce worthwhile. This world needs you in it. When things get hard, remember, that you are uniquely created and gifted in ways no other person is. Second, BE PRESENT. When we are faced with challenging situations it is easy to get stuck in the past or in the future. Someone once told me that when depression hits, you may be too focused on the past, and when anxiety hits, you are too focused on the future. Be present through every celebration but also through every struggle. Everything has its season, and everything will pass. Unless you cannot see/take the next step in front of you, do not worry. Life works itself out every single time.
Katie Griffin | Photographer + Designer
Keep perspective. Try to take a third person view of the situation and consider whether the obstacle is as big as it seems. In this age of urgency, it is difficult not to have instant gratification for every situation. Just remember to look at previous challenges you have overcome, and consider how long they took to achieve. Personally, I use plants and seeds. I keep in mind how much time has gone by since I planted the seed (both literally and metaphorically) and the time it takes to bloom. We grow and change together.
Bria Lee | Marketing Manager | Content Creator & Athlete
The hardest part is starting but with a positive attitude and a lot of persistence any challenge is achievable. Believe in yourself, take a deep breath and chip away at whatever you can do to get closer to reaching your goal!
Kristina Celin | Brand and Business Strategist & Founder of Designing Gig LLC
First, look within and work to manifest the highest version of yourself, daily — when things change inside you, things change around you.
Second, trust the process — the difficult things happening to you right now are tests preparing you for future greatness.
Last and most important, don’t give up — success is based on persistence and determination, not luck.
Brittany Rusert | Owner and Pastry Chef
I would say to take a moment, take a breath and don’t be afraid to lean on your support system. Try to keep perspective, take things slow and to trust in yourself, the process or whatever it may be that you need to overcome this obstacle. Life’s challenges help us grow, test our strength and when we make it to the other side – we may even come to appreciate those hard moments. Don’t loose faith and again, lean on your loved ones to provide the extra support you need!
Danielle Gordon | hairstylist specializing in Balayage | blondes and hair extensions
My advice for someone who is facing a challenge is to take it as an opportunity to grow. Some of the toughest times can shape who you are for the better. And to stay positive + love to those around you, the energy you put out will come back your way.
Ellen Moershel | painter | visual artist
When a task seems too insurmountable I try to chip away at it by doing the easiest bit first. Doing this will, at the least, make the task a bit smaller. It could also put me in the right mode for getting the rest of the heavier work done. Its like dipping your toe in the cold water to get used to it before jumping all the way in.
Ashley French | Licensed therapist and relationship expert
First, break it down into smaller tasks or pieces that feel more manageable. Completing each task or element will give you a sense of accomplishment and relief as well as remind you that you can do this. Second, don’t face it alone. Find a friend, family member, colleague, therapist or other trusted professional that will walk alongside you as you take on this challenge. They will see things you can’t, provide encouragement and will help take some of the weight off your shoulders.
Yewande Masi | CEO & Founder of Ornami Beauty + Business Coach
First, take a moment to yourself and breathe. Focus on your breathing to make sure you are not taking shallow breaths, but rather full breaths and are receiving a good amount of oxygen throughout your body. Try not to make any immediate decisions while things feel overwhelming. Once you are in a more relaxed state, try to break down the challenge in 8-10 parts of ways to tackle the challenge. Make a to do list in your phone and start to conquer it by taking care of the smaller, easier things first. Check off the the items on the to do list as you get through them. This will keep you motivated and in a positive state of mind as you face the challenge. Also make sure your surround yourself with people who’s counsel you trust to get their perspective and support.
Ella Titus |Food Blogger & Recipe Developer
When I am faced with a challenge that feels insurmountable, I always ask myself the same question, “How do you eat an elephant?” My answer to this is simply, “One bite at a time.” If you are ever overwhelmed by a challenge, try dividing it into smaller tasks that can be more easily conquered. It is important to remember that stress hinders creativity, which is why our best ideas always come to us when we obtain a relaxed and positive mindset.
Kimberly Eckert | Founder & CEO of Eva’s Energy
Don’t focus on the whole challenge at once. Break it down into small, achievable portions, and focus on one thing at a time. When I am hiking to the peak of a mountain and am struggling with physical challenge, instead of focusing on the peak, I focus on taking 100 steps at a time. 100 steps, pause and drink water, 100 steps, pause and drink water. . . Occasionally you need to stop and re-evaluate where you are and ensure you are on the right path. But if you just keep focused on that one task at a time, you will be surprised at how quickly you make it to the top. And the views from up there are amazing!
Ashley Russell | Marketing Specialist and Model
Take each challenge you face in life and treat it as a growing experience. We’ve all faced hardships of some kind before and I’ve learned that even if at the time something seems impossible to get through, you will get through it. And not only will you just get through it, you will become a stronger person in the end because of it.
Julia Heffelfinger | Food Writer & Recipe Developer
Hmm this is something I struggle with constantly! I am the queen of lists, so I write down all of the practical things I can do to tackle the larger project – nothing is too small. It’s empowering to cross something off. Baby steps!
Lexi Hockenberry |Assistant buyer for Jewelry Chain & Style Content Creator
My advice for someone who is facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable is to face your challenge head on. Surround yourself with people that are supportive and loving of you! (Even if that’s a little tough love 😉) Remember that you are stronger than you think and there is something inside of you greater than any obstacle you will face in life. I always like to take a step back when I feel like my challenge is too big or too hard and remember that every person is struggling with something every day and usually my problems really aren’t that bad. And last but not least, learn from your failures! I have learned way more from mistakes I’ve made then the times I’ve gotten it right the first try.
Amber Bailey Klovski | Cookier & Owner of The Sweet Cookie Sheet
My advice for tackling a challenge that feels insurmountable would be to RE-EVALUATE
· What is your mindset?
· Do you have the proper support you need?
· Are you clear on what your end goal is?
· Is there something getting in the way of you completing your goal?
· Are there multiple angles you can tackle this challenge from? Do you need to change your approach?
· Break your process into steps and focus on one step at a time.
· Celebrate your successes!
· Learn from your missteps and be okay with that fact that you made them.
· Know your limits. It’s okay to say no!
· Just Do It! There is always a point where it is easier to give up and take the easy road. You have to make the decision to continue on, and usually very quickly after this point things will turn around.
· Be open. Things don’t always end up as we envisioned, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t achieve success.
· Enjoy the journey.
We have a world full of insurmountable challenges, yet we exist day after day along with the sun, the stars, and the seasons. You’re not alone here. No one is. Break it down and take it one step at a time, beginning with the breathe! This is where experience begins and unceasingly continues without effort… in this continuation, nothing is insurmountable.
Mindy Campbell MS, RDN | Registered Dietitian Nutritionist
I always think of what my mom would tell me:”This too shall pass” and try to think about what I can DO to help it pass- which motivates me to become more action oriented instead of wallowing in my own fears.
Emily Brouillette | LV Consultant with Rodan + Fields & retired chemist
When faced with a big challenge in my professional career, my 15 years of working as a chemist in R&D “analytical self” kicks in, and I break down the challenge into manageable and measurable pieces. I find that with any challenge, it is way less scary if you make a game plan and consistently track your daily activity (however big or small) towards reaching your goal.
The advice I have for those who are facing a challenge would be to keep pushing, it might sound cliche but if you let that challenge bring you down you’re that much further away from getting through that challenge. Look at a challenge as an opportunity and run with it!
Hannah May Howard | actress & student at USC
I really relate and I often find myself overwhelmed by massive challenges; my grandmother once told me, “go slow to go fast”. So when I’m faced with a challenge I make sure to give myself the time to plan and go piece by piece. It’s always exponentially better to take things step by step than to try and rush yourself through everything all at once.
Cassandra Severns RYT and Aromatherapist owner of Honest Haven
Our greatest strength comes from our great weakness. It is in these moments where we feel lost, alone, or hopeless that our greatest growth happens. See life is hard and death is easy. Life requires you to push yourself, to grow, to leave your comfort zone, to venues to the unknown. You are always stronger then you feel, each of us has a gift to share and we should fight each day to share it. You where put on this Earth for a reason it’s up to you to show everyone what that reason is. Love, Light, and Wellness to you.
Rachel Lubchansky | Founder + CEO of REL Impact and Sheer Impact
ONE STEP AT A TIME. It’s simple, yet true. We can only tackle one thing at a time, and it’s each step that gets us closer to the other side of a challenge.
JayLynn McDaniel | Model & Creator
The best advice I have for someone who is facing a challenge that they feel is insurmountable is honestly, to pray through it. I’ve faced multiple hardships and struggles in my life where I didn’t see the light in the situation and I wanted to give up. Talking to God and trusting my faith through the process saved me. I believe that you need to change your views to change your situation as well- you could choose to stare at the floor or you could choose to look up at the sky. There is so much to miss when you refuse to look and just by changing your perspective, you could manifest a whole new opportunity for yourself. Visualize where you would like to be, find something to look forward too and make plans towards it.