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.
Rachael McKee | Breathwork Teacher | Writer & Ethical Fashion Brand Representative
Nothing is insurmountable.
The world is full of options and solutions, but we can’t always see them from exactly where we are due to perspectives, beliefs, time, resources or so many other reasons. If you follow your instincts and keep moving towards your goals one step at at time the path can unfold as you go. Things often feel the most impossible when we try to figure out steps A to Z. But, we don’t have to and we’re not meant to figure everything out all at once.
Never underestimate how much you will change and evolve into a new version of yourself that knows the right move and is capable of doing things when the time comes. Just because something doesn’t seem possible right in this moment or phase of life doesn’t mean that it’s always going to be that way.
Finally, learn how to ask for help when you don’t know how to do or achieve something. No one of us knows everything and being a human is really complex. We’re not meant to go it alone.
Olya Stavi | mom | makeup artist | eyebrow master and model
To begin with, you need to realize that you are not the first and not the last person on the planet who has any problems. Life gives you what you can do. From these problems you should learn a lesson that will teach you something. Therefore, in any situation, you need to find benefits. And study, study and study again. Never despair and remember life does not end. And yes, I forgot about family and friends. The closest people will always come to your aid.
Lara Wiley | immigrant | wife | mother, and business owner
My advice to someone who is constantly in the under barrier of the hustle… be consistent, be vigilant, day in and day out. Be candid to collaborate! Embrace the hardships, that’s how we grow to be better. For example, our shop was robbed recently, the day before our 1st year (in store) anniversary. We still hosted, and it was an amazing turnout! Funny how much more you see through shattered glass.
Lauren Grier | cookbook author & food and travel blogger
The key is to start. I find a lot of people including myself can create mental roadblocks before they even have a chance to make those first steps. Give yourself space to be open-minded which will allow you the chance to be flexible. Challenges that feel insurmountable often times change as you progress through them. Know your strengths, be willing to be vulnerable, and know that no matter what you can do anything.
Erin Comstock | Nutrition Coach | Crossfit instructor & Mom
I have been thinking a lot lately about the things we DO have control over in our life. We do have control over how we eat, exercise, how much sleep we get, being nice to others, being kind to ourselves, waking up with a positive attitude, smiling more, etc.
For example: If you dislike something like your job (but you can’t quit because it pays the bills) then we know it is probably making you wake up unhappy, feel more stressed during the day, grab take out on the way home because you’re not motivated to eat healthy, sit on the couch and watch TV so you don’t need to think about your day etc, etc. Now, this job is controlling how your life is being lived.
This is what we can control that will make this “insurmountable challenge” feel less negative in your life. We can look at what the job is doing for you. It is paying your bills so you can have a home to live in, It allows you to have a car, to go out drinking with friends on the weekends, to buy takeout food.
Now this horrible thing is actually helping you sustain a life that allows you to have things that keep you safe, mobile and social. What if you decided to wake up an extra hour earlier to get a workout in? What if those workouts gave you the energy and positive attitude you needed to get through your day at work? What if after work you were so excited for your workout the next day you started to make your own meals to feel healthier? Then, all of a sudden, your stress levels are lowering, your sleep quality is getting better, your body if feeling more energized, the weekends with your friends turned into Saturday hikes and BBQ’s. MINDSET is everything!
I truly believe we can accomplish anything even if it seems impossible with the right kind of mindset, and if it is not possible then there is another aspect in our life that we can work on to make the impossible seem more tolerable.
Yvette Marquez | Sharpnack | Mexican Food Blogger & Cookbook Author
I personally understand that feeling — it is very easy to feel overwhelmed. I recommend disconnecting and some quiet time! Turn off social media and TV. Go for a walk or a hike and just be one with your thoughts — breathe, self reflect, pray/meditate, and reevaluate. Also, talk to someone you trust, a spouse, colleague, or BFF. As an entrepreneur, I often try and solve my own problems and challenges, but it’s important to communicate your feelings with someone. When you are ready — break down the challenge into smaller achievable bits or make a plan of what to drop from your list. We have to remind ourselves that we can’t do it all, and that’s OK!
Andrea Signor | Strength coach | writer | mama
Every challenge is an opportunity. An opportunity to be brave, to learn, to push yourself beyond what you thought you were capable of. Once you have this change in mindset, anything is possible.
When I face a challenge that seems too difficult, I break it down into goals and actionable steps. For example, if I want to achieve some physical feat — such as dead lifting twice my body weight when my max lift is only 1.5 times my body weight — I set a date for when I want to achieve my goal; then I work backwards, figuring out what weights I need to hit each week in order to meet my goal. Then I get to work.
For challenges that are a bit more ambiguous, I think there’s a balance between letting yourself flounder and fail and then working through the problem. Last March, I lost a baby at 16 weeks. It really threw me and for a long time I didn’t want to workout, I didn’t want to write, I didn’t want to do anything but eat and watch reality television. I needed to go through this depression phase as part of the grieving process. But after about six weeks, I knew it was time to start pulling myself out. I started seeing a counselor who helped me articulate what was keeping me in my funk. I forced myself back to the gym and just did light, easy workouts. And I got a plan together to get my eating back on track.
It is absolutely okay to seek help when you are facing these huge challenges. That doesn’t make you weak or a cheat. There are resources out there to help you tackle almost any problem. But it starts with you really wanting to accomplish what you say you want to achieve. That may mean changing up your social schedule, or investing money into a course or a program that can help you improve your skill set, or it may mean seeking professional help.
Always remember, you are so much stronger than you realize — physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Katie Fruchtman | Interior Designer | Pretty Life Designs & Hello Home
Never let fear hold you back. Take the next step in confidence.
Daryn Bridwell | Skincare Entrepreneur
When faced with a challenge that feels insurmountable, do the things that YOU can control and take one day (or hour) at a time!
Anna Powell | founder Evergreen Agency | partner consultant | Spool Marketing
Nothing in life is wasted. It’s all part of your story. Your trials, challenges and struggles build your character, make you stronger and change you. So when things get tough, put on your game face, buckle up and know that this too shall pass. And when it does, chances are you’ll come out on the other side with renewed perspective. Also, gratitude. Finding things to be thankful for amidst difficulty keeps the light to happiness turned on. Always look for that silver lining.
Rose Nava | Glam Design Artist
I’m always talking about challenging myself. I believe it’s about training your brain and changing your mindset. Its about not giving up. If you fail, you try again. Each time you fail you will learn something and get closer to overcoming that challenge. Each time you overcome a challenge you take what you learned to prepare you for the next challenge. Before you know it you are the Boss Babe you wished you were. Don’t fear challenges.
Denise Graves | Wife | Mom | NICU Clerical Support
My son was born at 31 weeks and was only 1 lb 14 oz at birth. I had a huge battle ahead of me but I did not lose heart. I started by recognizing and validating my circumstance. Knowing that the road may be rough helped me get in the mindset of creating a game plan. I found that asking for help was necessary. My friends and family took care of the mundane so I could focus on the task at hand. I also prayed…a lot. Whether you’re spiritual or not, taking time to pray, meditate or clear your mind is so beneficial. Remember to not lose hope no matter how big or small your current struggle is. You’re a lot stronger than you think.
NIK ”talkswithnik” | Entrepreneur | YouTuber (Vegan/Goth Make-Up Artist) | Surgical Technologist
Close your eyes. Envision what it would be like to overcome this challenge..how you’ll feel..what it would mean to you today and in your future.
Look in a mirror and tell yourself you will get through this and make it happen. Tell yourself you will dig deep and find the strength to push through the obstacles because you deserve all that you seek and above all else you deserve happiness.
You woke up today to create the life you want. So, own it and fight another day!
I could give specifics on exactly what you should do & how it may help but at the end of the day…you must accept the challenge and make peace with it. Your journey begins and ends with honest belief in yourself and that is your unique power and you will persevere! Stay focused, stay thankful and believe in you as much as I do.
Talia Haykin | Owner of Haykin Family Ciders | Mom | Marketer
Always be sure you see the full picture but take it one small step at a time. My dear friend’s mother (of blessed memory) used to say, always start your to do list with “write a to do list” so you feel like you have always accomplished at least one thing to start the day.
Lisa White | IVF Mentor and Occupational Therapist
The advice I would give someone who is facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable is to first pause and take a deep breath. It helps to take a step back and try to see the bigger picture. When a large, intimidating task is presented in front of us, we almost freeze up and shut down thinking there is no way we can tackle this. If we would take a minute and see what small actions we can start taking first, then I feel that is the best movement forward; One step, then another, and another. Often times we let our minds take over and feel that things are out of our control and that they are impossible to take on. One of the keys is to get quiet, get focused – maybe it’s meditating or taking a walk outside to clear your head. Whatever you need to nurture yourself is where I would begin. Self-compassion with ourselves is everything. It’s when we get quiet, that we get in the receptive mode to really hear the answers that are trying to guide us.
Megan Bucholz | Founder and Chief Tasting Officer
When facing a challenge that seems insurmountable, pause and remember that nothing is insurmountable. You might not be personally able to meet the challenge without help, so tap into the expertise of trusted colleagues and friends. It’s likely that someone you know has a suggestion on how to accomplish your goal.
Armani Sucki | Fashion Designer | Wardrobe Stylist
I believe that when you’re approaching any challenge you need to take time away, and get a clear head first before making any moves. I would also recommend speaking to the people who mean the most to you. Always weigh out your options, don’t be too hard on yourself, and never stop trying.
Annie Ingram | Owner & Designer of Annie Ingram Design
Challenges always feel insurmountable at first, but take your time, follow the appropriate steps, and it eventually won’t seem as daunting. Make sure it’s a challenge worth pursuing and work hard to gain passion and growth from it. Don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Hollee Gold | REALTOR® | GRI | PSA | Probate Specialist
Life will always has it’s challenges, I think of them as an opportunity to grow. We do survive even the worst of times.
Sometimes we just need a moment to breath, to be still, and remember there is something bigger, all things have purpose.
I just read a perfect quote I’d love to share
“Out of clutter, find simplicity. From discord, find harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.”
Albert Einstein, German-born theoretical physicist
Sara E. Stewart | Chief Motivator @ Zenful Life Living, LLC | Registered Yoga/Meditation Teacher | Health Coach & NLPP
Having thrived 4 years post stroke, there are 5 things I would tell someone who is facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable.
1. Define your NO to get to your YES. It’s okay to be selfish. Start by removing those things and people that don’t motivate or encourage you.
2. There is more than one way to cook an egg and life goals are similar. Begin with the end goal in mind and don’t get caught up on the minutiae of the challenge.
3. Seek and ask for help. If you never ask, the answer will always be NO! You will find helpful people if they just know what you need.
4. Just Start! Put your focus on what you deserve, not what you feel you desire. The two are not the same, so act in a way the feeds your passion and purpose.
5. Make everyday zenful. Live in a manner that acknowledges that your next breath is not promised, so while you are working toward your future, be mindful of the present moment. In doing so, YOU will discover joy you did not know existed.
Christina Rowe, MSOL | Leadership and Team Development Coach | Consultant and Speaker
When challenges feel overwhelming I try to, and teach my clients, make it bite size. Ask yourself what’s the smallest thing I can do that moves towards the solution, then do that thing, and ask again what the next bite size step is ahead of you. Remembering that you can make progress helps build the confidence that along the way you’ll solve the challenge. If it STILL feels insurmountable, ask the advice of someone who has very different strengths than you do, their perspective may be different enough that it helps you see the path forward.
Angela K. Nickerson | DIY | Vintage Decor | Planners
When a task or a challenge seems insurmountable, take a deep breath, step back, and break it down into smaller pieces. An ancient Chinese proverb says, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” Every challenge seems huge from afar, but almost anything can be broken into smaller pieces. And smaller tasks are much easier to accomplish. I use a paper planner and a planning process to keep perspective on those large goals and to track each step, so I can see my progress. In fact, I’ve created a new section on my website devoted to this process, and I have written The Nice List a Christmas planner, which helps busy families wrangle the Christmas season into small, manageable pieces that can be accomplished on time and under budget.
Breaking any large task down into smaller pieces — from a home renovation to Christmas shopping, planning a wedding to writing a novel, earning a degree to spring cleaning — makes the large project much more manageable. And doing it on paper has added benefits for your brain and memory, too. So take some time to do some thoughtful planning, and tackling that insurmountable task will be easier and less daunting.
Brooke Hill | Traveling Humanitarian Photographer | small town girl with a heart for the nations
The best advice I could give someone who is facing a challenge that feels insurmountable is that you are given the freedom to decide what voices you will listen to. You can listen to the voice of fear and doubt that fills you with anxiety, worry, and disbelief. OR – you can choose to listen to that small faint whisper that quietly states, “maybe it won’t be like this for forever”. Everyday we’re given the opportunity to wake up and decide what voice will define our moments, days, and future. The choice is up to you, and I hope you choose to be brave and step out in courage.
Jenna Newton | Mental Health Clinician & Virtual Health and Fitness Coach
The best advice I have for someone who is facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable is to break the challenge down into smaller parts. By having these smaller goals, they know what step is next to take in order to get closer to achieving this challenge. This also helps build mastery and confidence to continue moving forward.
Indeliza Marquez | Full time Wedding Photographer & stay home wife | mother
I am Indeliza Marquez, I am married to a wonderful man who has helped me get through so much as a new mother and a full time photographer. Being a full time mother and trying to build your career can be challenging especially when your kids depend on you 24/7, I am a very spiritual person, and have learned that the best way to face challenges is by allowing God to plan your lifestyle, even if you don’t want to face them and want the easiest way out, taking a minute to breathe and remind yourself that it is okay to take a minute for you and those who need you the most, work will always be work what comes first is those you love, and need you, my favorite verse to remind myself to balance everything as much as possible is Ecclesiastes 3:1 “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Another one of my favorite quotes in the Bible is Matthew 6:33 “ But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” I think this is the best advice I could give anyone. God’s blessings are the best for us, including the time and season we are in.
Tiffany King | Sales Executive at koala bars and Cbd infusionz
Belief is one of the most powerful concepts in the world.
What you believe and entertain within your mind is what you are busy manifesting.
My life changed drastically on the third day of my journey into sobriety. I made up my mind that day that I was going to get sober and finish out my probation no matter what it took. I became part of the ‘no matter what’ club. I didn’t leave room in my mind for doubt; I didn’t leave room in my mind for disbelief. The only thing I told myself day-in-and-day-out is I’m going to do this no matter what.
Here I am approaching 4 years into my sobriety and I have accomplished more in the last four years than I could have ever imagined at the beginning of my sobriety.
A determined mindset and a positive optimistic attitude are the most important things you can bring with you. Anybody in the world no matter what your circumstances are, can improve their mindset and attitude with very few resources; that’s powerful.
Everything starts in your mind and once you master your mind and your thoughts; you master your world.
“Perception is everything” Tiffany King
“Whether you think you are or you think you aren’t; your right” Henry Ford
“You will never regret the hard work you put in for a better life” Elizabeth Benton
Erin Bird | Mindfulness Motivator | Reiki Practioner & Aspiring Nursing Student
The ability to take on a feat is not impossible. If you perceive something as insurmountable, you’re automatically limiting yourself. When you attempt an action, there will be times that you fail and times you succeed and that’s okay- any effort is better than no effort.
To overcome a challenge has everything to do with your perspective, mindset, and plan of action. When you feel like you don’t have these resources in a positive manner to overcome the feat remember that in every given decision making moment we have a choice. You can choose to do what’s “edgy and cool” or you can choose to invest in the compound interest of the betterment for yourself. My best advice is to envision your higher self and embrace what that looks and feels like. Use that as your large goal and work backwards, setting yourself up with medium sized goals that are enriched and empowered by tangible smaller sized goals. When you succeed with different sized goals, what once seemed insurmountable becomes accomplished.
Lauren Ott | Registered Dietitian
My advice is to make daily goals instead of looking at the overarching goal/challenge. When you break challenges down to small goals, it will feel much more achievable!
Free Flow Visual Artistry | professional specialty entertainer
Surround yourself with people who believe in you, especially when you have trouble believing in yourself amidst the challenges. I truly believe that we rise by lifting others, and I’m eternally grateful for those who have lifted me throughout my professional and personal journeys.
Kristy | Sex positive | cannabis events | sponsorship management and networking
I take a moment to slow down, breathe and remember what I started doing it all for. Whatever it is – I started it for a reason, and it is important to remember what made it so important to take action in the first place.