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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.

Alyssa Retzena, Photographer & Co-Founder of Farmhaus

Big challenges are usually multi-faceted but breaking them down to smaller problems that are seemingly easier to tackle helps. I always appreciate a second or third perspective on the problem as well. Sometimes looking at the challenge in a different light can help guide the way to your solution. Collaboration is always better than isolation!

Adena with Blush & Tease – Boudoir Photographer

“Mountains get climbed one step at a time.” Trust that the little actions your take to face your challenges are what gets you on the other side of it.

Kori Gouge, Masterful MIndset and Business Fitness Coach – Craft Your Mind and Business for Greatness

Element Image

Ask yourself, What is the story I am creating about this challenge? Get out of your head and into your body. Where do you feel it in your body? Really feel it. Notice any tightening, constriction, and shallow breathing. Next, ask yourself, how do I want to change this story and what do I want to change about it? Stay in your body. Tap into your imagination. Where do you feel this new story, this new possibility in your body?  What does it feel like? Notice what shifts – in your breathing and body.
Notice the difference between how your body feels with this new story vs the old story. Now, take one action that aligns with that new story –  of you in your power, of you being the author and artist of your life with the ability to create magnificence and beauty out of devastation and destruction.
Let that truth permeate every cell of your being. Breathe into it. Embody it. Be it for as often as you can and for as long as you can and witness how your challenge absolutely transforms.

Katherine Frost, owner of A Frosted Affair, specializing in luxury weddings and corporate events

My advice is to take a step back and look at all your options. From there you pick a starting point and slowly start moving forward. It will get better!

Lauren Fusco-Succulent & Floral Pop Up Shop Owner

If I could give advice to anyone who’s feeling tired, beat down or defeated….just breathe. These challenges are just temporary! They will strengthen you and teach you things you never thought you’d learn. Be patient and remember to take care of yourself and the people who support you.


Sarah Engels – Female CEO of Multi-Million Dollar Company and Founder of The Atomic Blonde

Worry fixes nothing. No matter how overwhelming your obstacles are, worry and anxiety only take your energy, optimism and creativity. My advice is to acknowledge your fear, name your monster and put it in a box. Give it the acknowledgment it earned but don’t continue to feed it. Turn your focus toward creative problem solving but most importantly action. Action is the only thing that can affect the outcome of wheels in motion. Surround yourself with positive people who won’t let you go back to tend to your monster but rather feed your energy and drive.
Take time to sleep, get fresh air and do things for others during your battle. Nothing refocuses your passion like remembering why you do what you do in the first place- remembering that, will light the fire of passion you need to overcome. Lastly, all experiences both good and bad are what we are made of. We learn, we grow and adapt. Without those hard times, we wouldn’t have the skills necessary to become our best. So, embrace the difficult moments, as those too will pass.

The Atomic Blonde

Stephanie Golovach –  Cake Artist + Mom

I tend to not view things as the whole picture, that’s totally overwhelming to me, but I just what do I need to do as the next step. That way I continue to make strides forward and before I know it, challenge complete!


Elizabeth – Hair stylist

My advice for someone who is facing a challenge is too keep pushing. It is important to remember that you WILL get through whatever you are going through. We always do. You will come out on the other side and although the journey was full of challenges, you will have learned so much about yourself. You are stronger than you can even begin to imagine.


Valen Ibarra Florist Owner of Blumenhaus the flower aesthetic

Adrian Velasquez

No task is insurmountable, we can sometimes be our greatest enemy. Talk to someone, ask for different outlooks.


Alexandra Mollon | Marketing Strategist and Yoga Teacher

Lots of things seem insurmountable when they’re looked at in their entirety. Break it out into manageable bitesized chunks that you can do daily, weekly, monthly to eventually bring you to your big overall goal.

Kim Mesman – Owner of Mesman Design Co. a graphic design studio

Challenges are an opportunity to grow and we all grow by getting out of our comfort zone even when it feels hard in the moment. I think it’s important to remain grounded and face the challenge rather than working around it or avoiding it. I like that saying, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at time.” Break down your challenge into baby steps and that will lead to big change. Shift your focus to the thing you’re are actually doing, instead of the result and the intimidating parts will start to disappear. Every time you experience a win, stop and celebrate it and never compare yourself to other people.

Laura Fessenden – Entrepreneur, Yogini, Hashimoto’s warrior

Life is always chock full of challenges, isn’t it? I always try to envision the outcome I’d like to become a reality, and keep a positive attitude. Difficult situations suck at times, but they are always learning experiences and are given to us for a reason!

Tahverlee is a podcaster and entrepreneur

When facing what seems like an insurmountable challenge, take a breath, and take another. Find a quiet place to be still and think about your whole life, not just the challenge you are facing.  Look around you and think back to another time when you had a massive obstacle in your path. Or faced a major decision.  You’ve been there, done that before and are here to tell the story.  Let that show you the way forward.
And find perspective in gratitude, there is always something in your life or in being alive that you can be grateful for.  Focus on that for a minute while you breathe.  You can find a way through it, and if not, find a way around it.  But keep breathing.

Niyati Nakra – Food Photographer & Food Blogger

I think in my mind the best advice I would have for someone who is facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable would be to just keep at it and keep pushing. Perseverance always pays off. Even if there would be days where you would feel that nothing is going in favor of you, it would eventually be worth it if you don’t quit. I can say this from a personal experience. In the end, everything works out well. If it doesn’t, its not the end.

Lindsey Gjoraas – Web Developer

Remember to believe in yourself and tell yourself you can achieve anything. Facing a challenge may feel insurmountable but few things really are. Then after your pep talk, give yourself more time to figure out the best way to tackle the challenge.

Meet Nolan: A nurse by trade, stylist & professional organizer by passion

First, have perspective. For better or worse, being a postpartum nurse has given me A LOT of perspective on life. If it’s not life-altering or life or death, then is it really that big of a deal? Challenges are a lot more stressful when they are two inches in front of you. Take a step back, consult a third party, wade in the stress for a healthy minute, and then prioritize it. If it still feels insurmountable, then think of it like a marathon. Break down the challenge into hurdles and overcome each hurdle, one at a time.

Second, learn how to compartmentalize. I used to think my father was unemotional or detached about familial drama we were having. Then I realized he was just really good at filing it away to deal with it at the right time. If you have life stress, leave it at the door when you’re with a client. If you’re stressed out at work, try not to take it home with you. As a nurse, it’s critical to be able to compartmentalize- you don’t want your first-time mama who is enjoying her first moments with her child to know that moments earlier you were resuscitating a baby at a different delivery. This is a difficult skill, which takes a lot of self-awareness, and y’all I still am learning how to do it.

Remember: not all challenges are created equally. But they are opportunities for personal growth and a new perspective that give you life experience, and ultimately make you a more evolved, genuine, compassionate individual


Brittany Kahl | Wellness Consultant & Essential Oils Educator

Instead of worrying about making it all better today, focus on getting 1% better every day. The choice is yours. You can choose to let this challenge empower you, instead of disempower you.

Tarena Cannon Life Coach & Pure Romance Consultant

The advice I have is to be honest with you first. Ask this question ” is this too much for me?” Begin to scale back and reflect and refocus on the task that seems insurmountable. Nothing is too impossible, absolutely nothing..its all in the mindset and how you think and feel about the challenge. Think about it differently and then try again with a new plan.

Lindsey Anderson – Graphic + Web Designer

If you’re facing a challenge that feels insurmountable, know that all you can give is your best. Some days your best is kicking ass and taking names. But other days your best may be just surviving until tomorrow and that’s ok, too. None of us know what we’re really doing and we’re all failing together.

Jacki Carr, Goal Coach, Leadership Consultant, coFounder of Rock Your Bliss (@rockyourbliss)

When I am feeling overwhelmed or anxious, I turn directly to my core values to ground my energy and remember what matters most. When I can reconnect to the ground and my own foundation, I can see how the challenge is pushing me out of my comfort zone and from a grounded place, I can ask what is needed now. Ask yourself: what are my core values, what matters most to me? From this grounded place, then re-approach the challenge while remember who you are at the core while being open to learning.

Cady Marsh – Social Marketer

I visualize the challenge and what I would like the outcome to be. If i’m feeling too scattered, I’ll write it down or draw it out. Then I’ll typically dive head first into a challenge and figure it out as I go.

Brooke Nichols (Pastry Chef), Kristin Marin (Owner) and Chanda Escue (Pastry Chef)

CLee Photography

An insurmountable challenge feels overwhelming when you greet it as a 14er staring straight up like a wall. My advice for that overwhelming feeling is the same as tackling that big mountain. Take one step at a time, one section of the mountain at a time.

Break the project down into pieces. Figure out which pieces you can control and which ones you can’t. Let go of the ones you can’t and then start focusing on the ones you can. I like to tackle one part of the problem at a time. Once you start with one part, the next part seems easier and on and on until the mission is accomplished!

Rose Stein, Business Coach for Spiritual Entrepreneurs

You have survived 100% of the times in your life that felt even harder than this, and like those times this experience is only going to make you stronger. Don’t ask, “why this is happening to me?” Instead ask, “what is this teaching me?” See where you can find the light rather than staying in the darkness. You got this. Keep looking up.

1 Comment

  1. Eliza Cross

    March 23, 2019 at 12:10 pm

    What a wonderful round-up of great advice from amazing women. Thank you all for sharing so transparently!

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