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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.

Illustrator and Letterpress Printer

Joslyn Griffin

To break the challenge down into smaller chunks and make it more approachable! I’d start by setting goals to accomplish the first 10% of the project, and then the next 10% and so on. Start small and never be too afraid to ask for help or outsource when needed. 

Dani Lashay (Barclaes) | Personal Stylist | Creative Director | Photographer

Model: Jasmine Walls

Believe in yourself and fear nothing.


Nik Scott | Brand Expert | Speaker | Influencer

In life, challenges–even those that seem insurmountable–are a part of the journey.  If you are facing a challenge that you feel is insurmountable, the first thing you should do is believe in yourself.  Too many times we limit our capabilities to challenges we’ve already overcome and this can leave us in a stagnant place with no growth.  You are far more capable of pushing through what you think you can do. If you push through challenges in your life, you’ll begin to understand that what seemed insurmountable in the beginning was merely a stepping stone in your journey.

Paloma Cotton | Motherhood and Lifestyle Blogger

There are 3 main things I would tell someone who is facing a challenge that seems impossible to overcome. First, break it up into smaller goals and have a clear plan. You need to really understand what it is you are trying to accomplish and create small goals so the big goal is less intimidating and more manageable. Second, seek help if needed. I’m all about community so seek a community that understands you and can help you reach that next level. Third, take action. Whether you are afraid or you feel like you don’t know what you are doing, just do something, anything that will get you one step closer.


Censie Sawyer | Content Creator & Mom

Life brings crazy challenges and when you find yourself in those challenges that might feel too hard to face it is important to remember your value and worth in this space.  It has taken me 36 trips around the sun to really find that focus that I need to stand strong, make choices and move forward through a challenge that I have struggled with for too long.  Taking one day at a time (or minute for that matter) can help us all find that right path to overcoming a challenge that might seem impossible.  Finding a great support system is key as well, while we all want to think we can accomplish every thing on our own, that just isn’t true in all cases.  Lean in, love more, and embrace those hard moments because that is what makes you grow!

Renu Anshie Dhar  | Personal Chef | Culinary Instructor & Food Blogger

One breath at a time, one step in front of the other, just one more breath. And do it all over again.  Small steps, when taken consistently make big changes. When you feel surrounded by what may seem like darkness, close your eyes and focus on the light within you. It may be dim and  it may flicker. But hold on to it and take that one more breath. Break down your challenge into small challenges and focus on each one separately.


Taylor Rains | Fashion and Beauty Influencer

What a question. “How to face something that is insurmountable.” A few things come to mind when I read this. The first of which being, how many times have I looked at my mountain of a challenge and said to myself, “this is impossible. I don’t think I can do this.” Even in the midst of extreme opposition, I just kept making the next right decision and taking imperfect steps in the direction I felt I was supposed to go. Hours, days, months or even years later, I made it to the top of that mountain I never thought I’d summit, looked back at how far I had come, and realized the journey made me so much stronger.

The process of what I was sure would break me, built me.

Friend, life is full of seemingly insurmountable challenges, but you don’t have to do it alone. The passage that keeps me moving forward is this, “Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 MSG


Katie Hiatt | Founder & Managing Editor of the South Denver Moms Network

The best advice I have for someone facing a challenge that feels completely overwhelming and insurmountable is knowing that everything you’re faced with and each time you’re uncomfortable, you’re growing (which is a wonderful thing). This was advice I once received and still live by today.

If you’re not uncomfortable on a regular basis, you either aren’t challenged or are not challenging yourself enough and to evolve and improve, you have to push or be pushed to those uncomfortable limits. Otherwise, how do you expect to become any better in various aspects of your life?

Work the problem and get it done. You’ll appreciate the challenge and what you learn along the way once you can reflect. Promise!


Karlyn Dillemuth | Boutique Owner and Dog Mom

I’ve never met a problem I couldn’t solve with a glass of wine, puppy cuddles, and retail therapy.


Brittini Cooper | Fashion Blogger & Director of Events

I would give the same advice my mother gave me when I was 24 and didn’t have a plan for my life. She said, “get a ladder”. Need to change a light bulb? Get a ladder. Need to clean the gutters? Get a ladder.  It’s very simple. If you want to get some place high, the ladder is the way to get there. If you want to move up in life, goals are the way to get there. The first step to building ladder goals is getting a piece of paper, and drawing your ladder. At the top of the ladder is where your goal lives. How are you going to get there? Small goals is the answer. Start jotting down the necessary steps to climb your own ladder of success. You will feel little victories every time you hit a goal! Want to be more awesome? Tell yourself you’re awesome! You can do anything you put your mind to. (It’s true)  If you don’t write your goals down, it’s simply a wish. Now go out and crush you goals!

Jenny Finke | Certified Integrative Nutrition Coach and Blogger at Good For You Gluten Free

I was dealt a health challenge in life that could only be fixed by changing my diet. I felt sorry for myself and hated that my fate found me having to give up some of my favorite foods. However, today I see my challenge in a new light. Yes, I am constantly challenged when I eat out, travel, grocery shop, etc., but I’ve been given the tools in life to cope with and overcome these challenges. In fact, I have come to see my challenge as a blessing. What once seemed impossible is exactly what gave me the best chance at living a healthy, disease-free life.

When someone feels like a challenge they’re facing is insurmountable, I remind them that they have been given a set of tools in life to help them cope with and/or overcome their unique challenge and come out better for it in the end. For me, what I once thought were challenges in my life I now see as stepping stones to the next, more beautiful chapter in my life. Our challenges, when we look back at them, don’t always seem so challenging in hindsight.

Christine Bollow | Marketing & Events Coordinator at BookBar & “Bookstagrammer” @readingismagical

Marie Forleo has a saying “Everything is Figureoutable”, which has always resonated with me. I also find that to-do lists, wine, meditation, and breaking down big tasks into smaller tasks have all helped me out whenever I’ve faced challenges personally and professionally.



Christina Ann | WAX’D Studio owner

You will find your strength in my most challenging times in your life. Stay focused and keep climbing.

Leona Harper  | Vocalist | Hedge witch | Poet

To overcome is to understand, I found running away from my challenges have always brought me back to them. Face them, understand them, learn them, grow from them, defeat them. Your internal self will thank you. I was tired of running so I went Into battle . I have better peace of mind these days . The universe will always challenge you to strengthen body mind and soul . Don’t ever give up on self!  * Shine*

Chelsey Murphy | Rise Images and I specialize in family, engagement and wedding photography

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when you’re facing a struggle. If you pause and give yourself a moment to choose your mindset, you’ll realize that you can find a way. Take things one day at a time in order to stay focused. If you’re a creative person, STAY creative and use that skill to find a creative solution to a challenge.


Hannah Leathers | Artist & Middle School/High School Visual Arts Teacher

Everyone has different challenges, especially when thinking about (white/straight/able-bodied, etc) privilege. But here’s a reflection of my own healing and a thought to consider.

When trauma took away a piece of my identity, or certain pieces of myself, the earlier and more deeply I committed to bolster my sense of self (especially the parts that had been challenged by myself or others), the more potential I feel I had for healing.


Renae Dambly | Professional Parkour Athlete & Personal Trainer

Michael Harding

I like to break challenges down into smaller goals that are easier to reach. Some may be easier than others, and it is important to remember that progress can come from even the little achievements. Everything will add up and that challenge won’t seem so impossible anymore.

Micaela Iron Shell-Dominguez | Human rights advocate | community organizer | Founder of The Womxn Circle of Denver | model and actress

The advice I would give to someone who is facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable is, to follow and listen to your intuition which is your sixth sense located in your gut, your intuition connects your mind, body, and spirit. Your intuition will never fail you, a lesson you’ll learn as you trust it more and more. So stop second-guessing yourself and listening to what others tell you to do or be, and instead, turn inward. Your inner wisdom is providing guidance; you just have to listen.


DeAnna ‘mzDeeVa’ Shields | Author | Podcast Founder & Host of ‘askDeeVa’

My tip to share for those who are facing any life challenges that one may feel is insurmountable, is to always reach out for help. Seek a counselor or trusted friend to share your challenge with right away. Be mindful to take time for self with quiet time and meditation; by doing so, your body and mind will be prepared for any possible changes you may have to make in order to get a distance away from a negative environment, or demand change from anyone with negative behaviors in your daily environment.

Isabel Cobian | Nurse Assistant

The best advice I could give is to stay true to yourself and never give up ! Whatever the odds may be or tribulations in your way continue to push forward because the reward will be worth it in the end. You may not succeed the first time around and let’s be honest most of us don’t, however the lessons we learn from our mistakes make us a better person with more experience and deeper perspectives. Keep in mind you’re not alone, it’s okay to not feel like you have everything under control, that’s life after all. All you can do is remember that challenges is what makes life great and a way to grow. Have faith in the process and keep a positive mind. Remember this is temporarily and it will pass, usually ending up better than you could have imagined.


wenjia zhang | international student from China | student from University of Denver

The advice is keep confidence for yourself! There is old saying in China: there are no such setbacks that we cannot overcome! All the things can follow the time solve it! Sometimes I will facing some challenges that feel is insurmountable, I will stand on my balcony, looking at night view of this city, encouraging myself actively face to the challenge, a new day is a new start! If you just put the challenge there, it will never solve it!

wechat number: wen2064608456

Erica Hanlon | Life Coach and Licensed Professional Counselor

When it comes to challenges vs. people, I’ll always bet on people. If you’re staring down a big, impossible-feeling challenge, you’re probably on the cusp of a breakthrough.  Get ready to get uncomfortable. REALLY uncomfortable. Fail a lot. Ask for help. This is where you get to learn what’s possible. And you get learn what you’re made of.

Christine Dart | Marketing consultant & designer

At some point during my twenties I began shifting my perspective on challenges. Rather than focusing on the difficulty and struggle, I started looking at challenges as lessons to be learned and portals for growth. Challenges help us grow and change for the better – if we let them. If we focus on the negative and feel like we are victims, it’s really difficult to find a silver lining and to learn from the situation. However, if we can look for the lesson within the challenge, we can rise up stronger, wiser, and more confident than ever on the other side. We become new versions of ourselves. Think about how uncomfortable our body feels when we do exercise that is more strenuous than our norm… but afterwards, we feel AMAZING. We usually feel so good because we are proud of ourselves for pushing through. We learn how much stronger we actually are than we thought. If we continue to push ourselves outside of these comfort zones, we become even stronger. I don’t think that life is meant be easy, but I do think it is meant to be sweet. Lessons are sometimes the sweetest gifts of all.

Christina Kachanovsky | Content Writer For Small Businesses

For anyone who is struggling, don’t give up. Reach out to people. Reach out to your community! Reach out through your local church, social media, or mentor. You are not alone! People are here to help you through the challenges you face.

Elise Itano, MD | Interventional Sports and Spine Physician

Break the task up into to smaller more manageable bites. Set small, challenging but attainable goals for yourself everyday and celebrate the small victories along the way. Don’t forget to take time for yourself — support your body and brain with sleep, exercise and a healthy diet to give yourself the best chance of success. Lastly— believe in yourself and your abilities. You got this!


 Jen DeVore  | Author | Speaker & CEO of Boss Women Rock

When facing a challenge you feel is insurmountable, it’s important to focus on gratitude. Being grateful for what you do have will reprogram your mind and spirit. Start each day with a focus on your blessings and you’ll start to see doors open, challenges defeated, and new paths to success formed.


 Ruby Wayward | Lightworker & Jewelry Designer

When facing an insurmountable challenge, I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) there is no shame or weakness in asking for help. “Asking for help” comes in many styles, from delegating in the work space to calling on an Ancestor or Archangel for assistance & guidance.
I also find comfort in the phrase, “Obstacles are detours to where we need to be.” If something truly isn’t working in your favor, it’s because there is another door of opportunity meant for you. You’re never truly defeated!


Melissa Taylor | Children’s Book Expert & Writer

One that is very relevant to me as I’ve spent the last seven years facing serious health challenges that debilitated both me and my two daughters. Many days, I thought we would never get better. I got through it by 1) getting an amazing therapist 2) feeling all my feelings — despair and joy and everything in between 3) deepening my faith, and 4) starting every day as a new day where I am open to all possibilities and am present to all the moments.


Emily A Jones | former fitness competitor, 2017 bikini champion

 I think I played just about every tragic scenario in my head before coming up with an answer that despite situation or circumstance could be beneficial for anyone no matter what they’re experiencing. Whether its a unexpected breakup, a devastating diagnosis, a tragic loss of a loved one, a miscarriage, overcoming addiction, whatever –this is what I would say to you/them:

We have no control over what kind of cards life deals us, we can only control how we choose to play it. My best advice is to take things one day at a time, one step at a time. What could you do today that would help you have a better tomorrow? Stay in the present moment.
Next, trust yourself and your journey. Don’t compare yourself or your journey to anyone else. Be patient with your healing and intentional with your thoughts and actions. Make conscious choices to put you where you need or want to be in your life.
I also hope that you end up seeing for yourself that experiencing adversity or hardship is one of the greatest gifts disguised as demise. Those experiences shape so much of who we are as individuals and how we view the outside world depending on how we allow it to impact us.
And as we all should know, whatever perception we choose to view the world is the exact one that will be reflected back. I hope you don’t ever allow these raw experiences to harden you, define you, or shut you off.

In those trying moments, I hope you choose to honor your highest self and meet him/her with love and compassion.


Brittany Fleming | social media strategist and visibility coach

Everything is working together for your good and you are being presented with this challenge for a reason. Always keep the faith!

1 Comment

  1. Paloma Cotton

    September 12, 2019 at 12:07 pm

    Thank you for the feature. And all you amazing ladies rock!💪🏼

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