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
Camerae’ Burton | Content Creator | Social Media Influencer
You’re only as strong as your greatest challenge. You will overcome this! One step at a time and continue to look forward. We all have struggles, but only the strong survive. I struggle with procrastination and it’s a daily battle but I celebrate small victories and cut myself some slack when I fail. You got this love!
Manuela Gómez-Rhodes | Mother & Creative Entrepreneur
Keep going and do your best to stay positive. When you are facing a struggle or a tough situation is best to look at it as a turning point in your life. Realize that it’s a transitional period and sticking it out will only make you better, stronger, more knowledgeable. Even if you feel like you have nothing left to give, dig a little deeper. You’ll then see how much better of a person you are for it afterwards.
Phoenix Fregia | Photographer & Owner of Photos by PHX
I would start by telling them to focus their energy on the desired outcome and prioritize what needs to be done.
Regardless of how clear your vision may be, challenges will always emerge along the way. It is far too easy to allow self-imposed, high expectations to distract you from reaching your ultimate goal. We live in a generation where pressure thrives; pressure from others that we think are doing better than us, pressure to prove that we are capable of accomplishing certain things and pressure to stand out. I believe that in order to combat these challenges, you must demand effort and resilience from yourself. When obstacles are thrown at you, choose to believe that they are there to make you stronger instead of hindering your journey. When people doubt you, choose to let that drive your passion instead of filling your mind with uncertainty or hesitation. Take time to celebrate the small victories. Think of where you were when you started and constantly remind yourself that each day you are growing closer to your goal.
When it’s all said and done, reaching a goal is far more rewarding when you look back at all the obstacles you overcame; the obstacles that were designed to make you give up. Ultimately, that is what will set you apart. So keep your mind focused and do whatever you have to do in order to make it happen. After all, you owe it to yourself to accomplish everything you’ve ever wished for and to become everything you’ve ever dreamed of being.
Lauren Maas | Health Coach & Archaeologist
My best advice for someone who is facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable is to break it down into bite size chunks. Often, it’s a mental game. We make the challenge or the goal out to be so big that it overwhelms us. So, if we can just take a step back and separate it into smaller pieces that we can tackle, it’s less daunting. Big picture can be good, but sometimes facing just what’s right in front of you and being present in that moment is what makes us successful and gets us to that next step.
Brittney Golden | Co Founder | Vice President of G & G Wealth Enterprises (Real Estate ~ Mortgages ~ Insurance ~ Financial Planning) Owner | Operator of Ice Paradise
The best advice that I could tell someone that is facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable is to immediately block that limiting belief and face it with 100% confidence/0% doubt, drop down to the floor and pray to God to help bring peace and guide you through your journey and make a point to hang around influential people who are constantly supporting and bringing positive energy and love into your life!
Vianney de Aquino | designer of Viannk Mansur
Insurmountable challenges are 2 words that separate them in that the challenges. They are good in life to grow in your goals and objectives, and the insurmountable is a new rebirth that only God and time give you the strength for a new life, just live and love without grudges surpassing every day of what comes in the lifetime.
Almendra callirgos | Executive Pastry chef of Churrascos restaurants | Le cordon blue Peru train in French pastries
Take a deep breath, try to look at the challenge in small pieces and see what you can control and what you can’t. Start from there and you’ll see how much easier it gets.
Camille Corales | PCAT CopyCat co-founder& CMO | aspiring philanthropist
I think we’ve all came across that path at least once in our life – A challenge where we feel like the world around is slowly crumbling and we are losing control of our surroundings.
I’ve been there a couple of times, and honestly one of the greatest advice that I can tell someone who might be going through a dark time would be to immerse yourself in your body, mind, and soul – AKA thoughts & actions. Be conscious of your feelings and how you re-act to the situation(s) you’re in. I say this because I think the best mechanism to have is get to know what makes your mind tick and what situations can make you re-act poorly. From there, it’ll be easier to overcome ANY challenge.
I can easily tell you to remember that things get better or that you should always have a positive mindset (these all help), but to fix a situation or circumstance you’re in, you first have to get to know where the problem is coming from and then learn to fix it.
There have been times in my life, where I was too optimistic about my situation rather than ACTUALLY deeply thinking about it and finding the roots of my troubles. The optimism isn’t what really hurt me, it was the fact that I wasn’t fully aware of where my sadness and anger was coming from. At times I thought it was coming from my parents, then there were times where I thought it was coming from school. It only prolonged the process of getting better. I got there, but it took so much longer because I didn’t know myself well enough.
I truly believe that the best way to fix the situation is to get to know yourself and the problem well enough, so that when it’s time – not only the challenges now but the challenges in future- it will be easier to overcome.
A reminder to all: everything in life is temporary (in the most positive way I can say it). Your situation, where you are at now, will not last forever. Take it day by day and you’ll soon realize that the rainy days have finally left.
Carrington Barfield | Blogger & Marketing Coordinator
I think everyone, at some point throughout their journey, faces the feeling of fear as they work their way to their dream. I know I’ve felt that feeling many times throughout my life thus far, and I’ve barely scratched the surface of my career. Every time, when the fear and doubt starts to creep in and I find myself feeling like I can’t possibly overcome the obstacle with which I’m faced, I stop and think to myself all that I’ve done to get here. I thought about the things in my past I never thought I would get through, but did and have come out a stronger and more determined person because of it. I live my life by the quote “I didn’t come this far to only come this far.” As far as I’m concerned, everything was once thought to be insurmountable, until it was proven otherwise. The greatest obstacle is overcoming yourself. Do that, and I truly believe you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.
Jasmine Sigers | Business Owner and Senior HR Manager
NEVER GIVE UP! NEVER BOW OUT! NEVER BACK DOWN! We are all faced with different challenges at different points in our life, and at each of those points we should try to do what others may deem as impossible! Be your own secret weapon in the end!
The only person blocking you from your rise to the top is YOU!
Lauren Cox | Fitness and Fashion Influencer and Mom
I know we have all been there! If you are faced with an insurmountable challenge, my advice is to take a moment! Do not make an immediate decision without taking time to think everything through or to understand different perspectives. It’s easy to make a quick and rash decision if you feel stressed, anxious or nervous. I also like to talk through issues or situations with others. It helps you gain alternative points of views that you may not have thought of on your own. Connecting with others is something I always love to do and doing this can give you better insight into solving a problem. And lastly, one of my favorite things to do is clear my mind with a workout! So if you are feeling overwhelmed, get a good sweat in and you can start tackling any hurdles one by one with a clear mindset!
Ogechi Nwogu | Painless Master Braider | Protective Style Specialist & People Lover
I’ve been there. Looking back now, that season of my life truly felt insurmountable but I made it through and so will you. When life hits you with difficult challenges, this is an opportunity to reset your relationship with self and dive deeper into your personal relationship with God. I couldn’t have gotten through it without trusted wise counsel and an amazing support system.
My Advice from personal experience:
Turn down the noise (limit social media input). Slow down. Breathe. Pray. Pray A LOT.
Develop a Sacred Self Care practice. For me this involved a deep prayer and meditation practice at the start of my day every day (and many times at night too). This was the game changer for me. First thing in the morning, before any noise from the outside world (phone, texts, emails, social media etc), get to a quiet space. Use this time to center yourself for the day, pray, express gratitude, journal, read, practice deep breathing, practice being silent, practice hearing your inner voice, practice hearing God’s voice, listen to healing & soaking worship music. During prayer, ask questions, be transparent, pour your heart out but then practice being still and silent long enough to hear the answers. Pray for wisdom. Pray for discernment. Seek to learn the lesson from this challenging season so you don’t repeat it.
One of the best gifts you can give yourself during this time is to do the forgiveness inner work and take the time to heal. Don’t be afraid to seek support through counseling or therapy services. Forgive and release yourself. Forgive and release others who have hurt you. Don’t get stuck in the hurt. Let it go. This is not easy; however, the inner peace and radiance that comes from this work is priceless.
I believe that we all have an internal GPS that is activated and strengthened when we spend time in prayer and stillness. Use this season to cultivate your internal GPS. It will guide you moment to moment and one day you’ll look up and you’ve made it through what you thought you couldn’t. Only now, you’re stronger, healed and better than ever.
Lauren Price | Multi-Million Dollar Producing Realtor | Lake Houston Community Blogger
Our mindset plays a huge role in how we interact with our surroundings and circumstances. When facing a challenge that feels insurmountable I start with gratitude. Whatever the circumstances you are facing there is always something to be grateful for!
Take a moment each day and write down the things you are grateful for in a journal or even the notes section on your phone. Are you thankful for your health today? Pleasant weather? Opportunity to have lunch with a friend? Write it down! Make it a game to notice something new to be thankful for each day, and you will soon see how gratitude positively affects your circumstances! When you are comfortable, start expressing that gratitude to the world. You can write letters filled with gratitude to the people who have impacted your life, or you can turn to social media to express your gratitude. Opportunity, friendship, love, and happiness can be attracted by the energy we put out. You are amazing, and you deserve to reach your goals! Never give up, my friends!
Harleen Kaur | Hair & Makeup Artist
My way of dealing with a challenge that I feel is insurmountable is to firstly take a step back from it, re-evaluate it and approach it again in a calm and clear frame of mind; then break it down into more manageable sections that don’t feel as challenging; one step at a time. I’m a big believer in God too, so I pray a lot! I find that always helps me with challenges that come my way. That and speaking to the people closest to me; my nest friend, my parents; sometimes getting another perspective is all it needs. Noting is insurmountable if you deal with it calmly and do the best you can do. No one can ask more from you than that!
Natalia Hubbert | Artist | Illustrator | Cat Lady
Most of insurmountable challenges, barriers, fears and failures are nothing more but a product of our own mind, a negative projection of the future that never happened. The key is our MINDSET.
The wrong one pulls us back. The right one helps us to get through anything.
If you start seeing a challenge as an opportunity to get out of your comfort zone, to grow and to learn more, then a challenge becomes your friend.
Maybe not the best one, but good enough to handle it! 😀
Change your mindset, change your approach, take a break and keep on going.
Rickesha Stephens | Human Resources | Mom-prenuer
The first thing is remembering your why and second, believing in yourself. Things happen for a reason and you have to remain focused. Knowing that you are unstoppable and have what it takes to succeed will set things into overdrive! Be unapologetically you, trust in God and the rest will fall into place. You are your best cheerleader and motivator!
Laurie Pickei | Houston Blogger | Content Creator & Mom
Throughout my life, I’ve learned that the challenges that seem insurmountable are the ones that make us and shape us into better versions of ourselves. Nothing is truly too big or daunting to tackle, as God gives us what we can handle. Be your own advocate and best ally. Listen to your heart and your head. And most importantly, be your biggest fan. You’ve got this!
Marquis Clarke | Houston Blogger
This February, I faced the insurmountable, at 28 – perfectly healthy, I endured 3 strokes and am currently recovering. Throughout this entire process, I have learned when you face hard things in life you have to get up and keep moving forward with positivity and thankfulness.
Cassie Majestic, MD | Emergency Medicine Physician and Health and Wellness Influencer
Challenges and change are uncomfortable. Become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Put your head down, be consistent, show up physically, mentally, and emotionally, for yourself first. It all starts with a mindset. You can manifest your own success, you just have to believe in yourself and brush away the negative thoughts that might creep in.
Gaby Ortega | Mom of two precious babies Maya Valentina & Fernando
When I came to this country, the biggest challenge I faced as an immigrant was to find a place in my professional life. When you come to a new country, you have to re invent yourself. You not only are starting a new life, but also a new career, friendships, professional relationships. From that moment until now, I believe that it requires courage to Accomplish anything in life (professional, family, personal). Courage not always guarantees success, but you’re out there trying and showing up, that’s what puts you closer to your goals (as one of Brené Brown’s talks that I love about courage). If I was given the opportunity to start all over in this country, there must be a big chance the universe/God believed in my capacity of being courageous.
Amy Zee Haight | Interior Designer | wife and mom to two beautiful kids and fur baby
Take comfort in knowing you can only control the things you can control, and everything else you cannot control drink lots of rose.
Maria Ferrer | Calligrapher & wedding stationery designer
Feel thankful for having challenges in your life, specially on your business life, because they represent your biggest opportunity for creativity. Fixing problems and overcoming overwhelming situations as business owners makes us nothing but smarter and stronger, even when at the moment it feels like the challenge is beating us. Trust me, when you see back and how you overcame through it, you’ll feel proud and more prepared for new challenges in the future. That’s why I pray for new business challenges everyday!
Kestrel Montes | Calligrapher & Instructor
We all come across those days or those projects that just feel overwhelming. I think knowing what makes you tick, what re-charges you, is key to finding your resilience. For some people, that means going for a hike or having lunch with a girlfriend. For me, I know I’m a doer. Nothing energizes me like feeling like I’m getting things done. If I can focus for a while on tasks that I can complete and check off my list, it gets me fired up and feeling accomplished. That then gives me the energy to tackle that original challenge with renewed energy… and, magically, it often times no longer feels so daunting.
Pamela Kell, ASID, NCIDQ | Residential Building Designer | Owner of PK Renderings and CAD Services
Reach out to others when you are feeling overwhelmed.
Johanna Barger | Interior Designer | Principal at Johanna Barger Design LLC
Harness fear into action. Use the energy surrounding a challenge to your advantage and just start doing something. Fear can be paralyzing at first, but in reality, fear is just fuel to keep us in motion.
Take walks. I often take a quick walk around the block to get motivated when I’m feeling stuck. Changing your scenery often changes your perspective.
Find your version of mindfulness. Whether it’s tuning in for a few deep breaths or heading to a pilates class, figure out what works for you and build it into your schedule.
Alexis Coutant and Lindsay Chernosky | Owners + Developers
Lean on your people. That’s actually our goal for 2019 – learn to ask for and accept help from our community. So often we find ourselves completely overwhelmed and don’t want to “bother” people, but the truth is we can’t do life alone, nor were we made to!
Yachy Mares | Payroll Processor & Bride Blogger
There is nothing that a person cannot do. There is no challenge too difficult for someone to accomplish without the need of help. Asking for help isn’t weakness but strength to admit self. The biggest reward is when you completed a challenge you thought was insurmountable and didn’t do it alone.
Paisley Small | Social Worker | Interior Designer
My answer would be! Pray about it, don’t get discouraged. Your journey is exactly that YOUR journey. You will GROW through what you go through. Elevation is a process, and everything that you encounter will have a grave impact on your life once you look back in retrospect.
Don’t focus so much on the problem you face, but more on the purpose that lies ahead of you. It’s only temporary.
Raven Dreibelbis | President & Founder, Raven Creative
First, never make decisions based on fear of failure. Shift your mindset and focus on what you can do, not what you can’t do. If you’re facing a challenge that feels insurmountable, break it down into smaller, more manageable tasks or actions. Consider the little steps you can take to move yourself closer to overcoming the big challenge. Pick an action and dive in – you’ll be glad you did.
Endia Williams | Mental Health Activist
I would have to say, embrace your challenges. We all face adversities and some can feel unbearable at times but it is important to push through adversity and fight back. Life is way too short to sit around feeling sorry for ourselves, we have to face the challenge head on and gradually take steps that will benefit our well being. In today’s society self-love is so important, we must ignore the enemy in our heads and focus on positive thoughts. Most importantly, take things one day at a time and enjoy the life we’ve been given.