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.
Linae Acquisto | Breast Cancer Survivor and Financially Free Forex Trader
The best advice I have for someone who is facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable is to surround yourself with amazing people. I personally have the most uplifting, encouraging, supportive village that shows up and shows out for me every time – good, bad or in different. During challenges, they give me the strength and encouragement and constantly remind me that I can do anything I put my mind too. Nothing in life is permanent and once you get through it, you’ll have an amazing testimony to reflect on and share with others. Learn from challenges, don’t let them define you. Stay believing in yourself and you can do ANYTHING!
Jalia Walda | Makeup Artist
Always have faith in Jesus.
Mely Cruz | Blogger | Influencer | Makeup and Hair Artist | Entrepreneur | Wife & Mom
Reach out to someone that you know will help you. When we process our feelings in a safe container and with the right people, we are able to find clarity and work through those challenges with the right tools and a positive attitude.
A Life Coach can help you through this. I truly love mine!
We are not meant to do life alone. Join that women’s group, go to that spiritual weekend retreat, find your tribe! The more real people you surround yourself with, the more you will realize that you are NOT alone and that you will not only get through this, but you will learn from this and grow from this!
Remind yourself to trust the process… remind yourself you are becoming a better version of YOU.
Michelle Martinez | Stronger U Coach
When the challenge becomes so heavy the idea of quitting becomes imminent, JUST. KEEP. GOING. The body does what the mind tells us. When we focus on positivity that’s when opportunity becomes apparent. You only fail when you stop moving in the direction you want to go.
Katie Brading | Physician | Amateur Photographer, and Co-Founder of Busy Beauties
Two words: Baby Steps.
So many things in life can feel impossible to conquer and it’s easy to want to give up. Just take a deep breath, break it down to the smallest steps possible, and move forward one step at a time. I feel that taking on those challenges can often bring you the most satisfaction in the end. Also, don’t forget to ask for help when you need it!
Coach James | Wellness Coach & Teacher
The best advice I would have for someone who may be facing a challenge that they feel like they are unable to overcome is to not focus on the problem but focus on the solution. One has to remember that problems are short-term and there will always be a new one but your reaction should not be negative. Maintain a positive attitude and things will be no problem. At times when you lose focus change your thoughts to something else and come back to a solution later.
Sonia G. Ponce | Realtor & Virtual Legal Assistant
I would say to them to keep pushing though their problems and to have faith in the process. You can not have sunshine without rain.
Laura Hernandez | Creative Director & Editor
There is absolutely nothing in this world that we cannot overcome. I’m a firm believer in God and prayer – and it is truly the source of all of my strength. So many times when I have been in the midst of chaos and confusion — feeling like I was overcome by fear and doubt – I’ve made the decision to leave it all in God’s hands and trust His promises for me. He has not once left me and I have been able to see Him work all things out in my favor.. even when it doesn’t seem like it.
Every morning we all wake up and either make the decision to live in fear and doubt – or in victory and purpose. I decide to choose the latter… every day.
Unconditionally Sweet | Baker and CPA candidate
Feeling like something is too difficult or even impossible to do, is natural, but the biggest mistake you can make is to let that fear control your actions. Stay strong and determined, and give it your all! Keep telling yourself that you can achieve whatever it is that you set your mind to, NO MATTER WHAT, and I’m sure you will!
Kayli Myracle | Blogger & Hyper Wellness Representative
My best advice for someone facing a difficult time in life is to remember that we all go through ups and downs and to not sweat the small stuff. In the moment, it’s easy to get overwhelmed and it’s easy to be afraid of the unknown but it’s also the moments that we’re forced to step outside of our comfort zones that really push us towards growth and learning what we’re capable of. Sometimes, in retrospect, the worst things that happen to us can lead us to the best things. Those leaps of faith can be really defining moments in our lives and a big part of making us into who we’re meant to be. Change is never easy, but trying to be mindful of your perspective and trusting yourself enough to know you’ll be okay regardless of the outcome can really give you the confidence to push through those challenges and overcome them.
Also, don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed and it’s okay to acknowledge that your mental health may need some TLC. Don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to admit that you just need a break or simply someone to talk to- life can be HARD and the people in your life that love you will understand if you need some space for a couple of days to regroup. Taking care of yourself is the biggest step in getting through a tough time.
Liz Spradling | writer | mom | realist
Well, first off Sister – breathe. Multiple times. And then consider a glass of wine. Or a good cry. Or a workout. Or whatever it is that is going to get you down off the ledge that makes you utter the phrase “insurmountable odds” to yourself. And then when, and only when, you’ve gotten control of your emotions — put everything aside and ask yourself a couple of questions…
Why do I think this is insurmountable?
What is making this insurmountable?
Do I have the skills, talents, know how, gumption, and/or resources to find a workaround?
And WHY do I even want to tackle such a challenge in the first place?
If you answer all of them and you’re still in it, it’s time to make a plan — in pencil. I’m not going to talk about eating the elephant one bite at a time because that’s already been done here and who wants to eat an elephant anyway? But because I’m old and I’ve lived some life I feel like I’m qualified to say this to you as a friend and fellow owner of a set of ovaries: NOT EVERY FIGHT IS YOUR FIGHT, and not every plan goes to plan. Here’s a little story to illustrate…
Back in the day a lanky young girl (we’ll call her Liz for the purposes of this story) wanted to be a Radio City Music Hall Rockette. She took dance classes for fifteen years and realized that tap dancing was one of her superpowers. She slung ice cream at the local Dairy Queen, saved every penny, and had even mapped out how and when she was going to escape her small town and make it to New York City to audition.
And then she found out that they had a 5’7” height requirement, and she was only 5’3”. Devastated, she realized that this was not a fight she was ever going to win, so she picked her broken heart up off the dance floor, threw herself into her studies, and went to college and eventually on to vet school. She was incredibly proud of that fact until she got there and realized that she was simultaneously miserable and terrible at it. But she kept clawing away and clawing away and fighting and scrapping and working hard and harder and hardest. And do you know what happened? SHE DIDN’T MANAGE TO FINISH. And so she left – dejected, defeated, and questioning her own worth with $80K in student loan debt and no degree.
And then a miraculous thing happened. She found a teaching job to pay her bills while she licked her wounds and fell in absolute and complete love with it.And she realized that despite her best efforts at all the other things, teaching was exactly what she was supposed to be doing all along. And then she fell in love with a very handsome and moderately neurotic engineer who she has managed to hang on to for fourteen years and counting. And she has two daughters – one of whom looks just like her AND LOVES TO TAP DANCE.
You see sometimes Sister, picking your battles wisely is the ONLY course of action. Life is about assessing and adjusting and reassessing and readjusting. It’s lived in pencil. What we want in one season isn’t necessarily where we are supposed to be. And where we are in another season isn’t necessarily where we are going to end up. There is no shame in taking an eraser to the plan and making a new one. In fact, I’d argue that it’s the only sane way to approach obstacles and life in general.
My advice to you on facing tough challenges? Ask yourself some hard questions, make some hard choices, and then do some hard work.
Because you can.
And because life is a constant game of readjustments.
And because YOU ARE UP TO THE CHALLENGE.
Marie Briones | Makeup Artist
Everything you want is on the other side of fear, this is the advice I would give to someone who is facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable. As humans we tend to underestimate ourselves, anxiety can at times have so much control over us. Whenever we find ourselves overwhelmed by doubt it is necessary for us to contemplate on how much we have already accomplished; whatever the challenge may be look around and see how much you have grown, both mentally and emotionally. Remind yourself that you have the power and strength to overcome anything.
Leah Arfele | Licensed Master Social Worker & Professional Mermaid Performer
Life can be filled with challenges that are daunting, unfair and seem insurmountable. You may likely encounter a challenge that is in fact inexplicable or devastating. To this I say, it is okay to be upset, make a mistake or fail. Let yourself shed a tear, shout in frustration, take a mental health break or ask for help. Self-care and awareness are key! Take a step back and reconsider what this perceived failure can teach you. It is up to you to decide how you will utilize those life lessons. Can you use the knowledge you gained to improve your own path and even perhaps to help others navigate similar situations? Jon Kabat-Zinn said, “You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf”. When you are feeling overwhelmed, even angry or depressed, remember you can choose which emotions you will hold on to and how you will shape the experience. You may not understand why you are being tested but if you can cultivate patience and perseverance, ultimately your goals can be reached and maybe in ways you never expected. Personally, after many rejections, heartache, and compromises; I am now balancing and growing my dreams within my career, family and personal interests. Against the odds, I am living a real-life fantasy that most people would have never imagined existed (much less profited from). I encourage you to have the confidence to transform your own insurmountable challenges into empowering opportunities. Create your own alternatives, don’t hesitate to be unconventional and never limit your dreams!
Treva Jefferson | Designer | Seamstress | Stylist
Anything you are passionate about you should never take for granted and give up on your dreams we all have to go through something to appreciate the outcome because the reward is always more than we can ever imagine.
Monesha McFarland | Owner & Designer of Monache’ Couture
The best advice I could give someone who is facing a challenge that they feel is insurmountable would have to be, when we are trying to accomplish things no matter what that “thing” is it’s not always easy. In life whether its relationships, friendships, business, and even parenting we are going to face some type of obstacle. Some obstacles can be big and some obstacles can be small , and in this case I just want the next person to know no matter what, if it’s something you want then fight for it and give it your all. I have been doing fashion since I was 16 years old and I am now 31 facing many different obstacles trying to start my brand, but the one thing I know is that whether I pick it up or put it down it’s something that I want and whatever obstacle I face I know that it will be worth it. Any insurmountable challenge is inevitably going to be worth it if you want truly want to overcome that challenge of whatever that challenge may be!
Zana Hill | Personal Development Coach
Take it one step at a time. Instead of looking at the whole picture, try focusing on taking just the next step. In other words, instead of focusing on getting from A to Z, focus on how you can move the needle from A to B and just keep going!
Farrell Virginia Lawo | Texas-Based Coastal Artist and Interior Enthusiast
Make a list of the things you need to do to accomplish the task at hand. Every small step towards your end goal is an accomplishment. And, don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Stephanie Avila | Mom
I think you can overcome anything you set your mind to. We get so wrapped up in the negative outcomes that we think there’s no way out & just fall back into that cycle. There’s always a way, you just have to shift your perspective. Remain true to yourself & always keep a positive look on everything!
Morgan Vermylen | Photographer & Content Creator
The advice I would give to someone who is facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable is that having a positive mindset can help get you through almost anything. Don’t be too hard on yourself because that will only derail you and discourage you. Not everything is going to be easy and that’s okay, because the more mistakes you make along the way the more you learn from it.
I’m a very visual person so when I have a big challenge in front of me, I like to create a mood board for inspiration. Whether it’s a Pinterest board, jotting things down in a notebook, or an actual bulletin board, this allows me to visualize my goal and help me get there.
Another thing that I would recommend is to break the challenge down into smaller parts and try to tackle one thing at a time. That way there is less pressure and you can gain momentum by crossing things off your to do list, which will help you feel more accomplished!
Sheneria Taylor | Photographer | Make Up Artist | Marketing Strategist, and Supermom
The best advice I have is to understand that storm will not last forever, but instead of waiting on it to clear learn to dance in the rain. Meaning, find the positive in everything you go through instead of focusing on the negative.
Mena Adubea | Beauty and Lifestyle Influencer
Girl! Listen – it’s you and me both, sis. I often feel this way about a variety of things, but then I remember who my God is and what He’s done for me. My faith has gotten me through the toughest of times and although it may not be tangible enough for some, it is for me! When I’m in doubt or overwhelmed by fear or insecurity, I listen to Worship songs that lift my spirit and it truly works. Talking to a close, trusted friend is always helpful, but I know that the only one that can change my situation is Jesus.
Lakiesha Elaine | Beauty Enthusiast and Entrepreneur
Life happens. It doesn’t mean you quit, it only means it’s time to become more creative. There’s always something that can go wrong, but there’s also always a way around it. The beauty In difficulty is that it does not last. You hold all the power within you to turn your circumstances around in your favor. It is all in how much you’re willing to sacrifice and work for it.
Mellie Valencia | Photographer and Student
I always think and advise people to think of challenges in small little goals. I’m in color guard, and with that comes many challenges that even I, after being in it for a year still struggle with. I look at the challenge and the basics of it. What’s the easiest step I can take to make this challenge easier for me? I take that step and further on into the process until I can achieve and conquer my goals! In color guard I can input this into my choreography of dance, flag, or equipment work I receive. So if I’m told to do a dance piece that I’m not so comfortable with, I take time with myself and my instructors to figure out WHAT I’m struggling with and tackle that problem first. Once I take down that problem, I can move onto the next and become confident in what I preform with!
Kayla Moultrie | Social Worker and Health & Wellness Coach
The best advice I have for someone facing a challenge is God gives the toughest battles to his strongest soldiers and to understand what they are going through now won’t last forever, it’s preparing them for a better tomorrow!
Allison Henderson | Writer & Truth Speaker with a passion to ignite hope
Speak to your mountain! Command it to “MOVE!”, and you will find yourself moving and climbing into victory. Perception is the only obstacle that’s hindering. Because anything we face in life, no matter how insurmountable it may seem, is just an opportunity to climb HIGHER, and unleash the inner FIGHTER—who has been waiting inside us all.
Nichole Bowden | Platting & Professional Land Development Services Coordinator
Everything you experience, all the trials and tribulations you go through prepare you for your purpose and you already have ALL the tools and talents to step into the next phase of your life. Diamonds are just a piece of coal/carbon that did well under pressure, and gold is refined by the fire. How much more precious are you than all the diamonds and gold in the world? When you follow your passion, and do unto to others as you would have done unto yourself, you will always fall into the right place at the right time. No matter how bad a situation looks, every day is a blessing and an opportunity to do good works. Lift up and love your neighbor, reach out and give more than you ever expect to receive. Work twice as hard, pray twice as hard and take pride in yourself & your community in order to make the world a better place to live for us ALL. Stop worrying about the things you cannot control and always give 100% towards the things you can. Step out in faith and believe that you fully equipped to overcome all challenges, and you will be more valuable and stronger than the average person that didn’t have the adversity. Challenges are opportunities, to find an answer and learn and grow. Don’t be afraid to fail, you should be more scared NOT to try and the answer will always be “”NO”” if you don’t ask the question. Even during your darkest moments, look for ways to be a blessing to others and always bring value and positivity to the table, you never know who you are inspiring. Always be kind, if not remain quiet however ALWAYS speak out against injustice and NEVER allow someone to take advantage of another simply because they can. Always be honest, for whatever is in the dark will ALWAYS come into light because all you really have in this world is your word and at the end of the day you can rest knowing that you did your best, and if things didn’t work out it wasn’t because of the lack of trying. #makeapositiveimpactwhilemakingapaycheck
Jenna | Mom | Entrepreneur | Vegan Hairstylist
Rough patches happen! Life happens! Honestly, it becomes overwhelming, it becomes something we may feel is impossible to overcome. Nope anything is possible! Keep in mind that there’s always light at the end of the tunnel. Understand that obstacles are opportunities. Yes, Opportunities honey! Allow the set-back to strengthen your mind, your body, and your heart. Believe in yourself! Focus on what can instead of what is. Stay committed to moving forward no matter how large, no matter how long the obstacle. You got this!
“I Can Do All Things Through Christ Who Strengthens Me”” -Philippians 4:13″
Anita Moraes | Engineer | Marathoner | Mom and Life Coach
I always believed that there is no challenge that I cannot overcome. Starting with my own birth, how many sperm struggled to reach the ultimate goal and I beat them all. I could have been any other else, another sex, another body, another appearance, another person, but I wasn’t. I won this race and today all the other challenges of my life become small.
As an amateur street runner I learned to develop focus and discipline. There is no way to achieve a big dream sitting on the couch at home, you have to move, have strategy, look at the thousands of barriers that will come up and face the courage, even if I fail the first time. Failure makes us strong, allows us to expand on ideas and opportunities. Who has never had a failure and the next moment another opportunity arose? So, if I can tell you one advice: don’t be afraid to fail and you will only know if you failed if you try.
Running a 26.2 mi marathon, for example, is like the cake icing. Because the biggest challenge is getting out of my comfortable bed, wearing my outfit, getting my car and going to the gym every day at 4 am, to get to work at 6:30, and at 4 pm be with my daughter and enjoy her with joy , disposition and love. And repeat all this every day of the week.
But I have a goal, I have strategies, I have acquired focus and discipline, so there is no big enough challenge that I cannot overcome.
Jami Amerine | Author | Speaker | Artist
I think attitude is everything. If you believe you can’t, you won’t. If you believe you can, you will. It may seem silly but I talk out loud to myself. I look in the mirror and tell myself how it is going to be. There is nothing more discouraging than battling yourself. At minimum, you need to be on your own side.
Arhinna Luciano | Tarot Life Coach
When facing a big challenge that feels insurmountable… One element of creating a space for change is to imagine if that challenge no longer existed. Envision yourself doing what you want to do and then list what you see yourself doing. Once you can see what you want to do more of, you can create a space to manifest your desires. When faced with a challenge you can achieve more by viewing it as an opportunity! Perspective is key!