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 have the honor of connecting with many brilliant female leaders each week and we’ve highlighted some of our favorites from throughout the Voyage family below. 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.
Chelsea Luckey | Pilates instructor & Medical Sales Representative
I’ve been here before, when I lost my father 2 years ago, I felt like there was no way for my life to continue forward. I wanted to jump into being “okay” again and simply put, I couldn’t. It was during this time I learned about moving the needle, inch by inch and being present in each moment. My best advice is, we can’t skip steps in the process but we can break it down into pieces to manage it easier. Avoid looking at the challenge as a whole but accomplishing one small step everyday. If you buckle down in the process, put one foot in front of the other with your mind on the prize, you will build something bigger than you originally dreamed. In sales, it’s small daily moves to meet a big quarterly goal, in fitness, it’s building each segment of your routine & in life, it’s the same. Always keep the peak of the mountain in mind, but your head down and climb step by step.
Molly Schoneveld | Founder/CEO The Storied Group
First, learn to master your mind. It’s the only thing you can control. Your mind will want to tell you that you can’t, that the challenge is too great. It will convince you you’re doomed. I love the Calm and Headspace apps for practicing mindfulness and getting you out of that panic mode that comes with great challenges. Second, start with baby steps. Think of a tiny thing you can do right now that will move you in the direction you wish to go. If you need motivation for putting one foot in front of the other, literally go put one foot in front of the other. Take a walk. Change your scenery. It’s amazing what moving the body will do for our minds.
Jennifer Navarro | Media Executive & Lifestyle Blogger
The best advice I can give to someone facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable, is to remember to breathe. Take a moment to reflect and try to make sense of your feelings and the challenges at hand. Understand that there will be happy, sad, and sometimes confusing moments that lie ahead, but continue to work toward developing a solution. Never lose sight of all the positive things in your life. There is so much to be thankful for and it can be easy to let the bad overshadow the good. Remind yourself to be grateful for even the simplest blessings such as waking up in the morning, driving to work in your car, your family, your health, etc. Lastly and most importantly, remember that this too shall pass. When something seems insurmountable to me, I always remind myself that one day I will look back and everything will make perfect sense.
Christiannah Oyedeji | Entrepreneur & Strategic Partnerships Professional
Allow that feeling to soak in for a moment and appreciate the challenge ahead of you. Then flip that energy into a sense of determination by thinking just how amazing it will feel when you’ve successfully defeated it. Now, take a step back and look at the challenge from different perspectives – turning it over and over again in your mind. You’ll eventually find a weak point and can begin breaking that gigantic challenge down into smaller obstacles that you have or can find the resources to overcome bit by bit.
Susan Rebecca White | writer | mother | wife | friend | spiritual junky
If a friend tells me she’s facing a challenge she feels is insurmountable, my response is, “I’m so sorry.” And then later, “Do you want to talk through solutions, or would you rather me just listen?” Sometimes just listening is the most valuable thing I can offer. Personally, when I’m facing a tough challenge, I first let myself feel exhausted and overwhelmed by it, then I talk / vent with a friend about it, and finally I think about how to approach it “bird by bird” (as Anne Lamott says), meaning, how do I tackle little bits at a time until I actually get through it?
Kayle A. Martinez | Visual Artist & Designer
I can relate to self-doubt. I come from an environment that teaches contentment within the easy, safe, and quiet route of life. I grew up around examples of “Just let it go” and “Don’t speak unless spoken to” and “Are you sure you want to try that?” and “Do what’s going to make you the most money.” It wasn’t until college where I moved to the other side of the country, completely on my own, not knowing anyone, that I started to realize how important a healthy, self-loving, self-motivating conscious is. For example, I knew I couldn’t have a thriving career in my hometown, so I moved. I knew I didn’t want to become the people I was surrounded by, so I talked to new people. And I especially had doubts — I knew that this new life was going to be a hard, emotionally painful challenge, but I did it because I also knew that the rewards of my newly found positive attitude on life would greatly surpass the consequences of sulking in whether something is “insurmountable” or not. And they did. my advice for someone who is facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable is to change the way you perceive such challenges. Everything in life is merely a test on your ambition; nothing is insurmountable when your mindset and energy is geared towards OVERCOMING SELF-DOUBT. Love yourself, love what you do, love the people around you. Dismiss everything else.
Charlotte Ellsworth | Community Outreach Director & Veterinary Technician
I am learning that your twenties are filled with challenges and obstacles at every turn. Whether that be at work, with family, in relationships, etc. The best advice I could give for someone who is facing an insurmountable challenge would be remember to believe in yourself and never be afraid to ask for help. Challenges are going to present themselves for the rest of your life, but how you deal with these challenges will make or break you. I know that when I’m faced with something that I feel like I can’t handle, I rely on my faith and I seek out mentors who have been in my position. Having a supportive community behind you, as well as believing in yourself, will help you move mountains you never thought you could. Even when you fail. Even when the world is telling you that you can’t do it. Even when you don’t have the right answer, try to make time to clear your head, take a breath and find that inner strength to overcome the odds. You will come out on the other side stronger than ever. As a millennial, I know that I can let anxiety about a certain situation and fear of the unknown completely shut me down. However, when you learn to combat anxiety with strength and confidence, you will be victorious in the end. Don’t let the worries of tomorrow steal you joy and peace for today.
Jennifer Nicole | Handbag Designer & Founder of Jennifer Nicole Collection
The best advice I have for facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable is to do a couple of things which have always worked for me. Fist, no challenge is insurmountable or impossible, it’s all about perception and attitude! If you go into a situation feeling like you’ll never be able to achieve it, it’s over before you even began. This leads into the second aspect, perseverance, which is half the battle. If you go into any situation knowing you can achieve any challenge and if it’s something you’re truly passionate about, just keep working at it and never stop “swinging the bat” and eventually you’ll knock it out of the park. This is something I always remind myself and have done for every challenge I’ve faced creating my own business and it’s worked for me every time.
Megan Mears | Audiologist and Author
Set small goals for yourself along the way and reflect on your accomplishments. These small achievements will keep you motivated as you work toward the larger goal.
Mariah Henry | CEO of ‘Deeper Than Dance’ and Dancer/choreographer
Endure until the end. Many times we have to get through tribulations in order to gain blessings. Stopping in the middle will only leave us wondering what we could have gained and where we could be. If you leave yourself wondering, it is the same as ending up wandering around. I will always encourage people to spend time with yourself and spend time with God. Pray, meditate, think about the problem and find new answers while focusing on how you overcame past challenges!
Heather Wehrly | Supercar Owner and Driver
Put a demand on yourself to be fearless. Otherwise, you will never know how strong you are or feel the conquering pride you deserve.
Being defeated is an option. Don’t make it yours.
Sam Bee Beauty | Beauty & Lifestyle Influencer | Youtuber
Life throws you curve balls all the time especially, when you are on a new path in life or starting a new venture. It’s so easy to throw your hands up and say to yourself “”Forget it. I give up”” but always remember your purpose, your “why” as people call it. We grow up always hearing to never give up on yourself and this is the most vital piece of advice I will take with me forever, because it’s true! Never give up on yourself when you know you are destined to do more. The Universe sends us these hurtles that may get in the way of our passion and dreams for a reason – it’s to challenge ourselves to find a solution and keep thriving for more. I have had challenges and will continue to have challenges get in the way of my goals but that doesn’t mean what I want for myself is not a possibility or that it’s far fetched. Challenges are meant to test your patience and are meant to make you stronger in the long run so always remember your purpose. Easier said than done, right? Accomplishing your dreams is never easy, so always keep your head up, believe in yourself and remember your goals and dreams do not have an expiration date!