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.
Alex Dawson – Yoga Teacher & Retreat Leader
Having tools to get through life’s challenges is so important and something I believe to be deeply impactful. Here are a few of my go-to gems.
Mantra. One of the most powerful mantras I have practiced in moments of extreme stress is this: ‘Right now it’s like this. May I be at ease.’ This is a classic meditation that has helped me on countless occasions when I have been spinning over something or feeling completely overwhelmed. This mantra is rooted in the universal law of impermanence which helps cultivate equanimity. It opens a window for the worsted mind and helps free us from bondage of suffering.
Breathe. Breathe deep and practice ‘sama vritti’ which is a regulated breath that has a steady inhalation and exhalation of equal measure. This technique helps regulate the nervous system. Creating space around the crisis by breathing allows room for the resistance and tension that is building to soften.
Connect. Isolating and holding things in can be very toxic and lead us to habits that only create more harm. Seeking guidance from trusted friends and at times professionals can help us tremendously. If you have a spiritual practice and can connect to some sense of higher power, dig deep in these moments and know that you will be okay no matter what. If talking with friends, decide if you want advice or just need them to listen and ask for what you need. Sometimes even a little venting can turn into an open prayer to the universe.
List. Look at what is exactly right in front of you. Get clear on your next indicated step. And make a list. Then do that next indicated step — which could simply be to first pause.
Feel. Connect to sensations in your body as much as possible. Feel your feet on the ground. If you can get to a yoga or breath work class, these are excellent ways to off load stress and also connect us to community.
Our challenges give us grit and help us grow. Life is not linear, but it can be expansive. All mountains have many peaks and valleys. Stand in your own tadasana — (or mountain pose), knowing that you, too have such rich texture. When you get through this, you may find that you are able to help others because of your unique experience.
And remember this: you are always loved and cared for even when your mind doesn’t know it.
Elizabeth Hernandez- Actor, Marketing Specialist
My advice to someone facing a challenging time is to take some time alone and listen to your truth. Push through because you’re more resilient than you know. Talk to someone, write down what you’re feeling, meditate, go for a walk, ask for help if you need to. It all stems from something, so you have to be willing to be as open as you can with yourself. The answer is already within you. You are capable!
Deana Panza – Yoga Instructor & Mental Health Counselor
You are stronger than you’ll ever know. When we are faced with any new challenge in life it can seem insurmountable merely because we haven’t been given the opportunity to overcome it yet. But, if we continue to push forward into the uncharted darkness we will eventually find the light. Keep going. You’ve got this.
Angie Zhang – Wedding Photographer
Each person’s challenges are different and nuanced, so I don’t pretend my words are universally applicable. But personally, when I face daunting obstacles, it helps to hit the pause button and take an intentional break. Talk it out with someone and break your problem down into small, more manageable pieces. And to the rest of us – have patience, show compassion, and be kind.
Karen C. Knight – Investment Analyst & Lifestyle and Finance Blogger
My mom always told me to keep climbing the stairs even if the door is closed. I didn’t quite understand it when I was younger but I’ve realized that each stair you climb is a day you work through and a small victory towards overcoming your biggest challenges. Many times we let the enormity of a situation overwhelm us and immediately defeat us before giving ourselves the opportunity to even try. I’ve found that rather than facing challenges with circumstances as to why I can’t overcome them, if I face a challenge with an open mind and view it as an opportunity to grow, to learn from and evolve from then no matter what the outcome is; I am winning . You come out on the other side stronger, wiser and better prepared for any future challenges. All in all, it comes down to your mindset. A challenge is an opportunity for growth and if you take things one step at a time then there is nothing you can’t overcome.
Jerrilyn Lake – Entertainer and Solopreneur
At birth, God placed everything inside of you that you would need to fulfill His purpose for your life. Remember that you are capable, and trust yourself!
Endia Scanlan-Jones: Lifestyle Blogger and Aspiring Photographer
My advice for someone facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable would be to stop, take a breath, and map out a plan. It’s important to know that things come with time, hard work, and dedication. It’s also important to research and figure out what you need to do to overcome that battle. Whether it’s finding a tribe of likeminded individuals whom you can pour into and vice versa. Or, reading/listening to audiobooks/podcasts to educate yourself on whatever the battle is at hand. The main thing is to remember to stay consistent and disciplined . I personally noticed that when I am focused and remain disciplined battles that I thought were going to remain in place eventually disintegrate and make a path that led to bigger doors being opened. Next time you feel you can’t overcome something, remember, “Ain’t no brick walls, only speed bumps”-Ermias “Nipsey Hussle” Asghedom.
Amber London- Blogger
The best advice I would give to someone facing a challenge they feel that is insurmountable is that there is always someone else that has been in the same situation as them and that they’re not alone. It’s very easy to face a problem and feel that you are the only one who has dealt with that particular issue, but most of the time even your closest friends could be facing the same thing. That’s why it’s always important to reach out to your loved ones and talk to them because they will not only lift you up, but may even have a solution to what you’re dealing with. If you feel as if you’re not alone in this, it makes the problem easier to take on and give you encouragement. It’s important to know that it’s not just you and that you are valuable.
Chelsea Smith – Family & Lifestyle Photographer
It’s important to try and wrap your head around what you’re trying to overcome first. Be realistic, but stay positive and believe that you can do anything you set your mind and heart to. At the end of the day, if you accomplish just HALF of your main goal, you’re still successful and a step above where you were to begin with. That in itself is something to be proud of.
Kortnie Watson- CEO of Kortnie Watson Marketing, Marketing Consultant for Small businesses & Private practices in healthcare
Life can bring beautiful moments, but within those beautiful moments we all are faced with challenges. To me, these challenges are a test of character- strength training to help mold us into the person we were always meant to be. For any person thinking about stepping out, and starting their own business- no matter what challenge you are facing or what you will face know that challenges are just an obstacle in the race. Learn how to overcome that obstacle. For me personally, I turn to spiritual guidance, for this by far has by the best remedy when facing difficult challenges. In addition, I have connected with other individuals who have faced similar challenges before. My advice is this-Never give up, keep your goal in mind. Start with step one, remember one step is one step ahead then you were the day before. Never compare to others- stay in your own lane. Remember run your own race. On days when you feel like the world is caving in- it’s just a test of your integrity. There is always sun after a storm and your sunshine will come. If you ask anyone who has earned an noticeable amount of success they will all say that there were and still are many obstacles keeping them from full-filling their purpose. Furthermore, Find a way to move, jump, or eliminate the obstacle and KEEP MOVING. I would like to provide a support system to anyone willing to step out of their comfort zones and start their own business. For any young, female entrepreneurs out there- please reach out to me if you any questions. It takes a village sometimes of positive reinforcement to keep going.
Maya Renae- Working Mom, Family Lifestyle blogger
What’s the best advice you have for someone who is facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable? If you’re facing something right now that you feel is insurmountable, please remember that this too shall pass. You are stronger than you realize and you will get through it and come out better and wiser than you were before.
Sukhman Kaur – Beauty Vlogger
My advice is very simple: JUST KEEP PUSHING. 100% of the time we make challenges out to be ten times worse in our heads than it actually is. It’s important to take a step back and look at the bigger picture and remember that no matter what the situation is, you will always be able to push through it.
Nicole Gales – model/actress
Do not try and bend the spoon, that’s impossible. Instead, only try to realize the truth…there is no spoon. Then you will see it is not the spoon that bends, it is only yourself… a quote from one my favorite movies…
Alicia Rosato – Actress, Producer & Creative Portrait Model
The best advice I can give someone is that when you’re facing a difficult challenge is be patient and never give up.
Natalie Cousins – Real Estate Coach
Most are fearful because of the Unknown. First find out why you’re feeling this way then look at the positives of what will happen if they overcome that challenge and lastly create a plan that help you to succeed and push through the challenge faced.
Angelique Ka’Mil Tate | Owner / Real Estate Broker
My best advice for someone who is facing a challenge that they feel is insurmountable is taken from my own personal testimony. When faced with challenges, I had to ascertain how bad I truly believed in my vision. I had a plan for my life that I quickly understood needed my undivided attention and FAITH. An obstacle is simply that. It is not something that you cannot overcome. It is something that simply requires you to think outside of the box and put in work to make the necessary adjustments. Faith Without Works IS DEAD!
Cara Chase – Encourager, Adventurer and Entrepreneur
My best advice for someone facing a challenge that feels insurmountable is to first breathe and remind himself or herself that he or she is an incredible human who is far more capable than what is realized. Afterwards, connect with the biggest supporter(s) in his or her life to also be reminded of belief and start with small steps. Find your best mindset and just start by taking the smallest steps that break down the fear of the challenge. You are strong, you are powerful, and challenge is going to push you to find your greatest potential.
Vanessa Leon – Architect & Illustrator
The best advice I have for someone who is facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable is: Trust in yourself and give the best of you because when we give our bests there is no failure ahead of us, just victories, learning and improvement. I will encourage everyone to see the bigger picture, no matter how challenging life gets sometimes, there is always ends and new beginnings.