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.
Amanda Taylor | Blogger & Visual Creator | Founder and Creator of The Black Maverick | Owner of Maverick Vision Productions LLC
Keep pushing the mountain and eventually it’s going to have to move.
Zahra Ali | Creative | Model & Freelance Photographer
As a personality that was fostered through adversity, my advice to those facing challenges is to take it one day at a time. Take a deep breath and remember that the best thing you can do for yourself is to allow yourself to go through whatever problem you’re facing as opposed to running from it, avoiding it, procrastinating it or trying to go around it. That doesn’t mean that you have to pretend to be stronger than you are or that you have to become “hardened” by your challenges. Instead, allow yourself to feel burnt, defeated and sad. Acknowledge your feelings, because growth cannot come without acknowledging your pain. A lot of times we make our challenges bigger than they seem by letting them mentally consume us. So make sure to also take out time to do the things that you love; let your frustration fuel your passions. And in the end, as long as you tried your best, the rest is “hakuna matata”.
Amber Kirchner | Professional Dancer and Dance Instructor
When facing a challenging or difficult situation, it is important to stay true to yourself and your values. More often than not it is during these times we are thrown out of our comfort zones and into something that seems impossible. However, it is also during these times we experience growth and a deeper understanding of who we are, and what we are capable of. There will always be challenges in life, some easier than others, but the outcome ultimately depends on how you look at the situation and how you choose to respond.
Akkissia Slay | YouTube Influencer & Mental Health Advocate
It’s easy to feel like bad situations or feelings are long lasting. The key thing to overcome adversity is to change your mindset. Although some situations are out of our control, you have the power to change your mind. Stay positive and keep yourself grounded in what you have to be grateful for. Express your gratitude, change your mind, and stay positive.
Alisha Yolanda | Accountant & Business Coach
My first question will be ‘why do you feel that you cannot overcome this obstacle? Is because you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel? Or maybe it’s because you just feel unmotivated to continue. Whether you are starting a business, saving for a house or just life in general, always remember your ‘Why’. Why did you want to start that business in the first place? Why did you want to become a homeowner. Remembering your ‘why’ will give you that extra push to continue as your reason will likely be bigger than yourself. Just imagine how you will feel what you overcome that obstacle. Will you be relieved? Excited? Successful? Wouldn’t that feeling be worth everything you are going through? Push through! You can’t have a testimony without a test. You got this!!
Olympia Papageorgiou | Recording Artist and Graduate Student
When you feel that you are stuck in a challenging situation or cannot overcome an issue, it’s good to seek advice from those who are wiser. There is no reason to do everything alone. Take what they say and ponder on it. Do not rush any decision or give up on trying. Giving yourself time to assess and re-assess helps in overcoming challenging problems and being sure in your decision.
Alyssia Leggett | Founder of Jenner McGinn Studio, a web-based contemporary art gallery with popup events around Atlanta
As a small business owner, I never know what challenges are around the corner…and as the sole employee (for now!) of Jenner McGinn Studio, it’s up to me to work through them, no matter how insurmountable they may seem. When feeling overwhelmed, the first step I take is to clear off my desk…yup, gotta get rid of the clutter. I find this does two things… First, it provides a sense of accomplishment. Second, it allows me to gain some focus without the distractions of receipts, paperwork, business cards, etc. After that, I start my list. I’m a true list maker and a documenter. It helps me break down the challenge and map out a plan, and look back on my progress. Each task has a box, so when one is complete, I check it off…again…accomplishment! Communication is always key. I learned the importance of of this during my 18 year marketing career in account services prior starting my own business. Whether I need to brainstorm, vent, or have a difficult conversation…having that human interaction is critical. I find that getting a different perspective often times leads to a new solution. Most of all, I’m working on giving myself a little grace. I don’t pretend to have all the answers or that I know how to do everything…I am learning every single day. I’m honest with the artists I represent – they know that they are in for a ride with me while I figure out how to best make this business work for all of us. Lots of trial and error involved! Thankfully, I work with some really amazing artists who have been willing to stick with me, even when I hit those bumps in the road that seem tough to overcome.
Jokoria Talton | Sweet Treat Creator & Healthcare professional
For anyone facing a insurmountable situation. I would advise that person to not give up in whatever they are trying to accomplish. I’m a true believer in manifestation, so anything you put your mind to is possible. When you surround yourself with positive people and energy everything great will fall in place. Personally, I have been through some challenging times. Each chapter of your life is a lesson. Change all your negatives into a positive and always learn from your mistakes. Prayer, meditation and focusing on yourself will open brand new doors for anyone that is determine to be a winner. A belief is only a thought you continue to think; and when your beliefs match your desires, then your desires must become your reality.
Patricia M. Goins | Author | Radio Host | Filmmaker | Performer | Actress and Mother
My advice is first to pray and ask for guidance. After prayer, take a step of faith and start working on finding solutions to overcome those challenges. Most challenges are only stepping stones to help build your character, faith, and promote spiritual growth. If you can conceive it, you can achieve it, so don’t stop until you see it.
Caitlin Weaver | Writer and Working Mom
Every challenge has a beginning, middle, and end. Know that where you are this moment is not where you’ll be forever. Don’t futurize; stay focused on the present moment and on taking the next right action.
Kayla | Fitness Entrepreneur & Personal Trainer
Life is all about challenges and without them we wouldn’t be who we are today. Anytime you feel something is impossible or challenging I recommend you run towards it! My greatest achievements were accomplished through insurmountable situations. Anything is hard before it becomes easy!
Sam Cepeda | Nurse Influencer
Be kind to yourself. Prioritize self-care and feed yourself positivity. Take it day by day and make sure you have a support system in place.
Shannon Dee Walker | Author & Lifestyle Branding Specialist
The best advice I have is to let everything make you and NEVER break you! It is said that “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. Everything we go through is really meant to grow us in some way, not to hurt us. Embrace what you are going through and allow it to make you better. There will be so many times in life you go through things that feel insurmountable. The thing is you gain more strength each time so as you grow as a person and grow your faith you realize you have the power to make it through anything. Just keep going! 💕
ELLEN HILL | Agent & Multi-Million Dollar Club Lifetime Member Cobb Board of Realtors
I would tell someone to surround themselves with people who’s advise you know is in your best interest and do not involve people who you think make questionable decisions or decisions with a different world view than you. Trust yourself and move forward.
Lindsay Ewing | Developer | Home Artist | life enthusiast
Nothing is insurmountable! I have a 3 day rule: Day 1: Breathe, pray and focus on the plan Day 2: Put your spurs on
Day 3: Most issues have resolved themselves by now and I’m ready to tackle what’s next.
Gazzy Parman | Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Georgia Properties REALTOR and 3rd Degree Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Champion Black Belt
If you have no idea what to do at this moment in your life, think back to when you were a kid. What were your dreams? Start there. Don’t count the obstacles ahead of you. Manage your time before the week starts and give your best performance, one day at a time. Not every day will be perfect, and you have to be OK with that. Every move you make counts toward your future. Beat the pain, and do it. Pain is weakness leaving the body.
Kim Delk-Brooks | REALTOR® and founder of The Delk Brooks Group
My advice for anyone facing what seems to be an insurmountable situation is to keep pushing forward! Life happens to all of us. Every person with breath in their body is gonna go through some tough stuff. The only way to get through it is to literally go through it. My faith in God has carried me through many difficult times and I am so thankful for those closest to me for that extra encouragement when I needed it most. We were not meant to go through life alone, so make sure you have your person (or people) to lean on.
When things get tough, because they will, put pen to paper. Write down your goals and every day do something that puts you a little closer to where you envision yourself being. Think positive thoughts (even when you don’t feel your best) because our minds are powerful and will attract the same energy that we put out. And always remember that it only takes one person to change your life…YOU!
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 like-minded individuals whom you can pour into and vice versa. Or, reading/listening to audio books/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.