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.
Victoria Swilley | voice talent | potter
You have a choice. Either go for it wholly, with grit and passion, or decide it’s not something you want to pursue right now, and let yourself off the hook emotionally. I’ve tried a lot of hard stuff in my life. Some things have worked out. Some I dedicated years to without achieving like I’d hoped. I left those things behind eventually. And some have succeeded beyond what I could have imagined. The more you can keep from getting your sense of self bound up in your work or problem, the better for you emotionally.
And if you feel stuck, talk to someone. A friend or counselor or therapist, someone who can pitch ideas to help you figure out how to come at the problem from a different angle. Be open to their ideas. Be flexible. It’s probably not as insurmountable as you think.
Dr. Krystal Conner | Coach & Speaker
My advice for someone who is facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable would be : Just keep moving! Even if the steps seem small and like you aren’t moving – just keep going. Surround yourself with positive people that will encourage you and push you when you feel like you can’t keep going.
Ann Elizabeth | Sales Counselor and Hairstylist
There is nothing that is insurmountable I’ve come from a family where A lot of things had to be earned. My family is not American so they have faced a lot of challenges in their lives, even just by coming to America. coming from a Haitian household a lot of things didn’t come to me easy how they did with everyone else. I didn’t have anything close bad childhood. My parents made sure EVERYTHING was set for me, but my regular life it wasn’t perfect. I used to get teased in school just for being from Haiti, and I used to have to work harder for certain things that I have and wanted. every time i did something whether it was business, projects in class, sports or even getting a job I used to always feel left out or just wouldn’t include myself from the start because I knew the outcome. I was always lacking self confidence and never believed in myself. If it was up to me I would have Stayed in Fort Lauderdale FL, but my parents pushed me otherwise. That’s why to this day family is the most important thing to me after my God. Due to my life being like that I would never tell anyone that ANYTHING is impossible. Not only Being from another country I was also overweight so being overweight affected ALL of life especially when I got to college, nobody ever took me serious even the friends I thought I had! Which really cause me to be teased even more due to the fact that I didn’t look like everyone else and doing things that are insurmountable really made me want to change the world! After that everything changed , for example I was the biggest cheerleader in HS that could jump high, I wouldn’t be where I am right now if I thought things were impossible and over for me, I am now in corporate America in the TOP North American sales company for cemetery and funeral arrangements in the entire world, I also work for myself as an entrepreneur selling hair and doing hair building. My own salon. I’m growing to this day& plan to excel higher than anyone expected me to do . I do plan to make a certain amount by the time I’m 30 but I say always with prayer and spiritual awareness everything is always possible so I would never tell anyone nothing is insurmountable. I will always keep my positive faith to keep me going because without God. I wouldn’t be anywhere that I am now.
Molly Dunham-Friel | IBD and Gut Health Advocate
No matter what obstacles are coming your way, you got this! You are stronger than you think and the challenges you are facing are secretly pushing you to become a better version of yourself.
Be kind to yourself. Give yourself room to feel the emotions that come along with struggle.
Find your tribe and share your journey. No matter what you are up against there is likely a group of people on a similar journey. Find those people and use the power of community to fuel your strength. Lean on your tribe and lend a hand when you can.
Abby Byrd | Wedding & Portrait Photographer
The “”big picture”” is an exciting way to see our goals, but when setting out to crush that goal, it’s important to have baby steps too. When I go for a run and come across a big hill, I concentrate on the steps in front of me and not the top in the distance. When we see how far we have to go, we may talk ourselves out of something that may seem impossible but is achievable. My husband altered a famous quote to say, “”How do you wash an elephant? Bit by bit.”” He tells me this to remind me that as long as I keep showing up each day, I will arrive at my goal. One of my favorite quotes this year is, “”Everything you want is on the other side of consistency.”” It doesn’t take one try or one day. Keep going. You got this!
Tracey Brown | Personal Trainer | Nutrition and Mindset Coach
PUSH THROUGH!” That was my mindset and my mantra during the period in my life navigating through my Ovarian cancer diagnosis and treatment and it will always be my mindset when I’m faced with any challenge. The word insurmountable is all about perspective. If you tell yourself what you’re facing is insurmountable, then that is exactly what you’ll get. From the beginning, you have to make the decision to not allow any challenge to define or defeat you. How you address challenges, all begins with your mindset. You are not the first and won’t be the last to face the hardships of adulting and its many challenges. Remember, storms don’t last forever and nothing is impossible with God!
Tia Dowler | Business owner & Jewelry Designer
The best advice I can give to anyone facing a challenge that feels insurmountable is to recognize that you yourself decide how you will process and face the situation. Will you face it with confidence or will you face it with fear? That is up to each of us to decide. I also believe that challenges are opportunities for us to grow if we embrace those challenges. We do not grow when things are easy. We grow when we face adversity. We cannot control the cards we’ve been dealt in life but we can control how we play the hand.
I have come to understand and appreciate that all experiences in life (both positive and negative) have a purpose – to teach us lessons that we need to know to live happy and successful lives. I, for one, would be the first one to say… “No more pain.” However, I know from personal experience that when my life seems the darkest, a new and better day is coming. It is important that we keep the lessons but throw away the experiences.
In the end, I’ve learned that it is important to focus on what you can control when facing obstacles and let go of what you can’t control. I’m thankful for my struggles because without them, I wouldn’t have found my strength.
Angel Woods | Natural Braider
We all have a path, and we aren’t suppose to take the same route. If that was the case, there would not be a street way other than taking the express way. Every little goal and step matters.
Keisa Carroll | Personal Chef | Caterer and Food Truck Owner
Both in my personal and professional life I approach challenges the same- what can I control and what is not a controllable. Once you decide what you can positively impact, tackle that in order of priority. This method will never fail you. You will feel accomplished because you are in control of the situation. This will help you maintain a healthy mental balance while you juggle life and business. Remember that challenges force us out of our comfort zone giving us an opportunity to grow as individuals. I love a challenge because I am able to be my most creative self in those moments of discomfort.
Christina Paz | Fine Art Family Photographer and Designer
Its okay to take a moment to step back and breathe. The truth is that even the biggest names out there have felt this way at one point or another in their life. You are not alone. Breathe. Seek out advice from those you trust and know will help you see clearly. Then tackle the challenge head on. Many times regret is worse than failure, so try and try again.
Zabi Mulwa | 2020 MPH Candidate & MUA
Over the course of the past year I faced a ton of challenges that I really never thought I would get through. For me there are a couple pieces of advice that I have for someone going through an insurmountable: 1. Document it, whether that be through pictures, video, in a planner/diary/journal that you have….document it. This will help you on the other end and serve as inspo for when you think that it’s not going to get any better.
2. Have a support system that is there for you, someone or some people that can help get things off of your mind. For you to laugh until you cry, dance, watch a movie, or just to listen!
3. Self care, I know everyone talks about self care. For me it was not bringing my work home with me in the evenings or during the weekend. Going out by yourself, cooking, trying something you would have never done before (I went athletic speed dating lol), therapy, etc find what makes you happy and keeps you happy.
4. Most important pray, meditate, go to church, therapy find something that gives your spirit peace!
Leslie Quackenbush LCSW, MPH & Erin Mitchell | Dog Runner & Social Worker
Challenges are challenging for a reason – without them we would never learn, improve, or grow. It’s okay to feel overwhelmed. Sit with that for a minute, then look back at other life challenges you’ve overcome in the past and realize that you are capable of great things. Breaking a larger task down into smaller ones is a great way to get started. Then, remember to recognize your achievements along the way, especially when you feel discouraged by not being “there” yet. Slow and steady wins the race!
Meg Ehman | Digital Strategist & Website Designer
When I’m facing any challenge, the first thing I do is go to my support network. I decide who the best person is to talk to about the particular issue, either because they are older and have more life experience, are familiar with the specific topic on a personal level, or they have known me for a long time and genuinely care no matter what. If you don’t have a support network, start creating one asap – this includes family, friends, coworkers and mentors – and be a support to others in return. If there is no simple solution, or you know the issue is more long-term, I highly recommend getting into a routine of meditation and some type of workout. It forces you to focus on breathing and nothing else. Plus, developing physical strength and beating personal records is a great way to boost your confidence mentally.
Finally, try writing the problem out on paper, and breaking it down into steps. This can help you come up with action items for each part and tackle them individually. Or you might come back and re-read what you wrote the next day and realize it’s not as dramatic as you thought it was!
Last last thing – check in with your body. Have you eaten something healthy in the last few hours, are you dehydrated, is it a certain time of the month, are you getting enough sleep? It’s easy to forget how connected our emotions are to our bodies and solving physical symptoms can help immensely.
Markeyia Callahan | Fashion Maven
Live by faith & not fear. Use your testimony as a way the help heal. Your testimony could be someone’s breakthrough!
Kaitlyn Rodriguez | Baker
My advice for someone who is facing a challenge is to never give up. Always keep pushing and moving towards your goal. Remember to always stay positive. Whenever you feel like giving up, think About why you started and keep going. You are destined for GREATNESS!
Sadricka Thomas | lifestyle Blogger and Educator
I would say it’s okay to feel defeated, to not shy away from any challenges, or obstacles thrown your way. Take your time there is no clock you are racing against. Lastly, keep the faith that everything will be okay in due time.
Charlsie Niemiec | Freelance Marketing | Social Media | Branding Strategist
Challenges aren’t supposed to be easy, but to make it through a challenge that feels insurmountable — you have to focus on your end goal. Strategize how to work towards it. Put the work in. Don’t cut corners. Let yourself recognize it feels insurmountable but know you can make it through. Enjoy the sunshine when you make it to the other side of your challenge and relish in the work you did.
Erin McCarthy | Monster Maker | Artist & Entrepreneur
The best advice I have for someone who is facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable is to have a plan! When I feel like I am up against a task that seems impossible to accomplish I always break it down into smaller pieces. I figure out what I can accomplish both short term and long term and tackle the more immediate aspects first. I make lists and I try to work towards a small goal every day that will eventually help me take down whatever challenges I am facing. It’s so easy to get overwhelmed and feel like a challenge is impossible but by breaking it down into bite size pieces things become less anxiety inducing and more manageable.
Diana Imani | Visual Artist and Philanthropist
We don’t develop courage by being happy every day. We develop it by surviving difficult times and challenging adversity.” – Barbara De Angelis The greatest gifts of life are its continuity and unpredictability. If everything were easy all the time, then we would never grow, we would never learn, we would never adapt. We would never learn resilience, perseverance, or flexibility.
In my lifetime, I have seen some extraordinary people, accomplish some extraordinary things. People who are just like you and me. People who understand their circumstance and push past them to break down barriers that only exist if you let them. Barriers that will stand stronger and taller if you give them too much energy and too much power over your life. These extraordinary people think not only outside the box, but through and sometimes even around the box.
One thing that’s important to remember is that these, accomplishments do not come for free. They come at the cost of sleepless nights, countless hours of work, and stretching your imagination beyond its horizons. They come at the cost of defining, defying, and redefining barriers so that you understand the challenge better than the challenges understood you.
Today, media and technology make us available to each other 24/7. It allows others to dictate your narrative freely and in real time. The key is to not let others assign a sense of urgency to the challenges that you face. Take a step back and tackle them on your time, at your own pace. When things are difficult and challenges seem insurmountable, all you have to do is remember that you are strong. Remember your strength. Remember that you are not first person to face difficulty, and you will not be the last.
No matter the challenge, there is always a way. When a challenge arises. The best solution, may not always be the easiest or the quickest way to navigate a difficult situation. Understand that there are some challenges that may seem so overwhelming, that appears to be no way out, and no way over, and no way around. But then again, sometimes the only way out of the struggle, is through. And biggest thing is, to remind yourself that struggle is okay. Understand what is making you feel defeated, understand why, break those barriers downs one by one, accept the challenge, and rise to the occasion. I promise you will come out wiser and stronger than before. You will adapt.
Stephanie Cowman | Elementary School Teacher & Teacher Entrepreneur
The best advice I can give to someone who is facing an insurmountable challenge would be to realize that you are not alone. There are so many people who care about you and want to help. Reach out to those you are close to and share how you feel, how you are struggling. It will surprise you how much your family and friends can help you move past obstacles and give a fresh perspective. But I would also advise someone to reach out to people you don’t know. There are people who are experts who have faced the same challenges and will understand where you are coming from, probably because they have been in the same place. Don’t be afraid to reach out, you never know who will be able to help you overcome that seemingly insurmountable challenge!
Clara Ford | Furniture business owner
As a business owner and single mother of 3. I believe that there is nothing to great to overcome. The word insurmountable Don’t exist in my vocabulary. Be dedicated have patience and stay focused. Life’s challenges and obstacles Thrown at us throughout the years, are put there to help us acquire knowledge and grown. Believe in yourself and your dreams. And the universe full of positive energy will always be on your side.
Ta’Bijah Taylor | Self Taught Protective Stylist
The biggest thing to remember when facing defeat from a challenge is that storms do not last forever and sunshine comes in the morning. While your vision may seem blurry due to current circumstances, never lose sight of your end goal. Life is not a one way path to success, it is filled with constant obstacles, detours and road blocks, however without the unexpected, we simply cannot grow. Leading into my last point- EMBRACE THE STRUGGLE, for it serves a purpose.
Chanel Scott | Creator of CheMinistry, a relationship platform & Co-Creator of Relationship Status
Always stand firm on what you believe never wavering – the answer lies within. Remain faithful and consistent. You may stumble at times but stay focused on the end goal and always finish STRONG.
Ashley Diallo | REALTOR
When times are hard, this is where self growth happens. Be sad but get through it, don’t stay in miserable place. Surround yourself with family or friends who care about and lean on your support system. People beat the odds everyday in challenging situations, work on the solution on how to move forward instead of dwelling of the problem.
Ja’Net Adams | International Speaker and Author
My advice to anyone facing a insurmountable challenge especially financial is that remember that if you run into a road block or financial emergency during your financial journey that it will be okay. Remember that you are closer to your financial goals today than you were yesterday. It is all about progress!
Valencia Holland | The Style Educator & Personal Stylist.
I would encourage them to take a step back and breathe. Most of the time things seem too hard to overcome because we are so in it that we can’t see the way out or the next step. After that, I would recommend praying about it. Prayer is powerful and changes everything. It can make something that once felt or looked impossible, possible.
Roshanna Laws | Owner | Creative Director of Fashions by RoPuddles
Take a step back and try to break the challenge into smaller pieces or tasks. Then work to complete the smaller tasks. When facing the unknown, don’t be afraid to ask for help. It is possible that the challenge we are facing has already been tackled successfully by someone else.
Lindsay Haigh | Working Mom & Independent Consultant
Focus on what you can control! There will be unfortunate events, as that is life and not one person is resistant from chaos. However, focus on your steps forward. Focus on setting small goals, such as writing down one positive thought a day, not being so hard on yourself, or even smiling more than you are used to. Keep in mind that you choose how to respond to circumstances, therefore, having a positive mindset is key. It is absolutely okay to have bad days, as we’re all going through the same motions in this thing called life, but don’t let others dictate how you feel. It is definitely easier said than done, but you will find that focusing less on others thoughts, or situations and circumstances beyond your control, allows your energy to shift towards focusing on new opportunities… Opportunities to learn and teach. Opportunities to better love yourself. Opportunities to create and be passionate. Opportunities to be YOU!
Emjaay | singer | songwriter
Never give up, keep looking forward and keep fighting. Make that dream realistic boo!
Every obstacle you face is a life learning lesson… use that as YOUR advantage & make that dream come true!
be you!! Be happy!!