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.
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.
Glenda Hargrove | Realtor | Registered Nurse | Pill Apparel Owner
You are going through this insurmountable challenge because it is a required lesson for your destiny to unfold. Anytime you are about to level up things will get more difficult so whatever you do–keep going, encourage yourself, and most importantly DON’T GIVE UP.
Shai Lawrence | 22-Year-Old Catering & Marketing Manager for Grand Champion BBQ
Push through. Each and every one of us have been given a destiny and an expected end. The trials and tribulations we face are only stepping stones we encounter on the path to our destiny. Whether you are facing a mountain or a molehill, you must persevere. No challenge is insurmountable, although it may seem that way until you overcome it. Look your challenges in the face and know that you will conquer them – one day at a time.
CasSandra Williams | HR Consultant | Mompreneur | Business Owner of BlackLux
First, pray about the challenge you are facing and to ask for a better understanding of the situation. Secondly, I would write what the challenge is, the pros and cons of the challenge to gain a greater understanding of what I am facing. As well as creating a plan to turn the challenge into a success rather than a failure. Often, we believe they we cannot overcome the challenge because of the circumstances and/or obstacles being faced. But if one steps back and look at the overall situation in a different perspective to realize the challenge is achievable with taken smaller steps to be successful. Being able to see it on paper helps me evaluate the situation better and determine the next step of completing the challenge/obstacle in a manner where I can fulfill the accomplishment in a matter I thought I could not achieve. As a society, we like to give up before trying, which causes so many individuals to fail. Stop taking the easy way out, get up and try again until you succeed.
Bianca “Mz Bee” Lee | Master Cosmetologist | Cosmetology Instructor & Co-Founder of Behind The Scenes Awards and Recognition, LLC
The best advice that I could give to someone who is facing a challenge that they feel is insurmountable is to KNOW that it’s temporal… it’s subject to change at any given moment…. and, just like any other matter in life that seems unbearable, we continue the course and press our way to the other side of the situation not only victorious but wiser, better, stronger and more resilient. The beautiful thing about adverse circumstances is you learn SO much about yourself during that time. You see exactly how creative, strategic, flexible and determined you are when you need results. To whom much is given, much is required but know that God will never put more on you than you can bear. You have been equipped with every tool that you’ll need for each level that you’ll reach. Believe that you’ve already won… even BEFORE you face the opponent. You’ve won because you know you WILL. You’ve got this.
Ash Ne’Kale | Model | entrepreneur | stylist & Entrepreneur | Public figure
The advice is to “decide how bad do you really want what ever it is that you’re trying to accomplish if it’s something that you really want don’t let anything get in your way of achieving it at the moment it might feel like it’s impossible but you can’t let those feelings take over, you can achieve anything you put your mind too with hard work dedication and faith if you truly believe you can accomplish something and put the hard work and effort behind that belief then nothing can stop you from your goal, AND TO ALWAYS KEEP GOD FIRST.
Cindy Robinson | Founder of The Kid Factory | Host of Go Get Mom Podcast, & Chronically Curious Human
I have faced my share of challenges – both personally and professionally, and I have found the best way to avoid getting overwhelmed and quitting is to break the challenge down. Instead of one big challenge, think of it as a million small challenges… and celebrate every single one. The most important thing people often don’t talk about is failure. Failure is 100% PART of the achievement. Any time you are creating or doing something that hasn’t been done before, you are navigating a new path. There WILL be dead ends, switchbacks, and turnarounds. You have to keep in mind that failure is part of shaping your achievement. It teaches you what not to do, how to do what you do better, or sometimes it makes you even more passionate about what you are doing because you are forced to defend it. Whatever you do, please don’t let failure stop you, let it teach you.
Bodied By Red | Helping Women Become Their Own Body Goals
The best advice I have for someone who is facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable is don’t give up. It’s so easy to quick but you can not let what you are going through take over you. Remember you are in control of you, ever situation you face you have complete power over. There’s always a light at the end of every tunnel! Trails and Tribulations is what makes us into the people we are today, so you have to continue to push through.
Neesy Rizzo | Freelance Travel Model
I feel that the best advice to help someone that is going through a tough challenge in life is to listen to them. Most times people that are going through something just needs to release their problems to someone that they can trust and feel open to. I mean, how can someone help a person if he or she doesn’t know the whole story, right? After the person talks about their challenges then comes the advice part. By me being a full-time traveling model I had to deal with the challenge of getting my body to look healthy and fit. When I was younger (before starting modeling) I wasn’t as healthy as I should have been, but after getting help and motivation from trusted people I was able to be motivated to push myself to overcome my unhealthy lifestyle. It wasn’t easy but I managed to journey on a more healthier path, and even still, it’s a challenge at times to go to the gym and eat healthily but as long as I (and everyone) have a great support system we all can overcome our challenges.
Talia Capozzoli | Graduate Student & Food Blogger
Something I always do when I feel challenged or discouraged is switch my thinking from being pessimistic to being optimistic. Simply changing your thought process from “wow, this assignment is really difficult, and I’m not sure I’ll be able to finish it” to “wow, this assignment is really difficult, and I’m thankful that I have the opportunity to work on it” can give you the confidence you need to get through whatever is ahead of you.
Cristina Quinonez Valencia | College student & Manager
When you want to achieve something, and it looks difficult don’t think of the struggle it is to get there. Just go for it and focus on how to achieve them because you will be creating your own journey to be proud of. We will all go through moments where we struggle but that is what makes us stronger. Don’t give up because one day everything will be worth it. Always remember, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it were easy, everyone would do it”. This is my favorite quote from Jimmy Dugan.
Stacy Laki | Morrissette Design Houz Owner | Photographer and Graphic Artist
“If someone is facing a challenge that they feel is insurmountable, the best applied advice I gave myself was to tap into my Soul Circle. For me this is defined by faith, my ever evolving talent formed in me and my supportive friends and family. I’m sure there are many iterations of Richard Bach’s quote, but I truly believe, “”you would not have been given the dream, without being given the means to achieve it.”” Obstacles are few and failures can be defined as many, but perseverance makes you triumphant over any small feat you may have on your journey. Nothing is ever unconquerable, you just need to change the mindset and the course taken to reach that next level.”
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?
Christina Kendall | Artist & Advertising Professional
Find strength in knowing that while challenges may not feel good in the moment, you have the opportunity to use these experiences to make yourself stronger, smarter and more empathetic. The tough things in life shape us and teach us about who we are and what we want. Often challenges arise because things don’t go according to our plans. But I’m pretty sure if we could actually control all things, we’d make a giant mess (or at least I would). So find the positive in the chaos, and enjoy the ride. It’s what makes your story unique and textured.
If you become too consumed in your own problems and life, take time to focus on others instead. Stepping away from our own self-analyzation and acknowledging what others are going through gives us fresh perspective. Challenges – whether personal or professional – are usually temporary. So embrace support from others, step outside of yourself and celebrate every step towards your goals – no matter how small it may seem.
Rashana Robinson | CEO & Mompreneur
My advice to someone who is facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable is…DON’T GIVE UP! Many times we throw in the towel because things don’t initially work out or work out how we planned. I hate to sound cliche but anything worth having is worth fighting for. So fight thru and know that it takes time.
Fighting doesn’t mean you have to literally fight and exhaust yourself or go it alone. Have a great support network that you can lean on like family, close friends, Church, or a therapist. Someone you can talk to that can offer a new perspective on your challenge. I talk nonstop to my mom and God. I even bounce ideas off of my children!
Also, take time for yourself. Take an hour or two to step away from reality. I’ll read a book, watch a movie or tv show, step outside for some air and sunlight. Sometimes just shifting your focus from the challenge can lead you to the resolution.
Tyisha Fernandes | Broadcast Journalist & Zumba Queen
How I deal with challenges that feel like I can’t overcome them – I think about what the alternative is – giving up? Never… If success was easy – everyone would be there. The climb is the best last. Hustle hard… and go hard or go home.
Stephanie Escobar | Beauty influencer | Business owner and Mother
My advice to you is, to remember that the sky is not the limit you can go beyond that! Whatever you may think is impossible to accomplish in your life, it’s not ! Overcome your negative thoughts and you’ll see how your “impossible” dreams become your reality ! Stay positive and NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS!!!
Kati Giles | Educator | ambassador | entrepreneur
It’s important to be supportive of those in need. Our profession allows us to help people look and feel better. When you are having a rough day sometimes you just need a little self care. I love what I do and the people I get to serve daily. It takes a village.
Rachael Snow | Interior Designer & Design and Lifestyle Blogger
Whenever I find a challenge that I feel impossible to face, I find it easiest to break down my approach with actionable steps. Even if that means breaking down day-by-day or hour-by-hour, as soon as you decompose the big problem into tiny, easy steps, the challenge soon seems much easier to tackle. I feel it’s also very important to know your “why” when you face a challenge. Knowing your purpose or your “why” will give you the motivation to tackle any challenge, big or small.”
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.
Ebony Baker | Model | entrepreneur & social media director for Homestyle Paradise
The best advice I have for someone who is facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable is first let go of any expectation that you have. Trust what you know, be open to learning what you don’t know, and don’t hesitate to seek advice. Remember that having to relearn something is not a sign of weakness. One of my favorite quotes is “Without no struggle, there is no progress.”- Frederick Douglass. As long as we live, we are going to experience struggle. But remember nothing is impossible or unattainable. You are the only reassurance and validation you need. Trust yourself and trust your discernment!
Dr. Una | Pediatrician and business coach
This would be a great time to reach out to a mentor or coach. No matter how huge the challenge you are facing is, there are many people who have overcome them. They are the ones that can guide you and give you the shortcuts to come out on top. In the meantime, don’t you dare quit!
Bee Jackson | Creative Designer | Dancer & Model
Three simple words, never give up. There were many times in my life where I thought my goals were too great to overcome, but I’ve always taken a step back from my anxieties and recite to myself to “Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle”. I think it is an essential exercise to take that moment to gather yourself. If I didn’t take those moments, I wouldn’t be the independent woman that I am today, with two degrees, a strong motivation to success, and the will to keep pushing forward.
Brooke Myers | Safer Skincare & Wellness Consultant
Since moving my family and I to Atlanta last fall on faith – we have faced so many challenges that have seemed insurmountable. My husband, one year old son and I moved from North Carolina without knowing where we would even unload our u haul. God was truly testing our faith in Him. The Bible says lean not on your own understanding and we truly had no understanding to lean on – all we could was put our trust in God. In trusting Him, we’ve seen His provision time after time and overcome challenges that we never could have conquered on our own. So I would say whatever you’re facing – put your trust in God – commit your life and your business to Him and watch Him blow your mind!
Raecine Tyes | Author of “Success Looks Good on Me” & Founder of Black Film Festival Atlanta
As I was traveling home to Connecticut this week, I came upon some gray skies. While driving on the highway, thick clouds made visibility nearly impossible. Regardless of the weather, I kept driving. A heavy downpour began, and I counted about 7 or 8 vehicles that stopped along the roadside, with hazards lights blinking. To my amazement, sunny clear skies were less than 1 minute away! However, all the drivers who stopped, were still trapped under heavy rains and gloomy skies. If they’d just kept it moving forward, they would’ve seen how close they were to being out of that mess. My suggestion is to keep moving, no matter what! Regardless of how bad your circumstances may seem, never stop! Never give up!
Parthena Stokes | Plus size model | natural hair stylist
Easier said than done but I was chosen and I choose to overcome the bull shit, I’ll ride this wave high or low I calm my sea (giggles) excuse me for being so upfront this is me tho strong minded hardcore and will not take no for an answer.
Olivia Sadler | Calligrapher
There have been plenty of moments in my life where I felt that what I was experiencing was insurmountable – especially if I felt that it was my own fault. My advice is to be kind to yourself and take time for yourself. I would commonly get in a head space where I would beat myself up over something, but I never took a step back to think about how negative my self-reflection was (i.e. ‘You’re a failure’, ‘You’re a fake’, ‘How did you manage to mess this one up too?’). If you wouldn’t say it to someone you care about, don’t say it to yourself. You have to give yourself a break so you can grow from the experience, instead of breaking yourself down.