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.
Alea Hansinger | Actor | NAUI Divemaster, & Real Life Terminator
I have two pieces of advice, actually. The first is to understand that every challenge you face, no matter how insurmountable it may feel, is growth whispering, “”I’m here and I’m ready for you.”” If I were given the choice to go back to 2011 and prevent that car accident, or even lessen the damage that had been done, I wouldn’t. Am I curious to know how that Alea turned out? Of course! …but, she can’t possibly be more valuable to the world than this one, and for that I’m grateful.
Now, my second piece of advice is that it takes love to realize any form of growth. The love of your family, friends, and mentors, the love of your dog, and your love for your calling are just a few; however, most people fail to realize that love for yourself is just as potent a tool for healing and growth as love from or for another. You cannot neglect your relationship with yourself, because it’s in the moments where I offer myself compassion that I discover the challenge was never insurmountable.
Lakendra Wiggan | Realtor® and Human Services Practitioner
My advice for overcoming an insurmountable challenge starts simply with your mindset. Having a growth mindset essentially attenuates those challenges we feel are insuperable. Mindset plays a vital role in how we cope with adversities and challenges. Every day we have the power to choose what type of day it will be and that starts with a positive and growth mindset. The situation itself may not be ideal. It may, at times, be out of your immediate control as well. However, what you DO have immediate control over is how you respond to the situation. Are you going to let it overcome you or are you going to overcome it? Believing that you are in control of your own ability and are always willing to grow and improve is the key to success. It is the key to overcoming the challenges we feel are insurmountable. The mental acceptance and belief that you are in control of your own destiny will keep you going, growing and learning. With a growth mindset, you tend to view adversities or setbacks as an opportunity to learn, try harder and/or try a different approach until you overcome the problem.
I was in a traumatic car accident last year and suffered several severe injuries as a result. My whole world crumbled. I had no idea who I was anymore and I felt like my life was over. I gave up. Thankfully, I was able to come around mentally. I remembered that I am resilient. I told myself that I am bigger than my circumstances. My mindset played a significant role in my growth this year as well as my continuous recovery. I woke up one day and said this is not how my story ends. I control my destiny. It all starts with your mind first. You have to believe that you are bigger than any challenge!
Vee Wiley | Realtor | Communication Specialist | Auntie
Our feelings don’t matter. I know that feels harsh but, it’s legit. Feelings truly only matter in the moment that they exist in: they are fleeting and constantly changing, the reactions to those feelings is what shows our true character. Ignore those feelings and face the challenge! If you know that it’s merely a feeling of the challenge being insurmountable, then also you KNOW that you are competent, and capable of conquering the take at hand. Imagine how you will feel when you eliminate that simple little problem. I’m sure you’ve given it way too much energy at this point anyway. Nothing to it but to do it! Your future self will truly feel the regret if you don’t at least try! That challenge is only insurmountable if you take no action all. You’ve got this!
Crystal Woodard | Owner and Designer at Haus of Crissy Couture
You can overcome Anything! Our entire being is mental. We control ourselves through thoughts. It’s how we respond to situations that dictates the outcome. Sometimes things can get though but never give up and always have a positive outlook and watch you Manifest greatness!
Melissa Cassady | Influencer & CPA
Challenges are just that—challenging. As cliché as it sounds, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Making it to the top takes time, but everyone has to start somewhere. Don’t lose faith; celebrate the little victories; and remember to take time for yourself. Eventually, you will persevere.
Kaya Mason | Scientist | Educational Consultant
The BEST advice I have for someone who is facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable, is to STOP & FOLLOW these quick steps:
1) ACEPT THE CHALLENGE:
as you Grow and Develop, YOU WILL ENCOUNTER CHALLENGES at EVERY Level
2) CONSULT with your Business Bestie:
Build a relationship with a Like-Minded Individual who supports and reflects your Worth
3) USE your Resources:
When it’s time to Solve A Problem, utilize every resource within your Reach. Have conversations with those who have paved the way, Research and/or simply ASK for HELP.
4) REMEMBER Nothing is IMPOSSIBLE:
I AM POSSIBLE
5) REST is Essential:
Make a conscious effort to maintain your HEALTH. During Professional/Personal Growth and Development know that facing Challenges can be best Tackled with a well-rested Mind and Body!
These Steps have helped me and many other High Performers across the Globe to develop HABITS of Success!
Emilee Ramsier | Commercial Photographer & Producer
The best advice I could give someone facing a challenge they deem as insurmountable is to breathe, accept the challenge and remain positive.
Also, to reach out to trusted friends/ family/ mentors and ask advice. You would be surprised how many people face similar challenges, they could give you advice or lead you toward great resources. Always remember you can get through any and all challenges — it is all mindset!
Jasmine Felton | Podcast Host and Creator
The best advice for someone who is facing a challenge they feel is insurmountable is to literally keep going! Roadblocks, doubts, and set backs are all part of the process but you must look past all of that. Do the work, have faith, and keep going!
Elena Surratt | Wife | Lit Momma, and Entrepreneur
Unless you literally do absolutely nothing in life, there are going to be challenges. Challenges that feel like they are far beyond human strength. The truth is: that they are. I relate challenges to childbirth. My advice is to always stand on the Truth of knowing that every single challenge you face is temporary and it can work for your good. Before I gave birth to new life, I had to face “I cannot do this, this baby is trying to take me out!” labor pains. Then I changed my mind. Before you can change a feeling, you have to change your mind. Take action to renew your mind for strength, perspective and perseverance.
Adrienne Selfe | Real Estate Professional
The best advice I can give someone who is facing a challenge that they feel is insurmountable is to ask yourself- why are you wanting to accomplished this goal? We all have faced obstacles in the past and we have overcame them. When I am faced with a difficult challenge I write down the steps of how I plan to tackle the obstacle I am facing. Getting started is usually the hardest part when facing a challenge, but just do it! When I am overwhelmed when trying to achieve a goal, I always have to remind myself that this is a journey and to trust the process, stay focus, be patient, be resilient, and to remember that nothing is impossible.
Terri Brooks | The Real Estate Matchmaker
Find a coach! Connect with someone who is doing what you’re trying to do. They’ll have firsthand experience, which means they’ll understand the challenge you’re facing from the inside. Putting your ego aside, remaining teachable, and knowing when to ask for help will set you up for success. Then, keep pushing! Make sure to take action on the insights from your coach. Learn to be persistent, creative, and resilient in how you execute your vision.
Tracy Tabunor | Event Planner
My advice to someone who is facing challenges is just to keep going because one thing I have learnt in life is that seasons and tides do change. Earlier this week i read a quote on Instagram from Tyler Perry about how he suffered the first 28 years of his life being homeless, in and out of work and living for his dream to be an award winning movie director. Fast forward to now and he is one of the biggest producers and has an amazing studio which helps other get closer to their dreams. You can hustle and be in the same place for 10 years but the breakthrough may come in year 11. It is important for us to remember nothing is constant in life and to always keep working hard for our vision and dreams to come to fruition. Stay connected to God and focus on your goals because in life everything eventually works out.
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.