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Perspective & Advice for Those Facing Insurmountable Odds

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.

Thiela Sugiarto | Real Estate Agent | Foodie-Restaurant Review and Marketing | Social Media Marketing

This is a chance to learn something new. Without it you will never learn it for yourself. Other people can tell you about it, but you will never fully understand it. Break it down and see how did you get there, and do research on how you can solve it. Do the best you can. You will come out more knowledgeable and stronger.

Michelle Pan | Personal Trainer | Group Fitness Instructor | Yoga Teacher | Reiki Practitioner | Fascial Stretch and soon to be Massage Therapist

I worked in Digital Media Sales for almost 9 years and had no plans to join the wellness industry professionally. I was diagnosed with depression when I was 13 and that diagnoses turned into my story.  The story that there was something wrong with me, the story that then led me down a rabbit hold of thoughts that would replay for years to come.  The story that kept me from seeing what was real and would eventually turn into another story that turned into Bulimia.  Today, after seeking help, healing, and community; I am in a completely different place and if I could go back to rewrite my story, even in all those years of suffering, I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  The best advice I can give to someone facing a challenge that is insurmountable is to never stop seeking and that often times when things are happening “to you” that they’re happening “for you”.  It’s so hard to see what is coming and you don’t know what you know until you know.  I get to help people because I can see the reflection of myself in their eyes.  I get to remind people that life is hard and that growth doesn’t stop until the day we leave this planet.  It would be great to know what’s to come, to have it all finally figured out.  It’s the hardest and most wonderful thing about being alive.  That no matter how much we learn, grow, or change, that we’re never done.

Meghan Mahowald | Singer/Songwriter | Comedian | Actress

I think everyone deals with hardship differently, but I’ll tell you what has worked for me in the past. Ask for help and surround yourself with those who love you unconditionally and want the best for you. They can help lead you in the right direction as well as make you feel safe and supported through it. That being said, PLEASE please make time to be with yourself alone and give yourself a chance to hear what your heart and your gut are telling you. I like to clear my head when I’m dealing with shit like that by going on a morning run or taking myself on a long drive with the windows down and the music blasting. If all else fails, smoke a joint and order a pizza – that helps too.


Stacia Karcher | YouTuber | Lifestyle Blogger

The best advise that I could give someone that feels like they are going through something that is insurmountable is to put your faith in God. Keep a positive mindset and know that everything will pass with time. When you are in the middle of the storm it feels like you will never make it out but if you stay positive, keep your faith him God and know this will pass hopefully you will be able to get over it. When I am in this position I seek out professional help that will allow me to vent and get better advise than going to a friend of family member. Not all our friends and family’s have been through what we are going through so to get some unbiased advise if very refreshing.


Isabel Marker Smith | Content Creator | Stylist and Influencer

Personally whenever I am feeling challenged or like I can no longer accomplish my goals or am discouraged, I tend to take a step back and breathe. This is something that I have learned over the years has helped me tremendously. I tend to get anxiety when under pressure to finish a task or creativity stuck, breathing is a tool that I use to help refocus all my effort towards my goal. Another tip is writing down a list, I personally do this every morning, which helps me feel as if I have already carved out my steps for the day, now all I have to do is finish them one by one. This sounds like a silly thing, but it really does help me focus all my attention at the tasks at hand.


Lauren Pak | Content creator | blogger & social media storyteller

At one point, every challenge has probably seemed like an impossible task. When I’m faced with a challenge, I focus on  keeping a clear head so I can decide what my next steps are and how to make the best decision possible. Depending on  what the challenge is, it might be worth exploring advice from family and friends you trust, finding resources online that  you can  relate to, and taking some time to digest and clarify. Something cliche (but true for a reason) is that the anything  good is worth fighting for, and the best things in life take hard work. Keep your chin up, stay strong, and set your sights on  your main goal so you can keep moving forward.


Melissa Babaei | Fashion Model and aspiring TV host

I think that a challenge should be looked at in a positive way! We come across them all the time because nothing comes easy in life. And for that reason you have to just work hard on what you want, push trough and go for it even if you’re scared and come across difficulties.  Follow your dreams, embrace your passions in life and go for them, life is way too short to dwell on the “what if’s?” If ever you fail at least you know you tried. That’s my way of looking at it 🙂


Kira Omans | Actor & Martial Artist

When life throws you a challenge that feels insurmountable, the only way to truly fail is to to give up. Acknowledge your fear. Think about how far you have come. And keep your eye on the prize. You already have the inner strength to conquer.

Michelle Sun | Lifestyle Blogger & Photographer

There’s two ways to look at this scenario – the challenge is either a goal you want to achieve, or a problem you want to solve. If it’s a goal you want to achieve, be sure to break everything down into baby steps or else it will be easy to feel overwhelmed and unmotivated to surpass the insurmountable challenge that is in front of you. When you are able to visualize HOW you will get to your goal from Step A to Step Z, you will feel this huge adrenaline rush to get to where you want to be, knowing that you have acknowledged all of the steps that it takes to get to your goal! Personally, I love to write down steps or create a “spiderweb” or “road map” diagram to show me how I will get to my destination.​ ​If it’s a problem you want to solve, do try your very best to come up with a few potential solutions that could change your current situation all the while staying calm and grounded. After all, it never hurts to think outside-of-the-box and realize that in some cases, there are multiple ways to fix an issue.​ ​Additionally, it is best to approach a problem when you think logically instead of emotionally. If you’re feeling a bit emotional at the moment, do what you can to cool off before approaching the problem once more. With a more refreshed mindset and a calmer attitude, trust me when I say that you will naturally gravitate towards a wiser decision.


Melissa Martinez | Astrologer & Oracle Card Creator

What is the best advice i can share with someone regarding challenges they feel are insurmountable is, to realize they only think this moment in insurmountable because they are choosing to not accept it.​ ​Acceptance is KEY to move forward. As an astrologer everyone inquires about their future, so I really encourage clients to accept there present first.  The future is their “Ego and is attaching to an outcome” and as we know the attachment to ending always creates disappointment.​ I​ try to help them realize that their choices in the present create their future and try to help empower their choices of today. Be kind to themselves, and tune into self love as much as possible as they go thru this transition, and step into greater awareness of themselves and their place in their universe.

Olya Helga | photographer

Don’t give up. Stay positive and know that everything could be done probably you have to try from another side. Think out of the box and be honest with yourself.

Katarina Kearns | photographer & environmentalist photographer & environmentalist

Life can definitely be challenging; we all face many different challenges every single day. Just remember, whatever you’re going through, it could almost always be worse. Remember to be grateful for everything that you do have, some people wish they had what you have. Everything happens for a reason and you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Even if you can’t understand that now, it will make sense later on. Everything in life is a lesson, it’s just your choice to realize what the lesson is.


Addie Knight | Student

Even when it feels like your world is crashing down, it’s important to remember that things do get better with time. Finding something that brings you joy no matter how hectic life gets is key. I’ve learned to channel my negative energy into cooking a healthy meal for myself- spend time finding what makes you smile.


Chenni Wen | Photographer

I feel the best way to deal with a hard challenge is to step back and see the problem in all directions and come up with a plan. And stay positive. It doesn’t help to solve something when you feel defeated before really getting started.

Shay J | Canadian Triple Threat Artist

The best advice for someone facing an insurmountable challenge would be to remember nothing is permanent and for every negative try to find the positives within it because life is about experience, learning and growth. When you can see the bright side, you’re already acknowledging what good has come out of it and will therefor create more good in your life. Energy is everything and thoughts become things.. our energetic frequencies attract or repel certain experiences or circumstances. We have the power to create our own realities.. stay away from a victim mentality, practice gratitude  and always ask yourself what can “I do” to change my habits, thought patterns, energy and live a better life.


Emily Yuan | Los Angeles Real Estate Expert | REALTOR®

The best advice I can give someone when overcoming an insurmountable challenge is remembering your intention or setting one. This has helped me through the tough times as a real estate agent.  If you know the destination of where you are going, how you will get there will manifest itself. These obstacles are placed in our lives, most of the time, to teach us something. We learn, we grow, and we level up! Who you are today is incredible and the wonderful qualities you have to offer to the world is uniquely yours. When you set your mind to reach and live out your potential, you will see that your God given gifts are no coincidence! YOU are meant to be here, YOU are amazing, and YOU got this! 

Lexi Brelon | Model & Actress

My advice for anyone facing any challenge that proves to be difficult is to take a break. As crazy as it may sound, no problem is ever effectively solved by a stressed and strained person. Take an hour and dedicate it solely to yourself. Take a nap, meditate, go on a run, pray, practice yoga; do whatever you need to do to re-balance yourself. Then, return to your challenge with an open mind, body and spirit. Be ready to think outside the box, ask for help or develop a totally different approach. No challenge is insurmountable and no problem was created any bigger than you were designed to conquer.


Sarah Schubert | Comedian | Actor | Writer

Call out to Jesus and ask Him to guide you and reveal a clear path. Make a decision to focus on the good, no matter what is going on around you. Walk in peace. Sometimes we feel something is too much to bare, but remember, God has great plans for each of us. Have faith in God and His plan among the tests and trials, and don’t lean on your own understanding. Be encouraged in the tough times, keeping in mind it doesn’t last forever, and if you don’t give up and live according to His will, you will be victorious — and that’s a fact.


Kristin Calabria | Yoga Teacher & Mental Health Advocate

Your team, your circle, is everything. Who you decide to keep close to you determines much of how you see the world and move forward in it. If you’re facing a challenge you feel you can not navigate alone, look to your circle. Lean on your team. Your feelings are valid. Your thoughts are too. You can choose to focus on them and remain in the rumination/worry cycle -OR- you can direct energy outward to the people who have committed to lifting you up. They will give you what you need in that moment to keep going. And in turn, you have an opportunity to do the same for them when they hit a similar place.

Brittany Won | Nonprofit project manager | Home cook

When faced with an overwhelming challenge, I try to take a step back and figure out how to tackle the issue one small step at a time. Breaking down the problem into smaller tasks makes it less daunting and allows you to celebrate the small victories. It is also crucial to reach out to those around you and vocalize your concerns, or ask for help, so that you don’t feel like you are standing alone against an impossible challenge. You would be surprised at how many people are willing to lend a hand, or even just lend an ear, when you are in a time of need!

Jazmyn Ulyssia | Model & actress

To anyone facing a challenge, try to think of the challenge as something that is showing up to show you your strength. Consciously take a step back and realize that you are facing something that you undeniably have the power to overcome! If you choose to give power to the challenge instead, it then becomes insurmountable. Keep your mind focused on the best possible outcome not the obstacle, because what you focus on will grow. Try to visualize the perfect solution as something already manifested and hold steady to the feeling of overcoming. Actively pursue ways to make your situation better and things will work out in divine timing.


Brittany Warren Valencia | Senior Associate District Realty Group & Co-Owner Show Ready DTLA

I think the first thing to do is acknowledge that no challenge is insurmountable. You more than likely have already overcome challenges you previously thought were insurmountable. Use your memories of personal wins as a spring board to rise to the next and greater occasion. Stay laser focused on your goals, be confident in your capabilities, have a positive mental attitude (no matter what!) and don’t give up.

Amanda Sorensen | Singer | actor | model | fitness enthusiast

The best advice I can give someone when they feel a situation is insurmountable is to know that this problem is short term and not to dwell on it. Whatever the situation is, that you can overcome it. I’m very big on mindset. If you have negative mindset, of course whatever the problem is going to look “terrible”. Instead, look at the situation as being temporary and that you got this sh*t. That tomorrow will be a better day . To put your energy into the bigger picture. When I feel like I can’t get through something,  I turn to fitness and put my work into boxing. My body feels released and I have a different and clear mindset. That’s my time to re-evaluate what ever is going on. I always remind myself that I am lucky for everything I have. I have a great family, friends and that I am healthy. Just take a deep breath and know that everything is going to be just fine.


Jennifer Ochoa | LA Lifestyle Content Creator | Traveler

It always seems impossible until it’s done” by Nelson Mandela is the perfect quote that comes to mind. I find that having inspirational quotes around me helps motivate me no matter what I’m going through at that specific time. Because we all face different challenges throughout our life, It’s how we react to them that really matters. Personally, I’m a visual person. I like to step back and really analyze the situation. I sit down and write all of my thoughts on paper. It helps me to really organize my thoughts and visually see them. I think about what I have to do to get to my end goal. I break down each and every step with as much detail as possible. By then I don’t feel so anxious about the challenge anymore. I’m looking at the smaller challenges than one large challenge that overwhelms me and makes me not even want to start. It’s taking me a while to figure out that this tactic works for me and really try to practice it as much as possible. Maybe it’ll work for you too! It never hurts just to try.


Marcy Roth | L.A. Luxury Real Estate Agent

Jade Blairs

First and foremost is your mindset. Find a morning routine that helps you set your mind and your day up for success otherwise there will be many days where everything will seem overwhelming and insurmountable. Then if you come across a challenge that seems impossible, you are prepared with all the tools. When something particularly comes up as a challenge, you must take a step back, break it down into a plan, identify what it will take to overcome that challenge as insurmountable as it may seem. Next you should start taking small actionable steps in your plan. Try to focus on the process and the small wins along the way rather than the challenge or end game. Don’t allow yourself to get distracted or stumped by set backs or people telling you “no”.  As I always say if it were so easy to do, everyone would be doing it,…so if you see something that seems unachievable, set yourself up for success, with mindset, drive, a plan, persistence, and hard work ……. 

Melina Rose Kolani | Actress | Model | Future Director

If you feel you’re facing a challenge or problem in life that is just too big to take on, remember, it isn’t. This might sound morbid, but the only problem that truly is insurmountable in life (in my opinion), is death. Take whatever challenge you are facing, break it down into actionable, realistic steps that you can take to get that challenge accomplished, and don’t rush the process. You can’t climb a mountain in one leap, you have to take it one step after another, and at some point, after lots of hard work and perseverance, you’ll reach the peak. Or maybe you’ll even find something you weren’t expecting to find!



Czarina Advincula | Fashion Textile Design Director & Yoga Instructor

Master your craft & keep working hard. For as long as you are doing the best you can with all the right intentions, it will always pay off and when you feel that everything is falling apart, switch your mind to believe that everything that is happening is necessary so things can fall into place. 

Kitty Wan

Never stop believing in yourself even if no one else does, we are all capable to accomplish all of our dreams, even the ones that seems most impossible. Hang in there.


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