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Episode 22 Transcript

Episode 22: “Courage is not the absence of fear.” Owning your strengths with Vanessa…

Arivee: Hi, I'm Arivee Vargas and I believe we're also powerful beyond our wildest imaginations. We have the ability to overcome the fears, self-doubt, negative beliefs and all the other roadblocks that hold us back from having the life and career we really want and deserve.

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That's why I created the Humble Rising podcast. I want to help you get clear on what a joyful and fulfilling life and career looks like for you and help you go after it with all you have. Each week we'll talk to badass inspirational woman of color, sharing their journeys. Think of them as your mentors we’ll dig into their successes, failures, challenges, the different shifts and pivots in their careers and personal lives, and so much more. Leave with actionable strategies for making your own shifts in your life that gets you to where you want to go. And help you become who you most want to be, be inspired, get motivated, and get ready to rise. This is the Humble Rising podcast.

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My friends. Today's episode officially marks the start of season two of the podcast and I was so excited. I mean, I'm sitting down, I'm recording this, but I really want to be up and standing and clapping and cheering because I'm so excited for this season because we've broken this season down into different series so each series, which will be about four to six episodes, will focus on a specific topic. So, the topic for our first series is all about self-worth, self-empowerment and confidence. These are topics that I have heard from you. I have listened to you. And understand that these are topics you want to learn more about. You want advice. You wanna delve deeper into them, and this is the answer to that call. OK. And I couldn't have a more perfect guest to kick off this series. She is a strength coach. She's an authenticity advocate, and she's a lawyer. And she is Vanessa P Kuljis. Vanessa specializes in working with organizations, and what she calls unconventional professionals who really want clarity about what's next in their careers and in their lives so they can work and live with impact freedom. A sense of adventure and a sense of well-being. She is a Gallup certified strengths coach, and she is the founder of Bloom Rise. She specializes in strengths coaching using the Clifton Strengths assessment to help professionals maximize their talents, own their worth and set and achieve authentic goals. Her coaching philosophy, which I am obsessed with, is based on the foundational beliefs that authenticity is an asset. Freedom is a choice, and a beautiful life is your birthright. Vanessa got her JD from the University of Chicago, and she contributes a unique perspective as an executive coach by leveraging her experience in big law. Where she was a litigator, she was in house at a multinational bank, and she has done coaching and project management at a nonprofit diversity organization, and she has been involved with coaching and leadership development at a law school. She's especially passionate about working with people and teams who want to excel and succeed professionally and use that success to serve a bigger vision for impact. Now, if you've listened to season one of the podcasts, you can probably already notice the parallels between Vanessa's passions and my passions and our mutual drive to help others discover their true potential, and to really activate it right and fulfill it. And in this episode; we channel our experiences coaches to have a conversation about how we think about our own strengths or weaknesses and how important it is to pursue a life and make decisions and lead a life of courage. And of clarity. And so, I'm so excited that she kicked off the series. I'm so excited for you to hear our conversation. So, with that, here is my conversation with Vanessa.

Hello, Vanessa. Thank you so much for joining me on the podcast today.

Vanessa: Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited.

Arivee: OK, so I'm so excited for our conversation because I know there's a lot of juicy stuff we're gonna get into with your coaching and all the value that you bring as a coach. So, I'm really excited for our listeners to hear you and your story. So, for those who don't know you, share with us a little bit of your background who you are and the work you do.

Vanessa: So, I am a Gallup certified strengths coach. And what I do now is I coach folks on owning their worth, discovering their talents and before that I was a practicing litigator. I did the big law corporate track up, just like I know you did, and the experiences in between were professional development. I worked, you know, at a university and at a university nonprofit. And a lot of things that had a winding road. And I think that's what's informs my my coaching now because I’ve had those experiences and I've lived the leap from one thing to another, and the intentional leap should reframe it as that. So that's what I'm passionate about doing now is working with what I call unconventional professionals. There are a lot of us who, you know, have big dreams and have different ideas about what we want our life to look like. And and that's what I'm really excited about.

Arivee: Well, that's great. Talk us through what the Clifton Strengths assessment is, what value it really provides to the person who receives it and how you work with them based on that.

Vanessa: Yeah. So, it's it's the concrete tool that I like to start every coaching process with because it gives us language to identify the things that were great at and the way that it works is you take an assessment. It's about 30 minutes, maybe could take up to 45, but it is timed so you go through your answer. These pairs of questions and once you get is a listing of your top talents and they're not random talents, they're. You know, studied by Gallup and organization that a lot of folks are familiar with, and they researched which talents are the most significantly tied to success. So, there are things like competition, and there's one called activator, like starving things, getting new projects off the ground, empathy, competition, things like that. And the order of dominance matters because your number one through 10 are probably the ones that you draw upon the most and the most naturally. And so, understanding those things about yourself and giving them language is really important to seeing the opportunities for growth and a lot of times people are not surprised. And I always say. You know, these are probably not gonna shock you, but some of them may seem to you as weaknesses. You may have reactions about them, right. Your reactions are as important as a result, say this all the time. Right, 'cause. We've got stories. We've been told certain things about, you know, these different talents that we have, and you know, unpacking that is a really important part of the process and then building confidence about what's possible because of your profile is a really important piece. So, then we go. Every coaching process is different based on the person. But we start with something concrete so that you have language to work with.

Arivee: What have you found to be the most common challenges your clients find in the unpacking process and building the confidence.

Vanessa: There's a few common ones, so one would be that's a really good question. One would be. I've always thought this was a weakness, right? So, in the context of lawyers, right. I use this example all the time because it happens all the time, especially as women, right? I am competitive. I knew this my whole life. I always thought that was a bad thing. How dare I be competitive, right? Whereas men don't get told that story. Right? So, unpacking. What does competition mean? Right. And in context of the assessment is it's up leveling the game. Right. Like, imagine any elite athlete is up leveling the game by competing with somebody who's also functioning at a high level. It's a beautiful gift to be able to look to your left and say, hey, let's see how great we can do this right. And I'm looking at you to to measure my progress. Right. I'm looking at what's possible to measure my progress. Right. But what a great thing. But the myth there is. How dare I? I've always been told that's a bad thing, right? Another one. I get this a lot, but I'm missing fill in the blank.

Arivee: I was gonna ask you. What about the people who say? But what I thought this was my strength. Why can't that be my strength? What am I missing? Yes, I can imagine that.

Vanessa: All the time and it's things like empathy is not at the top for example, does that mean I'm a terrible person? Absolutely not. Right? But you have a different way of relating, right. Maybe your first reaction is not to feel with people, which is how empathy is defined by Gallup. Right. You're like the emotional barometer. So, you can't not feel with people in a room. You cannot. You can't not feel with the person you're in front of, right? That is your first instinct. That may not be your first instinct, but you may treat people in a very empathetic manner, like coming from a different place. And so a lot of times when people are, let's say. And in a business like ours, in coaching or in law where you're constantly dealing with clients and service industry, people will say, isn't that such a bad thing that I don't have empathy, that means I'm not gonna be successful and then we gotta unpack and say, well, let's, let's look at how you actually do approach things and why that is so extremely valuable and perfect for what you're desiring to do, but I don't think your desires are an accident, right? They're they're a product of who you are, right? You don't desire things that you're not designed to achieve.

Arivee: Right. Vanessa, I have to tell you, I think I. OK. I've definitely done the Clifton strengths assessment before. I've definitely done it. And., I believe if I'm remembering accurately that two of my top ones were, I think lifelong learner or learner was number one and number two or three was recognition and I saw recognition and I had a visceral reaction. I'm like, wait, I have done so much work to not seek external validation from me even for my own self-worth. Why does this say recognition? But it’s true. I would love to hear your thoughts on people like me who have that kind of reaction of competition to seek recognition where you’ve done work to not attach any way that you feel to anything external but recognition to me sounds like an externally biased type of strength.

Vanessa: Yeah. Oh, I love this question. So, you just said something really important. And. And by the way, I should’ve. I should have mentioned this. So, the Clifton strengths assessment used to be called the Strengths Finder and some problems used to have different terms. So, recognition. Might be now significance. (Arivee: Aw OK. Yep.) I’m pretty sure that's what you're referring to? (Arivee: Yes.) It's the same kind of reaction, right where it could be the same kind of reaction where. Like, how dare I seek external validation, right. That is actually, I've I've seen the opposite reaction to that, which is this explains why people matter to me. The whole point of significance and by the way, fun fact, that was actually Don Clifton's number one strength. (Arivee: Oh.) So, significance is I need you to see me. I need you to see me as an example. I need you to watch me succeed because that is important in my mission in up leveling society.

Arivee: Vanessa. OK. And if you're listening, I'm having a moment because. That's like my whole story, Vanessa, like needing people to see what we can accomplish and do and be an example for the community and showing people it can be done because I didn't see that as a young child. So that's like part of my fire, like literally. That shit will never go out because it is my, like ultimate purpose. So, the way that you framed it is freaking so spot on.

Vanessa: Yeah, it's a great thing and it's it's in the bucket of influence and talent because people can't help but be drawn to that 'cause you do it from such a place of. Service from such a place of like this is important. This matters so much that you have to see this.

Arivee: Yeah. I just got hit by. I got. I just got literally hit by the reframe. So, it's awesome. OK, that that makes. That makes me feel better. Right, 'cause it. Then it makes sense to me now I feel like, OK, yes. This this does center me at grounds me and it. Motivates me and pushes me literally. You're right. Like it'll never end. That will never end. Just like being a learner. I don't know if it's still called lifelong learner, but just like how that never ends like I always wanna learn more to the point where sometimes I have to stop myself because I think I have to learn more to do. Some sometimes I have to remind myself I know enough right now, I have to act and I can always learn more about something else that's different. But sometimes learning so much can actually prevent you from taking the action 'cause then you don't know enough.

Vanessa: Yes, but the flip side to that that makes it so relatable. And this is like, one of the things I love most about learner. Is you never feel like you know at all. People don't perceive you as I know at all because you genuinely feel like there's always more to learn. I've done a lot and there's more. There's more for me. There's more for you. And so, people learners tend to be great teachers because people are receptive to information from someone Like You. (Arivee: Yes, yes.) No ego, right? It's just a genuine love of absorbing new information, new ideas and that's contagious.

Arivee: Yes that's hitting me too. Cause I I used to teach actually used to be a professor part time, teach business law. And I love teaching in general. Like I love teaching things. I love when I coach, I teach concepts right to give us language about things. So that makes so much sense to me. Wait, Vanessa, talk to me a little bit more about and. Speaking of my almost visceral reaction to when I got that significance result before we just spoke, talk through a little bit about how you're helping people own their worth.

Vanessa: That is such an important part and it's. Probably the most elusive part, right? So the way I end the framework that I that I explain is always number one. We've got to generate some clarity. Number two, we go to confidence right, which is that own your worth piece, right? Confidence is an internal game and then courage to act on it. So when you're getting to this confidence building, owning your worth, that's when we look at these things and say, yes, I see we're hard on ourselves. I see all the ways in which I don't think this is good enough, and yet there's so much good here. There's so much potential here. I'm perfectly positioned to do what I say I wanna do. Like I I went through this when I started my business right. One of mine is my top talents is adaptability which is like a very present focused attention to people to life. Right. I can't. I can't not be in the moment. A lot of times and sometimes I forget about the future and sometimes I forget about the past and I'm right here and I totally have shiny object syndrome. That's how it shows up as a negative. Right. That's what I was told and what I know now is that's a really important part of what makes a great entrepreneur. I'm right here. I am writing to pivot, and I am very responsive to the moment because that's what I'm focused on. I call it like mindfulness, right? That's why I've always been drawn to mindfulness 'cause I'm right here and I'm always right here with my people. Right, every time I coach, every time I'm in a speaking engagement. Like I'm right here with you. Like there's nothing else truthfully in my mind right now, I'm here. And owning that, owning that to be able to say, you know, yes, I can, I can bet on myself, is a huge piece of the process, but it takes a lot of internal reflection, a lot of watching yourself behave and think about it differently. You gotta go home with this stuff, right? Like I I. Start with giving information, but then it's like, but now watch yourself and see yourself with new eyes. That's what it means to own your worth.

Arivee: See yourself with new eyes. Watch yourself behave and you have this new information. So how do you see yourself with new eyes? I love that. How do you get people to? What about if people resist that

Vanessa: You will and that's part of the process. (Arivee: Yeah) because you're you've been telling yourself to learn a different story this whole time, right. And so it's gonna take a while to reframe that. It's gonna take a while to look at yourself and stop and say I I don't. I don't. I don't like the story. I'm gonna choose to replace it.

Arivee: Yes. Replace it and let's end Vanessa let. Can we talk right now about the importance of replacing the story versus saying, oh, I have to stop thinking about that.

Vanessa: Yes. OK. Again basically, to end of mindfulness, can you tell him a fan and I'm constantly in the process, right. It is not a done deal. But yeah, like, you were going to have your reactions. They are not gonna go away. You're not going for the absence of feeling a certain way about something. Right. You're not going for the absence of stock for the absence of a craving you know to do something that you don't wanna do, right. It's going to be there and that's OK. It's making peace with it and being able to acknowledge this is what comes up for me when I hear significance. Right, like and what comes up for me is I shouldn't feel that way. Right, I'm just making this up. I don't know if that's, you know, the the reaction, but catching yourself doing that more often and being able to drive a wedge of awareness and between the thoughts and then what you do with that thought is everything. (Arivee: Yes) like for me, it said, I'm scattered. I wanna do everything at once. It's. I am so a present to the different possibilities and I know now that's my superpower, right? Like I'm present. And that got me here right now. And that's gonna get me to the next step. All I have to do is pay attention and trust myself. I can trust myself to be present to all the possibilities right now. And to be a nimble business owner right?

Arivee: And Vanessa let’s talk, let's talk a little bit more about the ability to 'cause you laid out that framework of clarity, confidence and courage. And I and I think that deeply resonates even with me that deeply resonates. What's the difficulty your clients face in finally knowing what they want to do. They've gotten the clarity they're like, OK, I'm I I I know I can do this, but then the fear comes in. And they're struggling with the courage piece. Talk to us about that, because even you mentioned like being an entrepreneur and making that intentionally leap you say, right. You. I love the way you framed that intentional leap. How do you help clients do that intentional part when they really gotta have that courage to do it?

Vanessa: I know from experience. That courage is not the absence of fear. Yeah, not even close. It's it's making peace with the fear. Right. And being able to play. I am shaking my boots right now. And I'm gonna do this anyway because I am choosing to bet on myself. I am choosing to bet on this thing. It's on my heart for a purpose that I determined is real and it's not easy, and there will always be fear, and there will always be a next level of fear, like I actually remember being asked by a law student, you know, does it ever get easier or does it go away? No, it just changes. It just transforms. Like the thing that used to be hard that used to bring up fear doesn't anymore. But the next thing will it's just that you get better at observing what you are like in here and doing doing it anyway. But it's not as easy as yeah, feel fear do it anyway. No, there's a process you have to be able to sit with it and observe. Can understand where is it coming from? Isn't even founded in reality, right? Or is it just this you know this thing that lives in us that it's it's part of the risk, right?

Arivee: What have you found is the most common fear people have?

Vanessa: I've been thinking about this a lot lately. Actually, there's a lot of different ones. But the one that has actually come up most recently among my client is I'm gonna let down my family.

Arivee: Tell me more about that.

Vanessa: They expect this. I have been told I am supposed to be grateful for this opportunity. I am supposed to the Shoulds, right? The supposed to right. I am supposed to have a stable career where I'm here. Or, you know, 20 30 years and this is where I developed my pension and leave and retire, right? I am supposed to be able to manage all of this and balance all of this and somehow not let it get to me. And not wanna change. All this supposed to’s and if I do the thing that is more risky that is more adventurous that is different. I am going to let down my spouse, my children, my parents, the people that came before me that didn't have the opportunities I have.

Arivee: Uh, Vanessa Have you seen In the Heights? (Vanessa: Yes) this this is the story. And so people have to watch this movie so they understand just a little bit of what Vanessa is talking about is when we feel like there's so much weight of expectation on you, whether someone tells you explicitly in your childhood, you must do X or not, it doesn't matter. You receive the message that you are supposed to do X&Y. Don't shit on our sacrifice. Make good on our sacrifice. Look at what you have. I didn't have this. And you are like, OK, I got. I gotta. I gotta do this thing. I have to succeed under traditional American norms, and that means financial stability, security, job security and I have to be grateful for what I get. I can ask for a salary raise. I can't ask for promotion because that would not be humble. That would not be the thing that I that I was raised to do. I should be grateful these false stories that we've told ourselves and I love how you explain it. Because this is and with my clients to this comes up all of the time, especially children of immigrants. It's this thing of like, but my but my parents like worked so hard and I feel like if I leave the law firm, I'm letting them down like you have been there for nine years. (Vanessa: Exactly.) And then they'll say and I'm. And they are financially secure. They couldn't quit their jobs and not work for two years. But this story and their head is No. But I'm gonna let them down because I was supposed to keep going. I'm supposed to make partner. I'm supposed to do that. I'm like, but for what? And for who and why?

Vanessa: I love that you just said it's unspoken too. Because I, you know, I'm also the child, them immigrants and my own Puerto Rican. My dad, Chilean, and they didn't explicitly tell me anything like that. Right. They were just like; you’re doing so well. So, you're doing such amazing things. Right. And I think they would recoil at the idea, right. But like, they were the reason. (Arivee: Yes) I internalize that reason. I felt like that was what was supposed to happen, right? Like it was never good enough. (Arivee: Yes.) But you know, it's the stunt cost fallacy, right? Like you have done enough with exactly what you had. Right. There's a new opportunity in front of you. You can't see it because it wasn't put in the clothing that you were told was the right clothing, right was the right look. It wasn't the job and the corporate firm for 30 years. But there's a new opportunity in front of you. Right? Like to launch a business launch a podcast, you know, start on a different adventure, go to a different organization, right? That too is an opportunity. It's just a newer one, but we can't see it because it doesn't look like opportunity. It looks like defiance.

Arivee: Yes, it's why it's it's the responses that you think is coming in your head is why would you do that? Who do you think you are? Yes. Yes. It's the reaction to risk. Anything like, even when I made different shifts in my career, I remember my parents saying like, but wait, why would you do that? Like, wait, can I? Can we check in for a second and even though I'm a full on adults like I'm I'm in my 30’s a full on adult you still you still wonder what your parents think it affects you. Like I'm not even gonna act like it. Doesn't your grown ass adult and you still are wondering. Wait. But I can't let my mom down.

Vanessa: Yeah, of course. 'cause you care. You care about your family. Yeah. And. And the flip side of this is, and this is how I'm seeing it now too, is you bring that into your current family. Into your own relationship. Dynamic with your spouse and your children. And you think you're gonna let them down, right. But then, you know, I think I thought about this personally as well. And it's just like, but they chose you, right. Like your spouse, your partner chose you. They were not unaware of who you are.

Arivee: Well, and let's hope that you've shown them. You show you, show them who you were authentically and all your ambition and drive and all your crazy ideas. I'm hoping you shared those, right?

Vanessa: Yes. I mean, my husband's like, oh my crazy wife is up to it again. I have no doubt you're gonna be great, right? But in my mind, I'm freaking out. Are you sure? I'm not letting you down. No, please go do you. I am so excited, you know, but it even if that's not what he's saying, I'm not hearing it until I'm ready to hear. You're not letting me down. Seriously, go do your thing.

Arivee: Yeah. And how how have you worked with clients through that, though, through this issue? I know it depends on the person. Obviously, coaching is. Always situation dependent, but what do you think is the most effective way to work with the client through this like, I think it's almost like a final roadblock. I I find it to be one of those like final roadblocks.

Vanessa: Oh we’re so aligned and I was just gonna say if we get there, we're making change amount of progress because I didn't understand this for the longest time and again like I coached from my limped experience if you can even acknowledge what you want like the things that you want and the things that are holding you back that is a huge amount of progress and awareness and clarity because I don't know, is one of the best limiting beliefs you can live with. I don't know where I wanna go next. I all of those things. I don't know who I am. I don't know what I think. I don't know what I need. So, if we can even get through to. I think I know I'm just scared. You are in such an amazing place, right? And everyone has a different cadence, right. Like I was. And I don't know, for a really long time. Because here's what happens with high achievers, especially right, the other professionals listening is we are not used to failing, right. We are used to being excellent. And there's a lot of things we can be excellent at that totally drain our existence and energy and just the thought of knowing something. It means you've got to do something about it. It won't let you go if you identify what you want or what you need. So once we get there, you know you've gotta take action and that's the scariest part for most people is saying I want, I want to move on from this career. I want something new for myself and I'm afraid of, blah, blah blah, you know? So how do we work through it at every honestly, one step at a time and to even get there is a tremendous amount of progress.

Arivee: Yeah, it's interesting how you mention high achievers and we're not. We don't wanna fail. And you mentioned we do things excellently, but it can drain us. And I'm curious as to for your clients, are they often in roles or jobs that they're they're actually great at it. They find a challenging, but they don't necessarily like it. It isn't really energize them. But they could do it. They could do it.

Vanessa: Of course, you're highly confident, of course you can do it. That's where the strength assessment is really powerful because you can look at things that you do as part of your daily job and they're not on your profile and you're like, oh, that's why that's why this drives me crazy. It's not that I can't. I just have to be someone else, to do this everyday.

Arivee: OK, Vanessa, wait. If you guys can come, I'm literally like, about to jump out of my seat. You guys can't see me. 'cause. This is audio only, but yes, it's you feel misaligned. You feel this is not me. You feel like you're playing a part and you don't wanna admit that. You know, you're not crazy. No, you're not. But you're just misaligned. And even though you spent 7-8 years, 10 years doing the thing. It's never too late to switch to change to do something different. This gets me fired up Vanessa, this gets me fired up.

Vanessa: We’re on the same page. This is where we get to the point where I'm like, listen. You. Definitely. You're not crazy. This is not. You're not making this up, right? And this is where the validation comes in. Like, oh, I wasn't making this up. This is just not how I operate. This isn't not wear my zone and geniuses, right? If you've ever have you read the Big Leap?

Arivee: Yes. Oh, OK, everyone, get the book, please. Get the book.

Vanessa: Such a good book, and like, it's totally like quick side comment cause it, it's perfect for what we're talking about. It's it's definitely like one of those nice traditional like old white guy wrote the book. No, nothing wrong with the old white guys. I love them, but we need new voices because I was kind of like relating and not relating at the same time as I was reading this book.

Arivee: Yeah, yeah, yeah. But, Vanessa, the thing with the book, I mean, there's some parts where I, like, skimmed over. And I said, OK, not relevant to me. However, the section of how do you find your zone of genius and how he said you are operating your good at it challenges you your. In your zone of excellence, but you there's another level I was like, hold the phone. Are you kidding me and I, I mean, I know this 'cause. Now I'm doing work that's in my zone of genius. But the feeling you feel when you're in your zone of genius is so true. It is flow. It is easy, although it's hard work. It's it's easy to you because it flows through you. It's not so hard to make the effort because you're activating that genius part of your brain and of your heart and your soul. Literally. You're lit up. And so I love how he talks about that because it also gives us as coaches, language for people be like you're in your zone of excellence. You're awesome. You are fantastic. You know, there's another level and that's why you feel like that?

Vanessa: Yeah. And that's exactly it, right. That's the part that that is so important is that the zone of excellence piece is the dream killer. That's the dream killer because we're confident, of course, you're gonna be excellent at it. That's what you're trained to do. And you will never give less then excellent. But right there is another level for you, and it can feel good. It can feel good. It can feel easy. It can feel aligned. It can feel empowering that is possible, right? It's just that we stop thinking. We stop believing that's possible.

Arivee: I think one of the stories that clients tell themselves, especially like women of color and children of immigrants, is that my whole life will fall apart if I do this. So how do we have your have your clients experience that that story and how do you help them work through that?

Vanessa; That's always in the background. (Arivee: Yeah) I think that's always in the background, especially if their children immigrants. Right. Because you think this is what I'm supposed to do. This is what I'm supposed to build. And this is the safe house to build. But I think it goes back to perceiving the risk as a possibility, proceeding as certainty as a possibility rather than a horrible risk. It's in the way we think about things. It's the reframing of the story that it's it's dangerous. It's not safe, it's not good in going there. Yeah. The word is aligned. If it's calling. If the next. If this next step is calling to you, it's align. There's something good to explore. And yes, there might be a very real risk. And you should look at that right and mitigate the risk of indent is real, right. We don't wanna be like Pollyanna about it. But at the same time, most of the time it's not bad. Most of the time it's it's in our heads.

Arivee: Yes. And even even for for a lot of people, they say, well, financially have to. You know, I I don't know. And I'm like, well, have you look through your finances, do you know the actual amount you must make? Have you talked to somebody about that? Well no.

Vanessa: But here's where the Nexus between thought and action come into play. If you believe, then it's a viable and blood possibility. You will find a financial advisor, many of which have been appeared on your podcast, by the way. You will find people to actually look at the practical situation and help you through the things that are actual real risks so that you can start discerning the difference between reality and fear and just basic human fear, right? If you believe that it’s worth it then you will do those things if you believe that it is out of your reach and not something you're supposed to do. You won't even look into it, and you will believe that your thoughts are true.

Arivee: The full conversation is reminding me of when I read about your coaching philosophy. Can you talk to us about your coaching philosophy? Explain it and how it really informs your work with clients.

Vanessa: Yeah. So, anyone say the the philosophy behind what I do is authenticity is an asset. Freedom is a choice, and a beautiful life is your birthright. So, authenticity, I mean, it goes to the significance conversation, right. You showing up as you is so important because there are other people just like you that need to see you. I need to know that you exist and there's this quote by Jesoria Mayor fellow Puerto Rican who I love. And she says something like, I don't know if I'm getting the words exactly right. But she says people need to know that you can do it and that you're just like them. Like, if if I can do it, so can you. And it's not right. It's an asset. Not only that, not only does it make you more relatable and make you an important example, but it it shows up in your work right? Like if we wanna go down the path of diversity is actually efficient. It's important, it's effective, right. We want different voices and different people in the room together. It makes us better. So, stop trying to be just like everyone else. Just be yourself. This is important, right? The dynamic is gonna be better with you in it and just that mindset shift. I don't have to pretend to be someone else to be valuable. That's what I mean. Authenticity isn't massive. And then freedom is a choice. It really is. At the end of the day, just a decision, right? The decision like. I've asked myself this all the time. It's one of my mantras. I have many, but I've asked myself this all the time. What is the freeist thing I can do? What is freedom feel like? Does this feel like freedom and that's how I learned to make choices, right? Because it is a decision. It's just we have a lot of blocks in the way. We have a lot of ideas about what we're supposed to do. In the way. But if you can be aware of them, then you can make good decisions for yourself and it can feel free and flow and like flow in ease, right. And the last. The last one is my favorite. A beautiful life is your birthright. I don't think our parents sacrificed whatever they needed to sacrifice. So that we can be miserable and our choices. I think the biggest act of resistance is enjoying your life. That is the best gift that I think that I can give to my parents, that I could give to my spouse, that I could give to my future children. Right is to enjoy my life, to live a beautiful life right, that feels aligned, that feels empowered, that feels fun, that feels free. Right. And we think that that's extra. But that is the most important opportunity that we have. If you're at a Nexus when you're choosing between excellent and genius, that is an ultimate opportunity. But we don't see it as such. We see it as rude or selfish, and so that that to me actually is the core of everything, right. A beautiful life is your birthright. This was, you know, if you look outside, if I'm I'm a huge hiker. Right. If you looking at nature, it's more beautiful than it needs to be. Food tastes good for a reason and tastes it. We don't need food to taste good to be nourishing. But it's good, right? We don't need music to live, but it's freaking amazing, right In the Heights.

Arivee: I know. Oh my gosh. I have that soundtrack on repeat. Yes, I do people. Yeah. Yeah.

Vanessa: Yes. And like, I have Hamilton on repeat. So important, but all of these things, they're not quote UN quote necessary, they're quote UN quote luxuries. And yet they're part of our lives for a reason. It's to me. It's almost like if you could pay attention to this, this is the ultimate act of gratitude. And to not live a beautiful life is almost to dishonor the opportunity that I have, but to get to a place where that feels accessible takes, it does take work 'cause that may not be the way we're thinking about it all the time. And that's also OK. Yeah. I've taken a lot of re frames for our conversation already. This has been really good.

Arivee: Wait so Vanessa I do wanna get to our rapid-fire questions because I love asking them to all the different guests that come on the podcast. So, the first question is what is your favorite book or books? You don’t have to choose one.

Vanessa: I've I always find those questions so hard, so I'm gonna give you a couple. (Arivee: Yep.) But I also, and I love this question. So, the first one is a personal development book, which is You’re a Bad Ass (Arivee: Jenn Cicero.) I think for the first you configure selves a little too seriously sometimes it's hilarious and it's also really profound and it has just great Nuggets. It's it's a great thing to read through and I really, really love that book. And then the other one, which is a classic, is The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. (Arivee: Yeah.) It really is timeless and it's all about there's so much in it. But you know the part about priorities especially speaks to me, right. Like choose your priorities. Right. Because we don't have a limited time. And that's one of the things that I work with my clients on that I think about all the time. There is one thing you can never buy in its time, (Arivee: yes.) So, keeping your priorities in perspective and how we're treating other people, a lot of the seven habits talk about interdependence is a higher value than independence. Being able to rely on peers on coaches, on mentors, on your team, right, like that's been a huge lesson for me and I'm, you know, the people orientation of it is really important. Yeah, last spoke, but I have to mention is one of my favorite books from just a long time ago. The God of small things. (Arivee: I've heard of this book) I had to include something that wasn't personal development because because you know, honestly sometimes we forget, right. We kind of go down this road. I. Read a novel girl, read a novel. But it is one of my favorite novel all time, and it's just so beautifully written like the actual language that she uses, just like. It's also about it's supposed go in a literature, right? It's like what I studied in college, basically. And it's all about, like, the the marginalized experience. So, there's a lot of, you know, thought in there too, but it's just beautifully written. So, if you wanna read a beautiful novel, that's one that I recommend. And I I quote and go back too often.

Arivee: Oh, that's good. Those are. Those are three good ones, though. What about a mantra or saying that either motivates you or pushes you through or gets you through a tough challenges?

Vanessa: Yeah. So, the one that I've been using lately is I am not overwhelmed. I'm abundant. Because I tend to go down the overwhelmed road and there's so much I wanna do right. And yes, I'm always trying to get things done. Always trying to do things. I got the To Do List. Yeah. While I'm like, I'm overwhelmed. No, I am abundant. So many options and choices in my life. Lucky me. I'm just gonna pick which one happens next. It feels better after I after I say it.

Arivee: How about what does the phrase humble rising mean to you?

Vanessa: I thought about this too, and I love it because we actually both rise in our in our (Arivee: yes) the bloom rise and I was actually told when I first did it, like oh God, this is such a common word. Like it's getting overused. And I'm like, no, something about it just. It feels right to me right in the whole motto is when you bloom we all rise. And I believe that right. Every single person has a journey, has a has a process that they're going really that is important and it's not really just about you right like you rising to the level of your zone of genius is important to the people around you. You will bring everyone up with you, so you know when I think of humble rising mean, I think of that synergy definitely between, you know, the the way we're both thinking about it. And I also thought about the poem by Maya Angelou. Still, I rise because there's there's a line. And I I don't have it in front of me. But she says something like does my sassiness upset you? Still like dust, I will rise and full of things where sometimes and it looking at in a time not too far from my generation, someone like me would not be talking about having a former career in corporate law that would not be a thing. And yet there's another level, right. And I want to normalize the fact that we're gonna rise, right, like we're going to be the new standard, right? Whereas, like, to our parents, you know, having a the second or third career was kind of crazy, right? Why? Why? (Arivee: What? Why?) Why is this a thing? Right? And you know, right. Humble rising is, you know, there are these these expectations and and we still get them right. You know women in a courtroom. I think the court reporter no are you the para legal no, turning on the case. OK. Thanks for assuming right, but humble rising at at some point, you know, like dust, I will rise like air. I rise. It's what I meant to do. And at some point, you're gonna stop. Like that level of assuming that I don't belong here, it's gonna shift right. And then the next step is. Have you had a second or third career yet? What are you doing with the next steps? Right. And I want that to be the standard. I want people to be able to look at someone like me and say this is the new standard and I want future generations to even better than I did.

Arivee: Yeah, so much beautiful. Vanessa, I have. I have so very much enjoyed talking to you. I got some reframes, I got some work I'm about to do on the stories I'm telling myself too, and I have a coach too, right? So, like, but doesn't matter. Like we're always trying to question the thoughts we have, which ones are true, which ones are not true. How do we take action? And I just wanna say. And for those who are listening, you can't see, Vanessa. And you can’t obviously can't see me, but I want you to know that her spirit and her energy comes through the screen. She has this very calming and peaceful but fun energy. And I know you are a phenomenal coach, I can tell. You're a phenomenal coach, so for anyone who and, she didn't tell me to say this. I'm just this is like, off the cuff, right? For anyone is watching for anyone who finds what we've been talking about. And for anyone that resonates with it and resonates with what she's saying. You need to go find her. You need to reach out to her, and you need to talk to her. So, Vanessa, how can people find you?

Vanessa: Thank you so much. By the way, I did not expect you to say that. And from you, by the way, that means so much to me. So thank you. And you can find me online at on my on my website, which is all together and then @Bloomriseco on Instagram, LinkedIn, Facebook, all the all the social media. Or you can just e-mail me directly at and the spelling will all be in the show notes I'm I'm sure, but I would love to hear from anybody. And yes, I'm really passionate about. These conversations, I know they're super deep and I am doing what I say right? Like I'm I'm doing the work to it's it's always a work in progress and nobody is finished and that's what's the most exciting thing.

Arivee: Yes. Well, thank you so much, Vanessa. I will throw all of that information in the show notes. Thanks so much for joining me.

Vanessa: Thank you so much. I love this conversation and I absolutely love connecting with you.

Arivee: Likewise. OK, take care.

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I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Vanessa and that you're able to apply some of the strategies that Vanessa shared to your own life. When we talk about strategies like the questions, you can ask yourself all that stuff that you can do all of that fits into the what I call like the how bucket and it's simply an invitation to experiment, right? Experiment with it, try it out, see if it works. Tweak it in a way that works for you that resonates with you. That's relatable for you. Take what helps and really disregard the rest.

OK with that, here are some of my takeaways from this episode. Number one, see yourself with new eyes. You have to really know your worth here. Number 2. Drive a wedge of awareness between your thoughts. Decide what to do about those thoughts. Discover where the perception you formed of yourself has come from. Where does it come from and see how you are self-proclaimed, quote UN quote negative qualities can also really be assets. #3 Courage is not the absence of fear. This is one of my favorite takeaways. OK, courage is not the absence of fear. Make peace with fear. Force yourself to be able to say that you're scared. Label it, acknowledge it, but that you're going to do the thing you're scared of anyway. Number four, you've done enough with what you have had. Sometimes opportunities look like defiance, so push yourself to go after the untraditional opportunities that you may have otherwise shut down #5. If you can acknowledge the things that you want, get honest about that, right, acknowledge the things that you want and acknowledge and be honest about the things that are holding you back. You're already taking a step in the right direction towards clarity. #6 perceive uncertainty as a possibility rather than a horrible risk. #7, you don't have to pretend to be someone else to be valuable. Number 8. And this goes to Vanessa's coaching philosophy, which again, I said at the outset, I am kind of obsessed with authenticity is an asset, freedom is a choice, and a beautiful life is your birthright. And number nine, the last take away, I mean I should have done a whole episode on this, by the way. You need to watch in the heights, OK, just watch In the heights. It's a fantastic movie and I understand the criticism, but I won't get into all of that. Just please go watch that movie. That is a takeaway from this episode. OK. And I would like. I would like it if you could apply that one because it will be well worth your time.

Thank you so much again for tuning in. And returning for the second season of Humble Rising podcast. If you enjoyed my conversation with Vanessa today and either want to learn more about her work or you know, you see yourself being a partner with her, with her being your coach, you can check her out on the various platforms that I'll throw into the show notes, she has a website. She's on social media. If you want that quick reference, she’s @BloomRiseCo, BLOOMRISE Co on LinkedIn, Instagram, and. Facebook you can reach her also through through e-mail and book a consult, but again I'll throw all those links into the show notes. Don't forget to subscribe, rate and review this podcast I love for you to share it with others if you want my doses of inspiration and motivation delivered to your inbox, click the link in the show notes to subscribe. You can, as always, connect with me on IG @AriveeVargas or @Humblerising. Or you can just message me and connect with me on LinkedIn. I'd love to know what you'd like to learn more about or hear more about on the podcast, especially as we get into this season of different topics. Where the topics you really wanna learn more about or want advice on. Finally, if you've been asking yourself how to figure out the next step in your career, right, you feel stuck. You don’t know what to do. You have this kind of crossroads. I've got a career clarity quick guide just for you. My sister says it's not quick, but I really wanted it to be a one-page guide. And so no, the work it requires is not quick, but it is a one-page career clarity Quick guide. So, check out the show notes for the link until next time. Know, that you're powerful now and you have what you need to create the life and career you want. You got this.

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