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Taking the reins back


Arivee [00:00:00] We all deserve to have fulfilling careers and lives. We deserve to experience joy and peace, and freedom and all of those things that make us feel truly alive.

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[00:00:20] It takes a lot of courage. For us to take the reins in our lives and take action that honors the deepest parts of ourselves in this current season of life. It takes a lot of courage to lean into growing and to lean into learning and to know when it's time to make a change. I'm Arivee, I'm a first-generation Latina mom of three and life and high performance coach to women just like you, and this podcast is for all of us looking to grow and learn and explore what a joyful and fulfilling life and career can look like. [00:01:01] And how to start living into that life right now. We're going to go deep and we're going to honor our truth in this podcast, and the best thing is we're gonna do it together. So welcome to the Humble Rising Podcast.

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[00:01:26] I am so thrilled to bring to this two-part episode with Cristina Costa. Cristina is a friend of mine from college, so we do go way back and she's on a mission. She's on a mission to empower people of color with the opportunity, the mindset, the professional skills, and confidence to succeed. She's the founder of Cristina Costa Coaching, where she offers career coaching to job seekers, to career transitioners and to entrepreneurs. She also offers [00:02:00] diversity, equity, inclusion, and human resources training to organizations across the tech nonprofit in other fields. She also serves as a community manager at Lennar’s Vickers Enterprises, where she is building the career journey, which is a supportive community for underserved career transitioners along their professional journeys.

[00:02:20] Previously, Cristina was a diversity recruiter at Google Cloud. During her time at Google, she also led the cloud culture team by providing DEI programming to the organization. She also served as the co-founder and chief marketing officer of Women with Purpose, which is an organization in Boston that provides professional development, training, workshops, and training to women of color.

[00:02:42] Cristina is a Latina, born and raised in Boston, and she is an outspoken advocate and speaker who works towards equity and inclusion for all and in this two-part episode we talk about what coaching is. The survival mindset versus the thriving mindset, especially as children of immigrants. [00:03:00] Right? How we go from survival mode to growth and thriving mode.

[00:03:05] We talk about what has to occur, what has to happen for you to experience true growth in your life and in your career. We also discuss how critical self-care is and so much more in part one, we start by delving right into how Cristina got into coaching and how her mentor Iliana was critical in helping her launch her coaching career.

[00:03:31] Look, we had so much to cover that we got right down to business. We skipped the pleasantries, and we got right down to it. I'm happy you're here. Here is part one of my conversation with Cristina.

Cristina: So essentially I had all these women reaching out to me, asking me for advice. You know, how did you go from this position to this?

[00:03:49] Or how did you even transition into tech? And what I would do is I would always refer them to coaches. If the can talk to so-and-so, or Talk to this person, or this person can help you. And Iliana really empowered me [00:04:00] to take on one of these people as, as, as a client. And she was like, Hey, you know, you keep passing them off to other people, but clearly they wanna learn from you.

[00:04:08] Right? They're reaching out to you for a reason. You know, I'd never had thought about myself as a coach. I'd never thought about myself as someone who had something of value to, to share with other people. And she really empowered me to take on my first client. So my first client was actually a woman, I won't say her name, but she was in her fifties, and I was like, how can I help someone who's in their fifties, like I'm only, you know, 30?

[00:04:31] Like she's gonna look at. Girl, you don't know.. and I ended up taking on this, this client, and it was literally so powerful to see the shift that she had working together with me and just seeing how, you know, how powerful it is to just create a safe space for someone to express themselves freely, to share their innermost desires or dreams.

[00:04:56] (Arivee: Yeah.) And have no fear of judgment and just have support. [00:05:00] Right. As just like a listening. , no judgment. Um, you know, not imposing their beliefs onto you (Arivee: Right.) Or imposing their needs onto you. And actually just letting you freely express who you are. Yeah. And say, Hey, I know that you are naturally creative, resourceful, and whole, and you can do this, and how are we gonna get there?

[00:05:18] (Arivee: Yeah.) Right? And that's so powerful. Um, just that alone, even, you know, people have families and, and friends, but a lot of times families and friends, they want you to stay safe, right? (Arivee: Mm-hmm) they want you to stay comfortable. They want you. , you know, they wanna make sure that you're okay. And sometimes taking a risk is a very scary thing, and it can be very isolating if you feel like there's no one who you can talk to about it, or no one who believes in you or support you.

[00:05:44] Arivee: Yeah. And hold you accountable, right? (Cristina: Like this is hold you accountable.) Like we were talking about this earlier, that. I have this thing where coaches are, are paid to challenge, we're paid to push, but I always say, but with love and compassion and kindness. Yes. Like we push you in a way that it's [00:06:00] not like your mom, it's not like you're, it's not nagging you.

[00:06:03] No, no. It's, it's not like you should just be so grateful. Like that's not, that is not what it is. Yeah. Um. It's very different. It's a, it's coming from a place of, but you wanted this, this is how you came into this conversation, this the relationship, this engagement. You wanted this for yourself, so I'm gonna challenge you to get you there too. [00:06:21] Cristina: Yeah, a hundred percent. A hundred percent. I think it's holding people accountable. while empowering them. (Arivee: Yes.) To find their own voice, to find their own path. And that's something that it took me a while to understand. Cause I think when I was first coaching, I wasn't trained, right? (Arivee: Mm-hmm) I was learning from my own coach or from experiences.

[00:06:39] And so, honestly, I'm not gonna lie, when I first started coaching, I think I was doing a lot more consulting. (Arivee: Yes. Okay.) Where I was telling people, this is how you should do it, and this works for me and this is the best way to do it. (Arivee: Mm-hmm.) um, and now that I'm certified, right, and, and I've taken multiple coaching courses now, and I've had multiple coaches myself.

[00:06:58] I understand that [00:07:00] we do not have all the answers. , you have all the answers. I'm just here to help you get to them, right? (Arivee: That's right.) I'm here to ask you the right, right questions. (Arivee: That's right.) That maybe you never thought of yourself. (Arivee: That's right.) So that you can find the answer. Because at the end of the day, I am a huge believer that every single person is naturally creative, resourceful, whole. [00:07:19] (Arivee: Yeah.) And they just need the extra support and someone to really empathically listen (Arivee: Yes) To them so that they can reach their own destiny. (Arivee: Yeah.) And their own power. Right. And, and that's what coaching's all about. And, and the other thing I've learned, which you've probably seen cause you've worked in corporate too, is you know, people who are in leadership positions, people who are in positions of power all have coaches.

[00:07:43] (Arivee: Yes, they do.) You know, people are like, wait, they're doing it on their own. No, the hell, they're not. They're not. They're all being coached, right? (Arivee: There's so much support that you just) so much support. Um, they're not doing it on their own. And to be really frank and honest is like those elite, white people [00:08:00] don't really need the coaching as much as black and brown and underserved communities who've been marginalized since this moment they came on this earth.

[00:08:07] (Arivee: Mm-hmm) Right. And, and so for me, it's really a mission of mine to make coaching more accessible to black and brown people. Especially women. (Arivee: Yes) Um, because that's where my passion really lies, is empowering women. We are still the most marginalized. We are still the most underpaid in this country. And that's the facts, right?

[00:08:23] Yes. and because we've also been taught, you know, I'm Latina, I'm from Guatemala and Brazil, and we've been taught to be humble, right? Like, don't brag about yourself. Don't talk about yourself too much, stay small, stay quiet. And I'm here to say, fuck that, . Yeah, we have been staying small and quiet too long.

[00:08:42] And look where that has gotten us. Arivee: Well, I think, or Cristina, don't you think some of that is cultural though? (Cristina: Like Oh, for sure.) This idea that I would ask for a pay raise. The idea that I would ask to be promoted. This idea that people ask for these things, like I think our parents are like, what? You make so much money. (Cristina: Yeah.) [00:09:00] Because to them anything that we do is like a huge deal. I think for people who it's being first generation or coming to this country and being an immigrant and comparing what life is like here with a home country, there is no comparison in many ways. (Cristina: No.) And I think people forget that culturally it's ingrained in us, even how you're parented. You sit down, you eat all your food, you're thankful for what you have. You're thankful for your shoes, and you're running water and your toilet working. (Cristina: Yup) And you take what you get like. , there was no asking for something else because you are grateful just to be here.

[00:09:36] (Cristina: Yeah.) In this country, because at least here, there's opportunity for you, Cristina: And I think you've nailed it on the head. It's really that survival mentality, right? (Arivee: Yes) It's like, okay. I'm so grateful that my grandmother, who is still to this day, my abuela is the strongest, most resilient woman I know in my life, and I admire her, and she is my heart and my soul and my spirit, and I love her so much.

[00:09:58] If it wasn't for. [00:10:00] Her strength, we wouldn't be here. (Arivee) Yeah. Like we would not be here, and we would not be. Okay. My mom would not have been okay if my grandmother hadn't been so strong. Right? So, they both came here on, you know, survival mentality. (Arivee: Yes) I was born here., right? First generation immigrant. [00:10:16] (Arivee: Yep.) So, I'm no longer in survival. I'm in thrival, right? (Arivee: Yes.) I wanna thrive. And so it's this mixture of understanding my background and what my parents, you know, what my mom had to go through. My grandmother had to go through understanding, like being so grateful for all of their strength and resilience and.

[00:10:34] you know, getting me here (Arivee: mm-hmm.) and getting me to this point. But at this point I cannot stay in that mentality, and I have to go into thriving mentality, which is a whole mental shift. Right. Of scarcity mindset into like the growth mindset. (Arivee: Yeah.) And that has been a, a journey for me, and I think that was, probably some of my biggest awakening was realizing that you actually can decide how you want to live your life. [00:10:58] (Arivee: Mm-hmm.) And you don't have to do what society tells you to do or what your, you know, what you've been educated your whole life to be. Which, (Arivee: yeah.) Essentially, if you really think about our, our education system, we've been br like bred to become employees. We have literally been taught to stay in line. Don't think for yourself, don't be a critical thinker.

[00:11:18] Regurgitate material that we give you. Learn what we tell you to learn. Read what we tell you to read. Really, the biggest growth for me has been. unlearning so much of what I've been taught and relearning, (Arivee: yes) For myself with a critical lens. Understanding that also every single thing that you read, every single thing that you watch on TV or Instagram or TikTok, or wherever the hell you get content, has been curated by someone from their perspective.

[00:11:44] (Arivee: Yeah, right.) And realizing that too, that many of the things we've been taught, many of the things we've been told, many of the books that we've been read, all come from someone's perspective. (Arivee: Yes. Yes) And really understanding that like that doesn't mean it's right. (Arivee: Yeah) [00:12:00] Arivee: Wait, wait. Cristina, can you remember, because I, I'm like you, like, it's a journey and so there, oh my god, there's been such a journey over time, right?

[00:12:07] could you, and I know this, this will be, this will be hard for me too, but (Cristina: Yeah.) is there, could you identify like the biggest thing that you unlearn, like the most impactful story that you stopped believing a, a belief that changed for you? Like the one that had, I know they all had so much impact, but like the one that you feel like This is the biggest one that I had to really navigate.

[00:12:30] Cristina: I think there's been a couple for me, so I'll share them. One of the first realizations of what I just shared right now that everything we've been learned has come from someone's perspective. Right. That I actually learned at Boston College of all places. (Arivee: Ah) Uh, in a course that I took senior year or junior year, and I really think they should require this course for every freshman.

[00:12:51] It was called History and the Development of Racism. (Arivee: Mm-hmm) and it was an amazing class. I took it as an a elective. Uh, and essentially that class taught [00:13:00] me that everything that you read is from someone else's perspective and point of view and their own critical mind. (Arivee: Mm-hmm.) and that class really, you know, reiterated. [00:13:11] I think what I felt in my soul and my spirit for so long, cuz I'll share with you, for example, when I was in, uh, high school, I, I was in AP US history. I wasn't a lot of AP classes, I was a nerd. I was in AP US History. And I remember just hating that class. I hated US History. (Arivee: Mm-hmm.) Because I just knew the books were full of shit.

[00:13:32] (Arivee: Yes, yes.) You know, you know like, oh, the Pilgrims came, a great party and we had Turkey. And it's like, no, the pilgrims came with their dirty syphilis, killed everybody, stole their land, raped the women stole all the, you know, land, put them on reservations and like we're being fed this. That, you know, was this like kumbaya, everybody's friends, you know, or even just the language in the, in the books.

[00:13:57] Like for example, calling people slaves. [00:14:00] No one's a slave. You are enslaved. Mm. Someone had to enslave you. No one is born a slave. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . Every single person is born. A human being. Mm-hmm. . Something has happened to them. Right? There was that big piece, the most important piece missing. Yes. Yeah. Like no one was just born and like, I'm a slave now.

[00:14:18] No, no. No one had to do that to them. Mm-hmm. Right. And so I just remember even in high school, feeling icky. Like just remember reading this stuff and being like, whoa. I'd be like, this is just bullshit. Like, and I knew internally that it wasn't true. Yes. But I didn't have the language, I didn't have the verbiage, I didn't have the, the frameworks, I don't even know what you name it, to like call it out.

[00:14:42] Yes. But I just. in my soul intuitively that it was bullshit. Yeah. . Yeah. And I think it came down to also, I'm, I'm, like I said, I'm from Guatemala, I'm an immigrant. Right. And, and I see so much colorism in our own cultures and we're taught to hate our own people. Like we are taught to hate. And [00:15:00] Guatemala is a huge indigenous population. [00:15:01] Yeah. Like huge Mayan population. We are taught in gu to think of as, as lesser than as poor as. And that is so hateful. Mm-hmm. , and that comes from somewhere and that comes from colonialism. That's right. Literally taught us that whiteness was the way of supremacy that white was a elite. Mm-hmm. that whiteness was what we're all striving towards.

[00:15:26] And I'm here to call bullshit. Mm-hmm. , right. . You know, and it's just something that I, I think I've always knew intuitively. Yeah. I think when I went to Boston College and taking that class, it gave me the framework, it gave me the language. Yeah. To understand that, wow, I've never learned how to be a critical thinker.

[00:15:42] I've always been just regurgitating and taking things as is, even if it didn't feel right in my spirit. And sometimes I feel like at the older generat, The ones who were in the survival mode, the ones who gave us the privilege of being in a thrive mode, right? To have this privilege to search for meaning and purpose.

[00:15:59] And [00:16:00] I often think about, sometimes they don't even realize the impact colonialism has had because this is why we have colorism, this is why we have to straighten our hair. Like the idea that curly hair looks messy or doesn't look as quote unquote professional or quote unquote nice as straight hair that isn't.

[00:16:19] Oh no, but straight hair looks better. No, that is because of colonialism and you and I and this generation, we are unpacking all of that. But even like when I mentioning it to someone, older generations, they're like, no, it's just that your straight hair looks better. And I'm like, Hmm, but why do you think that?

[00:16:33] Yeah, because it does. And I'm like, Hmm, okay. I can't have this conversation with you. Yeah, . But that's I, and I a hundred percent agree, and I think I'm also of the belief that me and you, we have that privilege. Yes. To have the. To even think about this, right? Absolutely. Because our family, you know, I don't know about your family, but my grandmother worked a hundred hour weeks, right?

[00:16:54] Like, Was a single mom with like four kids and she didn't have time to have these [00:17:00] full of faculty. Convers. I mean, you, we talked to, it's like, they're like beacon purpose. What do you mean purpose? Whatcha are you talking about? You mean pay your bill? Yeah, that's right. Yes. Um, and so it was, it was clearly like survival mode.

[00:17:12] And so I do feel extremely privileged. in the sense that I get to have this space. Yeah. And I get to be in these communities and have these conversations and really be able to have the time to rest. Yes. And learn, and not just have to be on the hustle bustle 24 7 because that's what happens when you're on the hustle all day.

[00:17:32] You don't have the space or the time to really, I wanna. Learn. Yeah, it's true. Or to really reflect or to really learn who you are. Mm-hmm. , because that's a whole journey, right? You're just on survival mode. If you're just like, oh, I gotta go, go to, go. Uh, and that's what a lot of my coaching is, is trying to get my clients out of survival mode and into growth mode and growth.

[00:17:54] Yes. That and understanding. , you know, you actually can do the things that [00:18:00] you wanna do. The only thing limiting you really is you. Yes. Um, and a lot of people think, oh, well somebody's, you know, my mom doesn't want me to do this, or I can't, you know, so and so is blocking me. And it's like, no, they're not.

[00:18:13] you're blocking you. Yeah. Right. And someone needs to tell you that. Yeah. Um, and also, like you said, hold you accountable, but also hold the space for you. That's right. To, to realize that real growth is going to be uncomfortable. Mm-hmm. , I'm not here, you know, to say it's gonna be easy. I'm not here to say that it's gonna be fun all Yeah.

[00:18:32] Or that it's gonna be, you know, roses and daisies or whatever. Mm-hmm. like growth is uncomfortable and. Is challenging, but the thing is, if you don't challenge yourself, you're going to stay stagnant. If you're unhappy in the life that you're living and the things that you're doing, but you're not willing to take a risk and and feel uncomfortable.

[00:18:55] then you're gonna live a life where you have a lot of regret. Yeah. And a life where [00:19:00] maybe, you know, you know, you stay unhappy and then what happens is you're unhappy and then that's kind of the energy you put out. And then that's the energy you get back. . That's right. What you put out is what you get back.

[00:19:09] That's exactly, um, so really understanding, like, I've been uncomfortable. I I've probably have been uncomfortable majority of my life and I'm here . Yeah, exactly. Yeah. And, and, and you know what, like I'm okay. I know. I have the confidence in myself and the belief in myself that I can get through it. and I know that I got that confidence and that belief and that resilience from my mom, from my grandmother, from my ancestors.

[00:19:36] I know I have that blood in me. Yep. My in blood and I say it all the time to Myla, even though she's like ela. Look at my face. Yeah, look at my features, right? This is not white. Ok. I'm Indiana and I'm proud of it. Yes, and you know, I will share right now, like the new Black Panther movie that came out was so empowering to me [00:20:00] just to see people who look like me on the screen and such a powerful magnetic.

[00:20:06] A superhero way, and not just us being shown as like the heathens that need to be, you know, colonized or that need to be the way that they normally show us. And I, I, I will not, or whatever. I know a lot of people like the, like Narcos on Netflix. I'm like, why are we always drug dealers? Drug dealers, or like, Heats or like sacrificing people

[00:20:29] No, I don't watch that. Cause I'm like, you know what? I'm not watching this. Like, why are we, and then the, the one they made one for women where like, that's the woman who is the head of the cartel. The one in Mexico, right? Yes. And I'm like, yes, that's powerful. But like, no, we have a different representation.

[00:20:44] I always say like representation matters, but the type of representation also matters. Yeah. So for me, black Panther was, I went to see it twice in the theater and I'll go see it again . Um, cause I. Felt so proud, and I've never felt that way on [00:21:00] the big screen. And, and of course it took a black director and a black cast to create the space for Latinos.

[00:21:06] Right. And that was the other thing I loved because I was like, you know, a lot of times we're, we're kind of told to compete against each other, like black versus Latino versus Asian versus Muslim or whatever. Yeah. And again, I'm, I'm of the belief of intersectionality. Yes. And like we all have so much more in common that we.

[00:21:23] Different. And so why don't we create these spaces for each other? And I loved that Ryan Cooler and the whole cast at at at uh, black Panther made that space and it was an incredible movie. For anyone who hasn't seen it, go see it. It's awesome. I hope to see more of that. Yeah, so you mentioned that one being our biggest realization that that Yes.

[00:21:46] One of my biggest really is that everything you've learned comes from someone's someone else's perspective. Right. It's their perspective. You know, even thinking about, you know how in Boston College we had to take philosophy and theology? Yes, yes. Even, even that. . [00:22:00] Yes. Even learning the reading through the Bible, like, I'm not gonna lie, there was a lot of stuff in the Bible.

[00:22:05] I was like, I don't agree with this. Like this was clearly written by a man probably 5,000 years ago. Yeah. Or women had no rights. Women weren't seen as human. Human beings as equal parts. Right. And like someone wrote this, right? Yes. And this might be controversial. He was like, oh, God wrote it. No. No.

[00:22:23] somebody and most likely a man. Broke this. Right? And, and it's time to, let's give it a little, you know, uplift. We need a little update. an update. Right? We need to update it. Um, because there's just a lot in there that I was, you know, when I had to dissect it and read it and study it, I was like, oh, and you know, and then you have like, centuries and centuries and centuries of people, and people who were colonized and who were told to believe these things that someone wrote 5,000 years ago.

[00:22:54] That's right. That's right. Right. And it's just like, it, it, it just blows my mind. Yeah. That so many people in this [00:23:00] country, and not even just this country, but really in this country, but outside of the country too, but how so many people do not. Think for themselves. No, they don't think for themselves. Like it's hard because it's a challenge to do that for themselves about things that are even external to them, but also about themselves.

[00:23:16] I think that a lot of people find it very difficult to face themselves. You know, when you say like, you know, everything we've learned is from someone's perspective, like that is all from someone else's viewpoint. It even to unpack that, people are like, I don't wanna deal with that. Mm-hmm. . Right? There's this resistance to, to truth.

[00:23:34] And I think to your point, and I love that you said this, because I think about, and this may sound weird, but I think about the end of life, like often mm-hmm. like I do. Mm-hmm. . Mm-hmm. . And I think about, you know, I'm gonna ask myself a bunch of questions when I die. Yeah. And I need to live my life so that I.

[00:23:50] Living my life in alignment with the answers that I wanna have at the end. So like the people that I love, like did I really invest in those relationships, right? Mm-hmm. , like I say this all the [00:24:00] time, no one when they die says, I wish I worked more. I wish I made more money. I wish I had a better title. I wish impressed that person.

[00:24:09] I, those aren't the things we think about when we die. And so I, I feel like when we talk about this thing you mentioned about. Like not living this life that, you know, is like really inside, but you just can't find the way. Or you, you say you're unhappy, but you're not, you're not willing to like make a shift, even a small shift.

[00:24:26] Then you're accepting the regret that may come later. And I feel like people find that to be very, like, like I, I talk about like mortality motivation, right? People find that. . They, they think that's kind of jarring. And I'm like, yeah, but this is life. Like this is life. Yeah. So whether you think it's jarring now, it's gonna be jarring to you at the end too.

[00:24:43] A hundred percent. You know, the older you get, the more stuck in your ways you become. Yes. And that's the other thing, you know, realizing that not all of your habits are good habits. Yes. And at the end of the day, your daily. is what your life is. Right? Yeah. And, and [00:25:00] realizing that sometimes some of your habits, although they feel comfortable, although they feel safe, although they're known, right?

[00:25:06] Because everyone's always afraid of the unknown. Mm-hmm. , um, that doesn't necessarily mean that's the best for you. Mm-hmm. . And so I agree with you. I think a lot of people are afraid to look at their own truth. Mm-hmm. , a lot of people are afraid to really reflect and think about, is this the life that I want or is this the life that I've been told I want?

[00:25:24] Yes. . And that's scary because it does take a lot of courage. Yeah. It takes courage to say, you know what, this is not what I want and I wanna change. And it's gonna be hard and it might suck for a little bit, but at the end it's gonna be worth it. Right. That'd be amazing. Yeah. Yeah. So I think, you know, that was a whole journey for me too.

[00:25:46] Like everyone in my family. Works full-time. No one's an entrepreneur in my family. Uh, at least my immediate family or even my friend. Well, now I have more entrepreneur friends, but back then I didn't have right. A lot of friends who were business owners.

[00:26:00] That's not something we were taught to do or told that we could do.

[00:26:04] It's always like, get a degree so you can get a good job after college. That's right. Right. Or like, make sure you go to college so that you can get a job. One thing I always say, and I used to say this at Women with Purpose, cause I learned this throughout my time, there was, you know, it's crazy, but you can take out a hundred thousand dollars student loan at 17 years old, but you can't take out a $20,000 small business loan.

[00:26:23] Mm-hmm. , right? Mm-hmm. and like why? Yeah, right. Like none of this is a coincidence. It's all by design. Yeah.

[00:26:39] Thanks so much for listening to my conversation with Cristina. We will have part two coming at you next week, so be sure to tune in for that. And if you're curious, you can check out the. In the episode details, just scroll down to the show notes when you click on the episode. [00:27:00] And you can find ways to connect with Christina, and you can always connect with me as well.

[00:27:06] Until next time, remember, you are powerful now to create that life and that career that you want and deserve.

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