Teena Evert (00:05): You're listening to the Confident Careerist podcast, providing inspiration and guidance for career-minded professionals who want to break free from their limitations and step into a life of more personal power, positivity, and prosperity.
Teena Evert (00:28): Is your career path what you expected? Did your career turn out the way you thought it would? Do you want to figure out what to do next? Perhaps you know what you want, but how do you get it? In today's episode, I invited career coach and author of the Clarity Journal, Becca Ribbing, to explore these common questions that purpose-driven professionals have when they're ready to create something new that brings greater satisfaction and aligns with their personality. Let's dive in.
Teena Evert (01:03): Welcome back to the Confident Careerist podcast today, my guest Becca Ribbing is the author of the Clarity Journal, and she's a coach. She's on a mission to help people break out of the cycles of uncertainty and struggle that hold them back. She's most passionate about helping women who are going back and forth with the big seemingly endless question of what to do next, so they can stop going around in circles and finally figure out what they truly want and create the clarity and the momentum they crave.
Teena Evert (01:41): That is so good. Thank you Becca, for being on the Confident Careerist podcast.
Becca Ribbing (01:45): Thank you so much for having me.
Teena Evert (01:47): You are welcome. Now you have a topic that I think is really important. Clarity, clarity, clarity, clarity brings confidence and like you said, momentum to move forward out of a place of being stuck. And I know for myself, I know what it's like to go around in circles and know that I want to change, but not know what to do to make that change. So I'm really looking forward to our conversation today and learning more from you about just your thinking around this, your perspective, your experience and your story. So if you don't mind, I would love to hear a little bit about you and your career journey.
Becca Ribbing (02:36): Oh, well, let's, you know, it's so funny. People often don't ask the career, coach their journey. I, I kind of ended up as a career coach by happenstance. I was, you know, we go to college and or most, some of us go to college and we think, you know, we're 20 - We think we know everything. We, we think that we're going to major in XYZ and then just continue on with it for like the next 40 years, because we're certain that we know what we want to do. Um, I was, you know, in my first job, I, the first job out of college and I did really like it. I was working for the government. Um, and I was doing some really interesting things, but it just wasn't - I wasn't passionate about it. And so a couple of years in, you know, when I was in my mid twenties, I decided to take some time off and do some soul searching and during that soul searching, this was a, you know, a fair bit of a fair bit of time ago - I was reading, you know, like finding out my Myers-Briggs type and reading.
Becca Ribbing (03:52): What color is your parachute? All of the kind of quintessential early two thousands or mid two thousands career books. And I realized that as I was going through that, all of my friends were going through the same thing. Okay. I went to college for this one thing, and this is not what I expected, um, where I ended up, even though, even if it was predictable, even if it was something that they're 21 year old self had said that they wanted to do - it wasn't what they thought it would be. So I ended up - during that break where I was doing my own soul searching- I ended up helping probably a dozen friends.
Teena Evert (04:36): So you were really naturally helping them figure out what was next and actually even helping them with their resume.
Becca Ribbing (04:43): Right - because, you know, once you figure out what you want next, there's that? Okay. So I know what I want, but how do I get it? You know, that like you, I think so often people get stuck in that point of, I know what I want and yet I don't know how to articulate, why I'm a good match for it. Does that make sense?
Teena Evert (05:07): Yeah. Yeah. I think that a lot of people do also get stuck at what do I want, what is it that I want? Like they know what they don't want. They know they're not satisfied, but the first area of clarity is like, well, what is it that I want? And what's interesting. I don't know if you've experienced this as well with the people that you've worked with or help, but, um, they get, people can get so focused externally. Like they're trying to figure out where they fit in the world. And I always tell them, it's an inside job more about like, what is it that you really desire? What do you really enjoy? What are your unique gifts? And then let's go out and find that ideal match for you rather than like, Oh, I think I'm going to, you know, just sor of parachute in and become this, but there's not a real connection to it. Does that make sense?
Becca Ribbing (06:03): That totally makes sense and I think that sometimes - I think this makes sense often be talking to someone, especially if it's someone I not necessarily a client, but someone I know, well, who's just kind of spinning their wheels and I'm talking to them about what they want. Like I will mention, Oh, well you have this strength. And so often they'll be almost taken aback like, well, what do you mean? That's a strength? And I'm like, well, not everyone has that because what comes easy to us is really easy to dismiss. And it's really easy to dismiss that it does not come easy to other people. So I think that like part of the getting clarity process is really owning those strengths very solidly before you even get started with the bigger picture, what do I want to do with my life? Because there's no point in reinventing the wheel. Like there's no point in trying to go into a career that doesn't fit your personality, that doesn't fit your strengths.
Teena Evert (07:11): Right. So, Becca, when do you think you started owning your own strengths?
Teena Evert (07:19): So you were back early in your career, helping out your friends. So there was this period of happenstance where you were just naturally helping them figure out their next career steps and get clarity. And I imagine somewhere along your journey, you had to own your own strengths and step into the career that you are in now, as a writer and a coach. Are you, do you consider yourself career, life, coach, career coach? Do you have a fun name in front of coach?
Becca Ribbing (07:51): I don't really have a fun name in front of coach. I usually say career coach because that's, that tends to be the area of focus that my client, the people that gravitate towards me want to focus on. I guess you would call me a clarity coach. But I think most coaches are clarity coaches, even like weight loss coaches probably spend a lot of time focusing on clarity. Yeah, So I think when did I, that was such a good question. I'm not gonna lie. I feel like I've always had a fairly healthy self-confidence, but I think that there was this one moment I, and I can totally picture the scene. I was sitting with a friend, we were in this beautiful park and we were sitting on these rocks by this Creek and it was like kind of a manicured Creek and like an, a garden and it was beautiful and we were talking at least an hour about what she should do next and what she wanted to do. And it was just a very flow experience and that was the moment when I was like, I can do this, I can do this really well. And I don't know. I mean, some of it was the conversation, but I think sometimes we forget about like setting, you know, all the other five sentences. Um, sometimes, I mean, so often we're talking about career stuff - We're talking about being in like a little cubicle and it's not very inspiring. Sometimes our work settings aren't that inspirational and I think that it's important to recognize that inspiration, breeds, inspiration, like seeing other people's inspiration, like listening to really great music. Um, just like being able to get in those five senses really does help like create those aha moments.
Teena Evert (09:54): Yeah. I'm imagining you had a real felt sense when you said I can do this and you really were in the flow, you enjoy doing it. It's energizing. Right, that's when you know, you're doing what you're meant to be doing. It's it's you could just, I mean, we all have a limitation on how much time and energy we have. However, when you're doing something that is not toxic and in alignment with your strengths, you're in that flow and it's, that felt sense of, wow, you're using your strengths. You enjoy it. That's an important thing because you can be good at a lot of things, but that doesn't necessarily mean you need to be doing them all if you don't like them all.
Becca Ribbing (10:34): Right. Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
Teena Evert (10:37): Wow. So anything else about your journey, your story that you want to share that you think the listeners would maybe want to know about you?
Becca Ribbing (10:47): Um, you know, I think that, and this is going back to the clarity journal. I love the story about how I came up with the idea for the clarity journal. And I think it speaks to a lot of people because basically what happened was I was at my own crossroads. I was, um, I had just had maybe not just had my second child, but he was, you know, a toddler, a young toddler age, and I was really struggling with what the next step for me was and I was, I was doing the talking to all my friends and circling round and round trying like spinning around, and around, trying to figure out what the answer was for me and it was so funny because one of my friends, who I love very dearly, stopped me and was just like, Becca, you are a career coach. What would you tell yourself? And I just had this moment of peace and I was like, right. I can help myself with this and I went that afternoon and wrote down 30 writing prompts, like things that I just naturally end up asking clients and that's what spawned the clarity journal. I was, I liked them so much, thatI was like, I need to actually get this out in the world.
Teena Evert (12:13): Oh, that's inspiring for sure. Sometimes I think we're too close to the problem, but you know, journaling is very powerful. Now I'm sure that having a coach help you maybe continue to see your blind spots from the clarity journal can be transformational, but what a great empowering tool, right. To have a journal, which is birthed from your process of being unclear to writing down these prompts from your expertise and your experience of helping others.
Becca Ribbing (12:53): Yeah. And I think that's important to really recognize as professionals that oftentimes we need help - therapists are supposed to continue going to therapy. I mean, therapists, when they do school to become a therapist, have to go through therapy themselves coaches when they become coaches also need to go through coaching themselves and the good ones stick with it, you know, maybe not constantly, but they - you know, you have to really be able to evaluate yourself and what's going on inside. And in order to do that, having that mirror, that person that can reflect back to you, what you're saying is just so powerful. And for the clarity journal, it's like, it's the first step of a, of a larger process, like really taking the time to really go within and I find some people will just, you know, if they go, they've been avoiding going within so much that once they really take that time, if they've been just trying to figure out one or two decisions, sometimes it really helps just move them forward. But you're right. Like there's kind of a dual aspect, like dueling pieces to this, like being able to really self-reflect and go within, and then also have people around you that can help shore up your blind spots.
Teena Evert (14:20): Yeah. I think going within is, and reflecting is helpful to gain more self-awareness and trust in yourself for sure. So you're getting out of the habit of always looking outside yourself for validation, getting support, it all accelerates growth. And I think too, that it, when we get support, we get validation, we get clarity, we then can take action and that builds the confidence, right? It's like building the foundation brick by brick, but you know, aligning your path towards your future and feeling. I think I can't emphasize enough my journey of like how empowering that was to like lay, if this image I have of like laying down my own yellow brick road, if you will. I mean, I didn't do it alone, but it's like, there's so much, empowerment and choice and trusting in yourself that you're making the best choice for yourself in that moment and if you're moving, you can always course correct. If you're standing still stuck, spinning your wheels, that's all you're just spinning and, eventually that can erode, I think not only your clarity, but your confidence.
Becca Ribbing (15:44): Yes, very much. Well, and I think that when you're, when you're stuck and you're vacillating and you're not taking action, it's also, it's kinda, it's it's, I'm going to try and say, it's, it's, it's keeping you playing small and you're not giving yourself the room to grow. You're not nurturing yourself in a way that is going to help you expand because we don't stay the same. We never, we don't, we don't, we don't like anyone who is smart. Anyone, anyone who is listening to your podcast, likes challenges, likes to challenge themselves, likes to meet goals and move forward. But sometimes when we're going back and forth between options and we're stuck in that space of not allowing ourselves to play big, then it's almost, self-defeating like we don't, we don't really, we aren't able to fully be ourselves and fully recognize what, like fully integrate our strengths into what we're doing because we're stuck in worry.
Teena Evert (17:03): Yeah. Now you mentioned, and I read it earlier in the beginning of our conversation that you're passionate about helping women who are going back and forth oscillating. I'm wondering if you can share, what you've observed in women or in men, what, what do they tend to oscillate around? Like what I know jealousy, something you talk about being in toxic situations is something you talk about being unsure about whether your job is working for you. I'm wondering if there's something in there that, um, you see clearly that holds people back, like some sort of thinking pattern or behavioral pattern?
Becca Ribbing (17:47): It's really that they don't see that they're actually making choices. I'm often surprised I will get someone who sends me an email who is, who is dead, certain that they don't know what to do and that is what they focus on in the email that I don't know what I want to do. This is what I've done in the past, and I don't want to do it anymore. And I will get on the call with them and pretty rapidly, I will hear less - I don't know what to do and more, I am stuck making these three choices, but they don't even recognize it. So they're framing it in terms of, I don't know what to do instead of framing it as I need to make a decision about X, Y, Z and I think that that keeps them stuck because if you can't recognize what you're really stuck with is the decision making process. If what you really think you're stuck with is that you have absolutely no idea what you want to do with your life. Then you're keeping yourself even smaller than you actually are.
Teena Evert (19:04): Yeah. Uh, I can, I can relate to that, that pain point of people reaching out to you. I get excited because the fact that they're reaching out for support, means that it can shift like that's action. That 'sstarting to take some responsibility for the fact that you want change. You might not be confident in your ability, but you're ready and you're willing. And with a coach you're able to start to loosen the grip on being stuck.
Teena Evert (19:40): There's a topic that we touched on in an earlier conversation that I wanted to just come back and touch on because I think our listeners would relate to it and it's around envy, it's around jealousy. YYou shared with me that this idea of, instead of pushing aside any kind of envy that we feel you encourage people to really embrace what it is that it's trying to tell you about what you really want out of life. And perhaps the people that we're jealous of have a lot to teach us and what we actually want from our careers and I think this is an interesting topic because I believe this can really hold people back and cause us to move away from embracing our gifts because we're so maybe overly focused on how we're envious of someone else. I mean, I think if, if I'm jealous of someone, I want what they have and I feel so far from it.
Becca Ribbing (20:48): Yeah, I will. And I think that also when we think of jealousy, a lot of the times, what we think of is jealousy of things that people have. Like, I am jealous of, you know, the person that lives in that mansion right by the ocean, or I'm jealous of the person with the really nice Tesla. But I think that there's also a, and I'm not necessarily saying that. I think there's a lot to tell yourself about when you're jealous of physical things. But I think what really is helpful is to look at the people whose careers, you envy, the people who are - even just when you're listening to podcasts- , or if you're listening or you're reading a interesting article in WIRED say about someone's career journey. I think that being able to really stop and instead of push away, Oh, I couldn't do that or, you know, we have a lot of societal baggage around envy. We're not supposed to be envious. Um, especially women, uh, we're not supposed to express envy. It's not nice, but it doesn't actually have to take away from the other person. You don't have to be envious in a way that is mean-spirited at all.
Becca Ribbing (22:17): What you can really try to harness and focus is the things that you are envious about really looking within. And what is it about that explore what it is that you are envious of? Because say you're envious of a singer. Like I say, you're envious of Beyonce. You know, I think that that's really one, we think of envy and that's what we think of. We think of like, I am envious of this star, but not everyone is envious of Beyonce beyond maybe her money, but the people who truly who's singing or music is their passion. If you ask them why they're envious of Beyonce, they wouldn't probably say the money or the fame. They'd probably, if they really spent a lot of time thinking about it would say, Oh, her vocal range for talent, or just the artistry surrounding her performances and presentations. And I think it gives you a lot of clarity, like, okay, well then why am I envious of beyond say, and not say some country singer? You know, cause everyone has their own energy and you are envious of the people who have the energy that you want, or if you want to be a writer, if you're in politics, I think these things can really tell you how you want to set up your life. Uh, both, both with career and also the other aspects, you know, family life, your physical health. I think that it can really help you become very clear in what you want for yourself and maybe are afraid to even admit that you want.
Teena Evert (24:14): Yeah, I agree. It's this self excavation or self discovery, self exploration, you know, you can use the envy not to block your growth, but like you said, to go within and perhaps be able to define success for you and what does it feel like for you envious of someone who lives in a beautiful countryside on the ocean? You know, it's like, Oh, it's the feeling. I want that feeling of freedom. It's the freedom, you know, and getting in touch with that, it becomes an internal motivation, I think, is what you're getting at. You know, it, it's interesting because I just realized this this week as I have been talking to my clients and, there's been a theme that's been coming up where, they are very much looking to me for whatever reason at this point in our work together for answers - for me to tell them almost their destiny, it's resistance, it's fear because I am challenging them and I'm encouraging them to pause and put all of that inside of them. Right, and, and self reflect. What happens if you take that fear and you put it within you and you just let it move through you, like, what's the difference rather than trying to always avoid it. I think that there is this in our, in our evolution, in our journey, wherever we're at, if we're really wanting to create more meaning in our life and our career, there's going to be some fear. It doesn't have to be a negative thing. It's more of like a resistance to get uncomfortable and ask yourself some of these questions that a coach would ask you, powerful questions to guide your next step. It'ss like trying to find your way in the dark a bit, um, very uncomfortable for a lot of people, if you're not used to, you know, if you're in a new territory, in a new land.
Becca Ribbing (26:18): Yeah. Well, I think also one thing that we underestimate is how much school taught us that there was a right answer. And so if you're a career coach, you should have the right answer for me, the way the teacher had the right answer for me. And there is a right answer and there is a wrong answer and that's just not true in real life. And unfortunately, so much of the structures of our childhood don't really teach us to embrace the idea that there isn't a right answer. There's just looking within and figuring out what the right answer is to you.
Teena Evert (27:01): Yeah. It seems simple. It's so powerful and it's very challenging for a lot of people to accept that because I think it is so painful not knowing and it is not like a math equation where we say one plus one equals two. We don't necessarily want to argue that - some people would - but you're right. It's like, there is no right answer. And for me, I really don't want to disempower anybody. So for me to tell someone what to do, I wouldn't do it. It's, it's like, I don't want to take away your power. So I have to do a bit of education around that and really encourage someone and give them some tools like your journal, for example, here's some prompts, some questions and perhaps lets you get started on it and then let's have a conversation to help bring it more to life. Some people process internally, that would be me. I do a lot with just my own deep dive self-reflection and then conversations. Some people are the opposite where they need to have conversation first and then they can comfortably drop in and maybe do some of their own self-directed writing.
Becca Ribbing (28:14): Yeah. Well, and I think one of the other things like the, you alluded to a bit is that if you tell someone what the right answer is for you, for them, it's not, it wouldn't even if you came up with the same answer that they will eventually come up with, it wouldn't be as right of an answer for them because there wouldn't be ownership - part of what makes something the right answer or not the right answer for any individual is whether they can take true and genuine ownership over the decision and the energy and the momentum and the action.
Teena Evert (28:56): Absolutely. I really want our listeners to rewind and listen to that. It's, very important, critical to our growth, no matter where you're at on your journey in life or in your life or in your career.
Becca Ribbing (29:14): Right, because it would be, it's disempowering yourself to ask someone else to give you the answer. They can help you like go through all the options and really help you frame the question better. But ultimately the end goal is for you to feel empowered.
Teena Evert (29:38): Yeah and do the work to go through the process of experiencing a transformation. Once you do it, once you really have that experience, it's pretty amazing - yyou know, you can do it again. So it creates resilience because you know, we're always going to have challenges and obstacles in life. That's not going to go away. It teaches us grit and how to respond to circumstances that are often outside of our control.
Becca Ribbing (30:08): Right. Well, it teaches us also to be able to listen to our discomfort and be a little bit more comfortable with it.
Teena Evert (30:17): Yeah, absolutely. So Becca, I have a round of career confidence questions I like to ask my guests and so I'm going to start with the first one and I just want you to share what the first thing that comes to mind. I want you to imagine you are your younger self and if you could have received one piece of critical advice or inspiration, when you were just starting your education or career journey, what would it be?
Becca Ribbing (30:47): To always listen to advice through your own gut? Like if you get a piece of advice, if it doesn't resonate with you to leave it aside fairly quickly, like to not let it stick in your mind and become bigger than it probably was meant to be.
Teena Evert (31:15): Mm that's a good one and then I would add, like, I wish that I, if I was that younger self, taking your advice, I would want to know how to do that, how to filter it through. So I wouldn't second guess myself, maybe that's part of what happens when we're younger. Right. But wow, that, that, that's great. And if you're someone who didn't have a lot of advice directed your way, maybe a lack of guidance, to have known how to go and ask the right questions. That's a really good point too, to be self-guided.
Teena Evert (31:58): All right. The next question is in order to gain confidence and build a meaningful career, what would be the one thing that you would recommend our listeners to do?
Becca Ribbing (32:13): To recognize there's always a story behind the success story to recognize that anyone that you're envious of or wish to emulate probably has just as many negative stories as you do, and to seek out where you may not have gotten the whole story or where someone's glossed over, you know, the five years of really hard labor and then, Ooh, look, Oprah promoted my book and all of a sudden I'm a millionaire. Really seek out the storylines of the hard work, because I think especially in American society, we have a tendency to really just focus on the success and not the work.
Teena Evert (33:09): Really good point, really good point. I like to remind myself to be curious and I love hearing people's journey and really hearing their journey, you know, not just all of the high points, but you know, where I use this word grit lately, digging deep, I'm going through something in my life where I've had to really dig deep. There's no other way through it, unless I want to go into some self destructive avoidant patterns. Right. Which I don't want to do. So what do I do? I have to dig deep and keep showing up, even though it's uncomfortable. And, love knowing that about just people in general, their stories around that, especially if they are successful in my eyes, if they are someone I look to, to learn from and to, guide me in a more of a role model, if you will.
Teena Evert (34:11): All right. And the last one is in order to help people who feel stuck in their career or their job search process, what would be the one tip or strategy for them to get on stuck today?
Becca Ribbing (34:26): I think that really being honest with yourself about what you are clear about, I think when people are stuck, they are usually very focused on the negative and the idea that they really don't know. And usually if I ask someone, a client to write down all the things they do know, even if they seem - like even if one of the things they know is that they want to own a knitting store. And one of the things they know is they want to own a yoga studio - even if it's, even if they're two very different things, writing it all out, I find just helps start empowering yourself again.
Teena Evert (35:13): Yeah. It's a nice way to reset, isn't It?
Becca Ribbing (35:16): It is.
Teena Evert (35:18): Definitely, definitely can put you more in a growth mindset, shift your energy. Yeah. Focus on what you know and now, you know, when I do that, I realized, you know, I do know I do have everything that I need here it is, thanks for thereminder,
Becca Ribbing (35:40): Right. Or I do know that I have to make this decision. Like I do know that I have to sit down and figure out which is going to be the best, but in an empowered way, instead of a, just hoping it will change, you know, some, a meteor will strike early inspirational strike and everything will be totally fixed for you without you having to do the work. Figure out what it is that you are, what you're really clear about and go from there.
Teena Evert (36:14): Yeah. It helps you be in a position of choosing you have choice and you're empowering yourself to choose based on that knowledge of yourself.
Becca Ribbing (36:24): Exactly.
Teena Evert (36:26): Beautifully said, well, thank you, Becca. And I'm wondering if you can share how our listeners can get in touch with you or learn more about you?
Becca Ribbing (36:37): Yeah, well, first of all, the Clarity Journal is on Amazon - that's pretty easy to find and then you can also find me at beccaribbing.com and then Becca Ribbing for all the social media handles as well.
Teena Evert (36:51): Okay, great. I'll be sure to include those links in the show notes and the link to Amazon to be able to purchase the Clarity Journal. Is there anything else you'd like to share with the listeners about the clarity journal?
Becca Ribbing (37:04): Um, let's see. Well, it's basically just about a hundred different prompts and quotes to help you start thinking about whatever it is that you have, lack of clarity on it in just a little bit of a different way to help you, let your mind let go of the things that it thinks it knows and help it shift so that you can be more empowered.
Teena Evert (37:27): Excellent, thank you for that clarity about the clarity journal. And then one last thing. Is there any, any last like goldennugget of wisdom that you'd like to share with our listeners?
Becca Ribbing (37:44): I think that the more you can become honest with yourself, the easier this is in the long run.
Teena Evert (37:51): That's perfect. Authenticity with self, authentic confidence is what I talk a lot about. That's that rings true for me. Yeah. Well, thank you, Becca. Thank you for spending time with us on the competent careers podcast. It was great to get to know you and to be able to share in a very authentic, I think a conversation about what it's like in the real world to be stuck and to find some clarity and create the life really that you want to live.
Becca Ribbing (38:37): Yeah, well thank you for having me. You're welcome.
Teena Evert (38:42): My biggest takeaway from speaking with Becca today is to take the time to go within, to gain self-awareness and learn to trust yourself because spinning your wheels, erodes your confidence, and your clarity. There are tools available like her clarity journal to help you gain insight and get out of your own way. Life is too short to play small and to stay stuck. So don't waste another day, struggling with how to reach your dreams. Go within, do the work, work with a certified career coach and get the guidance you need to build a path that leads to a brighter future.
Teena Evert (39:24): This episode of the Confident Careerist podcast has ended, but be sure to share ,subscribe, rate, and review so that we can continue to bring you the best content and head over to teenaevert.com For additional information and resources.
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Becca Ribbing is the author of The Clarity Journal and is on a mission to help people break out of the cycles of uncertainty and struggle that hold them back. She helps people who are going back and forth with the big, seemingly endless question of what to do next—so they can stop going around in circles and finally figure out what they truly want and create the clarity and momentum they crave.
In this free audio training, you’ll learn three strategies that’ll give you the clarity and confidence to build a career and life you love.