The youngest of 8 children, Rigbe Mengistu Curtis was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and moved to America when she was 18 to pursue her studies in Psychology at the University of Minnesota Duluth then Master’s degree in Industrial-Organisational Psychology. Now working at the Los Angeles Unified School district as an HR specialist whilst pursuing and building her life coaching career, Rigbe specialises in self-love and self-acceptance coaching whilst focusing on the core values and personal strengths that help to build it. By believing that self-love is the gateway to all success especially for women, Rigbe looks forward to empowering more women and truly helping them see their potential while devoting themselves to self-love and self-acceptance.
Hey Rigbe, can you introduce yourself to us?
I am the youngest of 8 kids. Was born and raised in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I moved to the US when I was 18 (am 29 now). Currently, live in Los Angeles with my two fur babies and my Husband. Got married about 3 years ago. I am an introvert who specialises in people watching, I Love learning about people’s’ life journeys.
Can you take us through your journey to where you are now?
I was really lost in life. I was doing all the thing that a 20 something was supposed to do. But I never truly belonged. I always felt awkward. But I faked it and pretended like I was having a great time by fitting in until one day I didn’t. Everything I was doing felt so disconnected to the group I was hanging out around, the jokes that used to make me laugh sounds so useless, the small things that I used to obsesses about felt like a waste of time. It was a big wake up call for me
I isolated myself a lot, feeling lonely and really trying my hardest figure out the reason why behind it. This all happened a few months before my 25th birthday. I just blamed it on quarter-life crisis and tried to be present as much as possible.
Those few months before becoming 25 and leading into my 25th birthday, I experienced the biggest loss. My dad got ill and passed away. To make matters worse I was not able to go visit him in Addis because of my Immigration status. I was in a limbo in all aspects of my life. The day I lost my Dad is also the day I met my now Husband. I lost love and gained love.
But the turmoil does not stop there. A few months after my dad passed away. I lost my job and had nowhere to live. So I moved in with my husband, This was my first time ever being in a meaningful relationship, living with a guy. Being fully dependent on someone that I was still getting to know. I felt useless and I felt fear, the fear the comes from not being in control and surrendering to the truth and possibilities.
Growing up my mom always emphasised the importance of being independent as a woman I never knew how to be around that situation because up until that point I always ran to my older brothers for help but something told me that enough was enough and that now I am a meant to figure this out on my own.
The soul-searching and introspection intensified around the time of uncertainty. I had to grow up and find my place in this world, the world of reality, the world where anything could really happen at any moment, the world where important life decisions are made.
This was around the time where I got obsessed over taking assessments, in hopes that they would tell me who I am and even better sort me into a groups so I can feel like I belong. I took the ‘Strengths finder’ assessment and everything that came up as my strength said I should be the therapy/psychology field.
I had the education thing down but being a therapist, as appealing as it was- was also scary for me. This when I stumbled upon coaching, the first time I read about it I loved the whole thing. Making an impact on someone else’s life but also growing in the process. My fear based and financial security seeking self at the time went straight to the “how much could you make as life coach question ?” I wasn’t too impressed mostly because I was looking at the being employed by someone else numbers. The idea of being my boss was not even in my head. So I shut my computer and went on with my life still searching for meaning and clarity.
A few months pass but the life coaching idea would not leave my mind. So I decided to give it a second try. This time I was really impressed and convinced mostly because I looked up the potential earning and I was in for a treat. However, the feeling of fear set upon me again as I am very introverted too, so it’s not like I had many adventure tips to share with others. So I closed my computer again and moved on.
Then I picked up the idea again about 1 year later, at that time I had my green card, my old job, and some financial security. But I still felt like something was missing, so once again I went back to coaching and started learning more about it. I watched a few videos about it and started listening to some podcasts and reading books written for and about coaching. Now I was really convinced and I knew I had it in me to do it, it was finally me finding a job that would utilise my strength. I just didn’t feel comfortable to share this dream with many people.
Then one day a friend of mine was talking to me and I had unknowingly started coaching her. She was really impressed and told me that I should look into coaching and that was when I got the courage and confidence to open up to her about my vision and dream. She was my very first client and the rest well, as they say, is history in the making!
What is a day in the life of you like?
I wake up at 4:30 am and get ready for my morning workout. I usually like to start the morning with some celery juice (alkalising + great for inflammation) then follow that with a glass of water and then make my caffeine boost (Matcha Latte, bulletproof coffee, Black coffee) it gives me the little morning boost that wakes up my system.
I usually take uber from my house to Orangetheory Fitness. I don’t drive, so Uber and public transportation are my main source of getting around town. My workout class starts at 6am and usually ends around 6:50 am I get ready at the gym and go and sit by this cute park and read for about 40 mins. I don’t start work until 8 am so that gives me some time to get my morning wisdom.
Then I work from 8am till about 5pm. I take mini breaks and look at my Instagram and post my daily inspirations. I don’t post every day. I am the kind of person who believes that If I don’t have something meaningful to say I don’t like sharing too much of myself on social media
I get home around 6:30 pm, unpack and repack my gym bag, make food, do a little reading about coaching or something inspirational so I can go to sleep feeling inspired to create. On the days that I have client calls I just block a time out of the day and just play in my element. Whatever I do I make it a point to block at least one hour a day to learn something new.
How did you launch your career as a strength-based life coach?
I used to think that for something to come to life everything has to line up. Like me being in a perfect position, my website being perfect, my Instagram being perfect.
I believe that we do better when we work from a place of abundance when we focus on our strengths rather than our weakness we maximise our outcomes because that little confidence that comes from knowing we have strengths makes working around the weaknesses a lot more meaningful and nurturing.
The way I launched myself and my business is just basically one day I said okay am going to do it and I started doing it. One of my friends was my first client. She gave me the confidence I needed to keep moving. It may not be perfect but I build my business at a pace that feels authentic to me. When I first started I sprinted and that was a big mistake and it did not go well with who I am so I had to scale back and manage my expectations and go at a pace that feels most comfortable to me.
How are you coaching each of your clients to realise their true potential through your methods?
Every person and every request is unique. I focus on their immediate needs, long-term goals and how these two elements align with their values.
My biggest focus is basing everything on their values and strengths and bring it back to their core beliefs of who they are deep down. If their actions are in alignment with who they are, majority of the time what I find is that being out of alignment is what causes so much the being stuck feeling because all of a sudden you are in a desert and you don’t have any resources to pull from because you are so far away from your values you don’t even know who you are anymore.
I utilise a lot of manifestation and journaling when I work with my clients. Journaling is very powerful mostly because the clients are the ones writing it ..however bad or good they are feeling I have found it to be such a therapeutic approach to arriving at a problem. From time to time I utilize mirror work. Mirror work is powerful because it allows my clients to see what they are feeling and seeing reflected back to them …It lets them really understand how they show up and how they react to certain things (mostly related to self-love and self-acceptance).
Can you give us 3 tips to help us focus and develop our self-empowerment?
Practice Gratitude. It’s so easy to say what we do not like about ourselves. I challenge all my clients to say at least five things they like about themselves at the start of our journey together..then also in the middle. And sure enough, it gets easier and easier to say what they like about themselves. It’s also appreciating the small things in life. It makes a huge difference in the mindset shift
Accept more and judge less, change only happens when you truly acknowledge and accept where you are. Only when you are in full acceptance can you start seeing the light and the possibility. Don’t hide from whatever is upsetting you (as long as your life is not being threatened by someone else) come forward. Have a dialogue with your demon. It is there to teach you something. Be open to it. Trust me you will only grow from it.
Take baby steps and form new habits, any change to empowerment does not happen overnight. Starting practicing small less threatening things frequently (once a month, one a week then.everyday). Don’t take on the biggest challenge, work your self-empowerment muscle up to that point.
Who does the team involve behind you at Centered Empowerment?
Me and me. It’s a one-person show for now but I am building business partnerships with other coaches so we can make more magic happen.
Where can you see yourself within the next 3-5 years?
I see myself helping more women feel empowered. Especially when it comes to body image stuff and choosing a career path that is most empowering and meaningful for them.
What strategies do you have in place when looking at the expansion of Centered Empowerment?
I am currently in a coach training program. I am learning about all the basics of setting up a successful coaching business. I have also joined Toastmasters because it really helps with communication and overall confidence in speaking and sharing Beyond that, I am networking and hosting events to build my presence and learn from mentors
Can you tell us what areas you have struggled in professionally?
It ranges from the fear of whether anyone will take me seriously to wondering if I know what I am doing. It’s different when you are passionate about your hobby vs when your hobby becomes your incomes source. The pressure is different. All of a sudden you need more structure and planning, you need to be more serious. I have had a lot of self-doubts cripple me. But I work through it by practicing gratitude, acceptance and creating new habits, habits that will get me closer to the vision.
Have you ever had any other mentor? If so how has this benefitted you to grow?
Now I do but never did prior to joining an ICF accredited program. My mentor is helping me work through all my blocks, She is showing me that all that I am feeling is normal. She has helped me believe more in myself. Which is huge for me, When I feel confident I a fearless to pursue and explore.
What outlets do use to market your business?
Word of mouth, workshops, referrals, Instagram.
Which methods are you using to build your own support network?
I am joining groups on Facebook and attending meetups to meet other women and men who are on the same emotional journey as I am. Because building an empire takes a lot of emotional awareness and presence
What do you believe are the common misconceptions about being an entrepreneur?
If you are not all in then you don’t really mean it. Ahha If I had a dollar every time I heard this….
I think it’s fundamentally wrong to tell someone how they should be. To me, it’s more empowering when you do it the way that feels authentic to you. Do it at your own pace, in your own terms. Also that if are not taking risks then you are not an entrepreneur. Again, not everyone is okay with that. I have a fulltime job and working on my business on the side. This what feels right for me.
What would you like to see changed for millennials in business?
More opportunities, more people who believe in what we have to say. For example life coaching, people assume that you need to be old and have lived a lot before you can make an impact. We are not taken seriously at times and that by itself has a major emotional toll on our belief and on what is possible for us.
What is the best piece of business advice you have received to date?
Don’t attach yourself to the person or to the outcome.
What is the number 1 critical lesson you have learned in your career so far?
I am the only person standing in my way.
How do you create an evenly balanced work and personal life?
Plan in advance. Be mentally prepared. Get enough amount of sleep. Eat right. Drink enough water. Exercise. Make time to be silly. Make time to connect with my friends and Family
The highlight of your career so far?
Every time a client experiences a breakthrough It never gets old.
What gives you ultimate career satisfaction?
To know that I have a purpose and see my effort come to life. This is why I love coaching.
What challenges have you seen to have been presented during the growth of your business?
Finding my voice in the oversaturated market. It’s crazy amazing how coaching has blown up in a short period of time. We need more coaches to help people. That being said finding my voice and not being intimidated by other coaches in the business the biggest challenge. It’s a beautiful reminder about staying in my lane and only truly focusing on my vision.
Which other leading entrepreneurs and pioneering game changers do you also admire and why?
Allie Webb of Dry Bar. She truly capitalised on her strength and went for her vision. I mean who would have thought that just blow drying hair would be a thing?
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
‘Braving The Wilderness. It’s such an important book for any entrepreneur, check it out!
Top 3 go-to Podcast channels?
- How I built this
- Over it and On with it
- Modern Love
How do you measure your own terms of success?
To me, success is when I am being fully authentic. Success if when I honer and practice my full potential. Success is when I take complete ownership of the things I need to accomplish. For me its all about how I am treating myself in all aspects. When I am being authentic I am at peace and I am happy. I am successful when I am being real and enjoying the ride.
What does #BEYOUROWN mean to you?
Being Authentic in all aspects of life. Do it only because it feels good for me and not to please anyone or fit in someone else’s box.
Lastly, what is next for you?
I am building a project that I hope will make it to the best and successful companies. I want to go all in with career and personal development. And how one really impacts the other. I am in the very first stages of collecting data. I know there is a lot to be learned and transformed. I can’t wait until that moment becomes a reality.