PODCAST 06: Playing by Your Own Rules: How Core Values Can Help You Lead With Ease

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Transcript and show notes:

Hey Y’all, welcome to From Hustle to Hell Yes. I’m your host, Emily Carter of Change Agent Studio, and I believe that entrepreneurship is a tool for freedom and improving your life in a LOT of ways. Being busy isn’t why you started your business. You started your business to play by your own rules, doing work that you love that has an impact on the people you serve.


So much of enjoying building a business is about also about re-defining our relationship to time and work and being really clear on what’s important to us. Because HOW we do business - the values and ethics behind our tactics and our marketing, is just as important as WHAT we’re doing - whether we’re a done-for-you service provider or selling doodads or digital courses.


In every introduction to this podcast you hear me say “Being busy isn’t why you started  your business - you started it to play by your own rules.”

What does playing by your own rules even mean, though? 

  • It means doing the work you want to do when and where you want to do it.

  • It means how you get it done.

  • It’s what you stand for.

  • It’s how your business makes you feel.

  • It means that you are the decision maker and you own that role.

Playing by your own rules might not sound like it’s a tough thing to do, but I assure you - it’s not exactly easy either. At least, not if you haven’t thought deeply about what that means for you.

Of all the things in that list of what playing by your own rules means, there is one thing that will make all the other things on the list a LOT easier to manage: Trusting your decision making and being confident in your choices. 


While we can’t know the outcomes of our decisions in advance, we can make decisions we’ll feel good about regardless of whether it all goes exactly according to plan. As someone with a history of anxiety, aligning decisions with my values has saved me from hours and hours of time on the struggle bus wondering if I made a good decision or not. Knowing exactly what values are backing my decisions has prevented me from wasting time second guessing myself because as soon as those questions - questions like “what if I made a bad choice?” Or “what if this is a huge mistake?” Suddenly I have an answer for and that answer is “it can’t be a bad choice or a mistake because I chose based on the very foundations of what I believe to be true, the core of my authenticity and integrity. It may not turn out the way I’m thinking, but it will not have been all bad or a mistake.” 


You know that saying, if you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything? (Is that a saying?! I think it is?) It’s true. If we don’t take the time to identify and define what our values are in our business it’s really really hard to do all the other stuff with complete confidence. And by complete confidence, what I really mean is, without attaching our self worth to the outcomes. 

So here’s what taking that time to get hyper specific on your core values and where they show up for you in your biz can do. It’s a long list, y’all, there are 7 really good reasons to use your values or ways to put your core values into to good use:


1. It can prevent decision fatigue. When you outsource some of your decision making to your core values, there’s simply less to wonder about. Do you know how many decisions we make in a day? The average person makes over 35K decisions - I’m betting business owners make at twice as many... 

2. Using your core values in your messaging can set you and your business apart from the competition. And PS - attracting clients or buyers who not only want what you sell but also resonate with what’s important to you will take them from “this is neat-o” to “OMG IM TELLING EVERYONE I KNOW ABOUT YOU!” 

3. Being intentional in using core values in our business can make it way easier to do marketing in a way that’s actually aligned with your ethics as a business owner. If you listened to the previous podcast, you’ll know I’ve learned this with some bumps along the way.

4. Core values make it super simple to know what opportunities are a yes and which are a no. Opportunities you create, like pitching to be a guest writer for a publication OR opportunities that land in your lap, like being invited to guest on a podcast are so much easier to weigh if you know that those partners or platforms are on the same page with you in terms of what’s important to them.

5. Knowing this stuff make it so much easier to find and invite collaborators that you haven’t worked with before or don’t really know you. For example, if you’re looking to partner with folks whose skillset is different from yours in a course or project or something like that - not only will you be able to more readily identify them, but they’ll be more interested in working with you if your values are clearly aligned with theirs. 

6. This is a really quick way to help you figure out what vendors, service providers, etc to use. Necessities aside, if your comparing vendors and they all seem to do the same damn thing - this is a no brainer way to choose and feel actually good about your decision and satisfied that it’s the right choice for you.

7. Checking in with core values can even help you decide how you operate within your business, what the customer experience is like, what your employees experience is like, your process for handling complaints, your process for sharing content, etc. 

And those core values can even help you determine how you deliver your product/service at all levels.

In the last episode, I shared how following someone else’s template wasn’t the best decision for my business. Instead of stopping there with that situation, what I’m going to do is talk about HOW using my core values in that situation would have actually led to more ease, more enjoyment, AND a heck of a lot more effectiveness. 

So my core values are curiosity, courage, community and collaboration, and character (which I define as my sense of what integrity and authenticity).

Who I reached out to collaborate with

    • Looking for shared authenticity - so looking specifically for folks who are on the same page with how we talk about the topic: in this case, sales / marketing / branding AND with what we see as our responsibility to the audience

    • Focusing on these folks would have saved me so much time reaching out to folks who were just not a good fit for collaborating with based solely on what we think works in sales / marketing / branding and how we talk about it, what we feel our responsibility is to the folks attending the event, why we’re doing it, etc. Do we have some overlap in what we’re all about - do we have overlap in what we believe to be true about the world, do we have overlapping values or missions that can help us build trust with each other? Because it’s not so much that we want to live in a bubble and be perfect aligned with everyone we interact with, but having those overlapping values can help us gain understanding more quickly.

How I reached out to them

    • As I said before, I used a swipe file and just dragged and dropped my details in. This came off pretty weird for a few reasons but primarily the drag and drop content - so the stuff I actually wrote - did not mesh well with the swiped content (duh - right?). It just didn’t sound like the same person from paragraph to paragraph. Again - duh - because it wasn’t! It actually created some dissonance. And let me tell you. That dissonance meant folks either ignored me OR even worse - it made them suspicious of me because something felt off. This did NOT create trust! I could have stepped into curiosity and wondered a bit about why I thought this would be easier or better than writing all my own copy from scratch. I could have stepped into courage and been more trusting of my own capability or stepped into courage and been really vulnerable in my communication and outreach and honest about where I was coming from! I guarantee that would have gotten a far better response than what I initially did. In fact, later, I DID get more vulnerable and re-wrote the entire email. And the response rate on that was AMAZING compared with the swipe verbiage + my content mash up.

What would the result have been if I’d more intentionally woven these core values into the entire experience?! 

  • Well that’s hard to say what would have been different. The event was AMAZING. The speakers were incredible, I’m so grateful that it all turned out so well, despite my early mis-steps! Here are some things that I’ll be trying in my next summit because of my core values, knowing it will make the process easier, more enjoyable, and even more effective:

  • Commit to reaching out ONLY to folx whose work overlaps with my own mission and vision, instead of being focused on complimentary skillsets alone

  • Being myself in my outreach and marketing - no more swipe files for this part - at least no more copying and pasting!

  • Not using tactics that make me uncomfortable: false urgency, purchase timers, etc

  • Making the requirements for the event a conversation instead of a bunch of boxes to check - which is much easier to do if I love the work and alignment with the other person!

  • Donating the money from it to a worthy cause.


Ok y’all. There’s a more to this conversation that I’ll be exploring more - if something here resonated with you, I’d love to hear what struck a nerve. You can get at me me at emily@changeagent.studio 


I’m super excited about the next episode - I’m interviewing the amazing Cait Donovan, whose work I’ve been following for years now via the FRIED podcast. If you aren’t familiar with Cait yet, you’re in for a real treat because she is a rockstar when it comes to all things work life and burnout related. 


Thank you so much for listening. There are hundreds of thousands of podcasts out there, and I’m stoked that you chose to listen to this one.

You can find a link to the show notes on my website - you’ll find the transcript there along with any resources I share in these episodes. 

Go to www.changeagent.studio/podcast.