#159: Unlocking Your Vision and Values: The Essential Foundations for Course Creators


Hi there and welcome back to the Entrepreneur Mindset Podcast!

One of the things that I’ve noticed over the past year is that there are a lot of entrepreneurs out there working to create and launch a course, but are getting stuck along the way. Whether it is because the course topic doesn’t leave them feeling passionate, the tech gets in the way, building an actual course feels big and unruly, or there just doesn’t seem to be a realistic way to build your course and bring in revenue.

That is why I put this brand new podcast series together for you. I’m sharing with you all of my experience as an entrepreneur and college psychology professor who has spent the past 15+ years creating courses and workshops every week. Not only do I create my own courses, I walk alongside other course creators to provide feedback, support, and direction on best learning practices, student engagement, how to navigate technology, and accountability so that your course gets done and launched.

I’m going to be documenting the process that I use with my clients who are paying $500, $1000, and even $2000 a month for 1:1 help with their courses so that you can implement these ideas in your business. And of course, at any point if you decide you’d like extra help, I’d love to sit down and learn more about what you are building and see if we would be a good fit.

Now for the first concept that we will cover, we are going to talk about vision and values. One of the things I ask each client to do is to revisit or create their vision for their business. 

Why Vision?

Why? Well, let me give you a little insight as to why this particular video exists. 

When I was in college back before the days of navigation on your phone and in your car. I had a roadmap on the seat next to me, and I also had my printed instructions from MapQuest.

Do you remember that? Do you remember when you used to put in the address and you would get this list of instructions that then you would have to somehow read while you were driving and hope that you knew exactly where you were going? Well, I was a map kind of girl. I loved knowing exactly where I was going. I knew what stops I was taking along the way so that I could have everything planned out.

That Atlas was my friend. I knew that I was on the right path. I knew where I was headed and that kind of carried over into my adult life. I love to know where I’m headed. And I know that some of you are probably the same way. 

We start with values because they create the roadmap and foundation for your business.  

Now, some of you might be feeling a little frustrated by this activity, but I promise that we will get to the nitty gritty details. Like who are you going to serve? And why, what will you work on with your clients? We’ll talk about the design of your business so that your business serves you. It’s adding something to your life instead of detracting from your life. 

A lot of times we can get sucked into the external world and what the external world expects of us. This process will encourage you to look inward and to truly build a mindful vision that works for you so that you are creating your own unique business with your mindful vision.

Values are, as you might imagine, core to just about everything we do, but in a business, they really do become a driving factor for a lot of things, including how you move forward, what you want to accomplish. And pretty much every single question that you find yourself answering on a day to day basis and even in your annual planning. This is why we’re going to start with values as a core component of your vision. 

Now, if you’re a coach, you have probably at some point done some kind of values card sort activity. If the idea of putting names to your values is new or something that you haven’t done in the recent past, I’ll post a link to a values card sort activity that will help you narrow down the words that you’d assign to what you value. 

We are going to take this in two stages. 

Personal Values

The first step is to identify your top five personal values in life. These are the ones that you hold true just for you, regardless of anything else. If you were to do a values card, sort, what are your top five values knowing that this can change. If you haven’t done a values card sort or explored your values in while this is a great time to take a step back and actually think about what those might be right now, whenever we have a major life event or in the case of the past several years, a global pandemic, sometimes you find your values are shifting.  And when you answer the question, what are your top five personal values in life? You want to be working with the most current data. So you want to work with the most current data here. 

And that means sometimes pulling out your values card sort periodically. Take some time to explore your top five personal values in life. When you have those in mind, I want you to write them down, set them aside because here’s what I’d like you to do next.

Business Values

And I want you to shift your mindset. I’d like you to shift into that business mindset. And the next step is going to be to identify your top five values that you want your business to have, and these may be different from your personal values. So when you think about the top five values that you want your business to have, maybe integrity is at the top of the list or authenticity, or perhaps honesty, maybe it’s service. 

What are your top five values that you want your business to have, recognizing that your business may be brand new and you haven’t really thought about this yet. So like I said, values shift over time. Get a baseline for right now. If you are in an established business, maybe your business is going wonderfully and are now thinking about growing even further. That’s awesome. 

What are the top five values that you want your business right now to embody? And if you’re thinking about growth and change, what do you want your business to embody as it grows and changes? Just like your personal values can shift as you grow and learn and change over life, so can your business values. 

This is such a beautiful opportunity because it reminds us that where you start today, is not necessarily where you end up, you have this opportunity to shift and make changes along the way so that your business values today might look a little bit different in five years, maybe even in six months. 

But what I want you to do right now is identify your top five values today that you want your business, that you have today to have. What do you want your business to embody? 

Take some time here because there is a pull or an urge, especially when you think about your business values, you can slip into what you think others want your business to value. What is the best bang for your buck in terms of sharing your business values?  While this is important information to explore, it’s not going to be sustainable if these values are not true to you as the business owner. 

You cannot just choose what you think society wants. I’m asking, what do you want for your business? What does that look like? What are the values that at the end of the day, when you put your head on your pillow, you start to drift off to sleep. You think, oh, I love the values that my business embodies. I love what my business is doing to support these values. So that’s where we want to stand. 

We want to make sure that as you identify these top five values that you want your business to embody that it’s truly your desires, not a desire from someone else, which it’s so easy. 

It is easy to look at the hot topics and decide that you need to incorporate that value into your business. And the answer might be, yes, that is important. But what if it’s not the right value for your business to embody right now? Maybe in the future? Maybe it has embodied it in the past, but maybe right now, you’re looking for a little bit of growth and a little bit of change and you want a different set of values right now?

This is a living, breathing process and the idea right now is what top five values do you want your business to embody today? Tomorrow, next week?

Combining Personal and Business Values

Once you have your top five personal values and you have your top five business values, I want you to take time and step back because we are at our best when our personal and business mesh well together.

I want you to take a look at your personal values, and I want you to look at the business values. These may be five. You may have five personal and five business values and there’s no overlap. That’s okay. That’s actually not unusual, but I want you to see how they integrate. How do they support one another? How do your personal values and your business values support one another? How do they integrate together?

Because when we find that integration, we’re going to be stronger. We will be stronger personally and as business owners serving other people. If you are constantly kind of at odds with your personal values and your business values, it’s not going to line up. You won’t want to go to work every day. You won’t want to have that call with your client or network to build your business.

You aren’t going to want to do that if your personal values and your business values are at odds with one another. This is why we explore values before tackling course objectives, marketing, messaging, networking, and audience growth. Your personal and business values need to b e aligned. They don’t have to be the same, but they do need to be harmonious, right?

We’ve all heard that song chopsticks on the piano where you use two keys right next to each other. They’re going to be discordant, right? They are not harmonious when you do that. We don’t want that crunchy sound happening in our business. We want it to feel in tune in flow, choose whatever words here, work for you that make sense. We want the decisions that you have to make easier and less likely to make you fret. 

Your Why

Now you’ve given a little bit of thought, how do your values impact the why behind your business? If you’ve read Simon Sinek’s Start with WHY, you’ll be familiar with the concept of getting clear on what is driving you to pursue your business.

One of the common activities to get to the why of something that you are doing is to pretend that you are peeling an onion. Or go seven layers deep. Ask why am I starting or continuing my business? Then ask why of that answer, and so on until you’ve done this at least 7 times. What you will find is that your why has some foundational components to it and they often align with the values that you just stated both personally and professionally.

There are going to be times when being an entrepreneur makes you want to run into a forest and scream at the top of your lungs, bake 5 dozen cookies, or simply curl up with your favorite streaming series. If you can remind yourself of your why, it is easier to wade through the tough stuff that comes up.

And with your why and values in place you will create an offer that will leave you excited to wake up each morning and serve your clients.

Action Item

This week, I want you to spend time exploring your values, both personal and professional as well as your why. I’ll link a few values card sort activities that will walk you through putting words to the values that you hold close to you. Sometimes this is a surprising activity, sometimes it brings tears so be sure to grab some tissues, sometimes it brings about a-ha moments, and sometimes it brings a feeling coming home to who you are.

Do this activity for you personally and then again as an entrepreneur. You might be thinking, I know what I value, I can skip this. You can’t. This is one of those things that if you skip it now, you’ll have less clarity later as you dig into who you serve, the offer you create, and even the longevity of your business. The alignment that comes from having these values at the core of what you do is critical to your sustained success as an entrepreneur.

Second, I want you to take some time with a piece of paper and write at the top, why am I an entrepreneur? Then ask yourself why of the answer that comes up for you. Do this until you’ve asked why at least 7 times. If you find that it is easy to come up with the answers and have never done this activity before you have dug deep enough yet. You should go at least 2 layers below the “easy” answers.

As you finish with both of these activities, notice how they support one another. Notice how it feels to think about your business with your values and your why front and center. 


Too often we feel compelled to skip the pieces that feel like fluff when building a business. I mean, no one sees that vision spelled out or your values unless you put them on your About page. It feels trivial because it isn’t a money-making activity.

But imagine for a minute that you didn’t have these guiding principles and started creating offers based on what people want. You relinquish control and creative direction of your business to the masses. People who don’t know you and don’t have your sustainability at heart.

I can almost guarantee that you didn’t get into entrepreneurship to allow others to tell you what to do with your business. If you don’t uncover your why, your values, and set a path for where you want your business to go, you are handing over the reins to someone else, whether that is a program you buy, a coach you work with, or the noise of social media.

This week it is about you. Take the time to explore your values and why and then I’d like to invite you to share what you discover, uncover, or re-discover with me. Send me a DM on Instagram or Facebook at entrepreneursinflow and I’ll respond back.

I’ll see you back here next week for another episode of the Entrepreneur Mindset Podcast, where we focus on mentoring, community and implementation. It’s all about taking action so that we can remove the overwhelm of building a successful and profitable business and add in a little dose of momentum.

Until next time, have a healthy, safe, and happy week.

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Online Values Card Sort

Printable Values Card Sort

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