In this Feel Good Effect podcast episode, we are talking about how to identify your core values and then how to use those values to set better boundaries with Shunta Grant.
Identifying Core Values and Using Them to Set Boundaries
Shaunta has created many things, including businesses, frameworks, and brands. Leading her here is a recurring theme of the next step leading to the next thing. Her advice for other women is always to take the next step. You don’t have to see what’s ten miles ahead because that’s going to change anyway based on the step you choose to take or not take.
Shunta’s Corporate Background
Shunta started her career off as an attorney, a litigator, who represented multi-billion-dollar companies. She didn’t love it and actually left her law practice to start a hair bow company. This was something that started on a whim. She made hair bows for her daughter, posting extras online and eventually stores began reaching out about selling them. Loving it, Shunta left her law practice and started Because of Zoe.
From there, women started asking her how she did it, how she left her law practice and built something where she was actually doing better. After having many of the same conversations, she was starting to be invited to speak at different events, to teach others, leading into the educator space, which naturally gravitated toward speaking to women. Although she would be talking about business, she found herself often starting by talking about life, realizing that you cannot separate the two. Life and business are not two parallel bars; they’re spaghetti noodles that mix and match. This led her to the current place she loves, which is helping women get on the other side of busy. This is what led her to create the course, Peace, Pace, Progress for business owners.
The Career Pivot
At the end of the day, Shunta didn’t just want to work with business owners; she wanted to help women. Every step led her to another place with a new opportunity. And with the business owners that she worked with, over and over again, what looked like a business issue was actually a life issue, a busy issue, and a mindset issue. So she created what she saw a need for, physical products like The Best Today™ Guide.
Never in her dreams did Shunta expect to be where she is. She always expected to be sitting at a desk, in a courtroom, or in a classroom. She had this great plan for her life but decided to change, to do something more joyful to her. Taking that one step has had so many beautiful ripples.
Having faith in herself, belief in having the power to change anything she didn’t love, is what got her to where she is. She made the change even without knowing what the next step would look like. And it was such a huge pivot. After time and financial investments into practicing law, Shunta pivoted, leaving a place of success to take a risk. But she was more afraid about what her life would become if she didn’t make a change.
She recalls the Sunday night dread she used to experience, which would hit around four o’clock on Sunday evenings when her entire mood would shift. It was like a grey cloud was hanging over her head, knowing that it was time to get ready for Monday to go back into the office that she didn’t love. Nothing was worth feeling that every week. She didn’t want a life of living for the weekend. She wanted a life where even during the hard parts she was still doing something that was meaningful to her.
Following Core Values
Life isn’t going to be short of challenges, of the stuff you don’t love, but if you’re doing something you don’t love for something that you do love, it’s different. The hard parts are still worth it when you’re working to fulfill your mission.
When she made her career pivot, Shunta’s husband was still working full time so there wasn’t a concern of ends not meeting. She was more afraid of what she was showing her daughter if she’s showing her that she makes choices that change her, which makes her frustrated and sad, every Sunday night, despite joy being a core value. It would have not only robbed her, but also the people she loves to stay in a situation that was transforming who she was, not for the better. That was far scarier than trying something different and new.
She was more afraid of who she would become if she stayed than if she left. It was a powerful reframe, instead of looking at it as ‘what if I do?’, it was really ‘what if I don’t?’. We often think about the risks of something not working out but not the risks of staying on a path that isn’t working.
Shunta has so many frameworks and ways to dive into getting beyond busy, one of which is living by a set of core values. In Shunta’s business, they revisit their core values every quarter, which frames everything they do. For Shunta, joy is a core value. She chooses joy because it’s a choice. Life is going to have some sucky parts, but while we cannot control that aspect, we can control how we show up in those difficult times. We can walk through hard things angry or as victims, or we can walk through them while choosing joy. Joy doesn’t mean laughing and skipping, it means choosing to smile when it’s hard, knowing that this is but a moment, but not everything. If you can go into life with that at the forefront, it makes tougher times more bearable while giving hope and light to those who witness it.
Joy is a gift and a choice.
Living in a Place of Joy
We can always find something to complain about, to be frustrated by, to feel victimized about, or we can try to live life with an understanding that things are going to happen, and still come at it from a place of joy.
In Shunta’s business, joy is the consistent hum behind all internal and external communications, finding something each day to celebrate, choosing gratitude and choosing joy. To start team meetings each week, they begin with joy. Even if it’s scrapping for something positive to say, that’s still choosing joy.
In addition to joy, core values in Shunta’s business include:
Which they lead with. We have to be honest with ourselves first, and honest to our customers, clients, audience. It’s owning up to our mistakes, which is part of what makes you trustworthy. Integrity makes decision-making simple: Is it honest? Is it right? Is it true? Then do it.
Reach for the ceiling, not the floor.
Just doing the minimum amount of work is the floor; it’s the beginning, not the end. At the end of the day, if you’ve only done what was asked of you, you didn’t reach for the ceiling, you stayed on the floor. Go above and beyond, think ahead, solve new problems, be proactive.
Big picture, long game.
They make their decisions based on the long term, by what will be best for them years from now, not for a quick, cheap win.
It’s important to be a giver, to want to do meaningful work while being generous with their time, talent, and resources. In Shunta’s work, it’s about giving back to the community of women and girls.
When you have your own core values in mind, decision making becomes easy. To build your own core values, start by asking yourself:
What matters to you?
How do you want to be perceived, whether it’s personal or for your brand or company?
What’s true about you that will always be true about you, even if things outside of your change?
What do you want the people around you to have?
When Shunta is hiring for her business or thinking about the people she wants to be around her, she only brings in people who match her values entirely. If someone doesn’t hold all of these values, they won’t make the cut; 4/5 won’t do, it has to be 5/5.
Core Value Questions
Building core values isn’t about picking things that just sound nice and good, they have to truly be non-negotiables for you, for your life, and for your business.
What are those things that matter?
What are the things that you can step into, or that you’re working to be able to step into in the future?
A core value has to be a part of who you really are. Don’t just pick something that sounds good. If it’s not true to who you are, it’s not going to stick.
What do you value at the center of who you are?
Start there and start writing. You’ll start to find core values by looking at what continuously comes up or sticks with you, the things that you’re always talking about.
Shunta’s values find her way into parenting, too. She encourages her seven-year-old daughter to come to her with solutions, not problems, to foster a value of joy instead of complaining. Many of her values are deeply ingrained in what she teaches her daughter.
Core Values and Boundaries
Having core values is related to having strong boundaries. It’s determining what you will and will not allow, making it clear to the people around you. Setting strong boundaries may point out the people who no longer need to be in your space, as the people who have a problem with your boundaries are probably people who are benefitting from you not having them. In both her personal and business life, Shunta makes it clear what her values and boundaries are.
Boundaries don’t work if you haven’t communicated what they are.
People need to know what the boundary is so they know not to step on it, and it’s helpful to talk about it before it happens. If someone does go beyond a boundary, communicate that and don’t let it continue to happen. If it does, you’ve allowed that because that’s not a boundary. Boundaries only work if you put them up.
Enforcing boundaries doesn’t come easy for everybody. There’s a sense of disappointing people and a fear of missing out. Making decisions without FOMO and without disappointment first comes from understanding who you are and what you want. If you don’t have that understanding, you’re going to crumble thinking about other people- not necessarily in a way of consideration. On the other end of “what about them?” is “what about you?”.
Shunta knows that her time is valuable and that she has an important message to offer. She also knows that a person who sees her value will work with her boundaries, part of which is her schedule. If they don’t see value in what she offers, they will pass her by and all will be well. You have to have so much confidence in what you do that when people pass you by, you can say and feel, “their loss, not mine”. If you don’t have confidence in what you’re doing and what you have to offer, you’re always going to fold to someone else.
If you’re having a hard time, go back to you. Are you really confident in what you have to offer? Are you clear on what really matters to you? What matters to Shunta is doing excellent work, being present where she is.
Your boundaries can change. You may have to make a choice, live in it, and then reflect on how it went. But the things that are for you are for you, they won’t miss you. If it’s for you and you do your part, the will opportunity arises. It comes down to knowing who you are and what you want.
Shunta knows, “I’m awesome, I’m great at what I do, and I’m a blessing to the people who are around me”. If you’re not confident in what you do, how in the world are you going to show up?
Even when Shunta worked in law, before owning her own business, she set boundaries. It looked a little different, but she set boundaries by not responding to emails outside of her hours in the office. Even if she had read them and typed a response, she wouldn’t hit send until she was back at work. She did this to make it clear as to when she was available to talk.
If you do not create any boundaries, you will not have any peace, you will not find any joy, and you will find yourself constantly busy. No one else is losing but you; don’t be self-destructive.
Currently, Shunta is very excited about their new product, The Best Today™ Guide. This is a physical product that encompasses what you love about a journal and a planner while adding what is missing from each of those.
It’s set up in a three-step process.
First, you preview your week before it begins, looking at the most important thing for that week. Decide what you will have done by Friday, choosing one to two things. This calls you to prioritize, look forward, and be proactive.
Then, every night you plan the next day. There’s a space, for example, for rise time, morning routine, and what you will do for mental, physical, and emotional health. This is also when you can reflect on the one thing you need to do by the end of the day. Additionally, there is a space for what Shunta calls ‘results and outcomes’ (intentionally not ‘to-do’), a reframe that calls you to be specific in looking for resolutions to problems.
The third step is the Best Today morning practice, answering the questions:
What does my best look like today?
What are the self-destructing things that I need to avoid today?
What is the vision for my future?
If you don’t call out your self-destructive behaviors, you’re going to keep doing them. By calling them out, you’ll start to catch yourself and move away from them.
This guide helps women show up as their best every day, be clear on what they want, and make sure the things you’re doing are actually getting you there.
On what it really means to be healthy:
“To be fully self-aware to the place where you’re willing to call out the things you need to work on. To understand that health is far beyond physical; it’s mental, emotional, financial. Really looking at the whole you… striving to be whole in all of what I call the ‘allys’: mentally, emotionally, financially, physically. Being aware of where your shortcomings are and always striving to be better”
In a world telling women that they have to “do it all,” she is on a mission to free women from the overwhelm, tension and discontentment of a life marked by “busy.”
You can live a joyful life you love, build a fruitful business and do both while honoring your current season of life. But, it doesn’t happen by chance, you need a framework. That’s why she’s created tools for women like the Best Today™ Guide, a physical paper product that teaches women a three-step framework to be proactive and intentional with their time.
And, for business owners and leaders, she created the Peace Pace Progress™ four-step framework, taught in her online coaching program that has transformed hundreds of women from busy and overworked to focused and intentional business owners and leaders.
Shunta’s framework for business owners Peace, Pace, Progress
Connect with Shunta on Instagram @shuntagrant