Transcript: How to Be Curious as an Entrepreneur, with Calan Breckon

July 28, 2022

CALAN BRECKON: “In the pandemic, we just learned that you can't separate personal and business. I don't know. We got this idea where it's like you have to separate your personal and business. And especially as an entrepreneur, you are your business. How are you supposed to compartmentalize that and separate that out? Like, no. It's together. It’s the same thing. So, if you're not taking care of your mental health, you're not taking care of your literal business, because you are your business.” 

INTRO: I’m Amy Porterfield, ex-corporate girl turned CEO of a multi-seven-figure business. But it wasn't all that long ago that I lacked the confidence, the budget, and the time to focus on growing my small-but-mighty business. Fast forward past many failed attempts and lessons learned, and you'll see the business I have today, one that changes lives and gives me more freedom than I ever thought possible, one that used to only exist as a daydream. I created the Online Marketing Made Easy podcast to give you simple, actionable, step-by-step strategies to help you do the same. If you're an ambitious entrepreneur, or one in the making, who's looking to create a business that makes an impact and a life you love, you're in the right place, friend. Let's get started. 

AMY PORTERFIELD: Work @ Life, hosted by Sanja Licina and Maddie Grant, is a new podcast to my weekly roundup, and I can't recommend it enough. Hosts Sanja and Maddie explore the gray areas between work and life as they share data on relevant workplace engagement and culture topics: topics like new ideas on how to impact diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging today, and vulnerability in the workplace. I love those topics so much, so be sure to download Work @ Life wherever you get your podcasts. 

Well, hey, there, sweet friend. Welcome back to yet another episode of Online Marketing Made Easy 

Somehow—I have no idea how this happened—but somehow we are almost to episode five hundred of this podcast. That is wild. And when I think of this journey, I think one thing truly helped me to stick with it, and that was being curious: being curious about what this podcast could become, who it could serve and attract, and how it could become a huge part of my business; being curious about marketing and lead magnets and social media and downloads, and the list goes on and on. So, when I look back on all the things that have succeeded in my business versus the things that have flopped—and I've had many—I find that there's this thread of curiosity through all of the successes, this podcast being one of them.  

My guest on the show today has a beautiful message about being curious as an entrepreneur and being curious as we build our business. If you've ever wanted to make a pivot, if you've ever felt like maybe your business isn't going in the right direction, or maybe you haven't really honed in on your sweet spot, if you feel sometimes that you're just kind of floundering around, a few hits, a lot of misses, this is the episode for you.  

My guest is Calan Breckon, and he's a certified personal-development specialist. He's a writer, educator, podcast host, and he's one of my beloved Digital Course Academy graduates. Calan has been in the personal-development world for over ten years, and he's been coaching professionally since 2018. His current home base is Toronto, Canada, but he works digitally with clients from all over the world, either through one-on-one work or through his digital course. 

Now, if you are a student of mine or if you want to eventually be a student of mine, I want you to have a plan to be so successful with your digital courses that I call you up and say, “Can I interview you for my podcast?” because I feel like one of my most favorite things ever—and I want you to think this is really cool as well—is that you're doing so well that I cannot wait to tell the world your story, and I want you to inspire others through your story of hits and misses and challenges and successes along the way. And that's what we're going to talk about today with Calan.  

We're going to chat about the idea of being a more curious entrepreneur and how that can help mitigate some of the fears that come along with building a business. We're also going to chat about how to identify your core values. And even if you have core values for your business, do you have core values in your personal life? I don't. This is not something that I've ever done before. I have core values in my business. But if you said, “Amy, what are your top three core values in your personal life?” I'd struggle a little bit. I wouldn't be able to just, like, rattle them off with total certainty. So this is something that I was really intrigued by in terms of Calan’s step-by-step practice of walking you through how to put together your personal core values and why that’s so important. So we're going to get into that today. And we're also going to talk about his digital-course flop and how he turned it into a success.  

So, help me welcome my very special guest and student, Calan. 

Welcome to the show, Calan. I'm so excited for this conversation today. 

CALAN: Oh, I am so excited to be here. Thank you so much for having me, Amy. 

AMY: Of course! I've been really looking forward to this. I’ve wanted to chat with you because you have an interesting story, an interesting take we're going to talk about, so are you ready to dive in?  

CALAN: I've been ready since I put this on my calendar, like, in 2019. It was on my vision board. I’m ready. 

AMY: Love it.  

CALAN: Yeah. 

AMY: Okay, I love that.  

I have one other friend, Tiffany Bymaster, who's talked about this, that before we became friends, I was on her vision board to come on my podcast. And I just think that's such a cool thing. I need to do more vision boards because do you ever look back at those vision boards and think, “I can't believe how much of this has come true”? 

CALAN: Oh, all the time. 

AMY: Yeah. 

CALAN: All the time. I used to have a map of the world—I still, actually, have it on my wall—and I got it when I was nineteen. I was like, “I'm going to travel the world. I want to see all these places.” And then years later, I ended up becoming a flight attendant and going to an insane amount of places.  

AMY: Come on. That is so perfect. I love that. I love that you put it out there, and you make it happen. My favorite type of people, for the record.  

So, okay. So, let's talk about your story. I want you to share your story and how you came to be in the personal-development and coaching industry. So share with us how that came to be.  

CALAN: Well, so this is a quick lead off of the flight-attendant story. So I was in the Middle East, and I was working for five years as a flight attendant over there. And when I was over there, I was doing my training online because I had a lot of spare time. So I did training for life coaching. And I always knew I wanted to be in this world. I always knew I wanted to help people. And I thought this would be a great way for me to start my own business, to become an entrepreneur, and to really dive into that world.  

And then, when I came home, I moved back to Canada in 2019, and I just slowly but surely started kind of putting things together and taking one step after the other, after the other, stumbling and falling, getting it wrong, getting it right, getting it wrong again. And it really ended up being this beautiful journey of figuring out who I was whilst I was traveling the world and what I wanted and absorbing these nuggets, these golden nuggets of wisdom from all these different places and these different cultures so that when I came back to doing my coaching, it all kind of came together.  

And we're going to talk about this later. But I've now kind of evolved my business and my coaching, which I know we're going to dive into later, so I won't talk too much about that now. But I just, I always wanted to be in this world, and I'm very lucky that I now get to be in this world.  

AMY: I'm so very glad you are.  

So, share how your very first launch went. I know you call it a flop, but what I love most is that you made some tweaks and you tried again, which is the most important thing. So, can you share your first launch versus where you are now? 

CALAN: Oh, yes. I've actually wanted to share this because I always hear so many stories of the successes, and I'm like, no. I want the flops. Like, I want the bad. It’s, like, show me real stuff— 

AMY: Yes. 

CALAN: —because we know there's such a large portion of people who are going to have the same experiences I had.  

So, I created my original product, which was the Shame Detox, and I was, like, it's going to be great. It was basically all my life coaching built into a course and me doing videos and all the PDFs and everything that I had. And it only ended up selling two. 

AMY: Ah. 

CALAN: I did everything. I'm an ex-DCAer— 

AMY: Love it. 

CALAN: —Digital Course Academy, so I learned everything, and I followed everything to the tee. I did the webinars. I did all the stuff. And two people ended up signing up. I had okay amount of numbers of people who came to the webinars, but I did the tried-and-true “build it and assume that they want it”— 

AMY: Yes. 

CALAN: —which you teach not to do, all the time.  

AMY: Right. 

CALAN: But I thought, of course I know better, and I didn’t. 

And so it was great, though. I learned a lot, and I learned a lot about pushing through and going through the hard parts and the ups and the downs and all the lessons that you say, like, you need to do it a couple of times in live launch so that you can kind of get it under your belt and feel into it, because the growth always happens outside of your comfort zone.  

And so it was crushing. It was very crushing. I was like, I thought this was going to be the one. But your first one, it’s never the one. Look at you. Remember when you did— your Facebook, and it was— 

AMY: So true!  

CALAN: —your Facebook, and it was— 

AMY: Yes! Two hundred and sixty-seven dollars. And I cried and cried and cried. 

CALAN: Yeah. I had a little bit more than that, but not much.  

And so, yeah. So it was pretty devastating. And it was really hard because I'd been building up to that for probably two years. And man, it hurt.  

AMY: Right? 

CALAN: It really, it hurt. And I know there's people out there listening who are like, “Oh, we know. I feel you. I feel the pain.” And so that crushed me.  

But at the same time, I was also working on building another business with the podcast that I have. So I was kind of—I used to suffer from lone-wolf syndrome. And anybody who's out there will know, as an entrepreneur and as an introvert, and you're an introvert as well, that we can get into kind of this lone-wolf syndrome, where it's like, “I can do it by myself. Don't worry about it. I can do it. I'll take care of it. It's okay.” And it really takes time to take a step back and realize you do need people to help and support you in your life.  

And so at the same time that I was building this course, I was also starting work with two other entrepreneurs, who were also in the same space as me. And so we're like, “Okay, well, let's create this business together.” And we were supporting gay men, and our podcast is Gay Men Going Deeper. We talk about personal development, sexuality, mental health, the things that we think are really, really important to help kind of be the change we want to see in the community.  

And so as we're building this over here, I'm flopping over here with my course, and I'm like, okay, it didn't work over here. So then I turn my attention to building the things with the other two guys, and we ended up becoming more successful over here working together because we now have two courses. We have Healing Your Shame and Building Better Relationships. We have a membership program called the Gay Men Going Deeper Membership program. We have a Facebook group of over fifty-five hundred guys. We have, you know, our podcast is getting, like, thousands and thousands and thousands of listeners. We're like, it's actually blowing our minds. And everything just keeps growing and keep going.  

And what I want to say about it is that it's taken years to get here, and it just takes the consistency. And had I given up on myself when I was building that one course and I was like, “Oh, this is it. I'm done,” I never would have learned all the things I learned in the business that I built now with the guys, because now I also realized where my strong points are and what I loved to do. And I know we're going to dive into this, but, you know, your business is going to evolve as you evolve. And I have a firm belief that your business grows at the same rate that you grow. And my therapist told me this one thing once, and she said, “You can never outperform your self-image and what you believe about yourself.” 

AMY: Ooh, that is—okay, two things you just said that we need to repeat. Number one, your business grows at the rate that you personally are growing. I've never heard anyone say that, and I firmly believe it.  

I’ve told this story many times of when I got out of a partnership and I became a different person, and that is when my business started to explode. I grew and my business grew, so I have a direct correlation with what you just said. Totally agree with it.  

And repeat that last thing you said as well. 

CALAN: And so, the last thing I said is, “You can never outperform your self-image and what you believe about yourself.” 

AMY: Oh, my gosh. For all of my listeners right now, really think about that one. Take inventory of your self-image and what you believe about yourself and ask yourself, do you need to clean that up a little bit? because if you're saying that if you can't, you know, outperform that, then a lot of us probably have to do some work in that area. Would you agree?  

CALAN: Oh, hugely, which is why I do the work that I do now— 

AMY: Right? 

CALAN: —with entrepreneurs. 

AMY: It’s doing business, because a lot of us have to do a lot of work around that, for sure.  

CALAN: Yeah. 

AMY: So I love that you said that.  

CALAN: Yep. There's a lot of hustle culture in entrepreneurship, and I really am grateful that—I've noticed this changed in your podcasting recently and there's a lot more being paid attention to mental health, because that's kind of—like personal development, mental health is where I came from and what the coaching that I did, and now I align that with the work that I'm doing, which is more of the business development. But I've now mishmashed these two worlds together because I think through the pandemic, we really learned as a people that we can't keep ignoring all the stuff that's under the surface. We can't keep hustling for our value. We can't keep chasing after, you know, and trying to outperform what you really, truly believe about yourself. You need to do the inner work. And I think the pandemic kind of slapped us all in the face, being like, you need to look at this. And that's why it's being talked about a lot more. So I really appreciate that I’ve noticed that kind of trend in your podcast, that you've started kind of doing more little snippets about how mental health really is important to your business, and how you grow is how your business grow. 

AMY: Absolutely. And I so appreciate you saying so. When I started to really struggle with my mental health again in 2021, I thought, “I ought to talk about this because there's no way I am alone in this. I know I'm not the special snowflake here.” So I think it's so important. I'm going to continue to talk about it on the show, have people like you on the show, that we can dig into some of this stuff because I think it's that important for the success of your business. So, yeah, I'm so glad that you've noticed that as well, so I appreciate that.  

So, talk to me about the fact that you had this product. It did not do as well as you wanted, but this other area of your business was actually working. So, essentially, I know you talk a lot about being curious, and you got curious, and you held the vision of success for yourself and your business, and you gave yourself the room to be flexible and playful and try again without judging too harshly that the last thing flopped. So that makes me start to wonder, what if, as entrepreneurs, we approached building a business from a place of curiosity versus fear? So, talk to me a little bit about that. 

CALAN: Yes. So I love this because after the flop, I was very devastated, like, personally devastated, because I was attaching a lot of my own personal self-worth to the performance of that product. And when that didn't happen, I was like, what's wrong with me? You know, it was always, what's wrong with me? What did I not do? What did I not learn? What did I not have in order to be able to do this?  

And so I just kind of threw myself into building this other business, on the other side of things. It's like, okay, well let's go over here, because I had that support system in there and that accountability that I didn't have with myself. Like, I'm really good at performing myself and doing things. But to have other people in your corner to say, “Oh, we're going through the same thing. We get it, and we're all trying to build this kind of vision over here,” it was really important.  

So I let myself kind of just fall into that, and I just defaulted to the things that I loved, which is I love kind of mind mapping, and I love all the techie stuff. I'm such a tech nerd, and I love being behind the computer in that regard. I love building. I love setting up all the systems. Like, how does ConvertKit work with this, work with Searchy, work with Zapier? And, like, all these things, how do they work together? And so that's all the stuff that I brought to that business and how to set that all up.  

And my other two colleagues are the ones who are very much more forward facing. They love doing the forward-facing stuff, and I don't love doing that. I’m kind of like you, Amy. I like to hide—you’re definitely better at this now—but, like, hide in the background and be like— 

AMY: Right. 

CALAN: —“Okay, hi. Nice to meet you. Like, this is great and all, but pay attention over there.” 

AMY: Yes. 

CALAN: And so I just let myself sink into that. And during that time, I let myself kind of take a step back and think about, well, what do I really want from my business? What do I want my business to look like? Like, what do I want to bring to things? And before, I was operating under a company name of Discovering Your Truth. And so that was life coaching, discovering truth. It was great, but it never quite felt aligned. Like, I kept trying to hide in the background. And there was almost maybe this belief that, like, well, if it failed, I wasn't failing, because it was something separate than myself. And so I never wanted to operate under my name.  

And so I made, after going through this progress with the other business, I got to a point where I was like, okay, it's time for me to step out front. Like, I've been hiding myself. I've been hiding my gifts. And through this journey of curiosity, I've managed to figure out what really lights me up. And it's just getting on a call to somebody and be like, “Okay, where's your business? What do you need to do? Let's map everything out. What's the next logical step for you to take? How is everything going to piece together?” because sometimes the whole mind map of it all really overwhelms people a lot. There's a lot of overwhelm because it can be very overwhelming. And so I love to take that and put it all out there, but then break it all down to easy, digestible steps and pieces for people, and go, “Okay, this is your first logical step that you need to take that’s going to move you closer.”  

And also, to be realistic with your goals and who you are and what you’re expecting to get out of everything. Like, it's not going to happen overnight. It's going to take years, literally years.  

AMY: Amen. 

CALAN: Like, be ready for it. Like, so many years.  

And so, to kind of put that together and piece that together and bring that together for people is what really lights me up. And I figured that out by building this other business that's now performing really well. But I figured out through the curiosity where I fit into that and what lit me up and what helped to work with other people. And then I was like, I had this aha of like, “Oh. Oh, this is what I'm supposed to be doing. This is what lights me up. This is what I love doing,” and that's when I had this switch of like, “Okay, I'm going to change. My website’s going to change my name to my name, and everything's just going to be based upon that.”  

And I kind of made that switch and then blended the two worlds of what I love doing, because now I also have the background of the mental health and the personal development, to bring into that coaching with somebody to go, “Okay, these are all the steps, and this is all great, but how are you taking care of yourself? Like, why are you doing the things that you're doing? What are your core values? What are your mistaken beliefs?” What are your, you know, all these things that go on in the background for entrepreneurs, what's going on back there to make sure that we can also set you up for success to move forward so it’s not just, like, deliver, deliver, deliver, hit the goals, because if you do that and you’re like me and you didn’t do the work before, you’re going to be devastated. 

AMY: Ah, so true. Or when things are really great, you're still going to think that they're not, because you don't even allow yourself to celebrate or feel peace in what you've accomplished.  

So, talk to me a little bit more about that. Why is personal development such an important part of entrepreneurship?  

CALAN: Oh, man, it is everything.  

AMY: Everything, right? 

CALAN: As we said, like, in the pandemic, we just learned that you can't separate personal and business. I don't know. We got this idea where it's like you have to separate your personal and business. And especially as an entrepreneur, you are your business. How are you supposed to compartmentalize that and separate that out? Like, no. It's together. It’s the same thing.  

AMY: Yes. 

CALAN: So, if you're not taking care of your mental health, you're not taking care of your literal business, because you are your business. And so it’s so important to figure out these things that come together because if you can’t piece that together, you’re going to be, like—what’s a metaphor I can use here?—it’s like a duck on water. The legs are going crazy underneath, and you’re pretending to be calm up top, but, like, literally, like, you're going bananas down below.  

AMY: Yes. 

CALAN: And that's not what we want. We want things to match up so it's nice and easy, and you're just kind of floating on the surface of the water instead of freaking out underneath it.  

AMY: Absolutely. That’s an actually perfect analogy.  

But I was thinking, what about the people who feel like making a big decision or a brave choice, even when it's scary or tough, is harder because they have people depending on them? Like, maybe they have a spouse or a partner or kids, so they can’t make these big decisions, and they feel stuck. 

CALAN: Yes. So, this is going to be really hard, but you need to be able to have the hard conversations and to have the communication. I think in any relationship in general, communication is key, like, really good, healthy communication. And I'm also a huge advocate for therapy. Even if you don't per se need couple’s therapy, I think it's important to get couple’s therapy just so that that healthy communication can be part of the journey and part of the system. And it's not saying that anything's wrong. It's saying I love and believe in this, and every relationship needs to be nurtured. And that is an investment in your relationship. It's not saying something's wrong with it; it’s saying that this is an investment in your relationship. 

But in saying that, having these hard conversations with a partner or with people that you care about, you know, things might not move or jump forward for you, but you need to still be able to be your true and authentic self. And part of that is having that, you know, maybe possibly difficult conversation or just saying, “Hey, this is a part of me that's alive, and maybe just voicing this is enough, but I kind of want to do this,” or “I'm looking at this, and I want to start building this.” And then, you know, how can that work for you in your life, and how can you integrate that so that it works for you based upon things like your core values, and how those affect the decisions and the choices that you're going to make moving forward?  

And just get curious about the possibility of the conversation that you're going to have. Don't build it up and make up stories that don't exist, in your head— 

AMY: Right. 

CALAN: —because we do it all the time. 

AMY: All the time. 

CALAN: Just get curious and go, what if? And I get it, because the world can beat you down, and it can be really hard. I came from a very working, poor family. We didn't have a lot at all. And I did not have the leg up in life that some people get. And so it was a lot harder for me to move through a lot of that kind of stuff. And I could have definitely taken on the mentality of like, oh, well, it's not for me, or I don't deserve this, or kind of believed the things that I grew up with. But I questioned, and I got curious about why I believed those things. Where did those belief systems come from? Is it true for me right now authentically, or is it just something that I adopted because somebody else taught me that that's the way it is?  

AMY: Oh, absolutely. So smart.  

CALAN: Right? And I think that a part of that gift came from, me growing up as a gay man, I was able to already break out of that box that people put everybody in, and so I was already outside of the box. So I said, “Okay, well, if this is different over here, well, what else am I not seeing? Like, what else can I get curious about?” And so just allow yourself to get curious and then have those difficult conversations. And if it's really hard to have that difficult conversation, maybe (a) it's because you really, really care about this thing, and it's really important, which means you need to go for it even more; or, you know, (b) what unhealthy thing is going on that you can't have this open communication with your partner? 

AMY: Ooh, that's a great question. 

CALAN: Dropping those honesty bombs. 

AMY: Yes. 

CALAN: You know? 

AMY: What else is going on there that you can't have a hard conversation with your loved one?  

CALAN: Yeah. 

AMY: Yeah. That's actually really valuable. I love that. And I think those are hard conversations, one thing I've noticed over the years is the more that I'm willing to have them, the easier they get. And it's just, like, practice, practice, practice, and getting braver every single time. So if you haven’t had a lot of those, I promise you, it can get so much easier. 

Super side note. I was at the lake this weekend with my family, and my sister's family, they don't tend to—and it's a joke in the family—they tend not to have deep conversations. And I'm the type now that I will ask deep questions at dinner. And we all go around, and they're dreading it. Like, “Oh, no. What's Amy's question going to be?” Things like, you know, what's that one major thing that you want that you've never gone after and you need to go after now? And they're like, Whoa. And I realize they're not used to having deep conversations and being vulnerable, so it's very, very difficult to them. But I was raised in the same house as my sister, so it is something I've learned; it's not something I was raised with, to have these deep, hard conversations. And so I'm just saying this story to say, it is very possible to change and to evolve. You don't have to—it doesn't always have to be hard.  

CALAN: Yes. Yes, exactly. And that change happens outside of your comfort zone.  

AMY: Absolutely. 

CALAN: In the comfort-zone bubble, everything's good. But that change and that growth happens outside of the comfort zone. And you don't have to go way outside of it. You just have to be willing to stick your toe out of it or even take one step. Then, get comfortable there. Then, take another step. That’s how we grow. That's a part of life. That's just how we grow as human beings. 

AMY: Absolutely. Totally with you there. 

If you're listening to this when this episode goes live, I just returned from my first-ever sabbatical. My favorite part about taking some time away was catching up with friends and family. Making room in my schedule to connect with those I love most has allowed me to come back to my business with fresh ideas and new energy and excitement. I truly feel that when we take the time to connect, it helps us to understand the people in our lives, and that's relevant to our businesses, too. 

A HubSpot CRM platform helps your business understand and anticipate customer needs, with easy-to-use hubs, apps, and payment tools designed to help your business stay connected. And when we stay connected to our customers, growth happens. Learn how your business can grow better at 

So, I want to take a kind of slight turn here because you have a practice for identifying your core values. Now, I, for one, am so darn excited for this practice because I love a quick win and I know my audience does, too. So for all my listeners, I want you to get ready because we're going to ask you to join in on this practice and put pen to paper.  

So, Calan, can you share why it's important to know your core values? And then, can you walk us through this practice so that you can do it? And let's just get everyone on the same page: what are core values? 

CALAN: I'm so glad you asked that— 

AMY: Okay. 

CALAN: —because it's, like, first off, we need to get clear on what core values are.  

AMY: Good, good, good. 

CALAN: Okay, so, core values are usually the things that you believe are the most important in relation to how you live your life. And so your values ideally should determine your priorities in life. And so this is when I was talking about things before about, you know, what you want to do with your life and all those kind of things. Your core values are kind of going to be like the guiding posts as to how you make decisions about certain things.  

So, examples of some value-based choices would be, imagine if you are taking on a job or a project or something, and it's going to be taking a lot of time away from your family, but your family is actually your number one core value. Like, family time, quality time with them, family, that's your number one core value. But imagine you've not done this exercise, so you don't know that yet. You know you like that, but you don't know it’s your core value. So how will this affect them? How will this affect you as a person if you say yes to this project but it's going to take away your core value: time from your family. So if you take on this project and you don't know that this is your core value, then you may end up resenting the project or resenting this business promotion or whatever it is because even though you were excited about it, it took away something that was actually very core to your being. And so if you knew what your core value was, you would know how to set up the healthy boundaries around this new project.  

And examples could be knowing consciously and being ready that it’s going to take longer for you to accomplish this thing; being prepared for that; saying, “Okay, non-negotiables, I don't do evenings and weekends.” You know? Or “I'm only going to let myself do this once a week. I'm not going to dive into this project and get really excited about it because I know I need to dedicate other time to my number one core value.” 

So, understanding why your core values are important is a huge part because knowing that, “Oh, my family’s my core value,” you can take that into that conversation and go, “Look, really want to be part of this. This is a really exciting conversation. This is a really exciting project. But I know I'm not going to be able to bring my best self to this if I do not have this quality time with my family.” So that's core values in a nutshell of why they're important. 

And to be able to find out your core value, I have a super easy, go through it, identify it. So I want everybody to be ready. Pen and paper. We’re ready to take notes.  

So the first step is identify a time in your life when you were at your happiest, both personally and professionally. And I want you to mark down what were you doing? Were other people around you? Are there any other factors to that? So that's step number one.  

Step number two is identify times in your life when you were most proud, again both personally and professionally. Why were you proud? Did other people share in this pride with you? What were the other factors here? So that's number two.  

Number three is identify times when you felt most fulfilled and satisfied. What needs or desires were being fulfilled? How did this experience give your life meaning? So really spend time on that one.  

Number four, determine your most important values based on these questions and any other values you know to be true for yourself. So that can be things like connection, growth, courage, purpose, authenticity, stability, freedom, diversity, openness, loyalty. All of these can be core values, and the list goes on and on and on. It can really be a bunch of everything.  

So I want everybody to get at least a list of ten things if they can. Try to get out ten core values. Just make a giant mind map of it all. Throw it out on a piece of paper. Just throw out all these words that really mean something to you after doing the exercise we just ran through quickly.  

And now I want you to arrange them from the top to the bottom by comparing each one. So if you got your list of ten, I want you to kind of put them in a list of, like, one to ten, kind of with an idea of what might be at the top, what might be the bottom. And then, compare them to each other.  

So take number one and go, “Okay. Does number one beat out number two, or does number two beat out number one?” And whatever one wins, put a little tick beside it. And do this for every single line. Go one against three, one against four, one against five, and then go through it until you got to the very bottom. And you'll have a list that will have mapped itself out so you'll know which one got the most ticks, the second most, and third most.  

And once you get to that, you can find out what your top two core values are, and now you can use those as the guiding posts for making decisions in your life. And once you have that information, you will be better equipped and set up to have conversations or to build out your idea of what's realistic for me moving forward. Because if you're that really overzealous, you're really excited about projects, but you get lost in them and then get frustrated and angry, and then you get short with the people who love you and who are in your life, maybe it's because you're ignoring other core values because you're so focused on the one thing. If you take a step back and look at the whole picture, you can then go, “Oh, hey, family time is one of my core values, and I've not been giving that any time this week or this month. Maybe I need to map out a better way for me to cohesively bring this all together.” And like I said, maybe that means it's going to take a little bit longer for you to get there. But it's better to enjoy the journey than it is to just, like, have the focus of getting there. 

AMY: Ah, absolutely. Because if you don't know what your core values are, and we mentioned this earlier, and you get there, you get to wherever you're trying to get to, you have the success, you have a great launch, it's very hard to enjoy it long term when you don't know what your core values are, because it's easy to say, “Yeah, but I could have done better,” or “Next time I should do more.” Or always striving for more, more, more, more, more, and not feeling grounded. I know this because I have been there. Absolutely been there. So core values are essential. 

Do you think people should have different personal core values than business core values? because I have the core values in my business. Should you have two different sets, or should they be the same? 

CALAN: If you're talking in the sense of, like, a corporation can have its core values, yes. Companies can have their core values. But your personal core values are different than your business's core values. But if you're an entrepreneur and it's just you, you are the core values. But if you're a company and you have a wide range of things, then yes, the core values can be—or the company will have different core values because it's a collective of core values from the people within that organization. But you as yourself, your core values are your core values. Bring them everywhere you go.  

AMY: I think I need to, then, work on my personal core values. I don't know if I've ever done that before. I think there's going to be some overlap between my business core values because I was a huge part of those. But we also have twenty people on our team that contributed to those. So I think I might need to get really clear on my personal ones. 

CALAN: Oh, yeah. And they change. They evolve over time. I know one of my core values—it's going to sound so wild—but is efficiency. 

AMY: Okay, I like that. 

CALAN: Efficiency is one of my core values because I know I get so frustrated and upset when things aren't efficient. And so that's why I love mapping things out, because I love efficiency, because in my mind, I guess I look at it as we can move humanity further, faster if things are efficient, and we can get to where we're going with more ease and enjoyment when things are efficient. And so I really love it. But it used to be higher on my list, but now it's a little bit lower on my list, just because as you age and relationships and families, like, your priorities do shift. So it's good to do this exercise, you know, every year, every couple of years to make sure things are still balanced in the way that they need to be balanced. And if you're feeling a little off, oh, maybe it's time to revisit your core values and go, “Okay, well, what's shifted here that I need to now prioritize a little bit differently in my life?” 

AMY: Oh, that’s so smart. What I'm going to do is for those of you who are listening but driving and don't get to take notes and really want to do that exercise—because we're very big on journaling on this podcast. I’m encouraging everyone to do it. This is a great journaling exercise for one of your mornings—I’m going to give you the time stamp of when Calan started to talk about this practice, so you can go right back to it and you can take the notes you need to take. So those will be in my show notes. So Go there. In the show notes, I’ll give you the time stamp of the practice. 

Okay, so, Calan, I’ve got one more question for you. I know you're in the midst of evolving as an entrepreneur, and I'd love for you to share what that process has been like, because for many entrepreneurs, they feel like whatever their business looks like from the start, it's how it will always look, which really couldn't be further from the truth. So talk to me about that.  

CALAN: Oh, man, this is like—I mean, we already talked about it a little bit, but like, it's so true. You have so many ideas of what your business is going to be— 

AMY: Oh, yeah. 

CALAN: —or who you’re going to be. And it will take you for a ride. 

AMY: Absolutely. 

CALAN: And I think the most important thing to acknowledge first is that you’re on it for your life. Like, you’re in it for the whole time. Like, you’re not like, “Oh, I’m just going to do this and see how it goes.” This is your life. So if you want this to be your life, you need to commit to it and go, “Okay, this is forever. This isn't just like a fun thing I'm going to try out. This is part of me that I need to do.” And so when you commit to that, you know that it's, like, it might happen today, might happen tomorrow, might happen a year from now, might happen five years from now. And that mentality helps you to keep going because we both know there is trudging that needs to happen in any business. 

AMY: Yes. 

CALAN: And so with my business, I know I talked about this a little bit earlier, is that when I went through that evolution and being curious about why things weren't working over here with just life coaching, and then as I migrated and started working with the other guys in the Gay Men Going Deeper podcast and all the businesses we have together, that's when I got curious and I figured out all those things that I didn't know about myself. Like, I knew I loved those things, but I didn't know that that's where I really needed to be shining. And so stepping out from behind the curtain and going, “Okay, this is me. This is all of me. This is who I truly am. This is what I want to bring into the world, and this is what really lights me up and brings me joy,” that’s when I can step out and say, “Okay, it’s It’s no longer Discovering Your Truth. That is the name I used to hide behind. It is now And I’m going to grow and evolve with this as I grow and evolve with this.”  

And it took years for me to get there. Like, I think I've had Discovering Your Truth website since 2011, and I've been coaching since 2018. And so it took years for me to get to this point of evolving into this next area of like, okay, I really want to work with other entrepreneurs and business owners and help them map out all these things. That gives me joy. That lights me up. But I'm also going to bring in all these other things that I learned that I knew I needed to learn to get here, because I wouldn't have been able to be the great coach I am today if I didn't have those other aspects, because I wouldn't have known the core-values practices, I wouldn't have known the mistaken-beliefs practices, I wouldn't have had all these other tools in my tool belt to help an entrepreneur to move forward and go, “Okay, you're hitting a block. Well, what's going on? Let's dig here a little bit. Let's go in a little bit and find out what's going on so that we can move you forward while still mapping things out, while still taking those manageable steps forward.” 

And like I said off the top, you're going to evolve as your business evolves, and your business evolves as you evolve. And so making sure to take the time to pay attention to all aspects of you, not just the tasked focus, because entrepreneurs, we can get very, like, hustle, hustle, hustle. Like, I need to produce. I need to do all these things. It’s really important to take a step back sometimes and reanalyze and go, “Okay, well, what's not working? What is working? What's going on? And why is it not working?” 

AMY: Absolutely. So well said. I love that.  

So, I told you that was the last question. But we actually have some rapid-fire questions, five of them. Are you willing to run through these really quick? 

CALAN: Let’s do it. 

AMY: Okay. 

So first question, who is someone that's inspiring you at the moment, and why? 

CALAN: Somebody inspiring me at the moment, and why. I think a really big one, Brené Brown. 

AMY: Ah, amen. Right? 

CALAN: I love Brené Brown. I live by so many of her teachings, and so much of her work informed my work. And her new book, Atlas of the Heart, is just the language around feelings and things. It's mind blowing. If you've not gone and gotten that book or listened to the audio or watched her HBO series— 

AMY: Ah, so good. 

CALAN: —you have to, because language is how we communicate. And if you're saying one thing but you're meaning a different thing, the other person on the other side doesn't know that. And so it's so important to understand what the words you are using actually means so that your communication can be clear. And this goes back to me loving efficiency, because it's more efficient. You don't have the fights and the things that can come about, the miscommunication, simply because you didn't know what you didn't know.  

AMY: Yes. So true. Atlas of the Heart, highly recommend it. Everybody should read it.  

How do you create space for curiosity in your life and business?  

CALAN: Forced meditation. 

AMY: Amen to that, too! I totally understand! Forced meditation, yes. Talk about that. 

CALAN: Yeah. So I've meditated on and off for years, probably since, like, oh, gosh, like, 2011, maybe even earlier? And it comes and goes. It’s not perfect. It’s never going to be perfect. That’s not the point. But more recently, within the last year, especially after COVID and the pandemic, I really needed some mental space just from life. And so just having my twelve minutes at night, before bed, because my brain just does not stop. And I used to have a lot of sleep-anxiety problems and a lot of problems falling asleep because I was thinking about so many things. And so giving myself that break and that space to be like, no, just do what you can. Do the best you can of just twelve minutes of listening to this music and just bring it back to the breath and just bring it back to yourself and just kind of calm things down, because you can get addicted to producing and to— 

AMY: Yeah. 

CALAN: —anxiety and, like, all these kinds of things. Like, it's an addiction to have that feeling, the adrenaline. And so it's breaking the addiction to the adrenaline. That's being, like, oh, I need to think. And my brain thinking is doing something, and being productive. And it's like, no. You need to have the mental space. And you just went on sabbatical. You know the importance of needing mental space. 

AMY: It’s so important. And I do—I meditate every morning. At night, that's interesting. My brain definitely is going a mile a minute, so it might be very valuable at night. But regardless of when you do it, I think—and like you said, twelve minutes. I do ten minutes. I use the Calm app. I don't make it a big thing, or I will never do it. So I think it's pretty powerful, so I'm glad you brought that one up. 

CALAN: Yeah. And it’s just 1 percent at a time. It’s not about being perfect. It’s James Clear’s 1 percent at a time, every little bit. 

AMY: Absolutely. I think, first of all, that's a great book. That's another great book that everybody should get. 

CALAN: Atomic Habits. 

AMY: Ah, so good. That 1 percent, though, I live by that. Like, just a little at a time. So, yes.  

Okay. So, what is one of your favorite books or podcasts that you listen to for personal development? 

CALAN: Ooh, for personal development. Well, I was going to say this one with you, Amy, which has definitely got personal-development aspects to it. 

AMY: A little bit of it, yeah. Or a book that you love. 

CALAN: Well, I’m addicted to Unlocking Us with Brené Brown. Like, Unlocking Us with Brené Brown, so good. And just a self-promotion here, of Gay Men Going Deeper, because we're all about personal development, mental health, and sexuality. So we talk about suicide, depression. Mirroring all these things that a lot of people don't want to talk about, that maybe makes them uncomfortable, we kind of allow the door to just be opened for people to kind of step their toe in and go, “Okay, well, let's listen to hear.” Of course, everything is told through the gay-man's perspective lens that we have, but we have guests come on, and we share different experiences about different things. And we're almost at, you know, a hundred episodes. We’re just crossed our two-year anniversary, so it's like— 

AMY: Good. 

CALAN: —yeah. So that's, you know, a little push there. But Brené Brown. Brené Brown’s definitely my best.  

AMY: Fantastic.  

Okay, final question. What are you most looking forward to this year?  

CALAN: Oh, goodness. This year I’m manifesting just true and honest, like, feeling safe and secure and stable in myself and just security in life. Just really embracing that, because I didn't grow up with that. And so I kind of brought this trend with me through my whole life. And I've never truly felt just at home and safe and secure in one location, in my own location. I've always had roommates, or I've always had something going on. And so I'm really, you know, focused on bringing that more into my life and just breathing into that and just being like, “Okay, I'm here. This is good. I like this.” 

AMY: I love that you said that. I tend to get anxiety when I'm falling asleep or when I first wake up. And this morning I felt it. I felt this anxiousness. And I told myself, “You are safe. You are home. You are grounded. You are protected.” That is a very important feeling to have. So the fact that you're manifesting that and actually very aware of it, I think is so important. I appreciate you sharing that.  

CALAN: Yeah, thank you. Well, mental safety is so important. Mental and emotional and physical safety is, like—it's a big one.  

AMY: It's a big one, for sure. Totally agree.  

Well, Calan, thank you so much for being here with us today. I just love everything about you. I love your transition into doing what you absolutely love. I think your podcast is extremely important in this world. So thank you for being here, and it's been a true pleasure getting to know you more.  

CALAN: Oh, well, thank you so, so, so much for having me. This is literally been like a vision-board dream come true. So it's wild.  

AMY: Well, you did amazing.  

CALAN: Thank you.  

Well, if people want to find more, just  

AMY: Perfect. That was my next question. I’m glad you told me that, because I get so excited saying good-bye to people that half the time I forget to ask. So I’m so glad you brought that up. 

So, tell people how to spell your name, just because it’s a little different. 

CALAN: Yeah. So it’s C-A-L-A-N, and last name is And you can find everything you need to know about me there. I got a great resources page that has a decision-making cheat sheet to help you kind of prioritize in life. Goes along with all the mental-health stuff that I got. And then if you want to get me on Instagram, it's just catchcal. So, catch C-A-L. 

AMY: Perfect. Thanks again for being here, friend. Take care. 

CALAN: Well, thank you so much for having me, Amy Porterfield. Have a good one. 

AMY: Wow. I feel like I have the coolest, most-amazing students. I love getting to hear them speak and share their knowledge and their firsthand experience from starting out to launching a digital course and growing a successful business. And then I also love when they share tangible practices that we can implement right away.  

My personal favorite, like, my favorite part of this interview, was when Calan reminded all of us that your business is only going to grow as fast as your personal growth, meaning you grow personally, your business will grow. I have had personal experience with this. I believe in that wholeheartedly. I didn't even realize it till he said it. So it's something to think about.  

Now it's your turn. What did you love most about this conversation with Calan? I want you to go to Instagram. I'm just @amyporterfield on Instagram. Simple enough. DM me and tell me you listened to this episode and tell me one little nugget you got that you really loved, because I would love to share it with Calan as well.  

Okay. So, if you liked this episode, if you have a friend who is also on the journey of being an entrepreneur and a business owner, please share this episode with them. It might just be the one thing that they needed to hear today.  

All right, my friends. I will see you on Tuesday for more entrepreneurial goodness, same time, same place. Bye for now. 

Follow Me On The Gram