Turning Core Values into a Compass

By: Agata Antonow in Book Writing
on June 5th, 2018

“Hello? Hi, this is Yolanda!”

It was Yolanda Knight’s first sales call, and she took a deep breath. She reminded herself of RTC’s core values of love, brilliance, joy, momentum, honesty, community, and growth. She remembered the calls she had been on with RTC Founder Corey Blake. A quiet voice whispered, That’s how you should lead this call, just like him. But Yolanda knew better now.

For anyone who has heard her warm voice on the phone, it’s hard to imagine Yolanda being anything other than quietly confident in delivering love and warmth to clients and team members alike.

But, as Yolanda remembers, when she first took on her role, she had a vision for what she was supposed to sound like. Corey’s outgoing, exuberant personality became her template for how she thought calls “should” be. But the more she tried to raise her voice, talk fast, and use Corey’s trademark boldness, the more lost she felt. Silences stretched on calls, and when she hung up she felt far away from the person on the other end of the phone.

“I felt I had to go into these calls and be him,” Yolanda remembers. “I learned later I didn’t need to be Corey; I needed to be Yolanda.”

For Yolanda, learning to lead calls with love and in alignment with the core values of the company was about finding her own journey and her own voice. For everyone who chooses the mission to become part of the RTC family, love, brilliance, joy, momentum, honesty, community, and growth become much more than words. They become a way of working and stepping into projects. Like Yolanda, many find the journey takes them to unexpected places where the heart cracks open.

Long before Yolanda was talking to clients and trying to learn how to work within a company culture with strong core values, she was learning lessons about compassion and listening. As a child, she noticed something about doctors’ offices. When she sat in them with her parents, they would look around, look at their watches. As she sat in the plastic chairs and among the piles of newspapers, some part of Yolanda knew “it was harder for her parents than for her.” And from a young age, she wanted to “stay strong for them and take care of them.” She was already nurturing and protective of those she loved.

That deep love and respect for others grew as Yolanda entered the work force as an adult. Working in doctors’ offices, she reassured worried patients, brought them the information they needed, and listened to their concerns. Then she got a job offer from RTC. “When I decided to come to RTC and leave my previous job, I was nervous because I liked the connection with people and I was worried about being in a virtual environment,” Yolanda explains.

In many ways, RTC and its core values seemed like a good fit for Yolanda right away. One of Yolanda’s first clients, Suzie Carpenter, became a close friend who stays in contact even today, so building community with clients and writers was not a problem. Yolanda also loved many parts of her job—like manuscript vision calls, which remain a favorite experience of hers. As she puts it, seeing clients come to RTC and get on this call that “rips their heart open,” and helps them see their story in a new light, “blows her mind.” Listening to Yolanda speak about how she shows up with the company’s core values for every call and every meeting with clients and the RTC team, it sounds like the values are slam dunks for Yolanda.

And, of course, Yolanda had and continues to have plenty of support. Yolanda talks glowingly about working with Leeann and the rest of the RTC team. She certainly felt RTC was family, right from the start: “I actually feel closer to RTC family members than when I was working with people side by side.” And there was Corey, her mentor.

Corey lived the core values of RTC in every call, through a Corey lens. Trying to embrace the core values through someone else just wasn’t working. Yolanda ended up feeling something was off. She was trying to show up with love, brilliance, and all the other values. So why wasn’t she feeling them more? Why didn’t she feel closer to clients?

RTC eventually offered Yolanda a coaching session with the personal and professional coach available to all team members. The experience gave Yolanda the tools to start, as she says, “finding my own self.” Through her work on herself, Yolanda saw that she did not have to embrace core values through someone else’s lens. There was no “right” way to bring these values to the table. She realized, “We have our own special gifts…I had to honor who I was.”

When she gradually gave herself permission to be Yolanda and to show up with love in a way that was natural for her, the payoff was immediate. “When I was true to myself, clients felt more comfortable,” Yolanda remembers. Now that she lets herself be true, calls are also reenergizing, “like a cup of coffee.”

When talking to client Lori Hood, for example, Yolanda felt instantly close to her when she allowed her authentic self to shine through. Lori had an amazing story, and as she worked to share it, Lori was “so over-the-moon happy” to be working with RTC. The two women had an instant connection and remain friends.

Being herself allowed Yolanda to embrace everything RTC is meant to be. As with Suzie Carpenter, working with RTC client Dr. Tom Sult allowed her to experience more of her personal growth journey with her health.

Today, Yolanda prepares for calls in her own way, and it’s often as much about what she doesn’t do as what she does. She doesn’t read up about clients online or try to find out more about them. Instead, she finds a quiet spot for the call and shows up with an open heart, ready to listen and meet clients where they are. By now, being herself on the phone is second nature and “seeing the joy in clients” is a reality.

Yolanda mentions a client who had to work to adapt to RTCisms. “I’m adapting to the RTC way,” he told Yolanda. And that’s the goal, isn’t it? So many companies have mission statements, visions, and core values, but these are not rigid “how-tos.” At RTC, core values are the signposts meant to help bring clients and teams together on their own paths. These values are meant to be the compass that points all of us on our personal journeys to our stories, and that means each of us interpret these values in our own way. Love, brilliance, joy, momentum, honesty, community, and growth become not just words but a deep calling we live each day.