EP 358: Imagining New Ways To Work With Future Proof Skills Lab Founder Liz Wiltsie

Oct 12, 2021 | Culture, Podcast

In This Episode

  • How Future Proof Skills Lab founder Liz Wiltsie has build her business on her North Star values & the movements she belongs to
  • How she makes room for difference, both in her own business and in her work with clients
  • What she’s decided not to do with her business because of her values

Imagine yourself sitting at a table. In front of you, there are all your favorite art supplies. Maybe there are paints, crayons, or pastels. Maybe there are stacks of magazines and illustrated books you can cut up for a collage. Maybe your art is music and your favorite instrument is on the table. Or maybe, like me, your favorite art supply is a tablet—one you can draw & paint with as well as create written art.

On their own, the art supplies don’t amount to much, right? The value of a tube of paint, a trumpet, or a pen is based on what we have the potential to do with it. Art supplies are tools and raw materials for creating. We imagine something and start to make it, or we get inspired and follow that inspiration.

Our values can also be raw materials for what we create in the world.

They give us something to work with, make with, imagine with.

The strength in our values isn’t simply in knowing them or putting them on our websites—their strength is in what we do with them.

What’s more, we can express those values in different ways.

Just like you and I will create something completely different with the same palette of paint, you and I might build very different businesses even if we’re working from the same set of values. The way I build my business model or core competency based on a value for community care is going to be different than the model or competency you build out based on your value for community care.

So maybe now, you imagine sitting at a table with your values in front of you. They’re the raw materials you have to play with. Also at the table is what you have to offer and who you’re offering it to. Now, you get to make art!

That might sound like a simplistic or even naive way to think about business-building. But let me tell you: it works. And not only that, it makes choices like how to market, what price to set, or how sell much much easier too. Starting with your values as raw materials helps you shape your business, instead of letting shoulds & supposed-to’s shape it.

My guest today is a perfect example of this. Liz Wiltsie is the founder of the Future Proof Skills Lab and the host of Sustainably Human At Work. She’s a trauma-informed, abolitionist skill builder on a quest to support small business owners to create more intentional, imaginative, and connected workplaces.

Liz and I talk through the values her business is built on, as well as the movements her business uses as the focal point of her work. Plus, she sheds some light on how both our needs and our values end up manifesting in different ways, as well as how that applies to the workplace.

Now, let’s find out what works for Liz Wiltsie.


Some of the thinkers Liz mentioned in our conversation:

Janaya Future Khan
Jake Ernst
James-Olivia Chu Hillman
Drive by Dan Pink

Host of What Works

Tara is a podcaster, small business community leader, strategist, and speaker. She’s been helping small business owners build stronger businesses for over a decade.  

Tara McMullin, What Works Weekly Newsletter

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