We’ve always believed that forming a strategy is impossible until your clear on what your values and principles are. Without values and principles to guide you, making decisions can seem impossibly difficult. Given how important setting values and principles is to decision making we asked folks we admire to tell us about the values or principles that matter most to them.

Heather Dupree | Wife| Mom | Photographer | Best of Gwinnett Photographer For 2019 and 2020

The value that matters me most is 100% my family. Photography allows me to have a flexible schedule and the freedom to watch my baby girl, Lila Mae, grow up. Generally during the week, I’m able to drop her off at school, photograph listings for real estate agents, get back in time to pick her back up from school, edit, cook dinner, spend family time, repeat! It works amazingly well. On the weekends, I photograph weddings, families, etc and still have plenty of time left for my family. I consider myself very blessed. My husband is very supportive and understands my need for a creative outlet. I’m one of those crazy, artsy people. Read more>>

Dianna Thomas | Certified Personal Trainer & Small Business Owner

Many values are important when running a small business, but I think humility is one that matters most to me. Humility is key to having an open mind as well as being willing to constantly learn and grow. No matter how successful you become in life it is essential to always be a good student. Humility dissipates arrogance, gives you a clear head to really understand, relate and serve others to the best of your ability. No matter who you are or where you come from everyone deserves to be treated with the same full and open heart. Read more>>

William Warren | Founder, CEO and Visual Communication Enthusiast

Fortitude. I think so much of success — in life, in relationships, with our goals, and more — comes down to fortitude, which is defined as courage in the face of adversity. I like that fortitude is basically a killer combination of courage and toughness. Courage, first, to take the risk and attempt something scary. Toughness, second, to see it through. This was a huge factor in 2020, both professionally and personally. Professionally, our business model was completely upended by COVID and the ensuing policies of lockdowns and social distance. For 6+ years, our main source of revenue came from corporate live events, and in a matter days during that fateful week in March, this revenue stream dried up completely. We watched as our entire “gig” calendar vanished overnight while revenues plunged 80%. So, It required of our team a considerable amount of courage to pivot quickly, launch a new online version of our service, and have the toughness to market it, promote it, train our team on it, and deliver it with excellence to our clients. Read more>>

Destiny Richardson | Singer, Dancer, Performer

I value work ethic. practice makes perfect, and without failure you never truly learn how to grow. I also love being top tier and that takes work. Read more>>

Sydney Marsman | Poet & Designer

I’d say the principle I treasure the most, especially in my writing, is honesty. And by that I don’t mean just telling the truth, I mean getting to the core of the point I’m trying to make, without excluding any details, whether they are happy details or not. The reason I love writing so much is because I like to give words to feelings people may be feeling, but don’t know how to put into words. Poetry is powerful because it’s true. I’ve found that the poems I write that get the strongest reactions are the ones where I didn’t shy away from the hard emotions. It can be scary to post poems like that because you don’t know who will read them or what they will think of you when they do., but I think that the vulnerability pays off in the end. Writing can be a beautiful reflection of reality, often with a hopeful ending. But the ending isn’t always bright and shiny. And I keep it that way on purpose, because endings of our stories in life aren’t always bright and shiny. Everyone can relate to this truth, so in my (sometimes brutal) honesty, I try to make my writing resonate. Read more>>

Rachel Perkins | PERKS Lifestyle Management, CEO & Founder // Lifestyle Manager For Professional Athletes

When it comes to my life, both personally and professionally, the #1 thing I value is trust. Whether it is establishing trust with yourself, your clients, or your colleagues, trust is the first step in developing authentic relationships. Every relationship takes work, and being an entrepreneur means being in a 24/7 committed relationship with yourself and your business. The highs are high, and the lows can be lonely. Most people, even friends and family, won’t always see your “behind the scenes” or the grind it takes to build a company, but don’t let that discourage you. Wake up every day and remind yourself why you started, the problem you are figuring out a solution to, and the impact you want to make for others. Read more>>

Kris Stewart | Artisan & Bookbinder

Integrity. Whether it’s being honest in my interactions with customers, the integrity of my craft, or simply being true to who I am, integrity is the most important thing to me. Being a solo-preneur, my business is me, and I think Scroll & Ink’s slow and steady growth has enabled me to keep my values in the forefront as I make decisions. The quality of the craft, being as eco-friendly as possible, giving back to the causes I care about, it’s all there. Read more>>

CT Moody | Hypeman & Social Media Influencer

A code I live by is behave yourself and do the right thing. Why you may ask? Well, In life you can not go around those two things. Every action, every decision goes hand and hand. if you’re doing the right thing or simply behaving yourself. I also value my faith in GOD. Without, I am nothing. Read more>>

Camry Brown | Founder & CEO, Classy Luxurious®

Integrity matters to me most because when life influences transpire, I have the following components of respect and honesty. Leading with integrity is my discipline to respect my boundaries and embrace the journey as my authentic self. As we approach challenging encounters throughout life, it cultivates a remarkable journey—a journey more courageous than you have ever sought out to be. Stay encouraged! Value integrity, not forfeit your character. Read more>>

Sydney Wallace | Professional Basketball Player & Musical Artist

In my life, the principles of faith, commitment and loyalty matters most to me. When it comes to faith, a lot of times people think that you have to see it to believe it; but actually you must believe it first to be able to see it. We are all souls and spirits with a physical body and the earth has it’s own heartbeat that is surrounded by an electromagnetic field. Our spirit is electricity and our souls are magnetism; hence we emit frequencies and vibrations that are sought out into the universe and manifested in the physical. Furthermore, whatever we think and believe regardless if it’s negative or positive will come to pass. This is why it is so imperative to be able to control your thoughts and speak positive things over your life as well as having the faith that you can do anything that you put your mind to. Commitment is also a big value to me because you have to be 100% invested in whatever it is you want to accomplish. Read more>>

BARBARA BENEVILLE | Woman of God / Photographer / Acting Coach / Actress

Integrity At the end of the day, I have to live with myself and sleep well at night. My legacy, no matter how large or small it is in this life. The impact that is left for people who I have been blessed to meet. Read more>>

A.E. Manning | Certified Holistic Nutritionist, Life Transformer, and Podcaster

Over the years I’ve noticed that we are broken mentally, emotionally, spiritually, physically, and nutritionally. Our well care is sick care, the people are confused with conflicting information from trusted sources in regards to what to eat and how to live and we’re just spinning on a hamster wheel chasing a bag. It’s disheartening to see which is why personally and professionally, do NO harm is the principle that matters the most to me. My mission is to not only keep it real with my family, friends, and clients but to ensure that I take the time to hear them in order to create the best plan of action to help them help themselves as they embark on their Journey to Wellness. Read more>>

Lillian Hammer | Church Servant & Model

The most important values for me in my life is the word of God, I use it to lead me in my life & my choices and being an authentic person & always having integrity & respecting myself and others. Read more>>

Susan Rebecca White | Writer

The value that matters the most to me is truth telling. It’s ironic, because I write fiction — made up stories — but I use my fiction to try and tell better, more true narratives about our lives as Americans, and in my case, as a southerner. There are just so many false, damaging narratives out there, narratives that cap our humanity. I’m interested in truer stories about who we are. Read more>>

Jessica Johnson | Podcast Host

Never trading my Authenticity for approval of others is my guiding principle. I make it my mission to stay true to who I am becoming and to share my story with transparency whenever I have the opportunity to help motivate and encourage someone else. It’s easy to get caught up in hype and chasing the clout when trying to get your get name and brand out there; you can find yourself losing your “why” behind your brand/business. My brand and mission will always remain the same to uplift and motivate young people within my community through authentically being me no matter what room I walk in or stage I speak on. My personal mantra “I’m not here to Impress, I’m here to Impact”. Read more>>

Maria Ahmad | Artist, Crafter, & Artisan

I highly value curiosity. I think one of the most important parts of being a creative is having a childlike sense of wonder. Being curious about everything and constantly learning about new things builds your imagination and keeps your inspiration from running out. I believe that some of my best ideas have come out of having a childlike sense of wonder. As we grow older, we tend to lose our sense of curiosity and we become cynical and uninterested in things. Connecting to your inner child is one of the key things about being a creative and you’re sure to keep your creativity fresh by being curious. Read more>>

Elisabeth Joy Cuttino-Vereen | Vintage Connoisseur and Owner of Noughtie Girl, INC.

Based on my own personal experiences, I find that being kind to other people is what matters most to me. I absolutely love my service to people and find that kindness helps my small business to grow. Whether its curating my vintage goods for a cause or building long lasting relationships with my customers, I wouldn’t have Noughtie Girl. I want to be at the forefront of bringing back courtesy, respect, and hospitality in the world and I say this, because I firmly believe you never know who your going to meet and how they can help you. Read more>>

Gem Munro | Business Consultant

That we are all equal and are one. No one is better than anyone else. This means I am a ‘rule follower’ as I believe that by not following laws or rules you are saying to the world that you are better. We will have more peace and equality if we adopt these same principles. Read more>>

Jessica Eguavoen | Founder & CEO of Majesstic Organics

The values and principles that matters most to me is keeping faith and having God at the forefront of everything that I do. As a business owner it can get a little overwhelming or discouraging at times. Creating skin care products is what I love to do, so when I have days where I feel like my business isn’t where I want it to be, I have to remember that God designed my trajectory uniquely for me and that everything that is happening is for a reason or for a greater good. I would highly suggest that business owners everywhere keep faith in their business. Sometimes if people don’t see your vision that is okay, you don’t need everyone’s approval for your business. Set that goal for yourself to build your business to exactly what you believe it can become and understand that there are going to be good days as well as bad days. I personally keep God at the forefront of my business because he is faithful and he knows that this is what my heart truly desires. I pray to God when I have my good days, I also pray to God when I have my bad days. Read more>>

Natasha Myrick | Curve Model & Creative Confident Crusader

Staying true to myself and my boundaries. Not changing who I am, or how I look just to fill a role. In the entertainment industry, I am frequently met with several reasons for not “landing” the role or the job. Examples have included: I am too old. I am too young. I am too thin. I am too large. At the end of the day, I can not please everyone. If I try to fit into society’s view of what I should be or their beauty standard, I will constantly be trying to change myself. Why would I want to live life that way? I know that some people do try to change themselves to fit societal beauty standards, but I would encourage them that societal standards are temporary, they are just a handful of peoples opinions, they do not add value to your life, and it is all completely fickle and changes quickly. Be true to yourself and who you are. We need more unique people in this world, rather than those who are trying to fit into a mold. I want to be that example to others, even if it potentially costs me an audition or a role/job. Read more>>

Timafei Dolinyak | Artist, Producer & DJ

Honesty matters most to me. I am honest with myself and others, because it shortens the path to my goals and helps to live a life without illusions. Read more>>

Cordilia James | Journalist

Authenticity. There’s just something special about people being the most genuine versions of themselves unapologetically. We live in a sea of nuances and grey areas, yet many of us spend so much time concerned about what we should or should not be in the eyes of others. I think it’s beautiful — poetic, even — when someone is comfortable enough with themselves to be vulnerable, bearing their imperfections knowing not everyone in the room will like them for it. At the end of the day, that’s their personal truth in that moment, and no one else has the power to change that, no matter how hard they might try. To me, being authentic means celebrating your idiosyncrasies even if it’s a party for one. It means holding yourself accountable for the pieces of yourself that you aren’t proud of and doing what you can to build yourself into the kind of person you want to be. I feel like people often hide who they really are when they aren’t pleased with who that person is, but wearing a mask won’t change what lies underneath it. Read more>>

Yolanda “Poetic Flow” Jackson | Poet, Photographer, Producer, Creative Director, Sr. Paralegal, Business Consultant

Character & integrity matters most, as well as a respect for time. As a business woman, entrepreneuer, and senior paralegal of 23 years, these things matter not just in professional life, but also life in general. When a person has character, integrity and respect for time, things run so much smoother. As a professional it is essential to have these values dealing with a variety of clients. I focus on making sure in my own businesses as an entrepreneur that my clients not simply are provided with a service, but moreso an experience. An experience will make people feel a certain memorable way, which is how you either get repeat clients, who do word of mouth advertising for you or you get a 1 time client who will also do word of mouth “warning” advertisement. As such, don’t just provide a service, make sure client walks away with a beautiful experience of your service. This is where character, integrity & respect for time come into play. Read more>>