We’ve always believed that forming a strategy is impossible until you’re 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.

Amanda Kahle | Co-Founder / Inner Piece Puzzles

We founded our company based on the idea of finding space for quiet time. We live in a distracted world where everyone is glued to their phones. Using your brain in a different and creative way makes you feel better. Doing that with people you love, even better. Read more>>

Owili K. Eison | Senior Attorney

The value or character trait that I admire most is GRIT. GRIT, to me, is the perfect combination of tenacity, perseverance and dedication to a defined purpose or goal(s). I also value GRIT because it is a learned trait can be developed and trained just like any other muscle. By employing a sense of GRIT to the myriad challenges that life throws at me, it gives me a sense of calm, because I know that if I keep at it and want it bad enough, I will see that it manifests. All that we want is on the other side of GRIT. Read more>>

Michael Harris | Freelance Fashion, Runway and Real Estate Photographer

The principal that matters most to me is that my reputation is the most valuable asset I have. Every positive customer interaction is another brick in the foundation of the business I want to build. In our immensely connected world a bad review can become widespread very quickly. Therefore I really concentrate on supplying as much value as I can to customers. As a photographer, I am in a field that fosters a personal connection to my customers. The word of mouth advertising that you get can really make or break you. Read more>>

Eugenia Chen | Co-Founder of Launchmode Design Company, LLC & Creative Director

Our values form the foundation of our lives, and based on our values, we make choices that impact our relationships, our career, and other activities we engage in. After pondering for a long time what values I live by, it is hard to identify with a specific value because it has evolved overtime along my life journey – and all the values of past and present together shaped me to become the person that I am today. I have a much different focus now from 20 years ago when I began my professional career in design for the toy and the themed entertainment industries. Growing up I developed a passion for art. Doing little doodles was my escape from my family who fought and struggled over financial problems for as long as I can remember. Naturally, my hobby became my profession. For years, I chased after financial and career success to strive for achievements… looked for external validations to earn my place in this world. Read more>>

Jamila Allen | Actress & Producer

When I think of what principle matters most to me, it would be integrity. We are all programmed to have an end goal, but I strongly believe that it’s not just the end goal that matters, but how we get there that makes all the difference. It all comes down to, how did you treat people and will you be remembered for uplifting others or putting them down? We all want to leave behind a legacy, but wouldn’t you want your legacy to be because you were good to people? In this industry where we often play make believe, it is very easy to lose sight of yourself. However, integrity deals with how we treat others as well as how we treat ourselves. In Los Angeles, people walk around wearing a mask—they can easily pretend to be something they aren’t and fall down the rabbit hole of this egotistical mindset. With acting, it’s a solo sport. It isn’t like basketball where there is a team or someone keeping you accountable. Read more>>

Palmer Davis | Health & Fitness Specialist

Anyone ever have one of these evenings? Your daughter comes home from school, softball practice, finishes homework, eats dinner… you’re about to take a shower and get into bed and in walks your child and mumbles something …You holler from behind your Dean Koontz novel, “What? They repeat, “Mom, I forgot I have a history assignment due… and I left my book in the parking lot cause I was waiting for you and you were late.” Yes, she said it. It was Your Fault!! You freeze, the blood rises to your forehead, you throw the covers off, stomp downstairs in your pajamas, get your car keys, and slam the car door shut. Child slinks into the back seat to avoid your hardened gaze and you peel out in search of “the damn book” One of the hardest parts in raising children is teaching personal responsibility. We simply don’t’ want our children to fail. And I believe it’s getting even harder as we face increasing competition, social media distraction, and the almost unconditional acceptance of being a helicopter parent. Read more>>

Rachel Eck | Director. Producer. Storyteller.

Society has been telling stories since the dawn of time. They’re necessary for survival, they allow us to share vital information like “there’s a pack of wolves on that side of the forest, don’t mess with them or you’ll die.” Pretty important stuff. Over time those necessary bits of info, hardwired into our brains, adapted. We found ourselves with questions like “how did you find out about the wolves…how are you alive to tell the tale you crazy son of a bitch!” And thus, from an integral means of communication and a genuine desire to experience vicariously, the art of storytelling was born. But amid the influx of stories and storytellers, tropes emerged. Once again we hear of the bravery of a man whose courage saved others, who overcame physical odds, who sacrificed himself. But wait…it’s different…it’s “war time!” (*gasp*), a tiny platoon you’ve never heard of! The history books don’t cover this stuff, kids! A new angle! We used real film. Read more>>

Deion The Star | Founder/CEO of The Dime Agency

Love is single handedly the most important value that I hold in my heart. It is what governs me daily to do what is right, that gives me the opportunity to lead in times that are considerably difficult and what allows me to be as creative as possible in not only running a business but creating sustainable careers. Growing up, my family instilled in me that we must love God first, friends, family and neighbors second and then ourselves. As I grew older, I was exposed to seeing so many different circumstances in people’s lives but the thing that kept people the most sane, the most relaxed was the love that they shared for their families and their friends. As someone who grew up in a Baptist Christian family, I watched so many faith based people focus more on the divisive parts, the things that make us different than that of God’s number one commandment, “Love thy neighbor as you love yourself.” Read more>>

Eli Cloud | Executive Director, Thistle and Bee Enterprises Inc.

I am honest and transparent with everyone. Time is our most precious commodity. In my early twenties, I made a decision to be honest with myself and everyone else. I have saved so much time (and heartache) by refusing to lie, even when it would have been ‘easier’ to stretch or adulterate the truth. I never have to think about what I have said or to whom, because the truth remains constant. Read more>>

Cortney Morentin | Panadera & Truth Teller

Telling the truth. I recently discovered there is nothing more valuable than the truth because it opens up the door to vulnerability, humility, learning, and authentic connection. It’s easy to want to run away from difficult honest conversations when they bring up uncomfortable emotions, awkward encounters, or things you are embarrassed to admit. But it’s true when they say that the truth will set you free. It will also allow you to connect with a community who loves you for exactly who you are and you love exactly for who they are, and it doesn’t get much better than that 🙂. Read more>>

Ashley Adams | Business Owner & Poet

One of my most valued concepts is that customer service is everything. Customers are the most important Pilar in any business. It determines how I shop and how I run my company. I truly believe if you invest in your customers they will Invest in you. Being a business owner doesn’t mean you’re going to get it right 100% of the time but you can always make it right. A lot of people are afraid of negative feedback from customers or get offended when someone brings up an opinion that is different than their own but this is the biggest opportunity for growth. When a customer comes to me with a problem I look at it as a chance to get better, to use my creativity to come up with a solution. When I take the time to listen to my audience they give me insight that I may have never heard otherwise. I cater my business to my customers. Every single order comes with a handwritten letter and a personalize thank you because I want my product and service to always stand out. As long as I grow I will always put my customers first. Read more>>

Aileen Wu | Olympic Weightlifting Coach

Authenticity is the value that matters most to me. I feel that authenticity is very “hot” right now – a buzz word thrown around without a real diving in. So let’s dive in. To me authenticity means being true to yourself – your heart, mind, and soul – whenever and wherever you are. In order to do that, it requires honesty, introspection, and some digging – digging into the depths of your person and your soul and seeing what is there – the beautiful, the dark, the scary, and uncovering the truth of who you truly are and who you are not. From there, courage and vulnerability need to be added to the mix. Are you willing to take off the mask, the costume, as well as the weight of other people’s expectations of you to be who you truly are? Are you willing to speak your truth? Are you willing to bet on yourself even when it’s inconvenient, even when it’s hard, even when the odds are stacked against you? Being authentic – easy to say, but not so easy in practice. Simple but not easy. Read more>>

Jen Edney | Edney Epics | Adventure Photographer & Filmmaker

A desire to continuously evolve or as I say, “Always a Student.” I think that it’s important to acknowledge that no matter where you are in your career or life there is always room for growth, it just shifts as our priorities, goals and life experiences shift. As a creative I think it’s important to continue evolving, taking risks and being willing to fail to get better. I believe it’s important to have a deep respect for the relationships we build and to place a high value on our tribes, mentors and communities. Let the positive energy from those around you fuel your passion and let the negative energy from those who doubt you light a fire under it. Be uniquely you, tune into yourself, define yourself by what you love and listen to what sparks your passion. Trust that everything you’ve experienced contributes to the unique story of you. Nobody else will see the way you do, nobody has walked your exact path. Let these differences inform who you are and what you create. When we work from a place of passion we have the greatest chance for our work to resonate for others. Read more>>

Chevonne Cloud | Owner & Creative Director

The principals that I always value when it comes to being a creative entrepreneur are ambition and confidence. To me, those are the key components to being a successful entrepreneur and small business owner. When in doubt, I tell myself to just do it, and go for it regardless. A lot of times as creatives, we overthink and question our next move. In those moments I remind myself of that old saying “ain’t nothing to it, but to do it” and execute all of my creative ideas. If you’re not confident in your brand, how can you expect anyone else to be? And at the same time I have to maintain that same confidence even when I don’t get the positive support that I was hoping for. I don’t let things such as minimal likes on a social media post get under my skin. The number of likes don’t matter to me, it’s all about brand awareness. You may not double click to like, but you see me and eventually my brand will be undeniable to you. I honestly feel that as long as you keep trying and putting in the effort, things will come into fruition. Read more>>

Jim Brock | Photographer/Writer/Ponderer

Perspective and self-awareness. Acknowledging our filters and using that for creative expression and personal growth. To look everywhere with wide eyes and an open mind. To see differently. To. See. Differently. To find beauty in the forgotten or unnoticed. To experience our common humanity through others, not ourselves. That’s the magic I discovered by my father’s side in the family darkroom, behind the lens, and in the world. We all have a perspective, shaped by experience and circumstances. Without perspective, and an awareness of it, intolerance grows. Without perspective, compassion does not. Read more>>

Paul Gymziak | Founder/President

The value that matters most to me is the community. When I started Dramatically Incorrect Theater Group and Dance Company AKA DITGDC for short, I wanted to create something amazing and safe. Gearing this company towards the community to help keep kids and adults off the street and to pursue their dream means the world to me. Growing up was tough on my mom. She worked three jobs to support her three kids and seeing the struggle of my mother so that i can do what i love Theater and Dance hits hard. I always told her she is my super hero. Supporting me and my dreams to one day pursue an amazing career. So with the background of knowing the struggle i wanted to help. Back then in the 80’s and 90’s things we way cheaper then these days. Being able to help kids with scholarship’s and sponsors to let them blossom into what they want and seeing the journey is the best reward ever. Read more>>

Juan Ruano | Musician, Producer, Artist

I feel that most of my work and motivation is driven by being true and honest with how I’m feeling at any given moment. I know most would say that, but I do try to keep everything on a human level, so that what I do seems accessible and possibly relatable to anyone who might be interested in what I do. I wouldn’t want someone to see my art or lifestyle as something far from their own reach. There’s already way too many people on the planet that seem untouchable or like they have something that nobody else has. This is simply not true. The fact is, we all have the capacity to create or offer something unique to this whole experience. All of those artists or influencers that you may idolize are not as far from eye level as you think once they’re right in front of you. Ever have that moment when you realize someone you look up to isn’t as tall as you thought? Well, the same concept applies to ego and potential. Read more>>

Lauren Adams | Producer – Director of Photography – Editor

The value that is most important to me now is who I am as a whole. I believe for many years, I was doing things that didn’t match the core of me. My spirit wasn’t connected to the outside realm of whom I portrayed. When that happens, you start becoming robotic and the passion and joy you have starts to whittle away. I found myself completing projects that didn’t mean much to me or wasn’t satisfying me as a person. I wasn’t becoming a better individual and more importantly I was discovering that my work values didn’t match my life values. I started connecting to God in a more spiritual way. The year 2020 revealed to me that the most significant piece of me was my soul, then my mind followed by the body. I changed what I ate, what I drank and what I consumed mentally. When you start working on yourself from the inside out it can get ugly and it did. I realized traumas and pinpointed behaviors that were keeping me from actually growing. Read more>>

Coach JT & Debbie Moye’ | Fitness & Nutrition Coaches

Respect is the key to developing a well rounded child. Our program is so much more than the average fitness class. We reinforce respect, manners and ethics everyday . Our class Expectations includes Respect yourself, Respect others, Respect your coaches and Respecting the equipment. These are powerful lessons that allow the kids to become strong and confident individuals. Read more>>

Marcus Nobreus | Shaman and Reiki Practitioner

The value or principle that matters most to me is that we are all here to help each other grow and support each other. In other words, we are here to elevate each other and our world. By healing ourselves and helping others to heal we can create a whole new world. That is the founding principle behind most of my actions and my purpose in life. Read more>>

Gihan Manzueta | Manifest and Transformational Coach

Being impeccable with my word. The lesson behind keeping your word is a valuable in honesty but also, transparency. Honesty is answering a question truthfully. Transparency is giving the answer without being asked which shows openness and vulnerability. Most importantly, being impeccable with your word is not about others but about yourself. Keeping a promise to yourself is more difficult and easier explain away. Being impeccable with your word will keep you focused on goals you set out, teach you to set boundaries, and make you love yourself deeply. When you keep your word to yourself, you are able to be a better human for others. Read more>>

Donato Bragagnolo | Filmmaker and Photographer

Honesty and respect. In an environment where competition and appearance run unchecked, honesty and respect are the most valuable qualities you can find in the people that you work with. I’d much rather learn from the truth even if it hurts, than receive fake compliments and praises. You can see in our society today there is a lack of respect that leads to a lot of conflict. For me, respect does not mean that you hold everyone in a high regard, it means turning off your ego and opening your ears. If you can hold off judgement and truly listen to others, we can only grow. Read more>>

Nazia Mollah | Music Production Label Owner & Business Professor

In every facet & regard; and it is so necessary but so rare in this world nowadays. The Oxford dictionary defines integrity as, “the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness.” Integrity matters the most to me because I am a firm believer in doing good. I think integrity breeds a lot more than just respect from our peers/loved ones, it fosters a life full of humility that keeps us grounded. Because to be completely honest, I don’t believe that any one person on this planet is too good for anything/anyone. Because really, there IS always better. Read more>>

Marilee Albert | Writer and Advocate

I value service and giving back. I also value the art of being the change you want to see in the world. As I’ve gotten older and my kids have gotten to the age where they don’t need as much of my time, I felt like it was time for me to walk the walk. Read more>>

Kingsley and Kalle Pascal | Filmmakers

The value or principle that matters most to us is family, but in terms of filmmaking, it’s being true to whatever the idea is and seeing it all the way through. Read more>>

ShowzArt | Artist

I’d rather have purpose then a job or career. Reason is with purpose comes prosperity. With prosperity you can then gain the power of the people. To make change for the better I am going to need the people. Read more>>

Sean Buffington | Content Creator

The value and principle that matters to me most would be perseverance. Today we honestly see the success behind people we follow on social media or people we know of but never really see the story behind the success. Hard work isn’t easy or else it’ll be called easy work, right? I learned at a young age that anything I wanted to achieve in life I had to work hard to achieve. Being an African American man from South Central Los Angeles already placed a stigma on the quality of my work but do you allow that to stop you? Do you allow what other people think or what they created this image of in their head of you stop you? If you do you never will see pass what they think of you. So the real question is, do you believe in yourself enough to persevere? Opposition is apart of the process. Read more>>

Albert Abdul-Barr Wang | Conceptual Artist, Curator, Student

The value which is key to my studio art practice is transparency/compassion and having strong ethics in my relationships with other artists and art world professionals. The contemporary art world is predicated on trust and for me, the dialogue becomes a lot more difficult if people decide to act selfishly and not be open to the critical issues which artists face. Transparency also helps me to become stronger in being able to help others more freely with good responsibility. Read more>>