Updated: Sep 10, 2020
If someone was asked to describe you - who you are, what you do, and how you live your life - in just a few words, what would they say?
Character is defined as "the mental and moral qualities distinctive to an individual."
It lies at the very centre of who each of us are - yet its importance has been drastically undervalued in recent times.
The combination of an unrelenting, always-on pace of life and a pervasive consumerist culture left little time to take stock of our personal values and the impact these can have on others.
That was, until 2020 taught so many of us a valuable lesson in what truly matters in life - and just how important living with integrity is. That's certainly been my experience.
All of us have individual values that we live by; no two people are the same. These values, whether we are attuned to them or not, define how we navigate the world, how we interact with others, and what we choose to do with the skills and talents that we each possess.
Personal values can be understood through examination of our lives: identifying the times where we were at our happiest, most fulfilled, or proudest of our accomplishments.
It's by looking back at the past that we can move forward into the future that we want to create.
Living in harmony with our personal values defines the legacy that we leave behind.
When the opportunity presented itself to start my own business, I knew that I needed to place my personal values right at the heart of it. From having spent time working with, and getting to know, many successful company CEOs and founders over the last 15 years, there was little doubt in my mind that the very best businesses are the ones that put ethics and values front and centre at all times.
Second Mountain Communications is founded from a deep, personal desire to make a positive difference. The first half of my career was spent learning and working under others' leadership. The second half is where the adventure truly begins: spending every single day working in a truly authentic way, in tune with the ethos and values that guide me in the rest of my life:
The very first decision I made upon entering the PR industry was to join the CIPR. I recognised that if I was to be able to provide professional counsel to others, I needed to be aligned with the Chartered body for the profession and abide by its professional code of conduct each and every day.
15 years on, I remain drawn to, and inspired by, the Institute's definition of reputation: that it's "the result of what you do, what you say and what others say about you."
I believe in doing things the right way, and throughout my career have always set out to be honest and work with integrity. I tell people what I think and what experience tells me will work - not what they necessarily always want to hear.
Entrusting your brand or voice to another is a pretty big deal. It's not a decision to enter into lightly.
Building trust takes a lot of time. It requires an unwavering commitment to professionalism, to delivering on promises, and to putting in the extra effort to do a job to a high standard. That's always been how I work, and that's why trust is central to Second Mountain Communications.
As a business, we're only working with a select group of like-minded clients who share similar values to us. We're supported by our creative partners who are highly trusted and respected in their fields. We will always deliver on our promises.
There are few values more important than reliability in this world of ours: put simply, being reliable means that if you say you will do something, you will do it.
I greatly value reliability in others. I like to work with people who are consistent and who put time, care and attention into delivering what they promise, when they promise it, without excuses or delay.
That's how I like to work, and that's what our clients can expect from us. Every single time.
You can rely on us for that.
The trials and tribulations that we've all faced this year as a society have highlighted the importance of a friendly face. Sometimes, a kind word can go an incredibly long way.
I've brought together a team of people who are all nice to do business with. That's no accident. I have intentionally surrounded myself with positive people, who bring both professionalism and a smile to their work. This, in turn, attracts good folks to want to work with us.
Friendly, open and genuine advice, and a smile. That's how we roll. After all, life's too short not to be nice.
Never give up. No matter how big the challenge or how tall the climb that lies ahead, always keep moving forward. I've strived to live by this mantra my entire life, and it lies at the core of the Second Mountain ethos: not just in my working life, but also as I grow as a person.
It's all too easy to back down, to follow the path of least resistance and to take the easy way out. But there's no sense of accomplishment in that - after all, legacies are defined by our actions, not our words.
A tenacious approach to communications means doing everything possible to surpass expectations, using every ounce of expertise, creativity and ingenuity. There's genuinely nothing we enjoy more than surprising and delighting our clients.
Finally, the big one: transparency. A growing priority for businesses, and rightfully so.
My stance on this is perfectly clear: I choose to only work with brands and leaders who operate openly, honestly and with integrity.
That's what I believe in, it's what my business is all about and it's what drives me: meaningful communications for ethical and purpose-driven companies.
Time is far too precious to waste on not doing what you love. 2020 has proved that.
Let your personal values guide you in all that you do - and always remember the legacy that you'll be leaving behind.