Webster doesn’t know everything. Some words can’t be defined by a dictionary. Rather they are defined by our values, ethos, and principles. We asked hidden gems from the community about how they define success and have shared their responses below.

Israel Campos | Artist

I’ve asked myself a lot these last couple years. I do not like how we are taught at a young age that the goal of an education is to simply get a good paying job at the end. In our materialistic culture owning a bunch of expensive things is often synonymous with success. I didn’t know any better as an undergraduate student so I approached college with this mentality. It wasn’t until I attended graduate school and got the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life that I started to realize that there are multiple valid paths to a fulfilling life. I no longer consider simply having a high income or material possessions as a sign of success. I also don’t consider fame or power as a sign of success. Success is the realization that our existence is just one in the tapestry of life. Coming to this realization makes you a better person. It motivates you to help the people around you, it keeps you mindful of your actions, and it makes you realize that time is the most valuable thing we’ll ever have. Read more>>

Salonica Hunter | Multimedia Creative

Success is freedom. I believe that humans innately yearn to experience life from different perspectives and the ability to do so is true freedom. As an artist, the opportunity for me to create work that depicts different human experiences is a way for me to free people who may not be exposed to various ways of existing and thriving. My freedom to create or contribute to artistic expression is my personal success. Read more>>

Jace Hardwick | CEO and Director of Action Studios

Success is something that is determined by what you define it to be. I think in our generation there is a lot of talk about what success is and society tries to show you what success “should look like”, but not necessarily what is best for you. To some, it’s living the high life and becoming the greatest in your craft, but to others it’s having a 9 to 5 so that you can come home and enjoy being with your family, both are admirable and sucessfull. No matter what I am doing, and especially in my career, I ask myself; “Is this what I want and at the end how will I know it’s a success?” Most of the time when it comes to filmmaking, If I walk away building relationships with people and learning something new about my craft, then to me that was a success. A quote that I love is “Success is not final; failure is not fatal: It is the courage to continue that counts.” Read more>>

David (“DKupe”) Kuperman | Guitarist, Recording Artist, Songwriter, Performing Artist

To be successful is to be true to your authentic self by doing and pursuing that which is meaningful to you. It is about being honest with yourself about who you are and what gives you purpose, and finding meaning in the process of fulfilling that purpose. It is essentially to honor who you are and what you uniquely have to contribute to life. As long as you are doing what is truly meaningful to you and progressing at any rate through the process, then you are successful. Read more>>

Sandrine Peck | Fashion Designer

Before that my perspective of success has been as society’s perspective which is how much money you make and how popular you are on social media. After hearing that quote it really registered to me because I’ve never really thought about s in that way. No matter how stressed out I may be or how much work I have to get done I can honestly say that I am very happy and enjoy what I do. I don’t have to make a lot of money or whatever or even have back to back clients or projects lined up. Seeing my creation come to life if it’s for me or my client or seeing the happy look on my clients face fulfills the need and makes me happy and that’s how I define my success. Read more>>

SCayos | Music Producer, Pianist, & Composer

Success is being able to sustain yourself, doing the thing you love. Oftentimes, people mistake success with fame or money, but true success is very simple. True success is being happy. Read more>>

Elin Olausson | Health and Wellness Coach

1. What was your thought process behind starting your own business? It started when the thought: How can I help other people? Not just physically, but also mentally. I wanted to create a community where people can find motivation, and motivate each other in order to receive a healthy mind and body. I believe that it has never been as needed as it is now. From there, I created my vision into reality. Most importantly – I followed my passion so that what I do, is 100% what I love. 2. Social impact: how does your business help the community or the world? Reload is a health and wellness community, that is built on helping other people with their physical and mental health. Living in 2021 is not easy. We live in a society filled with pressure, anxiety, and high pulse. I want to help people reach a sustainable and balanced lifestyle. Reload focuses on recharging, in order to be able to continue what you do in a healthy way. Read more>>

Ty Greenwood | Activist, Educator & Artist

Success for me, is not about the awards or how much money you have made. For me, it is knowing that I have made an impact. When someone comes up to me after seeing one of my projects and they are excited about it or crying about or just want to talk about it…that’s success for me. I love being able to connect with the community no matter where I am. I want people to have conversations after seeing any of my work. I want people to be enlightened to a different perspective after seeing my work. I want my work to encourage action. Anything from having a difficult conversation about the subject matter I present or maybe my work will inspire the next generation. Success for me is making an impact. Affecting change. And encouraging action. Read more>>

Nicole Ledoux | Actor, Writer, and Musician

The definition of success has changed for me over the years. If you had asked seven year old Nicole she would have told you that the pinnacle of any actor’s career is to be in a Harry Potter movie. Thirteen year old Nicole would probably prattle on about winning a Tony and playing Elphaba in Wicked. Twenty year old Nicole would have told you that success is being able to make a living doing the thing that you love. But now I don’t believe that success has anything to do with fame, glory, or the monetary value of my work–because very few artists get all (if any) of these things. I find success in the little moments of being an artist. Success is when my writing partner Abbey and I riff until we find the perfect joke to write into a scene. Success is the flutter of my heart right before I share a song that I’ve written with someone new. Success is every time someone connects to the art I make. Read more>>

Stefan Macchi | Founder of ActiveDoodie Dad Gear

How I have define success certainly has changed over time for me, especially with becoming parent. Fancy cars, money and “things” were the driving force for me for a long time and I needed that goal to chase. My father in the middle part of his life certainly lived that lifestyle. As a 5 year old in his Ferrari I would cry when the top was down because it scared me and I hated it. That’s an embarrassing fact nowadays but as a kid all I wanted was quality time. As quick as his success came, it vanished and what will always remain is the relationship and memories we had. As a father of two now that shift happened for me. Success now is creating a life where I can be present and spend the time with my family that I want. To never miss a game or dance recital, to not feel financial stress, provide for my family and just being present is my happiness. That is now how I define success. Of course being in a pool with a pina colada feels pretty good as well. Read more>>

Maya Aviezer | professional track and field runner. I run 400m hurdles for the Israeli national team.

Talking about success is such a complicated thing. Younger Maya would have thought about success and immediately told you her plan for the next 10 years of her life. All the things she wanted to buy and thing to accomplish on paper, start a family, run a business, reach millions of people and make a name for herself. Now at the age of 26 I still think about some of those things for my life. I have some goals and plans but I don’t think about them when the word success comes to mind. Success for me now means you stopped caring about how everyone thought of you, you stopped caring about strangers around the world remembering your name, or talking about your accomplishments, you started caring about your happiness, sharing your beliefs, loving selflessly and helping others, not caring about what they think of you or if they will remember you. Read more>>

Dustin McKamie | Music & Digital Artist

I define success by making the best out of every situation. Lots of things in life could really define success but ultimately I think it’s just feeling good wherever you are and whoever you’re with. Everything stems from that. I remember a time where I was so broke back in Kansas City. I still talk to my friend/roommate at the time about it. I’m pretty sure my checking account was negative and I was over 30K in debt. All we had was a hacky sack and an old laptop to watch rerun Tim and Eric episodes from Comedy Centrals website. And believe me when I tell you…we never had so much fun! Something about the simplicity of life during that time. On paper it looked pretty sad though. I remember we put up a list in our living area of things we wanted. It was such a sad list. I’m pretty sure it stated some of the following…1. TV 2. Comfortable chair 3. Nintendo Wii 4. Read more>>

Elicica Morris (she/her) | Wellness Practitioner

Success is defined only in the eyes of the beholder and is is often painted in a black or white nature; if one doesn’t succeed, one has failed. I believe our collective idea of success is often externalized, meaning success is obtained outside of one’s self. Therefore, I measure success by personal growth. For me, growth occurs when I am outside of my comfort zone and sit with the discomfort that it causes. Discomfort encourages a new or deeper understanding that allows me to navigate my experience from a greater, authentic perspective. Read more>>

Mickey Ly | Home baker

If it gives that “Yes! I did it/that!” kind of feeling, then that’s success to me. Success is such a unique and personal point of view. It’s as big or small as you want it to be, depending on how much work and pressure you want to put on yourself. I used to think success had to include other people’s ideals in my decisions and work, just to spit out a result that they’ll accept. Not! For me, I feel an awesome sense of success every time I complete baking a loaf of sourdough or a meaty pie. If people like what I’ve made for them, then that’s an over-the-top feeling of accomplishment, and you guessed it, success!. Read more>>