Most people say they want success, but when you ask them what success means you get wildly different responses. We recently asked some of the best and brightest in our community to tell us about how they define success and have shared their responses below.

Javier Simons | Touring Agent

Success to me is being able to wake up every and do what you love, and make a living of it. When you love what you do, you won’t work a day in your life. Find what makes you happy, what you are passionate about, and monetize it. If you can pay your bills, then you are successful. Read more>>

Christina Makoyawo | Contemporary Fine Artist & Creative Strategist

Success to me symbolizes freedom. Freedom in my physical movement, freedom in expressing my creative and business ideas, freedom within my finances and lifestyle. Success also means the ability to create what reality I want for myself. Attaining success [or my definition of success] has always been very important to me. In ways, it’s what keeps my foot on the pedal and wards me away from being complacent. The draw back is that sometimes I’m so focused on how it will feel to finally reach success that I struggle with living in the moment, my mind most of the time is in the future. Ironically, achieving what I deem as success I think will allow me to finally appreciate the present since I will feel “free”. Read more>>

Carly Heath | Author of THE RECKLESS KIND

A lot of us have been programmed to think of success as something that is achieved or acquired in a material sense—accomplishing a goal, acquiring wealth, or attaining a respectable job title… But to me, that all seems rooted in the capitalist paradigm and I don’t think “winning at capitalism” is anything to be necessarily proud of. If I had it my way, success would be measured in how much you do to dismantle the inequities in our current system. The time you put into exposing injustices and the work you create that illuminates the possibility of a better world both feel like things that should be counted as “success.” Even small daily activities where you might experience moments of acknowledgement—awareness that the current system exists to benefit a wealthy few rather than serves to make life better for the rest of us should be celebrated as a moment of success. Any activity you take part in that disrupts capitalism in any way should, indeed, be something to revel in. Read more>>

Lily Lyons | Music teacher & instructor for Red Pelican Music

As a music teacher I feel most successful in the moments when my students catch a spark of excitement. Maybe it’s when they first play the beginning of their favorite song, or when we’ve found a way to turn a technical exercise into a game that makes them laugh while still learning. Music is challenging but it also can be joyful and creative. It’s my job to be patient and adaptable as I discover what makes each individual student tick. When I make a lesson challenging enough to help someone grow but motivating enough to keep them engaged, then I consider that a success! Read more>>

Valerie Quinones | Massage Therapist and Dance Instructor

I define success as living your life balanced mentally, emotionally and spiritually. When we are balanced as individuals, everything else in life seems to fall into it’s rightful place at the right time. Whether it be your finances, people places or things. living authentically is important. Everything we want and need comes when we have a healthy sense of self and our overall well-being. Read more>>

Shaun Pugmire | Director

I used to try so hard to present myself as being someone who was doing great work. Scrolling through Instagram and trying to gain a following was swallowing the whole of my thoughts. I spent a good amount of time trying to emulate the “success” of others, and it hurt my family. When you give of yourself to something, you have less of yourself to give to everything else. When I was focused on my appearance or my successes, my family became the “everything else”. You might tell yourself that you’re hustling to help your family but you really aren’t. You’re doing it for yourself. Read more>>

Jeremy Kent | J Kent Recording Artist / Entrepreneur

You define success personally by how hard you work And how far you’re willing to go to accomplish the goals you have set for yourself and business. Seeing everything you have been working for Start to become a reality is when you know that you’re starting to see success . Success comes from yourself and how much you believe in yourself there are many definitions of success but ultimate success comes from the reality you create for yourself and your career. Seeing your life and environment change in the most effective way is what success is all about. Making a difference and strong impact in your life and other peoples lives is success . Waking up knowing you’ve made progress each day more then the next day is success. Read more>>