TV, Movies, and culture in general sometimes paints a narrow, specific image of what success is, but we know from our conversations with some of the best and brightest that success can mean vastly different things to different people.

Justina Shandler | Songwriter & Songwriting Mentor

I define success as an internal dialogue that says, “I’m cool with myself.” This success shows up for external praise, and it stays in the face of indifference and criticism. Going by this definition, the most successful people I know are positively UNFLAPPABLE. They smile when praised, with a grounded knowing that they are worthy, whether or not other people think so. They shrug when criticized. They cannot be taken from themselves. They stay. I feel the most successful when I bounce back from rejection, or when I am able to not take things personally in general. Read more>>

Matthew Schlissel | Improv Festival Director & Screenwriter

I try to define success as getting better each and every time. If a project is better than the last one, stronger in some way, than I feel like I am succeeding. For instance, if I am putting on an improv festival than I am trying to make it bigger, better, stronger, and more exciting than the previous year. And if it is, even if say the attendance isn’t as high, then I still feel like a success. Same deal with writing a script or performing an improv show. If I feel deep down that I am doing my best and pushing myself to make a project better, than the external stuff doesn’t matter as much. I find that focusing on growth and improvement, rather than external stuff, helps me focus on getting better and having a healthy idea of success. It just feels better too. I am able to keep my head up high and move on to the next project. Read more>>

Mel McFail | Drummer & Owner

Success to me is accomplishing something that makes you happy no matter what. Not giving up when it gets hard. Not giving into self doubt or the influence of others. Not giving into fear; success is accomplishing a goal that gives you purpose. It could be doing 50 push ups everyday or starting a business. It’s a mindset and once you’ve set your mind to accomplish something, that’s all you really need. Read more>>

Evan Ferrante | Professional Tom Cruise Impersonator & Voice-Over Artist

Success to me is all about appreciating what you have, honing in on it like a heat seeking missile fired from a F-14 Tom Cat. Focusing on what you do not possess will only impede your progress and may leave you frozen in place, paralyzed to do anything at all. Gratitude is everything. It’s not all about the Benjamins. Read more>>

Natália Spadini | Musician & Singer-Songwriter

Success is something very subjective. For me, is to achieve my life goals, being true to what I believe and my values, doing what I love every day and touch other people’s heart! Something apparently simple, but not easy. Achieving goals takes time, effort, and need a lot of focus and motivation. But the truth is: it’s worth it. Success is to laugh a lot and often, is to gain the respect of people, to forgive and be forgiven, to appreciate the beauty of things, to find the best in others, to make the world a better place, to know that at least one person was inspired by who you are and what you do. If you have a purpose, a positive attitude, the ability to learn from mistakes, the ability to listen, self-control, self-confidence, emotional intelligence, focus, and determination, you will be successful. Read more>>

Briahna McNeil | Content Creator

I would define success as happiness. How happy am I? I define success in this way because money, material things, even people can be stripped away from you but something no one can control or take from you is how happy you choose to be. To live a full life I feel you have to be genuinely happy. Most people are happy when they are doing the thing(s) that they love. I love connecting with people and spending quality time with those I care deeply for. That makes me happy. Do I have the fanciest clothes or have a big house, no. Am I still happy without those things? yes, and if you ask me that’s what success looks like. True happiness. Read more>>

Kamila Kowalke | Abstract Artist

Success is such a subjective term and can mean so many things to so many people…and even different things to the same person during different phases of one’s life. While my definition of success could be summarized as “living my life on my own terms”, the interpretation of what that actually represents has certainly changed over my life. When I was a young girl in poverty stricken Communist Poland, success was as innocent and simplistic as having a bigger house for my family. During my early grade school years I was living with my parents, brother and grandmother in a tiny 500 sq. ft. flat that we all crammed into. While most of my friends yearned for things like new toys and books, I was just craving privacy… and the quiet place where I could do my homework, read and arrange things or even be messy to my liking. Read more>>

Ira Meyer | Photographer

A teacher of mine once said: Even if you win the rat race… You’re still a rat. Success, to me, is more a matter of of being content within myself (and in harmony with the world I live in) than it is any physical/ external measure. Read more>>

Paigé Andrée | Founder & Owner

I use to think about success as making a lot of money, having the big house and more in the form of things. Life is pretty messy and money comes and goes. Yes I love making money and it’s on my list to be a multi-millionaire because it gives me freedom/security to live on this earth. I’s not about “things”. Every few years I evaluate my life and go inward and ask myself what makes me feel alive (this is success). I usually work with someone to facilitate the process cause my ego (head) can get in the way. It all comes from the heart…that inner compass- God voice- that joyful feeling. I am talking about living your passions. My passions, when lived, always make me feel successful. I make a list and narrow them down to 5. They always seem to include living creatively, enjoying family, growing my business and spiritual growth. Read more>>

Emilene Orozco | Wedding & Portrait Photographer

Before starting my business, I used to think success meant having ton of photography work and becoming rich because of it. But, success comes in many different forms. Sometimes, it’s celebrating that I booked an important gig. But when business is slow, it’s still about appreciating the journey and feeling fortunate that I get to do what I love for a living. When none of my efforts seem to be working, I can count on my loved ones for the support and encouragement to lift my spirits up. I would not be where I am without them. Success is about trial and error. What may work for others, may not work for my business. It’s about countless rounds of trying before finding what works and never giving up. Bob Ross said it best, “We don’t make mistakes, we just make happy accidents.” Read more>>