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.

Paige Smith | Actor, Writer, Producer, & Western Aficionado

The older I get, the more I think about what success means to me. When I first started out, like so many creative people in the entertainment industry, success was all about making money and possibly gaining fame. As the years went by, and my knowledge and realistic view of how the business really works became more defined, I thought success was more about being respected and being viewed as a person who does good work. Now, to a degree, I still think that sentiment is an important one. However, as much I’d love to own a new truck or a have nice house; as much as I appreciate the respect that I’ve earned, I think success is more of a personal understanding of myself and my journey. Years from now, when I’m in the rocking chair, regardless of whether or not I’ve made a lot of money, or have earned an abundance of respect, I want to know that I spent my time well, and that I enjoyed the journey that I undertook. That’s a big reason why I’ve taken more creative control of my destiny, and started making my own projects and films. Read more>>

Theresa Exum-Lucas | Author of With These Words, Owner & Coach at Happy Go Lucas, Educator

I define success in terms of stability, comfort, joy, and protection. I am successful when I and my family have a stable, comfortable life that brings us joy and offers protection from the “bad days.” I don’t think success is one thing, or one achievement, and I don’t think you can put a number on it. I’m not successful because I have a Master’s degree, I’m not successful because I’m married, I’m not successful because I’m a parent, I’m not successful because I have my own business. I’m successful because my family and I have each other, because my Husband and I bring in enough money to buy ourselves and our kids the things we need and the things we want, because we’ve been diligent and patient to have an emergency fund for financial protection, because my family and I laugh with each other every day. I felt just as successful when my Husband and I, our 2 daughters, and our 2 pups lived in a 1-bedroom apartment as I did when we lived in a 2700 sqft house. Read more>>

Julia Manis | Actor, Producer & Writer

As an artist, I feel successful when I’m able to execute or articulate my vision effectively. In our society, success is usually measured by achievements or milestones; through trophies or money. But so much of that is out of our control. If we don’t achieve certain things, we are made to feel like we’ve failed. I think it’s important to change that narrative. If you’ve been true to your self and given back to somebody or society — that’s success. Read more>>

Michael Osborne | Actor, Artist, and Filmmaker

One word comes to mind: growth. I think, in this absolutely insane world we’re living in, the only thing I can use to define my life and my art is learning and growing. It’s difficult because, for all creatives, the term success tends to mean social media popularity and or financial gain. And of course, these things are integral to our survival. For me though, I find that the reach for either money or popularity leaves me in the dark. And it’s cold and damp in the dark! Especially after this past year in quarantine, I’ve learned that all I need to do is avoid the chatter of public opinion about what I should or need to be doing and hunker down and get to work on my own terms. And that’s where all of the really great stuff comes from. Read more>>

Junbai Zhou | Gaffer/ Chief Lighting Technician

Do what you love. Read more>>

Scott J. Ramsey | Filmmaker, Musician, & Screenwriter

I define success as feeling limitless. Read more>>

Que Morgan | Motivational Speaker | Host | Podcaster

One of my favorite quotes is by American Professor Brene Brown which says, “You either walk inside your story and own it, or you stand outside your story and hustle for your worthiness.” I learned early on that owning your story is the first secret to success. Beyond that first secret, in my opinion I define success in three simple ways and that is being financially stable, being impactful and being at peace. I know that money doesn’t bring happiness but being able to provide for your family is very imperative. I also believe that success is measured by the impact that a person has on the world.  The truth is money may carry status, but impact carries the weight. Lastly, success is mindfully being able to live in a place of peace despite the circumstances. I mean what does it matter if you have all the material things, you’ve made a difference, but you have no peace. Therefore, I believe success is measured by obtaining all 3 of these things and ultimately knowing that you can’t achieve success without believing that you deserve success. Read more>>

Michael Anthony Jr. | Content Creator, Producer, & CEO of Masnami Entertainment

To me, success is defined as positive forward movement. If failure is the other outcome, you can only fail if you stop trying. I know that in order to succeed I will experience setbacks and challenges which are beyond my control, but what I can control is my reaction and approach. I focus on positive energy to get me through and place trust in the process that if I keep moving forward, success will follow. Read more>>