In the world we live in today there is a lot of talk about life, work and success. What I have found in the short 21 years that I have been on this Earth, is that a great number of people I come into contact with have the same measurements when it comes to the personal, and/or professional success of an individual in our society.

While I know a decent number of people of are “against the grain” when it comes to how they determine their success, it still seems that most people align their success and happiness in the material and monetary. This is probably no new bit of news, but it always seems to surprise me just how common it is.

Even in the Arts. People who are thought of as open-minded and “woke” seem to also commonly fall into this pit. Money + fame, or a plethora of credits to a name automatically equals success.

As an artist, it bewilders me even more when I see those same traits in my fellow artists. Now, I don’t want to say that this definition of success is a bad one, but those folks who I know to align themselves with this kind of success seem to often have a very narrow scope in terms of what makes them worthwhile or fulfilled. Simplicity is too little. Common or average are words that imply being stuck in a dull way of living, or just all around being unsuccessful. And, this mindset also allows absolutely no room for life’s greatest of all teachers: FAILURE.

But, can’t success also be found in the little things that we do? Can’t it lie within the everyday actions that we take? Can’t we all find SUCCESS in our FAILURES?

For me, success is being happy and feeling fulfilled in what you do. The extraordinary has the possibility to exist in something that many other people may call “mundane,” or “dead-end,” or maybe even “irrelevant.” Not too long ago, I was told by one of my mentors that I DID NOT have much success as an actor while studying at JMU. My mentor made this claim due to the fact that I was not cast in very many shows compared to some of my peers. But, here’s the thing….being cast DOES NOT define my success as an actor. Why? Because that is not how I define it. My definition of success as an actor, artist and human being lies within whether or not I can stand behind the work that I do. If I feel I have given it my all, then I am successful. If I am happy, I am successful. If my soul is full, I am successful. With this in mind, I had A TON of success in JMU as an actor. This I can say for sure.

We choose our own definitions of success. We decide it, no one else. And if they try, we must REMEMBER what we believe. Only then will we lead the lives we want to lead.

Your success is your own. Your life is your own. Decide it.