What is success?


So often we get wrapped up in our day-to-day that we forget why we are working so hard in the first place. And when pressed as to what we are trying to accomplish, the answer isn't so clear. How do we know when we are down with our work? How do we know when we have hit our goals? How do we know when it is enough?

In order to answer any of these questions we have to be able to define our version of success. This doesn't mean looking at what the people you admire our accomplishing. Or seeing what your favorite IG'er is working on right. This is very personal question that needs, and deserves, deeper consideration.

Which is why we have asked this question for our June roundup. We asked a group of 200+ creative entrepreneurs to define success and now we are sharing a small sampling of their answers below.


"I measure success in my creative journey by the joy I feel. Success that is quantitatively measured by sales and social media “likes” leads to a path that is unsustainable and brimming with unfulfilled accomplishments.

I feel joy when I develop a new and unique idea or inspire a follower with my words or achieve a goal that I had set out for myself. I feel joy when I get so lost in painting that I lose track of time. Success for me, is knowing that success is a state of mind not a list of accomplishments."

MELISSA, melissamaryjenkinsart.com


"I measure success by being free to create what I want when I want. For instance, taking on as many or as few projects as I'd like, or following the paths of my visions without fear that they won't sell. Being the architect of how I spend my time!"

HANNAH, hannahlowecorman.com


"Over the years I've measured success in many different ways. I can remember days when I measured my success upon how sore I was at the end of the day. At other times I measured my success by how alive I still felt after a long work day.

There's been the occasional "push," when surprisingly success seems to be waiting at the door for you to answer...and seriously, at times there's been definite "pulling"--wanting to force things to work and feeling less than successful in the attempt. Energetic self tug-of-wars. Sometimes I've felt defiant, defeated, but eventually, renewed--Successful.

My measure of success these days is in those moments I choose to find flow, stay focused, and coast along the super highway of will and might. Success is when I remember to stop and breath, get grounded, do something special for myself, re-connect with everyone I've pushed away in my diligence, and enjoy the beauty surrounding me. Success is around me constantly, just as beauty and calm are there, waiting for me to partake."

JEANINE ERTL, etsy.com/shop/aninidesigns


"I’ve realized in the past couple of months that measuring success by the amount of sales, followers or collaborations might be tricky. As entrepreneurs and makers we focus on numbers or specific goals, which makes total sense; however, we forget to enjoy the process. I strongly believe that the HOW is essential. How do you follow your passion? What do you learn everyday during the process? What skills are you mastering along the way? This represents the real success to me."

FERNANDA MARTINEZ, latintaart.com


“I’ve had to come to terms with the fact that validation and feelings of success can’t come from outside sources if they’re going to last- big shocker, right?! I thought I knew this, but truly internalizing this realization has taken a lot of time and has been a rough journey! I recently had a huge setback in my business: a super exciting project I had been working on for the past seven months was cancelled unexpectedly by the (very large) company I had been collaborating with, for reasons having nothing to do with me. This was an absolutely devastating blow to me in every way possible: I couldn’t help but feel like a total failure, and that all of my worst fears and insecurities were coming true. I sat with those feelings for a while (and cried a lot) and eventually realized that nothing had really changed, that I was still proud of my work and my accomplishments, and that the validation I had been getting from this respected outside source wasn’t as valuable as my own internal happiness- which is how I should have been measuring success all along. It has been an experience and a lesson I will never forget!”

ELYSE DAVIS, tidyclutterings.com


"I feel like I've just started my independent life so I don't yet know exactly how I'll end up measuring success (or if I'll ever find a "final" measurement). But one way I've been looking at it is a sense of active contentment. If I feel like I'm contributing something to the world, like I still have work/improvements to do, and like I enjoy the work I'm doing, then I am successful. I want to be content with what I'm doing, but still have enough of a challenge to keep what I do interesting. I think it requires a lot of patience, soul-searching, and traveling down some less successful paths to get to that point."

KIRA STREET, generativecrochet.com


"Success for me is an inherent feeling, something so visceral and deep within, that it can't be easily explained or measured. It's the feeling I get from observing the face of others when they see my work, or reading a sweet comment on how a painting lifted someones spirits or reminded them of a time and place that brought them happiness.

Although success used to be measured by my acceptance and growth on social media, I now see the two have nothing to do with one another. Success equates to remaining authentic, transparent, and REAL, all the while getting to do what I love every single day."

LISA MCLINDEN, lisamclindenart.com


"At 40, with a long line of dissatisfying jobs in my rearview, I now measure success by how I feel when I wake up in the morning and go to bed at night. If I was able to rise with an open heart and make even the smallest steps toward my vision, then it was a successful day. If I learned something new or figured out how to do something better, then it was a successful day.


Even when I’m in the middle of some frustration that seems insurmountable, I try to remember that I’m learning, and when I can remember that, the answer to my problem usually comes very soon after. Of course, I have to treat my work as a business, and there’s been a steep learning curve for me, but it’s also shown me my own strength, ingenuity and tenacity along the way. I aspire to make the world a better, bolder and more beautiful place not just through my jewelry, but also by demonstrating female empowerment in the marketplace. When we allow ourselves to rise as individuals within a collective, we are in a position to help others dare to live more fully too."

ELAN YOUNG, copper-fire.com


The conversation doesn't stop here! Share your answer in the comments below to contribute to the discussion.

Grace GulleyComment