How do you define SUCCESS?
The end of summer is at hand...

Next week we begin a new season.  It always feels like the "new year" to me when the fall season begins.  Many of you are ramping up,  back at school,  checking upcoming auditions,  preparing to travel to your gigs,  taking on new roles and new projects.

So how do YOU define success for yourself as you enter this new year as an artist, or as one who embodies artistic temperament?

I ask this, because each of us comes to our own definition.  That definition can have many different possibilities for any one of us,  depending on where we are, what we are working toward,  what our goals are.

The dictionary defines it as "the accomplishment of an aim or purpose".

Given that as a template,  do we give ourselves permission to succeed only in the larger goal, or do we recognize the smaller accomplishments, the smaller successes on a day to day basis that help create the path to a larger goal?

I believe that as an artist we have to be "big picture" people,  as well as "detail" people.   We cannot afford to get lost in either scenario,  so setting that large picture can often come first, in order to discover how to get there. 

Success is discovered in the planning, and then in the EXECUTION and frankly,  the fine-tuning and re-organizing of that plan.

If your big picture "success" is to perform at a well known opera house, or on Broadway,  but you never practice, or seldom get your bum out of bed to get to an audition,  or get your applications in on time,  then you are creating self-sabotage,  and the big picture success won't happen, nor will you ever locate the detailed successes along the way.

True success is found in the day to day discovery of self.  At least that is what I am finding more and more.

We are hard on ourselves.   We stress.  We fret.  We don't think we're good enough.  We get scared.  Trust me,  I get that.  I am harder on me than anybody else could possibly be!  When I don't accomplish what I set out to in a day,  I can beat on myself royally.

What does that accomplish? 

What were my goals?  Why?  Did I reach or exceed them?  Why or why not?

What DID I achieve today?

Did I bring 100% of whatever I had to bring to whatever I did?  If all I have is 30% but I bring all 30,  then I have succeeded!

And if I didn't?  Well,  if I can recognize it,  acknowledge it,  OWN it,  not make excuses for it, nor beat myself up about it,  look into the mirror and say "tomorrow is a new day and this is goal"  then I still succeed on pursuing the path.

Success triumphs in tangible ways and in intangible ways.  It is not all or nothing. 

Failure is not an option.  Living is needed, necessary and required.

Success is measured in what you have to contribute and how you use that contribution to make this place a little better than you found it.

The intangibles can suddenly find a tangibility that is uniquely yours,  should you give yourself permission to be where you are,  and discover the possibilities that exist there.

Achievement of an action

Realization of a goal

A triumph over a struggle

Being ready to take on that new task

Living without hesitation


Giving of spirit

Being open to the possibility


Finding your power within the spirit of you and claiming it

All these are possible definitions.  Create your own.

The beauty of success is that no one defines it for you, but you.

So what are you waiting for?  Start this season off with DAILY successes that you can acknowledge and claim.

If you feel overwhelmed, start one step at a time.  Start small.  Each step is a success!

Reach and claim that unreachable star each and every day by WHO you are,  and what you claim in your artistic life,  your personal life,  your tangible life.

Success is as much a journey as anything.  We can create a large open ended picture and let it change from day to do by what we do with each day.

The day may bring you many things, but it is up to you what you do with it,  how you greet it,  how you take it on.

Whatever you have,  bring THAT into your day;  into your studies;  into your work;  into your pursuits;  into your dreams.  Let it lead how you are perceived and want to be perceived. 

Define your success by choosing to create it and  live it,  not by wishing for  it or yearning for it.

And I leave you with the eloquence of Sondheim's brilliance - make your OWN hat.

There's a part of you always standing by
Mapping out the sky
Finishing a hat, starting on a hat
Finishing a hat, look I made a hat
Where there never was a hat

Susan Eichhorn Young covers all things voice—strong and sophisticated singing and speaking. 

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