We asked our Rad Award nominees to share their personal take on the concept of “success”. In other words, what does success mean to them? Meet our nominees in real life at The Rad Awards on Saturday, April 18th 2015 at The Dreaming Building. 7 p.m. - 10 p.m. You can grab tickets here.
Dessie Jackson, Artist
Personally, I think success is having a dream (or a few) and making strides towards accomplishing and reaching that dream/goal. I look at someone who is working hard and doing everything they can to get to where they'd like to be- they are successful- regardless of how small or large of a goal/dream.
“I measure success in terms of personal fulfillment. Do I wake up most days and feel excited about the challenges ahead, and do I fall asleep most night feeling that I've spent that day doing something meaningful and intentional - *most* being a key word there. I don't believe in separating "work" and "life", but I do believe that everything I spend time on should contribute to my success as a happy, healthy human. I also keep a running list of scenarios that will let me know that "I've made it". These include, but are not limited to: being able to afford a moving company, taking my parents out to dinner, and having my name or company name mentioned in the right hemisphere of New York Magazine's Approval Matrix (either quadrant).”
“Success for me is when doing what I love to do (making sculpture) feels sustainable. Making art is often unbalanced, however when I support my time in the studio everything else falls into place and it begins to support me.”
“My personal definition of success is still crafting itself a bit. My goal in life has pretty much always been the same from childhood: to help create and support well-being for communities and individuals. I thought I needed loads of money to do that when I was younger. Luckily, I went to an amazing arts high school in CT that taught me differently. They taught me that human beings, and artist in particular, have an incredible dual capacity to both call attention to suffering in the world and to enhance the quality of life for all sentient beings. I guess success would be anytime we achieve goals or reach milestones that push us further along that path.”
“Being successful is about doing work that is both personally fulfilling and also has a positive impact on the world. Success for me also means helping others succeed.”
“I don't know that success is something we can wholly own, but there are brief moments of perfection, of balance and wholeness in its pursuit that give me confidence to push on. The sensation of ambition to earn more of those moments is the thing that satisfies me.”
“Success is waking up each day with a plan, but also not fearing the days that you will inevitably wake up without one. It's learning to be comfortable with your strengths and weaknesses, figuring out how to set rigorous goals that play to them, and always believing you'll reach them as you leap (or sometimes patiently crawl) from one to the next. Most importantly, success is not just having your "eyes on the prize", it's remembering to savor and to value every moment along the way.”
"For me, success is measured in how much I improve the lives of others, especially those without status, privilege, or luck. Every time I look into the faces of those that we, as a society, leave behind, I see potential and possibility -- I see myself."
“To me, success is achieving goals that maximize a happiness-filled life, which is not a life filled with accumulating things and ever-growing expenses. I want the freedom to appreciate what is really important which is my family, friends, neighbors and co-workers. Success is being able to enjoy every moment of my life and not feel like I am sacrificing my life and relationships now for some mythical time in the future when I will be able to be happy.”
“For GJL success looks like girls taking the lead with adult allies walking beside them; it looks like those who self identify as female speaking out against injustice against all girls; it looks like the girls who show up week after week and become indignant at the unevenness that the world forces on girls. It looks like Shaniyah and Nyazia and Amanda and Jade and Desar'e and all the girls who fight for girls rights.”
"I personally define success as having the courage to fail. Over this year of making my film, there have been so many times when people told me that I couldn't make it, that my film wasn't interesting, and essentially told me "No." I'm so thankful that I persisted. I have no idea where I'll land once this film is done, but success is knowing I will land on my own two feet, no matter what happens."
"I feel that my life is successful if I can live each day with a positive outlook, have a feeling of contentment with my circumstances, I am significant in my career and its impact on community, I have balance in all the important areas of my life, and I have the time and resources to pursue what I am passionate about."
"Success is leaving the world a better place than I found it and being able to live the same values at work and at home."Chris Bartlett, Executive Director of William Way Community Center
“My mission in life is "Harmony in Communities." When I am creating harmony in communities, I am successful. I think it is one of the more pleasing types of success available in life.”Natalie W. Nixon, Director & Associate Professor of the Strategic Design MBA at Philadelphia University
"Last week I received an awesome email from a student letting me know that studying strategic design with me had been "a game changer" and changed the way he viewed himself and his work. When I can impact lives by helping a person to integrate creativity into their work and reacquaint them with their best self- this is success to me. This is truly teaching."
“To me, success is mastering a task, methodology, or framework that once scared me. I believe that if you continually challenge yourself to learn you just can’t go wrong!”
“Success is doing what you love!”
“As a teacher and mentor, my version of success is making a real and lasting connection with the people around me. This elevates an idea, place, or group into a community, making it much bigger than the sum of it's parts. MADE continues to grow and enrich as each student brings their goals and talents to the table. I feel very lucky to be right in the middle of it all.”
"Success is peace of mind when you go to sleep at night. Success is helping others be the best they can be. Success is loving your life, personal and professional."
"Success means being able to live purpose-driven. I believe that means being able to work in an area that is synergistic with your passions and your convictions and at the same time make a difference in the lives of others. I believe that when I can do that I am successful."
"The way we define success at Women’s Medical Fund is when each woman or girl is able to make the health care decisions that are best for her and that she is able to access that health care without barriers or burdens."
"I feel right about my life if I'm working every day on something I would do for free because it is that important. Success would be knowing that my work, and my team's work, is doing what we set out to do- engaging people around sustainability and empowering them to make choices that improve our communities and our environment."
"Success: Peace and balance, simplicity and beauty, love and kindness. For myself, and for all of our neighbors on this planet. There's much work to be done. But every moment in every place is an opportunity for a small success."
"Gearing Up gives women in transition the opportunity to utilize the bicycle as a tool to improve physical health, deal with negative emotions, make friends, and cultivate success in their lives. Success is defined differently for each woman we serve. For some, success may be learning how to ride a bike as an adult for the very first time. For others, success may be taking control of her ability to move around the city safely, inexpensively, and independently. Success could mean a smile at a difficult time, one more day of sobriety, or making a friend while on a group ride."
Photo by Josh Thornton
"Success is movement in the direction of your values, no matter how incrementally or circuitously that progress is made. There's no finish line in life: only a series of tiny, everyday victories when we miraculously find the will to keep pushing forward."
"To me, success is to wake up every day and offer something of value to someone."
"Success = doing what you love to do."