My Speech: How Do You Define Success? (includes dramatic pauses for effect)

On Saturday I had the opportunity to be the Keynote Speaker at The Aveda Institute for the Esthiology and Massage graduates. Aside from the paralyzing fear that I would totally blank out or worse, pass out while on stage, I think it went fairly well.

I am writing this blog post to share the gist of my speech, but also to share some really  wonderful and inspiring quotes from industry leaders. Thank you Ido, David, Suzanne, Damone, Rudy, and Faatemah for getting back to me so quickly!


When Aveda asked me to do this I thought, sure, why not, I’ve done speeches before.In fact, 15 years ago I stood on this same stage to deliver a speech at my Cosmetology graduation. I remember talking about how excited I was for all of us to go out into the world and make things happen. I closed by wishing my classmates a successful career.  And here I am again, except this time I am wishing you, the class of 2013, a lifetime of success.

But what is success?  (dramatic pause)

On paper I’ve had a successful career.I’ve been a hairstylist, makeup artist, salon manager, retail director, educator, business consultant and the last 7 years, a business owner.

But everyone’s definition of success is different- and it should be.
When writing this speech, I asked a few leaders in the industry
what their definition of success is.

Ido Leffler, Co-Founder of Yes To Carrots Organic Skin Care and author of Get There Fast and Do More Good says,

Success = being able to wake up in the morning and realize that your
awesome life is not a dream!

David Wagner, Owner of JUUT Salons and author of Life As a Day maker says,
Life is short and soon to pass, only the things you do with love will last!

Suzanne LeRoux , President of One Love Organics Skin Care says,
Success is living a life that is 100% authentic. When I am true to
myself both personally and in business, I feel content and I feel

Today I want you to think about your definition of success.
If we had more time I’d have you write it down, but
instead this is your homework.
Go home, write down your definition of success and hold on to it. (dramatic pause) Know that you definition might change over time, and that’s ok.

When I graduated success meant a big title and a big
paycheck. Don’t get me wrong, I still like big paychecks,
but my definition changed over the years.
For me, success is giving yourself the permission to do the things that you’re most passionate about and then encouraging others to do the same.

So how do you get from point A to point B in terms of reaching your
goals and accomplishments?
Hard work, determination, dedication, making connections, and a little luck.


(I share the story of when I moved out to Los Angeles when I was 21, and couldn’t find an apartment and ending up living out of my car like Jewel the singer, except she had a van.)

That was the most defining moment of my life. It shaped me into the person I am today both personally and professionally. It was then I created another definition of what success is–it’s learning how  to dance in the rain.

I tell my homeless (living out of my car) story to illustrate that we all have our roadblocks and set
backs, but it’s during those times when we grow.
You’ll have moments when things don’t go your way, but I encourage you
to embrace them and see them as opportunities.  In the good moments,
take time to celebrate-both the small and the big wins. Don’t forget to give yourself a pat on the back.
And always, always, be grateful. Be grateful for the gifts you’ve been given. Be grateful
for your clients, and be grateful for all of those who love and support you.

I’d like to share a few more quotes from leaders in the industry,

Damone Roberts, (Los Angeles) Celebrity Eyebrow Artist says,

Success to me is like beauty… It really is in the eye of the beholder. I believe true success is doing something that comes easy to you, and if your really successful, you get paid for it as well.

Rudy Miles, (New York) Celebrity Makeup Artist says,

I once read a quote that said ” Success is defined by what you have to give up to achieve it.” It is important to define success for yourself, with your own definition and definitely on YOUR own terms. If you measure success by any other intangible external standard, it will always be defined by others.

Faatemeh Ampey, (International) Celebrity Hairstylist says,

Success is knowing your purpose in life and being able to manage fear so it does not hinder the process of receiving the joy that the universe has in store for you. Don’t let fear paralyze you let it propel you towards your goals. Don’t be afraid of failure, failure is our teacher. Be bold be fearless but most importantly be you because YOU are success.

I look at your faces and I get really excited and somewhat emotional because I see so much potential in each of you. I see you as people who deserve happiness, fulfillment and success (dramatic pause) however you want to define it. Thank you for letting me come here and be a part of this moment with you.

Congratulations Class of 2013.


Share This Post

Leave a reply