While it’s inspiring to read high level summaries of success stories, we think it’s just as important to learn about what drove the success and made it possible. We’ve asked some of the brightest folks we know to open up about what they believe was the most important factor behind their success.

Brett Bell Jr. | Photographer

Hard work does truly pay off. I feel that you have to work hard when your dream doesn’t seem real or it doesn’t appear to be going in the right direction. Believe in your dream and continue to believe! If you don’t believe in your dream, how can you convince others to believe? Read more>>

Lexi |  @exploringwithlexi | Sharing travel, local restaurants and hidden gems

Pursuing a career and your passion is always hard and comes with many judgments but something I have found has always help me succeed is just never giving up and never stop believing in yourself. I work in social media and that comes with tons of criticism from strangers to family members. So it can be really negative at times. When things get negative I just always remember that I am doing this for me and it doesn’t matter what anyone says cause I enjoy it. With all the negative come positives too it actually has made me feel more confident because I stopped caring about what all the haters think and focus on what I like and what the positive people on my page like. Never giving up and forgetting the haters gets me thou every day. In addition to that, I have my sister and an internship with a blogger who is a great support system for if those negative people get too much. Read more>>

Forrest Cramer | Furniture Artist & Craftsman

I believe the most important factor to the success of my business is my unwavering commitment to producing the highest quality product possible. This commitment to excellence runs through every vein of my life. It was instilled early in my career and has spanned many different professional experiences from building handmade violins, restoring and reproducing victorian-era furniture, to my current career as a custom furniture maker. My goal is to always exceed my clients’ expectations of quality and aesthetic beauty. Read more>>

Dr. Mordecai Ian Brownlee | President, Community College of Aurora

The development of my own personal mission statement. Years ago, I began studying organizational design and quickly understood the power of an organization’s mission statement. The mission guides the development of all strategic plans, organizational design, infrastructure, culture; essentially every aspect of a given organization. Realizing this, I decided to apply that level of intentionality to my personal life. My personal mission statement is, “Mordecai Ian Brownlee empowers the lives of people and develops systems that empower the lives of people.” It is in this mission that I dwell and add value to society every day. The mission guides my actions and centers my purpose, which has been transformational in defining my success. Read more>>

Brandi Wright | Associate Broker, Madison & Company

Real estate is a daily grind. Many people look in from the outside and see fancy cars, lavish vacations, and big paychecks but they don’t see what happens at midnight when the elite are still working. The business can be brutal on agents that aren’t prepared for the good, bad, and ugly. A former VP once told me, “you’ve got some serious GRIT”. At first I hated the word but now I’m proud of it because I know my success thus far has come from having some serious GRIT! What does that mean? For me it means consistently going the extra mile, always doing the right thing, having a relentless passion for the industry, and never giving up. Read more>>

Patrick Manchester | Owner/Employing Broker of Manchester Properties, LLC

I think the most important factor behind the success of my business and my brand is the empathy I have for everybody involved in these transactions. Even when I was really young, I remember being caught off guard by how easily and strongly I felt for other people. I remember for my 5th birthday, my parents took me to a toy store and told me to fill up a shopping cart with toys. And after putting a handful of toys in there, I got REALLY concerned about how much my little shopping spree was going to cost, so I told them I was finished. I think all three of us were a little thrown off by my five-year-old thought process… Read more>>