Tuesday, November 6, 2012

"Success unshared is failure." (Tami Lee Hughes - BSO Fellow)

A few years ago, while reading about John Paul DeJoria, co-founder of Paul Mitchell hair products, the following words hit me like a bolt of lightening:

Success unshared is failure.

This is DeJoria’s personal mantra.  A self-made billionaire and philanthropist, he has donated millions of dollars to fight hunger, develop community programs for inner city children, and provide resources for medical causes.

I could hardly contain myself as I read the sentence over and over again:

Success unshared is failure.
Success unshared is failure.
Success unshared is failure.

Each word has meaning but together, the words create something so powerful: the guiding principle that our greatest success is not realized through accomplishments for personal gain, but rather, through the active use of our talents to make a difference in the lives of others.  

Tami Lee Hughes - BSO Fellow
Tami Lee Hughes - BSO Fellow
During my time with the BSO, I have the opportunity to work OrchKids, a program that provides music education, instruments, academic instruction, meals, and performance and mentorship opportunities to students in Baltimore City neighborhoods.  On my first day with OrchKids, I entered a classroom filled with wiggly, giggly kindergarten students who are not only learning to tie their shoes, but also to play the violin.  The students can hardly contain themselves when it’s time for class as they proudly take their instruments to their assigned spots in the room.  They soak everything in as fresh sponges, from note reading to playing techniques to learning new songs. Each time I visit, I can’t help but think of how the class resembles my own kindergarten experience.  Like these little ones, we were full of energy with a spark for learning.  However, we had limited resources for exploring our creative talents.  Through OrchKids, the young students I see each week are not only learning to play a beautiful instrument, but they are also developing a creative identity, learning to think in new ways, becoming disciplined, and grow in responsibility.  The impact of the program extends to every area of their lives, including who they will become and how they will achieve academic success.  One of the elements I most appreciate is the interaction between the OrchKids students and instructors.  The students are comfortable with the teachers so they love to ask questions.  In the kindergarten class, one student often says with a big smile, “Miss Tami.  I need help!”  He really enjoys playing the violin and wants to get it right.  When class is over, he sometimes gives me a hug before I leave the room.  It’s his way of saying, “Thank you for helping me!  I’m glad you’re here!”

Success unshared is failure.  I am reminded of this every time I open my case and see these four words on a little sign I posted inside.  Having incorporated music outreach into my work for many years, I know programs like OrchKids make a big difference. I love performing and hope to develop a wonderful career as an artist, but I know my greatest achievement will be the impact I have on the lives of others. 
The students make my work truly meaningful and inspire me to make the most of my gifts and talents.

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