Michelle Roshanzamir On How We Need To Redefine Success

Time away from work is just as valuable as your time at work. Taking care of your mental and physical health is so important. Have you ever noticed how often we equate success with more? Whether that’s more products, more profits, more activities or more accomplishments, we buy into the belief that we have to […]

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Time away from work is just as valuable as your time at work. Taking care of your mental and physical health is so important.


Have you ever noticed how often we equate success with more? Whether that’s more products, more profits, more activities or more accomplishments, we buy into the belief that we have to do more to have more to be more. And that will sum up to success. And then along comes The Great Resignation. Where employees are signaling that the “more” that’s being offered — even more pay, more perks, and more PTO — isn’t summing up to success for them. We visited with leaders who are redefining what success means now. Their answers might surprise you.

As a part of this series I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Michelle Roshanzamir.

Michelle Roshanzamir is a consultant and grant writer helping executive directors, artistic directors, managing directors, creatives, and leaders bring their ideas to life and develop their businesses.

She works with a range of creatives and leaders to bridge the gap between the creative and idea side and the business, coordination, and management side of the equation.

Working at the intersection of creativity and business, she started MVR Creative in 2019.


Thank you for making time to visit with us about the topic of our time. Our readers would like to get to know you a bit better. Can you please tell us about one or two life experiences that most shaped who you are today?

There are two things, one a more personal note and the other more professional.

Looking at the more professional side, the germ for what I’m doing now started when I was in college: I was an art school student who scoffed at much of the business side of things, despite my own growing interest and experience in management and producing.

While my time at California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) was impactful in many ways, I knew I wanted to continue learning, and went to California State University, Long Beach (CSULB)’s MBA/MFA Theatre Management program. It was a great combination: I had the opportunity to balance both the ‘business-side’ and ‘arts-side’ of the work I was starting to do and wanted to continue doing.

With one semester left in the MBA/MFA program, I decided to drop the MFA side of the program and shift gears and just focus on the MBA. While it was a difficult decision to make at the time, it turned out to be a wise choice: I ended up focusing more on the MBA side, taking courses, and continuing to meet people I may not have otherwise, and continue developing the skills I use to this day.

While the experiences in school were useful, my experiences outside of school were proving to be just as valuable. I keep seeing how much creatives and leaders — many of them working in the arts, entertainment, and culture sector — struggle with the business and management side of what they’re working on.

Continuing to work at the intersection of stories, ideas, creativity, and business, I took the leap and started MVR Creative in 2019.

On a personal note, my late partner helped shape who I am today. While him and I were looking forward to spending our lives together, that came to an end sooner than anyone would have thought when he passed unexpectedly earlier this year due to a heart attack.

He was someone who defined for himself what life was and lived life on his own terms and lived life to the fullest — and is a relationship that has impacted how I show up.

We all have myths and misconceptions about success. What are some myths or misconceptions that you used to believe?

There are so many myths and misconceptions about success — including that success is all about hitting the goal, metric, or deadline along with how one presents themselves in the world.

With so many success myths out there, some that I believed included:

  1. Success as an artist/creative isn’t possible
  2. You have to step over people to be successful
  3. You can’t be successful on our own
  4. Follow your passion and you’ll be successful
  5. You must be a workaholic to achieve success

How has your definition of success changed?

Success is so much more than the misconceptions out there.

On a basic level, success is getting what you want. It’s something you define for yourself — and is more than hitting a specific deadline, working all the time, and more.

The pandemic, in many ways, was a time of collective self-reflection. What changes do you believe we need to make as a society to access success post pandemic?

There’s probably a long list of things to consider.

A few things include:

  1. How we’re treating our employees/staff/co-workers
  2. Conversations around maternal/paternal leave, childcare, and bereavement leave
  3. Our environmental impact and how we can leave the planet in a better place than it is now

What do you see as the unexpected positives in the pandemic? We would love to hear a few of your stories or examples.

Unexpected positives in the pandemic have included taking the time to re-examine work; with taking care of ourselves, families and loved ones; and how technology has been able to help keep people connected.

We’re all looking for answers about how to be successful now. Could you please share “5 Ways To Redefine Success Now?” (Please share a story or example for each.)

5 ways to redefine success now include:

  1. Collaboration with others. Nothing happens solely on your own — at some point it’s interacting and/or bringing in others too.
  2. Time away from work is just as valuable as your time at work. Taking care of your mental and physical health is so important.
  3. While passion is great, it takes more than just passion to make your vision a reality. It’s just as much making sure to take care of everything else to make sure you’re achieving your goals.
  4. Keep asking questions and keep on learning.
  5. Success isn’t solely about hitting a metric, goals [financial or otherwise], etc.

Not to mention you can make it as a creative — it’s having the support to achieve that is totally doable.

How would our lives improve if we changed our definition of success?

In more than one way, I’m sure. For starters though, it’d impact how we show up for ourselves and those around us to how we’re living our lives.

What’s the biggest obstacle that stands in the way of our redefined success? And what advice would you offer about overcoming those obstacles?

Some of the biggest obstacles that stand in our way of our redefined success include being aware of where we’re at and what our beliefs are — and finding the support to examine those and overcome said obstacles.

Where do you go to look for inspiration and information about how to redefine success?

It’s a combination of a few things, including reading articles, books, and podcasts.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He, she or they might just see this if we tag them.

There’s so many people I’d love the chance to talk to — and for just as varied of reasons — including Camille Jenkins at the Wallis Annenberg Performing Arts Center to Chase Jarvis of CreativeLive.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

The best places to find me is via my website at: https://www.mvrcreativela.com/ or via LinkedIn at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/michelle-roshanzamir-15a3b617/

Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this. We wish you continued success and good health.

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