Getting Successful

In my 20's and 30's, no matter what success I had, it wasn't enough. I wrote a play and got it produced, but it didn't win a Pulitzer Prize. I made a living as a headlining standup comic, but I didn't get a reoccurring part on a sitcom. No matter how hard I worked, success seemed to elude me.

My turning point was 15 years ago when I was teaching stand-up comedy in my converted garage in Venice, California. There was a student who couldn't understand how to write a joke. Then, after I took the time to explain to her what she needed to do, she got it! After that, she was hilarious.

The class wasn't on TV, nor written up in a review, but I realized at that moment, that success has nothing to do with how many people see what you do or how much money you make. Success is the satisfaction of a job well done. Realizing this, angst and resentment left me and I let myself feel successful. Cut to years later, that same student Sherri Shepherd went on to having a successful comedy career on "The View," in movies, and in her own sitcom.

Now, in my career as a motivational speaker, I have spoken for 20 people in the Valley, and I've spoken for 8500 with President Clinton. What I've learned is that it doesn't matter how many people are in the audience, how much I'm getting paid, but rather it's the success of making a difference in people's lives -- and that's what true success is.


  1. That's what my 'ole dad used to say. It doesn't if you're a garbage man, what counts is that you do the best job you can.

  2. That's what my 'ole dad used to say. It doesn't matter if you're a garbage man, what counts is that you do the best job you can.

  3. I love it Judy.
    And I do like while I'm making a difference to get paid well. :-)

  4. Hi Judy. Couldn't agree more. I was told once that "happiness brings success, not the other way around." Although getting paid for doing what you love is the icing on the cake. :)

  5. "making a difference in people lives is true success" I'd say be careful what you say...We teach others what we need to learn the most.TC

  6. Judy - you have left a mark on our students and on me! I loved your new lecture and so much of it has stuck with me. Thank you for being you - a true inspiration to all.
    Heidi lemmon
    Venice Boarding School / SPAUSA

  7. Judy I so agree with you. I am 43 and I have thought about trying stand up for a long time, but this is the first time I am actually approaching it in earnest... and the reason I think I can be successful at it now is that my heart is finally in the right place and I see my mission to uplift and inspire and make people life as a ministry, and not a way to make friends and money (although those are fine fringe benefits, too hee). Thanks for your blog. I just found it today and I'm going to be catching up on a lot of reading here. Thanks for what you do. -Mason

  8. Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!


  9. Awesome article! Thank you so much for that! Also thanks to diana for sharing this hilarious site (thelaughingman.tv)!

  10. Wow...now that is being brutally honest & not afraid to put yourself out there! No wonder you are a comic!
    I like it. Judy you obviously DID find your calling and are a true success. YOU are an inspiration to us all. Thank you for sharing your giftt of knowledge and experience. You are a true gem!

  11. To get successful in life, we need good positive thoughts, dedication towards life, hard work and many others. Success doesn't come out overnight; therefore, we should take positive steps to deal with our success. Apart from this, motivation is also very essential.
    Success Tips


Judy's Blog

Judy Carter blogs on comedy, storytelling and public speaking techniques, using personal stories and her adventures as a stand-up comic turned motivational public speaker. Her weekly blogs are read by fans of her books, “The Comedy Bible” (Simon and Schuster) and “The Message of You” (St. Martin’s Press), which include comics, speakers, and entrepreneurs. She is also known for teaching the value of humor and storytelling to businesses as a leadership and stress reduction tool.