03/06/2014 01:21 pm ET Updated May 06, 2014

Redefining Success

I want to see you reach higher heights and dream big dreams, but first you must have faith and believe in your gifts and talents. Know that you have the ability to bring forth greatness in this world because it's who you are. Never allow someone's limited vision of you be the final word spoken over your life. At the age of 7, I was placed in special education, and from grade school through high school I was labeled mentally retarded. I was told growing up that I was stupid, I would never amount to anything, and I would be a failure. I'm thankful for the experience, and I am truly grateful for every teacher that believed in me.

Growing up, my grandmother took us to church every other Sunday, and that's when I learned that every word spoken over my life was a lie and that I can do anything I put my mind to. In my Christian faith, I believe I am a royal priesthood and greatness lives within me. I also believe that not one life was created to be wasted, and it is through your life that other lives will be transformed. While in high school in 1999, I was determined to start my journey inspiring others to be at their very best, and I started with the young women in my chorus class at Robert S. Rogers High School, in Toledo, Ohio. It was then that I was given the nickname "Granny," because they said I had an old soul, and still to this very day they continue to call me "Granny" on social media.

I've persevered through many of life's challenges and even during those times; I use my life to inspire others. I didn't graduate from a college institution, but I taught myself graphic design. George Bernard Shaw said it best when he said, "Those that make it in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and if they can't find them, they create them." Each and every one of us is unique in many ways, and we all must find what makes us feel alive, or in other words what we are most passionate about. Passion is what makes this world we live in so amazing, because when you find your passion, you become unstoppable, and it makes life more meaningful. There are some talented and remarkable individuals in this world, and those I look up to have never seen their names on a marquee sign or neither do they drive fancy cars. They are just ordinary people who have a phenomenal dream.

As I watched the Oscars I was amazed by the amount of talent that walked the red carpet and asked myself, "How do they define success?" I know that when many think of Hollywood they immediately attach it to the fortune and fame, but there some great talents in Hollywood that probably aren't at peace and are not happy within. Success is a state of mind and being content with your true self and not identifying success by what an individual owns, but by their internal awareness. Life can be cruel at times, but we must all find our own way; every obstacle will not be easy, and every road will have a few bumps and a few bruises along the way, but if we remain on the path in which God has predestined for us it is there where we will find true success.