3 Things I Learned About Success in Year 1 of MotherHustle - by Emily Cretella for MotherHustle
“Someone will always be 10 steps ahead of you — but someone 10 steps behind you is relying on you to not let that get to you.”

One year can seem like a lifetime, or like no time at all. 

An (almost) year of being pregnant can feel like it drags on for eternity. It begins slow and surprising, it gets messy in the middle, it becomes anxious and anticipatory, and it (finally) ends in glorious, beautiful exhaustion and love.

The first year of your baby’s life feels like it flies by in blinks and flashes and half-opened eyes … and yet, during those 365 days, your child goes from newborn to smiling to crawling and maybe even walking — and your love grows from wonderous to deep and so full you can’t imagine how it continues to expand.

The first year of owning your own business feels like a whirlwind of plans and mess, of bravery and self-doubt, of big ideas and small, tedious steps. You move forward, you step backward, you dance sideways … all the while wondering if you will ever start to climb.

Your first year in the midst of it, you don’t know anything. But you’re learning everything.

Today, we celebrate the first year of MotherHustle.com. 🎉🎂👭💕

While it’s still a baby, it’s a growing one — one that surprises and delights and challenges and confuses me every single day. I’m in awe of it, in love with it, and in constant wonder at what it will do next.

I’ve learned that, just like in the first year of motherhood or entrepreneurship, planning will only take you so far.

What has been a better teacher for me in this experience has been … experience. Looking backward rather than forward. Noticing things in order become more aware of others.

It’s serendipitous that this month’s theme happens to be SUCCESS (I mean, I know I picked it. But when I picked it, I wasn’t thinking about it in terms of our MotherHustlin’ Anniversary) — because Year 1 of MotherHustle has taught me so much on the topic.

More so than my seven years as a business owner — or, hell, my 37 years on this planet.

It’s because this platform has given me the gift of not only connecting with other mom business owners, but also getting a unique glimpse into their mindsets, their drive, their goals and their dreams. And doing so has made me rethink it all.

Here’s what MotherHustle Year 1 has taught me about success: 

#1: Success? It’s totally subjective.

While I’ve talked about my own definition of success here before, it’s taken me a LONG time to get to a place where I could put it on paper. (Screen?)

And I think that’s because the concept of success always seemed so incredibly far out of reach that it didn’t deserve my attention. That there was no way I could achieve the level of success I saw out there on those internets … so why bother?

That is until I finally realized that success is completely and utterly subjective. It’s kind of like Plato’s chair, amiright? (Click through to read on if you have no clue what I mean.) There is no real version of success that exists that’s the right version. We’re all making up our own.

And because success means different things to different people, it’s easy to downplay your own successes.

Perhaps that’s why I’m always surprised when someone looks at what I’m doing with esteem or revere. It’s so easy to forget that there’s always someone looking at what you’ve already accomplished and saying, “Wow, she’s made it” when you’re doing the same thing to someone else.

Someone will always be 10 steps ahead of you — but someone 10 steps behind you is relying on you to not let that get to you.

#2: If you don’t know what success looks like, you’ll never achieve it.

Or, THINK you’ve achieved it. And that’s the key.

If you’re constantly chasing someone else’s versions of success, you’ll never see the successes at your feet. And this, admittedly, was and is something I struggle with.

I am a big strategy gal — which is both good and bad. Good, because I’ve built my career and expertise on it. Bad, because that strategic mindset often puts up roadblocks for go-with-the-flow creativity and exploration.

So I, of course, want to know and be working toward this grand design of what MotherHustle will look like in 3, 5 and 10 years. And because I’m often going on a gut feeling rather than a strategic plan, I can let little successes slip by me without a blink of an eye. I ignore them, because they’re not the big-pie-in-the-sky-25-year-goal that is ominously floating in the periphery of my imagination.

And that’s sad. Because successes deserve to be celebrated — especially if they are the exact types of successes you have been seeking without realizing it.

Without understand what success means to you, you can disregard the amazingness of the journey. Which brings me to…

#3: Success takes soul searching.

Going back to that strategy thing … it’s hard for me to be introspective. To seek answers inside. To give learning about myself the attention I give to learning about others.

Why? Because I feel like there should be a strategic way to figure it all out.

But what I’m realizing, and working on, is that if success really is subjective, I need to seek it out inside of myself. Which means that I need to be more open to analyzing what’s inside.

And while that can be really scary, it can also be a sweet relief. Because once you realize that no other definition of success matters other than the one you hold inside, you can let go of all the nonsense chasing of someone else’s dreams.

I think the conversations we have about success are important ones, and it’s amazing to me how my own views on it have been shifted and shaped by this first year of our MotherHustle journey together. But I think — I know — that that’s because of all of you: the mamas who have built this up with me, shared your own successes, gotten real with your stories, and sought out sisterhood with the power to continue to teach you more.

Year 1 was a success. For all of us. Thank you for being part of this story. 


Emily Cretella is the founder of MotherHustle.com, as well as the copywriting and content marketing firm CursiveContent.com, where she helps clients create + share stories their audiences love.

She adores being mom to her two little ladies and drinking obscene amounts of coffee from mugs with pithy sayings. Find her on Instagram, and learn more about ways you can collaborate with MotherHustle.

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