How to Listen to the Success Inside You - by Emily Souder for MotherHustle
“Success is taking chances, embracing life with openness, and learning from the lessons presented to us as we move along our path.”

I’m 8. I daydream, seeing myself as a veterinarian who confidently treats and bonds with animals. I’m happy, content, full. Successful.

(But truth be told, despite my love for animals, the only reason I wanted to be a vet was probably that my older sister had voiced that desire).

This daydream gave me an answer to that ever-important question:

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

At 8, the possibility of success wasn’t really something I questioned. I believed it would happen; I had hope. I just had no idea what the heck success really looked like– not to the adult version of myself!

At 8, success meant…what? I’m not even really sure. But it was sort of a nebulous idea of having “made it”.

My daydreams of future success morphed over the years and included:

  • Working alongside athletes as a physical therapist or sports medicine doctor.
  • Click-clacking down a hallway as a businesswoman navigating her day with purpose. Of course, wearing black.
  • Sitting at a computer and writing, Carrie Bradshaw-style, with a flexible schedule and nothing holding me down.*

*I may or may not be having this exact fantasy right now.

In all of these scenarios, naturally, money just flowed into my bank account.

Let’s give that 8-year-old girl a crystal ball.

Inside is a vision of me in 2018. Baby in the ergo and chasing a toddler. Hair pulled up, fitting in work where I can. What the what?!

Psst. 8-year-old Emily. I have to let you in on something. THIS is success.

I never, ever, EVER would have guessed how when I was younger, but my definition of success has changed dramatically. I think I’m still revising my definition.

I look at the kids that my body created, and I think, “yes, this is what success looks like.”

I think about my business, a thing that came out of my own mind, and the fact that I jumped into it when I was scared, EVEN THOUGH I was scared…and I think, “this is success.”

Success is taking chances, embracing life with openness, and learning from the lessons presented to us as we move along our path.

It is not just status and money (though of course, those things can feel great), it’s so much more. The status and money look pretty darn empty when you take everything else away.

Bottom line, success is exactly what you want it to be. It’s not external to you, it’s internal.

It’s not what your parents told you it was, or what your best friend from childhood thinks that it is. It’s not even what I’m telling you that it is! It’s yours, and it’s relative. AND it’s fluid. It moves, shifts, breathes, and changes as you do.

Inhale. Exhale. Listen. Psst … it’s there.


MotherHustle Panelist Emily Souder is a life coach, mama, and author in Maryland. She helps mom entrepreneurs who are feeling lost in the demands of motherhood and out of touch with themselves achieve clarity, focus, and empowerment using intuition-informed guidance and skill building. She is married to her best friend (so cheesy, but so true!), has two littles (ages 1 and 3), and is on her own path of rocking her authenticity. Follow her on Facebook at Nesting Space LLC and on Instagram at Nesting_Space. Make sure to check out her book here.

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