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:
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:
*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.
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.”
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.
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 mama, author, and clinical social worker in Maryland. She provides therapy to pregnant women and new moms who are experiencing anxiety or depression, or who are just needing some help adjusting to this new time in their lives. She is married, has two children, and loves spending time outdoors. Follow her on Facebook at Nesting Space Therapy LLC and on Instagram at Nesting_Space. Make sure to check out her book here.
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