The Loaded Word

Emily Burmeister self

Success, now that is a loaded word. We are all told we want it and should go after it, with varying messages and results. Your parents want to see you have success in life, you want your kids to succeed. I was raised by my too-young mother and grandma. I was told to be better, have better, to succeed. There was never any plan of action. How do you put into words something that, in looking deeper, is so personal?

What is success? Being an able-bodied adult that can grow, learn and love could certainly be considered a “success.” But I don’t think this is what my mom and grandma meant for me to takeaway from their admonishments to be a success. It was the unattainable, life affirming “aha” moment they meant. I have no clue what those moments are. I am a married woman, 99% of the time happily. I have three small, healthy children. I own a home and have a budding writing career. Where is my “aha” moment? Anyone … Bueller? I think by now I have earned it.

I had the deck set against me: the teen mom, non-existent dad, bad example in a stepfather, too much time on my hands, growing up poor. Yet, I have pushed, shoved and fought to be here in the happy, middle class, suburban way of life. If I was able to be a child and look at my life now I would be thanking my future self for kicking butt in life.

Yet, I am here striving for more, Googling business ideas, in the throes of negotiating writing terms for another job. Going for more. Wanting to succeed in what I have set out for myself. The irony is what I want to succeed in most is success itself. How is that for an oxymoron? When is enough … well, enough?

I think to figure this out you need to look at how you view your children. My kids are 6, 5 and 3. I want the world for them. I want them to be proud, happy, content, smart people. Yes, I want them to succeed. Success for my children will happen in verydifferent ways. There is not one set of plan to success, not one universal stairway to having it all. Some don’t even want the stairway – and are content having a picnic on the lawn.

One of my kids may choose to travel the world, taking random jobs to have just enough to live. One may become a pediatrician, and one may become a construction worker. All varying levels of time, effort, work and perceived success. This is the key to my kids – and even my success, to stop chasing a forced, generic success. Chase yours.

I want my kids to be content, happy, work hard and see it pay off. Be wherever it is they want to be. If they pursue those things, I will know they succeeded. And in turn I succeeded as their mom. When looking at it through my mommy eyes I can see success much clearer.

I can see what success is by looking into how they can see the world as sunshine and dream right now. My kids can show me how to attune my life to the success for me. Seems so basic, simple. However we get so caught up in the rat race of how we are with others. I cannot compare myself to anyone else. My goals, life and needs will always be different. I may be happy taking the stairs to success, but getting off on a lower floor. Maybe the top is not for me, too much pressure. Some may even choose to go back down and join those people lounging on the lawn; giving up the climb altogether. Success has to rest within you. No one else can gauge when enough is enough.

“The only way to succeed is to not worry about what anyone else is doing,” said someone awesome.

I came across this quote while looking for more business opportunities online. It is up to me to define my success, know when I have done it, know when to push more, and when to back off. Life is tricky, what might be thought of as a failure initially will turn into the thing to get you to your success. It might be a clear path from the start, it might take a hit to realize all you have accomplished.

So, like my kids, I need to cheer my small accomplishments, take note of how far I have come, set realistic goals and celebrate. I just spent two minutes dancing around doing a high five dance because my son made his bed. Success is in the eye of the beholder, and sometimes in the people cheering you on. Really, success is not very loaded after all, simply do a high five dance when youfeel the need to.


I have been known to grab old and ugly furniture from the side of the road, may or may not have dumpster dived. I also answer to mom to a crew of three little’s (Nora, Caleb and Gavin).Any and all randomness that comes with raising three young kids, having a husband, a dog, furniture redo’s, building something new, mixing expensive with inexpensive, room makeovers, and decorating on a budget is fair game.You can follow my adventures at Our House Now a Home.

What does success look like in your life?