Cynthia Simmons plunges right into her story with the first few seconds of this episode. After being a delayed dreamer, she has been seriously pursuing her dream as a published author since 2004 or 2005. (After a while, you just lose track of time.) Through humor and reflective insights, she shares several valuable lessons that can help any of us, no matter what dream we want to tend.
Cynthia’s interest in writing first blossomed in childhood, when she was eight or nine and wrote a story about some blue flowers. But when her brother saw it, he called her story silly, and she immediately put her pen down, thinking, I write silly, so I’m not going to do that again. All it had taken was one sentence from one person who didn’t realize the lasting impact their words would make, to nearly destroy Cynthia’s dream.
She did not pick that pen up again until decades later, when her children began leaving home. It was then, Cynthia finally decided to lay the stigma from that single statement aside, and to stop letting it squelch a desire that never entirely went away.
Cynthia’s current book, Pursuing Gold, was born from her love of history and finance. This mystery about a confederate bank during the civil war, is not only fascinating, but can teach you much about what our ancestors did with money and why.
We can all learn from the loss of time that nearly halted Cynthia’s dream. One negative sentence or question can steal our confidence, our hope, and our willingness to try. Remember that word resolve we’ve talked about in past episodes? Do not allow anyone to steal your boldness, your faith, or your decision to act.
Cynthia and I explored some of the reasons others might unknowingly undermine your dream. We came up with a few possibilities.
- It’s not their dream, so they don’t understand your interest.
- It’s not the way they would go about it—how you are pursuing your desires and goals.
- They can’t see you in that role, considering your current situation.
- Perhaps someone has squelched their dreams, and have influenced them negatively, so they subconsciously pass doomsday predictions or discouraging questions on.
- Often, they have no idea you’ve had these interests, because you haven’t shared them before. Your expression blindsides them, and they react without having time to process or think.
Another person’s opinion is not typically based on fact, but on emotions like fear, jealousy, anxiety, confusion, etc. And even if they have facts to back up their ideas, many a determined dreamer has done far more than most would suppose or circumstances would assume. A dream tender does not let someone else decide their path.
I asked Cynthia, “How have you supported your dreams along the way?” Again, her insights proved helpful.
- She educated herself on how to write professionally.
- She learned how to write to her audience—in a way THEY could connect to.
- Realized there were things she assumed she knew, but found out new or revised information by being open to it.
- Joined others with similar dreams, she got connected with like-minded people. (In her case, writer’s groups.)
- Practiced and honed her skills daily.
- She invested the time to learn the process and how to do it well.
- Do you dare give yourself the label associated with your dream? Do you call it before others see it?
- Are you supporting your dreams on a daily basis? How?
- What did you do with your imagination as a child? What did you do with your playtime? Are your dreams grounded in those moments—there all along, though you didn’t see them?
If Cynthia could go back in time, she would tell herself, “You can do this.”
Cynthia’s advice to fellow dream tenders is, “Don’t give up!” This simple encouragement is deeply profound—and will hopefully offset any negative statements or discouraging questions presented to you in the past.
This episode’s Dream Tending Tips:
- Let people see who you truly are. People support those they know.
- Step out in faith, give voice to your dream—call yourself what you wish to become.
- Criticism is hard, understand that sometimes you have to choose to face it when you are in the right mood or emotional state, so you can better absorb it and use it to improve, or decide if it has merit.
- Allow humility to benefit you by having a teachable spirit.
- Use wisdom when listening to the other person’s opinion, whether positive or negative, and weigh it out to see whether it makes sense to allow it to take space in your mind. You don’t want to let negativity hold you back, nor do you want positivity to cause your ego to grow out of bounds.
- Practice and hone your skills daily, even when you don’t feel you can do as much as you’d like.
- Think about the people you want to reach or who will be impacted by your dream(s), and make it your mission to connect with them in a way they can relate to.
- Invest the time necessary—however much it takes.
- If someone else has doused your dream, decide today to allow it no more. Tending Your Dreams often means taking them back!
To find out more about Cynthia Simmons, find her on social media and check out her website, clsimmons.com.
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Until next time, remember, your dreams are waiting for you to grab and tend:
Never stop believing.
Dare to dream bigger.
Host Anita Agers Brooks can be found on various social media platforms, and you can discover additional dream tending tips at tendyourdreams.com.