Give the Gift of Believing in a Dream
Grab your favorite hot drink and settle in to enjoy today’s guest post by
Natalie Gwyn Putnam.
A mom, author, and blogger, Natalie shares her story of self doubt as she pursues her dreams. And then watch as her story collides with her daughter’s and she discovers the power in giving the gift of believing in a dream. Read and then find someone to cheer on today!
But perhaps the one who needs it most is you.
I have been a stay-at-home mom for sixteen years. I keep very busy raising six little humans, two of them born of my body and four of them born in Ethiopia. I feed them, clothe them, chauffer them, and love them. Every now and then I forget to take one to a dentist appointment, miss a parent-teacher meeting, or lose a child in a department store. But on the whole, I have this momming gig down cold.
Recently I stepped out into a new arena. I am no longer safely ensconced in my kitchen and minivan. I will always keep the title Mom but I am adding another job title to my repertoire: author. This was never a title I imagined for myself. It was not a part of my life plan. But then again, neither was adoption. God has a way of surprising us in the best possible ways, doesn’t He?
Last year I launched a website, began blogging, and submitted articles to various magazines. I started working on a manuscript. I searched for an agent. My first book will be published soon.
As my words make their way out into the vast interwebs, I find myself struggling with self-doubt. What if they don’t like me? What if I am not any good? What if I fail? God, are you sure this is what you want me to do?
Maybe, like me, you have a dream you have been hesitant to chase. Trying something new is scary. The truth is, if we step out into the deep end, we might sink before we swim. We might not win the race or get the part or sign the book contract. But our success comes in the trying, not in the results. It comes in the believing. Hard work and hours invested may be the building blocks of success, but belief is the cornerstone.
Our dreams will never become reality until we believe in ourselves. It was my daughter who taught me this lesson.
She came home one day and announced she was going to try out for the school play. I tried to talk her out of it. I explained that drama productions rely heavily on dialogue. That she had only spoken English for a few years. That her accent might be hard for the audience to understand.
She was determined. She had dreams of becoming an actress and this was the perfect opportunity for her to begin chasing her dreams.
We spent hours together reciting lines, practicing enunciation, slowing down her speech in order to make her accent a little less noticeable. She pronounced the same word over and over again, trying to smooth out her r’s and sharpen her t’s.
We didn’t have to practice her acting skills. She is the queen of drama. She played her character well. Face alight with energy. Body communicating her emotions.
The day of the auditions I gave her a little pep talk. As I drove to the school, I told her how courageous she was.
“You are amazing, sweetheart.” I said. “You are energetic, dramatic, and prepared. I think you are an excellent actress. I am so proud of you for auditioning today. It takes a lot of courage to get up in front of people. Don’t be discouraged no matter the outcome. If nothing else, today you will get to practice auditioning. Each time you audition, you will get better and better. Whether or not you get a part, you are already a star.”
“Whether or not you get a part” was a euphemism for “Even though you won’t get a part.”
A few days later the results were posted. My daughter was cast in her first play.
I jumped up and down as we celebrated. I hugged my daughter tight. “I am so proud of you, honey!” I said.
She smiled as she hugged me back. “Thanks, Mom. You didn’t think I would get a part, did you?”
Her words cut right to the heart of the matter. She had seen through my hollow platitudes. She knew I didn’t think she could do it.
My daughter never held this against me. She appreciated the things I had done right: spending time practicing with her, filling out the application paperwork, driving her to the audition, encouraging her. We both thought it was a long shot that she would actually get cast in the play.
The difference between her and I? She believed she could.
I want my children to chase after their dreams. I am determined to be their first and best champion. They need to know I am firmly in their corner, cheering them on to greater heights. My voice will be louder than any doubts.
It is a powerful gift: believing in someone. I am going to give this gift to the people I love. I am going to give this gift to my children. I am going to give this gift to myself. I encourage you to do the same.
Let’s not allow doubt to keep us from our dreams.
Natalie Gwyn lives in Northern California with her high school sweetheart Scott. Together they are raising six beautiful children. Natalie proudly claims the title of World’s Okayest Mom as she makes her many mistakes, loves her family in the midst of their mess, and finds joy in the chaos. When she can find a quiet moment in between laundry and carpool duty, she writes for Huffington Post, The Today Show, and Guideposts. Natalie’s first book is being released June 2018. You can contact Natalie through her site: NatalieGwyn.com