Today, Feathered Quill reviewer Ellen Feld is talking with Cindy Yates, author of Just Be Honest.
FQ: Tell our readers a little about yourself. Your background, your interests, and how this led to writing a book?
YATES: To think that I have written a book is hard to wrap my head around still. I became very interested in fashion and began modeling in my early teens. That led me to L.A. to get my education in fashion. I was hired by my university to be their fashion director at a very young age. From there I went on to start my own company “Image Productions” where I created fashion show productions for large malls and fashion forward events. This was my first experience with entrepreneurship. I have owned many companies since then.
The interesting thing back then is that in my mind I was trying to find a way to help women have a healthy self-image. My mom was a beautiful and talented woman, but she never seemed to embrace that about herself. She really struggled with her self-esteem. It broke my heart, and it became my own private life mission to help women combat that vicious cycle. Even though my mother was beautiful, in her mind, she didn’t see it. This was a devastating lie she believed about herself. Why are we so willing to believe that lie when the truth is so much more beautiful and empowering?
After creating fashion shows and modeling myself I realized I loved being behind the scenes more than out in front and I loved the business side of it all. I became a makeup artist and learned to love what I could do for my friends and clients with a makeup brush and great products. From there I became involved in starting businesses and loved it.
But here’s what I found, no matter how beautiful the result of my makeup application or the results of the success I was able to attain with my business partners, most of my colleagues still had issues with their own image and inner confidence. I wanted to find the answer and in searching for the answer, honesty became my quest if you will.
FQ: Have you always enjoyed writing or is it something you’ve discovered recently?
YATES: I never thought I would be an author and I didn’t set out to write a book. I simply began writing down my thoughts and life lessons early on in my professional life because it seemed that I was one of those people who had to learn the hard way in some areas. My favorite uncle and mentor said to me many times that the best education came from the University of Life, and he was so right. So, I wrote it all down as I went along. I didn’t once think about putting my writings into a book as a “writer.” I just wrote down my thoughts. The book idea was an inspiration that came along after so many life experiences; highs and lows that included big successes and failure and grief and self-discovery. I knew I had to share all of these with the world because of the life changing opportunities they were for me. I wanted with all of my heart to give others hope.
FQ: Tell us a little about your book – a brief synopsis and what makes your book unique.
YATES: Honesty became the theme of my life in a very big way. It helped me find my husband and helped me raise my kids. I share examples of this in my book. I know this sounds kind of crazy because we all know how important honesty is, but the truth is, if we don’t make it a top priority in every aspect of our lives, we can become lost in so many ways. I eventually found my passion for coaching people to success and to joy through honesty, but the journey was not a straightforward journey directly toward writing a book. I was so very intrigued by personal integrity and personal honesty. How many talented beautiful people walk around not knowing their true selves because of the lie that they have buried within their minds. These lies can come from outside sources, usually from someone we trust. A parent, teacher, aunt or uncle, sibling or friend can have a huge impact on how we see ourselves even if it isn’t close to the truth.
And personal honesty is something that we don’t pay enough attention to. I mean how many times have we told ourselves we were going to do something and then we don’t follow through. I think about my own dieting experiences. Personal honesty is almost nonexistent but is so important when it comes to creating that balance and joy, we all are searching for.
Just Be Honest is a compilation of my experiences in life. Some of the most profound lessons that changed my life forever were and continue to be discovered under a seemingly everyday experience. I mean I challenge all of you to take a minute every day and find the lessons in your everyday life. Then keep a journal of those lessons. I wouldn’t be surprised if you wrote me someday in the future to share your own amazing book with me.
FQ: Please give our readers a little insight into your writing process. Do you set aside a certain time each day to write, only write when the desire to write surfaces, or ?
YATES: My writing process has evolved into a therapeutic way of clearing my mind. I write when I am inspired. So, in addition to writing down the lessons of the day, I also take time to write down the inspirations of my heart. It can be from one of my favorite books that I am reading at the time or from a conversation that I had with a client. I am the most inspired by prayer and when I speak with my kids. They inspire me to think big and to keep striving to understand social issues and the ever-changing needs of the human family.
FQ: Who are your favorite authors?
YATES: My favorite author right now that makes me think and inspires me is Dr. Joseph Murphy. His words in his book The Power of Your Subconscious Mind speaks to me on a very deep level. I have read and listened to this special book countless times and I learn something new every time. My favorite author for entertainment is Tessa Afshar. She is intelligent and teaches truths through her fictional characters. I have read every one of her books. I respect her so much.
FQ: As an author/writer, what famous author (living or dead), would you like to have dinner with, and why?
YATES: An author I would like to have dinner with is Erma Bombeck. She is hilarious and was way before her time. She wrote things as she saw them. I would love to sit with her and learn from her. I’m sure we would share laughter and insights with one another.
FQ: What is your all-time favorite book? Why? And did this book/author have any influence over your decision to become an author?
YATES: If I were to choose my favorite book of all time it would be the scriptures because of the impact they have had on my life and the deep peace I feel when I submerge myself in them. If I were to talk about a book of fiction it would probably be Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice because it was one of the first books I read that spoke to me. I related so much to the heroine Elizabeth Bennet and her need to be true to herself even if she had to go against the expectations of others. I loved her strength and conviction. I don’t know if this book inspired me to write my own book. I mean I think we are the product of all of our experiences in life. I am grateful to all of the talented authors who have shared their words with me both fiction and non-fiction. I am a better person because of their willingness to share.
FQ: Did your family & friends encourage you to write your book?
YATES: Each of my children wrote parts of the foreword for my book. I asked them to share their thoughts about honesty. I printed them as they came to me, unscripted and unedited. I am so honored by their words. I have the support of all of my family members. My husband is a very quiet man who leads his life with deep integrity, and I share a powerful lesson I learned from him while we were dating in chapter 2. He is not comfortable getting attention and has been my constant for over 30 years. It took some time to find him, but I am grateful I waited because he is a treasure in my life.
FQ: Tell us a little about your qualifications in your field.
YATES: Like I said, I feel that we are the product of our life experiences but in addition to that we must direct our own lives according to what we feel is our divine purpose. I talk about this in my book and in all of my coaching. My main focus when I am coaching my clients is to help them find their own unique identity because this is when we find that beautiful confidence and balance. But this can only come when we are honest with ourselves and have the courage to follow the path we are inspired to follow without peer pressure or worrying about the expectations of other. This is harder than it sounds and having a coach guide us through this process is key. It is one of my loves. I love God and I love my family and a very close second are the people I coach. I want to help everyone in the human family find their own unique identity and purpose in this life. Comparison is the thief of our joy and trying to bring ourselves joy through superficial efforts is tragic. I know because I have been in the beauty and fashion world most of my adult life one way or another. Yes, it is important to feel beautiful but not in the place of our efforts to be authentic. We are more beautiful when our inner self is clean of deceit and confusion. If you would like information or would like to express your own experiences or thoughts, please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.honestyacademy.com. I would love to hear your thoughts.
FQ: What was the most difficult part of writing this book?
YATES: Writing this book was easy at first because I was just writing my thoughts but then it became hard as I realized that having a publisher critique my life experiences and my manner in which I expressed myself was going to be painful, I thought. I mean, it is a vulnerable spot to be in when you open yourself up to have others review your work. Having said that, the wonderful part of the journey was when I began working with the team at Atmosphere Press. Every step of the way with them was made easier. They helped me see my words as valuable and they cleaned it up to be beautiful and easy for others to understand. I cannot express enough how very much I love and respect everyone at Atmosphere Press. Nick, Trista, Cammie and Lennie have been amazing. I might just have a few more books in me now that I know I have them behind me to help me shine.
For more information on Just Be Honest, please visit the website: honestyacademy.com