“In order to YES a problem, I have to find whatever it is inside the problem that challenges me or scares me or makes me just freak out – and then I have to say yes to that thing.”
I just finished Shonda Rhimes’ book Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person that was packed with real issues and inspiration for being your very best self. It covers a full 12-month period where Rhimes challenged herself to commit to saying “yes” to everything that scared her, which allowed her to flourish and live fully.
Let me back up a bit, Rhimes is a writer of hit-shows on ABC every Thursday night like Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder and more recently. As a major fan of TGIT, *cue the How to Save a Life and Chasing Cars*, this was a natural selection for me. But I’ve been reading a lot of celebrity memoirs lately, such as Yes! Please by Amy Poehler, The Girl With the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling, and while I loved them all (and highly recommend them all) because they’re all written by powerful, hilarious women. (You can find out how I read all of these books and more for free, which I shared here.) But Rhimes’ book, Year of Yes, stood out to me because it had many key takeaways for my own life.
When to Say “Yes” to Saying “No”
I have the opposite problem from Rhimes where I say yes to nearly everything, and I find it difficult to say no. What it really boils down to for me is I hate conflict and/or disappointing people. But for my own sanity, it’s crucial to say no. No to toxic relationships, no to taking on too much, no to bad habits!
How to Say “Yes” to Using Your Voice
As a writer, you have to know your voice is powerful, right?! Rhimes didn’t always recognize this. In fact, she’d hide behind her writing and have her characters say things she’d wish she could say. But everyone has a voice to stand up for what’s right, and it’s more crucial than ever in today’s age. Once you start, it’s actually easier than you’d think and keeps getting easier!
Saying “Yes” and “Thank You”
Rhimes shares how at an award ceremony in a room full of women, she observed that: “Not a single woman in the room could handle being told, “You’re awesome.” I couldn’t handle being told I am awesome. What in the hell is wrong with us?” Personally, it’s sometimes even hard for me to accept a compliment from my mom or boyfriend, but a simple solution is saying yes and thank you upon receiving a compliment you truly deserve. It’s not about being cocky, but acknowledging your worth and value.
Overall, Year of Yes is about living your best life! And who doesn’t want that?
“Badassery: 1. (noun) the practice of knowing one’s own accomplishments and gifts, accepting one’s own accomplishments and gifts and celebrating one’s own accomplishments and gifts; 2. (noun) the practice of living life with swagger: SWAGGER (noun or verb) a state of being that involves loving oneself, waking up “like this” and not giving a crap what anyone else thinks about you. Term first coined by William Shakespeare.” – Year of Yes