When was the last time you said “Yes?” Really truly embraced an opportunity? Or do you hide away, staying in your own lane, not taking a risk or trying new things? What reasons do you come up with to not take the next step? Time? Kids? Energy? Money? Are you honest with yourself, of comfortable letting the excuses pile up?
You may not know the name Shonda Rhimes. But you will know her creations; Grey’s Anatomy, and Scandal. You may have made assumptions about what it takes to get to that level of success. Surely you are filled to the brim with confidence. Grabbing every opportunity by the hand and pulling it along as you rush into the future.
There is such an underlying narrative about “having it all”. Measurements of modern-day success often ignore the reality of personal preferences. However, sometimes, it can be fear rather than self-awareness that stops a full and interesting “successful” life; by anyone’s standards.
Shonda is not the way you may imagine. She is single-minded and focused on her work, but, she had NO intention to be a star in her own right. She actually runs away from it.
A simple comment by her older sister one Thanksgiving jarred Shonda into a reality. “You never say yes to anything” She liked to stay in her safe place; her children, her writing, her home. Shonda is an introvert, who confesses to “hugging the walls” at social events and experiencing panic attacks before interviews; she reveals in the book she has NO MEMORY of her first encounter with talk show queen Oprah due to an anxiety caused blackout.
To you and me, she is the epitome of confidence. Walking red carpets, accepting awards and working in the highly pressurised world of TV. Yet, what we discover in this book, is until that fateful conversation in 2013, she kept herself safe. Avoiding anything that caused her fear and discomfort.
But that was all about to change, once she started her “Year of Yes”.
It is no surprise that this book is funny, easy to read and entertaining. But is also a reflection on personal development. On how you can have all the support, processes and systems in the world, but if YOU don’t want to change, then nothing will.
We are a very lucky book club this month, as Shonda’s experience not only created a book but a TED Talk too. This is a simple book review and one that leaves you with two very simple takeaways to apply to your life:
- Say Yes! What is the worst that can happen?
Sure, new experiences are scary. They can be terrifying, but what is the real downside of saying Yes? You could end up with Shonda’s “meeting the Obamas” moment from a simple Yes.
- Say Yes to saying No!
Sometimes you must give yourself permission to break away from negative habits. So, say Yes to sleeping better. Yes to eating better. Yes to leaving that job that drags you down.
We should all be more Shonda. Don’t overthink the answer to the next scary question. Say Yes and see where it takes you.
Join The Balance Collective with Clara Wilcox and share what you are saying YES to now.
Read the other book reviews here