Say yes.Say yes?
To the Year of Yes.
Ok, I was skeptical in reading the book by Shonda Rhimes, Year of Yes. I thought it was another self-help book, like oh my god, I’m so done with self-help books! I could write a book, what with all the self-help books I’ve read. But alas, when I asked a friend of mine, which book she would recommend, as I was itching for a good read, guess what book she recommends? Yup, that’s right, “The Year of Yes” by Shonda Rhimes. Coincidence? Perhaps not!
Reluctantly, I said ‘grrr ok’ with the emoji face where it looks like it’s gritting its teeth. Anyway, I believe that everything happens for a reason and there are signs everywhere. So I went ahead and purchased the book. And off I go to into Shondaland. And whoa what a ride…
What this book is basically about is how a successful woman in her own right, with three successful shows, who shows diversity in all of them, who shuts down ABC on Thursday nights, who has received accolades and acknowledgements in many areas, was missing something in her life. She needed permission to say yes. It began when her sister mentioned to her during one thanksgiving dinner that she never says yes to anything, which got Rhimes thinking, which led her to make a commitment to herself to start saying yes to anything that was asked of her. Thus begins her year of YES.
After she started saying yes, many opportunities opened up for her. The process wasn’t easy but the revelations she experienced were everything she needed. She learned a lot about herself, she became more self-aware, she said yes to herself. She started putting herself first. She started to play. She became present for her family; friends and her first love, writing. She let go of people that were toxic in her life because she was happy. She started to see people for who they really were and accepted it. She began working on her image by losing weight. And in the end she was genuinely and truly happy because she said made a promise to herself to say yes.
This is just a synopsis of what encompasses the book. What I really want to write about one part that really to stood out for me and that I could relate to. Those aha moments. Those damn Shonda ‘you did that?’ moments. Those, ‘you get me’ moments. Those ‘I wanna be just like you when I grow up’ moments. I wrote this in her first name because after reading the book you will think you are BFF’s or in my case your big sister. Trust me.
So lets begin, shall we? I’m only going to focus on two points because there are so many moments that I loved but I don’t want to overwhelm you. 😉 And I want you to get the book…
The parts that stood out to me were the parts where she talks about fear, being your authentic self and loving yourself. (Side note/FYI: Just because she started saying yes it didn’t mean she wasn’t scared or fearful, she still had anxiety but she did it anyway.) Because this is where I am at now. Fear paralyzes me. Fear is always hanging on me, all the damn time. Fear has led me to not do things, to not be a doer just a dreamer and hope that what I want falls on my lap. Hey, a girl can dream right? But we all know the answer, you gotta get to werk!
In the book, Rhimes writes about giving a commencement speech, which she said yes to, at her alma mater Dartmouth that resonated with me. In her speech she tells the graduating class to be doers not just dreamers. Any one can dream, we can write our goals, talk about it with friends, create vision boards, dream, dream, dream. Which I have done and still do. But the really successful people, what do they do? They are doers. She says, “the really successful people, the really interesting, powerful, engaged people? Are busy doing…its hard work that creates change”.
“My dreams did not come true. But I worked really hard. And I ended up building an empire out of my imagination. So my dreams can suck it. You can wake up one day that you are interesting and powerful and engaged. You can wake up one day and find that you are a doer”(p. 89).
It takes action; not just talking about it but taking real action to move towards to the life you want. It’s sooooo difficult but it is my goal. I don’t want to stop dreaming but I do want to dream and take action. However, she is right, no one that is successful just dreams, they do things, they make shit happen, they are movers and shakers and thinkers and doers. After that speech I got it. Be a doer!
After I was done with the book, I can pretty much say Shonda Rhimes is a badass. And you should read this book because she writes as if you are in the living room with her and you just want to hang on every word with a glass of wine, of course! She writes honestly and openly and lets us know that she is human with flaws and real emotions, but she is doer. She doesn’t claim that she has it all figured out being a woman, a mother, a POC or that she can do it all by herself without the help of her tribe. What she does convey is that by being who you truly are, you can say yes. Say yes to yourself and dance and live and love. And we should all strive to do the same.
If you have read this book, which part resonated with you?