Read: Shonda Rhimes' Year of Yes
Thursday has been recently been renamed as the day of Shondaland, the production world of the incredibly creative producer Shonda Rhimes, on ABC. A jam packed line-up of code blues on Grey’s Anatomy, White House debacles on Scandal, and solving clues of Keatings’ death on How to Get Away with Murder are all thanks to Rhimes. As if boss lady Rhimes doesn’t have enough on her agenda, she has taken it upon herself to say yes to publishing a book, and it is one that everyone should say yes to as well.
Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person tells the story of how Shonda rewrote her future in a way that allowed her to fill her life’s jar to the rim. She once lived everyday in fear, never wanting to engage in social interactions or events, even though the chip on her shoulder obliged her to. Her name was quickly becoming a household one, and yet she was finding every which way to be hidden behind the scenes. The amount of well-deserved publicity she was receiving for her work made her feel lost in her own shell, and after fighting herself for too long, she decided to put herself out on the line, and say yes to everything that scared her.
This new way of life for Rhimes sparked attendances at galas, that she would much rather be watching on her television with her three children laying on her lap, to making celebratory speeches at the commencement of her alma mater, Dartmouth College. All of these things brought a pulse of fear in her stomach, as she never found herself feeling natural while under a magnifying glass. Writers are infamously known for being introverts, preferring to find themselves publicized simply as a printed name. Rhimes knew this, and fell under this category, but decided to fight the battle and break the barrier.
The style that this guidebook is written in makes the reader feel like they too are hanging out with Shonda on her couch, swirling a glass of red wine in their hand. She writes in a way that is inviting, and inconspicuously inspires the hidden extrovert in everyone to begin to peek through. Learning to grow out of your shell, and finally face what is feared the most, is something that not everyone gets the chance to do, but adopting a ‘year of yes’ is just the push that most of us need.
If you don’t get the time or the opportunity to read this book - which, if you take on the year of yes, you should have already said yes to reading it - I’ll leave you with a quote that I dragged my neon pink highlighter over the second I read it.
“They tell you: Follow your dreams. Listen to your spirit. Change the world. Make your mark. Find your inner voice and make it sing. Embrace failure. Dream. Dream and dream big. As a matter of fact, dream and don’t stop dreaming until your dream comes true. I think that’s crap. I think a lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, powerful, engaged people? Are busy doing.”
Start saying yes, and start doing more. Live as you, instead of dreaming as you. You can find Shonda’s masterpiece here.