Year of Yes
If you’ve ever spent more than 15 minutes with me, you already know I have an unhealthy obsession with Grey’s Anatomy. Like I have ‘my persons’ and I actually have ’30 second dance parties.’ Like I’m a surgeon at Seattle Grace Mercy-West later Grey-Sloan Memorial Hospital (in my mind anyway), kind of unhealthy obsession.
(Like I said, I’m a HUGE fan. I’m also a fan of The Mindy Project, hence the Beyoncé Pad Thai.)
So naturally I have an equally unhealthy obsession with the show's creator, Shonda Rhimes. When I heard Shonda released a book I obviously pre-ordered it because Shonda is my boss at the aforementioned hospital and I HAD to support her. To be honest, I didn’t even know what the book was about, and frankly it didn’t even matter to me because Shonda runs TGITs on ABC, and everything she writes is golden. So even if her book was based on 832 ways to clean your toilet, I knew to expect drama, someone needing a lawyer, an affair, and the toilet brush needing surgery. It was going to be good. But this book isn’t good, this book isn’t great either. This book is PERFECT.
Shonda starts off sharing a conversation between her and her sister, and during this conversation, her sister makes the statement that legitimately changes her life, “You never say yes to anything.” This simple statement becomes a profound and important revelation in Shonda’s life. Throughout the entire book, she takes us through her "Year of Yes," (where she vows to say yes to everything for a year) and beyond. I honestly just wish I could mail each and every one of you a copy of the book. I love it so much that I would actually sit here and type it out word for word, but I want you to go buy it. Like, right now. GO! I’ll wait… In the meantime, here are some of the quotes that MADE Year ofYes for me.
Basically Shonda tells us it is scientifically proven that if you power pose like Wonder Woman for five minutes, it improves the way you feel about yourself and the way others perceive you. So go on and power pose! Oh and watch the TED TALK she mentions in the book. This too will change your life.
“ I think a lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really interesting, powerful, engaged people? Are busy doing."
In Shonda’s commencement speech at the Dartmouth 2014 graduation, she reminds the students that dreaming is nice. But dreaming means nothing if you don’t do anything about the dream. So in short, dream less and do more. By the way, she SLAYED this speech. Here it is in case you’re intrigued. Which you should be, 'cause trust me, it’s amazing.
“No man, has ever had to apologize for having help in order to take care of his home and his kids. EVER. Why do we?" - Caterina Scorsone
Let me just start this off by saying that Shonda has an entire chapter dedicated to her nanny, Jenny McCarthy. Being a nanny myself, I found this to be my favorite chapter in the entire book because duh, NANNIES UNITE. In all seriousness, she really makes it a point to call out how ridiculous it is that women shame other women for having help at home. Writer of three shows, owner of Thursday nights on television, boss, event attender, DOER. All of this is possible because of help, and that’s okay. So let’s stop shaming each other and I don't know… help?
“Yes to my body.”
Sometimes our year of yes requires a ‘yes’ to our bodies, whatever that looks like. It could be yes to the gym, yes to committing to that meal plan, yes to going to bed at a reasonable and healthy time. Your body deserves a yes, because you only get one, and it’s so much more than just a shell for your brain.
In her 2014 acceptance speech for the Sherry Lansing Leadership Award, Shonda… well you know what, all I will say is that I’ve watched this speech over a dozen times. For me, it is one of the most raw, inspiring, and genuinely moving speeches I have heard. It really is one of those speeches that makes you say, “Gosh, what a time to be alive.” See for yourself HERE.
“Not a single woman in the room could handle being told 'You are awesome.' What the hell is wrong with us?"
This past year, I came to the realization that I do not know how to take a compliment. I also came to the realization that most people (women in particular), don’t know how to either. We shy away, cover our faces, or make excuses and give alternate reasons to justify the compliment. Shonda makes a simple rule that I have chosen to apply in my own life. Whenever you receive a compliment, just say, “Thank you,” and smile.
I have named and crowned myself the ‘Hustle Queen,’ so if you know me, you know how important and relatable that quote is to me. Like Shonda, I don’t ever want to be found lucky (unless it’s the lottery which in that case, I want to be lucky. ALL OF THE LUCKY). I don’t ever want you to feel lucky either. Like Shonda, I want us to be hustle queens and kings who practice ‘Badassery.’ And what is badassery you ask? Shonda defines it as the following:
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.
Be a badass hustler who’s never even heard of luck. Choose to be a badass. EVERY SINGLE TIME, choose badassery.
“No is powerful. It's a big weapon to have in your arsenal. But it is a very tough weapon to deploy. Everyone knows how difficult it is to say no. It's one of the reasons why people seem to be comfortable asking you for favors they have no business asking you for. They know how hard it is to say no."
Say yes to saying no. Noted, understood, processed, got it! She’s even kind enough to share three ways to say no (if it’s even hard for you to say no because I know people who are impressively talented at saying no. I envy them.).
- I’m going to be unable to do that
- That is not going to work for me
Write it down. Memorize these responses. Get to work. Say no.
"You should get to turn on the TV and see your tribe. The goal is that everyone should get to turn on the TV and see someone who looks like them and loves like them."
Here’s another speech the will change your life. You’re welcome. --
The Cristina Yang chapter is my second favorite chapter. It would probably be my first if I wasn’t a nanny. My favorite character on Grey’s Anatomy is Cristina Yang. She is the FEARLESS, bold, beautiful, intelligent leader of the tribe of badassery. This chapter is IMPORTANT, and it references THE BEST scene on American television you will ever watch in your entire life (I'm not biased or anything) --
“It was like you needed permssion.”
In this book, Shonda is giving us permission. Not that we need it, but if we do, this is it. You can say YES. Yes to self validation, yes to being a badass, yes to saying no, and yes to living.
Now.. shall we dance?