My friend and I have made it a tradition to start off the year reading a book together. This year she recommended Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes. First off, I should say that if you’re on the fence about reading it, hop off and get to the bookstore. Sometimes you read things to learn something new, and sometimes you read things to remember something you already knew. I did a little of both with this book. Shonda basically tells us about how her sister got on her case for never saying yes to anything, which forced Shonda to take inventory of her life. After deciding to say “yes” to all the things that scared her, she hilariously, in a way that only the Queen of Thursday nights can, chronicles her year long journey. Here’s what I learned most from Year of Yes:
Do the power pose. Projecting confidence is important. Not only does this simple act work some kind of psychological magic and make you feel stronger, but it also makes others feel safer and more comfortable around you. Get your superwoman on, homegirl.
Face your fears. When you work those muscles they get stronger. Embrace the nerves and the tingling and the shortness of breath. Own it all. It’s you.
You know what happens when all your dreams come true?
Shonda let us all know what a million people have tried to tell us before. Accomplishments and check marks on our lists don’t really do much for our feelings of fulfillment if we don’t have peace inside. Achievement will never fill whatever voids we have inside so we have to always make our spiritual well-being top priority. This part actually reminded of King Solomon’s writings in the Bible. He was literally the wealthiest guy alive and had done everything under the sun, and when it was all said and done, even he said only God satisfies. Wowzers.
My most notable take away from Year of Yes is about defining your own success. Shonda’s example was her finally coming to grips with the fact that she didn’t want to be married. As much as she tried to warm up to the idea, she ultimately had to embrace that it was not one of her personal desires. A lot of us are living someone else’s dream for our lives. Some of us don’t want to have 5-day work weeks and drive home in rush hour traffic while some of us are completely satisfied with that. Some of us want to be millionaires before we die and some of us are content with enough for daily bread. Some of us want to travel to every continent on the planet while some of us want to sit at home in our bathrobes. The truth of the matter is that no one way is better than the other as long as the person making the choice is truly satisfied. Whether you want to live a big life or a small life is simply a matter of personal conviction. If you are being true to yourself and living the best life you can, do not allow others to make you feel like you should be doing what they want to do. You get define what success looks like for you.
Needless to say, I recommend the book to anyone who needs an entertaining inspirational read.
This year I’m saying yes to following through. I’m committing and executing. I’m doing my due diligence. What are you saying yes to?