As I think of writing a review of this book I am smiling. That is what this book did to me. Made me smile. Made me excited. Made me want to say, “Yes.”
It’s Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes.
Before reading Year of Yes, I’d never even heard of Shonda Rhimes. Never watched one of her award-winning shows. Never knew a thing about this powerhouse of a woman.
And she is a powerhouse.
Shonda Rhimes owns Thursday night TV. Look, she shows you here. Skip to 2 minutes 21 seconds just to see what she does. Every day.
And then this book: Year of Yes follows Shonda’s year of saying Yes. Before this year, Shonda said No a lot. All those No’s made her very unhappy. And very fat. And very lonely. She talks about it at 7 minutes 05 seconds.
So Shonda decided to say, “Yes.” Yes to speaking in public. Yes to being on live TV. Yes to speaking truth. Yes to life.
And everything changed.
In fact, the change was so inspiring that I felt like I was saying Yes just by reading her words and allowing the possibilities of “Yes” to fill me.
I loved it. The whole book. But I’m writing about one chapter, this chapter: “Yes, Thank You.” Because I think if we can get this Yes down, we can do it. We can create that thing. We can share that idea. We can change stuff. If we start with this Yes.
The Yes of Badassery.
It began the evening Shonda attended an awards dinner honoring the “great women of t.v.” Amazing women. Barrier-breaking women. Game-altering women. Powerful, strong, get-it-done women.
The great women of t.v.
And guess what?
As great as they are, they don’t own it.
As the editor-in-chief pointed to each woman and named her powerful achievements, without fail—without fail—every single woman did one of three things:
1. Shook her head and looked away… as if to say, “No. Nooo. Not really. Look. It’s not as great as she’s telling you.”
2. Ducked her head, an embarrassed look on her face…
3. Laughed. A mortified, embarrassed, stunned…laugh.
Every single one.
Powerful, strong, get-it-done women.
When the editor-in-chief sat down next to me… I responded with, “Did you notice not a single woman in this room can handle being told she is awesome. What is wrong with us?!”
Not a single woman in the room could handle being told, ‘You’re awesome.’ I couldn’t handle being told I am awesome. What in the hell is wrong with us?”
What in the hell is wrong with us? All these awesome women. The women in the room. Me. You. But who among us owns it? Who?
Can you imagine what the world would be like if we did? If I did? If you did? What would you do? What would you make? What would your life be like if you really owned your awesomeness.
Shonda decided to own it.
I decide to do it. I decide that if it is so hard to own up to my own accomplishments, to take a compliment, to not duck my head and choose Door Number Two, then I’m going to say YES to accepting any and all acknowledgements of personal fabulous awesomeness with a clear, calm “Thank you” and a confident smile and nothing more.
It sounds much easier than it is.
Because when we start to own our awesomeness, own it so deep we fall in love with who we are, we get scared. We get scared we are too much, too big, too bold.
We will be rejected. We will be talked about. People will think we have “grown too big for our britches.” And we will be alone.
“You cannot say that out loud! People will think you believe that you are […]”
That I’m what?
Cocky. Immodest. Brazen.
In love with myself.
That I think I’m special.
Shudder. Shake. Hop.
Did I just say that I’m actually worried that people will think I am into myself? I am worried that people will think that maybe I think I’m special? That I am in love with myself?”
Isn’t that the GOAL. Don’t people pay money to licensed therapists to get into themselves, to fall in love with themselves, to think they are special?
What is the opposite of a cocky, immodest, brazen woman?
A meek, chaste, timid woman.
But I still can’t take a compliment.
And neither can any of the other women I know.
So Shonda says, “Yes.” Yes to compliments. Yes to love. Yes to badassery.
And here’s the best part: The World Is Waiting For It!
The belief we hold, you and I, that folks don’t want us to shine our light: it’s crap. An excuse. Fear.
Because they are waiting for it. They’re begging for it. Dying for it.
We all are.
I’ve started to think we are like mirrors. What you are gets reflected back to you. What you see in yourself, you may see in others, and what others see in you, they may see in themselves.
Or it’s stupid.
Whatever it is, it still comes down to Wonder Woman. You stand like that, in that pose, and after a while, you start to feel like Wonder Woman and people start to look at you and SEE Wonder Woman, and oddly that makes them feel better when they are around you.
People like being around whole, healthy, happy people.
Turns out we like when someone accepts a compliment. We like when someone knows their worth. We like when someone embraces their awesomeness.
Because then we feel free to be awesome too.
And then we do the thing thing we are here to do.
We say Yes.
And that is badass.