Year of Yes was recommended by a participant in a women’s leadership development program that I facilitate. I had heard good things about the book and the title was so appealing, since I am in the midst of making changes in my personal and professional life. I, too, am attempting to say “Yes” to new things. I was looking for inspiration and Shonda Rhimes did not disappoint.

As many of you may know, Shonda is a critically-acclaimed creator and producer of hit television shows. Some of her projects include: Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice, How To Get Away With Murder, and Scandal. While I have never watched any of these shows, I have heard nothing but great reviews, and that her work features strong, multi-layered female characters.

The book is a candid story of how Shonda realized that she had shut down in life. At Thanksgiving dinner, during a rather innocuous conversation, one of her sisters mentioned that Shonda never says “Yes” anymore, and had stopped being any fun. This conversation became a wake up call.

Shonda shares her adventures of how as an extreme introvert she started accepting requests to give speeches—such as the commencement speech at Dartmouth College. During the year, she lost almost 100 pounds, found 15 minutes to play with her children on a daily basis, and decided not to get married. She made herself vulnerable, and appears very relatable—even as she runs out the door in a ball gown to accept yet another prestigious award!

As someone who has also made some unusual choices in life, such as quitting a high paying job to start my own leadership coaching business, or deciding not to have my own children, this book reminded me that I am not alone. Shonda is a delightful and funny writer—her images will remain imprinted on your brain. How about her term, Badassery: knowing, accepting, and celebrating one own’s gifts and accomplishments. Or living life with swagger—which means loving oneself and not giving a crap what others think about you.

Read this book if you want more swagger in your life!

Thanks, Shonda.

 

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