6 lessons learned from Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

Books are powerful. I know I say this all the time, but it so true! They can speak to us, shape our identities, and get at our core. They’re magical. You know who else is magical? Shonda Rhimes. I’ve only recently within the last few year discovered the magic that is Shonda Rhimes. An F.O.D. Her characters have spoken to us, her shows have shaped our cultures, and her messages get at our core. She challenges the norms of society and isn’t afraid to address the tough issues we would rather sweep under the rug and pretend aren’t there.

If there is one book I suggest you read in this New Year season it’s Shonda Rhimes' new autobiography Year of Yes.  When my book club gals suggested we read Shonda Rhimes’ new autobiography I was a bit apprehensive. Having watched a couple of episodes of Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder, I was semi-familiar with Shondaland. I was worried that my lack of knowledge of her characters or shows would make it difficult to connect to her book. I can personally say this is not the case. Year of Yes is a celebration of one woman's journey to take control of her life and live it out to its fullest. She reveals how saying YES changed her life--and how it can change yours too!

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1. You're Awesome. Own It! 

You need to own the fact that you are awesome. Don’t shy away from it. Embrace it. Own it. It can be hard to own up to our own accomplishments, but you need to take credit where credit is due. Don’t feel sorry for being awesome or ashamed to accept compliments for your awesomeness. You work hard to be the person that you are. You shouldn’t feel selfish about the fact that you make the world just a bit more awesome. Be excited for yourself and all that you are. Take credit. Own It. Believe It.


2. Be a Doer, Not a Dreamer.

We all have dreams. Maybe you dream to make a difference, or dream to own your own business, or maybe you dream of traveling the world. Thinking about a dream, a desire, a wish is one thing, but going out and doing it is what matters. Stop dreaming about what you want your life to be like. Get up and make it happen. Be a doer. Do want you want. Be who you want to be. Just quit dreaming about it and take some action!

The Be a Doer, Not a Dreamer lesson comes from Shonda’s  Dartmouth Commencement speech. Saying yes to this moment was huge. Just her on the stage in the front of thousands of bright, hopeful young minds. The center of attention. It was a tough and necessary yes for her to achieve in living out her Year of Yes. I highly suggest you take a moment and watch her speech. I’ll wait for you to come back. You will not be disappointed.

Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral. Pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.
— Shonda Rhimes

3. Be Brave. Be Amazing. Be Worthy.

Lesson number three I learned from her Dartmouth speech as well. The speech was my favorite part of the book. You really should go listen to it if you haven't already!  Lesson three boils down to the fact that you matter. Your voice matters. Your gifts matter. Your talents matter. They all matter. No one will know that they matter unless you speak. You need to have the courage to stand up and let others hear and see what amazing talents and gifts you have to contribute to this world. 


4. Power Pose like Wonder Woman.

Take time to focus on you. Channel your confidence so that you can attack your day with purpose. One great way to channel your focus is to stand like Wonder Woman. You know the pose. Hands on hips, chest out high, feet shoulder width apart. Wonder Woman does not fake who she is. Ever! She is firm in abilities; you should be too! So feel free to channel some Wonder Woman every so often, you'll be surprised how big of a difference it makes. 

Standing around like Wonder Woman in the morning can make people think you are more amazing at lunchtime. Crazy. But true. How awesome is that?
— Shonda Rhimes
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5. #Badassery.

Let’s start by uncovering what this word means through a quick dictionary definition

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: SWAGGER (noun or verb) a state of being that involves loving oneself, waking up “like this” and not giving a crap what anyone else thinks about you. Term first coined by William Shakespeare.

To be #badassery, you own the awesomeness of your life. You celebrate in who you are. Say YES to who you are and live your life with swagger, my friend!


6. Dance It Out.

 Celebrate the joys that make you awesome. Whether alone or with a close friend, dance out to the fact that you are alive, that your life matters, and that you have a purpose for existing.


A huge thank you goes out to my friend Sara for suggesting we all read this book for book club. I'm excited to live out these lessons as I work on tackling my own personal Year of Yes. Be sure to check back on Friday to learn how you can win a FREE copy of this book. For those of you that need some reminders of how to dance it out, stand in the sun, and be your own person, be sure to head on over to the Whispering Words shop and check out the new designs inspired by this book.