Are you inherently a “yes” person or a “no” person? That’s the question my dear friend Shonda Rhimes, (you know, Hollywood’s most powerful woman, the mega-talented creator and producer of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and owner of all things Thursday night) has me thinking about lately. Now she doesn’t know she’s my dear friend, but I’m reading her 2015 New York Times bestseller Year of YES, and since she’s dared to write a book in such an authentic, relatable, girl-next-door way, she is unwittingly, but most definitely my new best friend.
In 2013 when her sister muttered the words “You never say yes to anything,” introverted Shonda woke up and began to consciously say yes to scary things that she otherwise avoided—a commencement speech at Dartmouth, appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live, her health, and playing with her children any time they asked to name a few.
Making a conscious choice to say yes to things she’d routinely said no to created breakthrough after breakthrough for Shonda and those around her.
So, on this January morning as I packed my bags to leave icy Pennsylvania for equally-cold Chicago (where my new best friend Shonda just so happened to be raised), I gave myself a challenge. To say YES to things I’d typically avoid.
I said yes to getting up earlier than I had to for my trip to the airport—and had time to catch a great podcast on life purpose.
I said yes to actually holding a conversation with my shuttle driver. (Morning conversation is not my thing.) In return, I got his compelling life’s story, worthy of being featured in my next book. In gratitude he gifted me his umbrella when he learned I hadn’t brought one and might need one.
I said yes to listening instead of talking-- and got my Uber driver’s fascinating life story about the war-torn life he left behind to make roots in Chicago and what it was like to move to a country where you didn’t speak the language.
I said yes to spontaneity over hibernating in my hotel room and scored a last minute ticket to Hamilton at the box office!
Here in 2018, I’ve decided to pause before taking action and rethink my typical “no” reflex. Where is “no” a reflex for you? Join me and others in saying yes to things that don’t come easy.
My airplane seatmate told me she says yes to guilt-free in-flight naps.
My friend is saying yes to tackling cluttered spaces in her home—closets, kitchen cabinets, the pantry.
My client is saying yes to fewer meetings on her calendar, making room for more think time and time out of the office.
An exec I know is even saying yes to scary green kale breakfast drinks to boost her health!
I’m saying yes to me more this year. My empty nest is a luxury to treat myself to things I need or want. Just yesterday I started by saying yes to some new throw pillows and a sponge holder for my kitchen sink (yep, call me crazy!)
Saying yes can be our own personal 3-lettered superpower.
Shonda’s online network encouraged her to “power pose like superwoman” when she needed courage. “Power posing like Wonder Woman is when you stand up like a badass—legs in a wide stance, chin up, hands on your hips. Like you own the place. Like you have on magical silver bracelets and know how to use them. Like your superhero cape is flapping in the wind behind you.”
Go ahead. Assume your power pose and complete this sentence…
This year I will say yes to__________________________.
According to my new BFF, “every yes will change something in you. Every yes is a transformation. Every yes sparks some new phase of evolution. “
I’d love to hear what happens for you!!