As I’ve gotten older, I’ve become more and more interested in books which I can gain lessons from and as a result become a better version of myself. Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming did this in more ways you can imagine. Another book which has had a similar impact on me is written by one of my favourite television writers, the Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes is filled with mountains of useful information you can incorporate into your daily life. Here are just a few life lessons I have learnt since reading this book.
Being an introvert isn’t a negative thing.
Without having to explicitly say it, Shonda Rhimes normalised being an introvert. A self-declared introvert, she shared how the experience shaped who she is today. She may not be a writer if she didn’t create characters who became her friends growing up.
In the book you see her say yes to attending a lot of things she would have initially said no. You see how she tackles each event and how she made it work for her and her personality. She didn’t try and fit herself into those events, which to me is powerful and shows just because someone is an introvert does not mean you lack confidence, nor is it a dirty word people associate with it.
Giving yourself permission to do things
In the book, Shonda talks about telling herself, yes to spend time with her children every time they ask her to play. To put this into context this includes times when she is rushing out the door to an awards evening or to set. She speaks a lot about being a mother and the support she has in order to be a parent and have a career. (It takes a village) By saying yes to this simple thing, she reduced any guilt she felt leaving her children to go to work. It gave her time she craved with her children and by setting this rule she gave herself permission to do something and in turn, was happier in herself and happy with those around her.
Be a doer, not a dreamer
Everyone can dream but not everyone does. This is one of the core battles I’ve personally been having lately – actually all through my twenties so far and the fact it, Shonda is right. Think about someone you admire. They got to where they are today because they did something. They didn’t leave their dreams in a what if pile. They picked it up and placed it in the todo pile.
Have those difficult conversations
This one resonated with me because I have had to do this recently. Conversations are not always pleasant. Statistically, chances are, there will be times when you will need to have difficult conversations with your loved ones and that is ok. It is part of life. You cannot go through life trying to please everyone and do what people say without having an opinion on something. As humans, we are not wired like that. So give yourself time to prepare but make sure you have the dang conversation.
Be unapologetically you
During her year of yes, Shonda, grew more into herself. The world was starting to see the real woman she was. The result of this? She formed stronger relationships with those close to her and lost some who were unable to deal with this. Was she sad? for a little bit but ultimately you get the perception she is more content in herself than she has ever been and that feeling is more powerful than you can imagine.
As I was reading this book, I looked at my own life and how I need to stop over analysing everything and essentially instead of dreaming of my best life, work on living my life and that is exactly what I am planning to do.