How Often Do Say Yes to Possible Success?
How many times a day do you say no to opportunities, invitations, assignments, challenges, chances to advance your career, things that would stretch you out of of your comfort zone? If you say “no” too often, you could be holding yourself back.
Why Shonda Rhimes Made a Year of Yes
For those of you who don’t know Shonda, she is the sensationally successful writer and creator of the ABC Thursday tv night hits, “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” “Private Practice,” and “How to Get Away with Murder.” For one woman to dominate a night of network TV is extraordinary. For a woman of color to do this is amazing and wonderful. And she created starring characters who were all female. So she has truly been ground-breaking in her industry.
But until a few years ago, she stifled her happiness and her whole life success by saying no too often. No to big interviews, no to speeches, no to invitations to smooze with high powered people in her industry, no to socializing period. And it hurt her, in more ways that one.
An introvert, Shonda thought it was enough to write her scripts and raise her daughters. She kept turning down chances to really get out there and make a difference. One day her oldest sister said, “You never say yes to anything.” And that really impacted Shonda. So she decided to say “yes” for a solid year.
When her alma mater, Dartmouth, called her to do a graduation speech, she said yes. She was terrified, but she did it anyway, and was candid, funny, and effective. She went on Jimmy Kimmel (not quite live.) More and more opportunities emerged for her to inspire others and share her experiences, and she leaned into them. And her life changed in a very good way. She never had realized how miserable she had been as an isolated introvert. And now that she was interacting with the world, connecting with others in meaningful ways besides her writing, her life became fuller, richer, happier. So much so that she decided to extend her year of yes into a life of yes.
How to Change Your Life with More “Yes”
• I’m not talking about saying yes to everyone who asks you to do their work or handle their problems. Instead, look at the times in your life when someone has invited you to do something out of your comfort zone, where you felt you weren’t worthy and you shrunk back and said no. Next time, say “yes.” Next time, stretch and experience something new.
• Emulate those you most admire. Where do your mentors and role models go? What events do they attend? What kinds of conferences do they go to? Consider doing some of those things. Consider attending an event that is way out of your comfort zone. Get into Wonder Woman pose (those of you who have heard my speeches know what I am referring to,) psych yourself up and act like you deserve to be there. You do.
• Take on new challenges at work, ones you’re not quite sure of. And then learn everything you can to be a smash success at them. If you need to ask for help, do so.
Show them what you are truly capable of. And show yourself.
You have so many gifts, talents and abilities that you don’t even acknowledge. Start saying “yes” to yourself and see how your life, love, joy and abundance expand.
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©2018, Snowden McFall,
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