So. Year of Yes

As my previous post mentioned, my friends (Susan, Barbara and Donna) and I have accepted a challenge to read and discuss a nonfiction book a month. March’s book was The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. Yes, THAT Shonda Rhimes.

Get it: Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person

So here’s the thing. I love the idea of saying yes to what scares me. As you see, Shonda had plenty that scared her. I was nodding my way through this book. Nodding in commiseration.

Ultimately, I think what her journey was about was finding her true self, her core self, her best self. The self that’s not scared to put herself out there, as terrifying as that can be. And somehow, embracing and overcoming your fears makes you want to overcome more. In short, in makes you a bad ass.

There are so many aspects and facets of this book. SO many important lessons. I highlighted a LOT.

But one thing that really hit home for me was her thoughts on saying yes to difficult discussions.

I suck at that.

I suck at saying no.

I suck at disappointing people because I don’t want to disappoint anyone.

I suck at the hard, need-to-have conversations.

I’d rather stick my head in the sand than put myself out there.

How about you?

In my own way I think what I learned is that it’s more than okay to stand up for myself. In my own little world, I’m having my own Elle Woods (Legally Blonde 2) moment.

For instance… I’ve had a hell of a time finding a yard guy. My allergies would kick my ass to the moon and back if I thought about cutting grass (I used to love doing that.) I called no less than a dozen places and had a hard time getting anyone to call me back but finally… finally we found “The Guy.” Knowledgeable. Personable. Affordable. Able.

We hired him. The crew came out. We came home from dinner. I expected something close magazine cover worthy. You know, lush green lawn with the checkerboard pattern.


What I got? Confusion. Head scratching. Trying to convince DH that yes, indeed the crew had been out. He wasn’t convinced. I wasn’t convinced. Rather than checkerboard and a somehow miraculous weed free pasture of green, I got… the same old weeds and roughly the same height they were before we went to dinner. The only reason I knew anyone had been there was I could see faint tire “marks” in the grass and the deck had been blown off.

Other than that, it didn’t look like the grass was an inch shorter (and let me tell you, it needed trimming!)

What a letdown.

We were upset. This was the quality of this supposedly spectacular company?

When you hire professionals, you expect professional quality, am I right?


Remember how I suck at difficult conversations and standing up for myself? Remember how I used to hem and haw… well, maybe you don’t. But I do.

That was the old me.

The post Shonda-Year-of-Yes me popped open my email and shot off a note expressing my concerns. Inside I was quivering, hoping that I wasn’t becoming one of those difficult clients. But in the back of my mind I was telling myself “we’re not paying that much for this kind of quality!” and “the squeaky wheel gets the lube.” Winking smile

Turns out, we had a miscommunication (based on grass type.) Hopefully (crossing fingers) that’s been ironed out and this week the grass *cough* weeds *cough* will be short. Short enough I can tell someone mowed.

We’ll see. But I’m proud of myself for making myself heard. For being the squeaky wheel and not relying on my DH to speak up.

I’ll leave you with a little tidbit I particularly loved from the book. And who knows, maybe I’ll be back next week with another. It really is a good book.

“No is a complete sentence.” ~ Shonda Rhimes

Get it: Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person

2 thoughts on “So. Year of Yes

  1. I do love that No is a complete sentence. I need to learn to be more firm with saying it. I was lukewarm with the book, as you know. I loved the premise, though, and agree that we need to say YES as much as we need to learn to say No.

    • I think that a major takeaway was balance. Saying yes to things that scare and challenge us while having the courage to say no to things that don’t align with our goals. Her fears are perhaps on a more grand scale (Jimmy Kimmel appearance) but I think we can all find similarities in our life. Speaking at a conference or putting ourself out there for a new job, etc.

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