I’m currently listening to Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. This isn’t a book I’d normally pick up because, you see, of all the TV shows that are part of Shondaland, I’ve watched exactly, well, zero. I pause for the horror that I can’t detail the plots of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal or How to Get Away with Murder.
Now, can I redeem myself with how very much I’m loving this book? I haven’t finished yet (this is another audio book for when I’m in the car or walking) but there’s so much to this book. Facing your fears, saying yes, realising that you’ve actually been saying yes to things that are bad for you and it’s time for a new yes and, the one that made me actually stop as I walked around a local park the other day: saying yes to compliments is a part of being an adult.
Rhimes was relating the story of a dinner where the accomplishments of a great many great women in her field were read out as part of the proceedings. And Rhimes noticed something awkward: every single woman either looked down, brushed the accomplishments aside, or laughed nervously. None of them, not one, including Rhimes, sat up, faced front and accepted the recognition as their due for their hard work, their skill, and their talent. So, post-event, Rhimes practiced accepting compliments, sometimes awkwardly, sometimes well, but always facing front, and saying “thank you”. As Rhimes notes, men do this all the time. Women? We say we’re lucky, that we’ve got a good team, the stars aligned. Whatever. You know why we got lucky? Because we worked hard to be in that place at that time. You know why we have a good team? Because we helped build it. You know why the stars aligned? See the answers to the first two questions.
Now, we don’t need to be a titan to have badassery. We’re all great at different things, the things we love, the skills we work at. In that one moment on a walk around a park, I realised that it’s not just okay to own those things, it’s part of being an adult. That in brushing aside compliments, I am standing in my own way.
Time to work on accepting compliments … and reflecting on where I’ve been saying yes to things that are bad for me. This is all part of growing up. I can do this.
You can hear from Rhimes about the power of yes in this Ted talk.