Shonda Rhimes is known for creating bold and independent female characters like Olivia Pope, but in her own life, she wasn’t so bold. Shonda is shy, so shy in fact that she frequently turned down invitations to speak and go to events. She even had panic attacks because of her shyness. One Thanksgiving, her sister, Delorse, pointed out that she was “never saying yes to anything.”
Inspired and convicted by her sister’s words she decided to commit to what she called her year of yes, which she turned into a memoir, Year of Yes. During that year, she said yes to things that she normally would’ve rejected, things like going on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and giving the commencement speech at Dartmouth College, her alma mater.
One thing that she decided not to say yes to was marriage. Telling Oprah on “Supersoul Sunday,” “I have never wanted to get married. I never played bride … I love having boyfriends. I love dating. I do not want a husband in my house.”
To be sure, there were a lot of things that Shonda said yes to even before her year of yes such as a successful writing and producing career. Shonda owns Thursday nights with three shows on ABC, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder. She is the first producer ever to have an entire broadcast network night of her own.
She also said yes to motherhood. After 9/11, Shonda decided that life was too short not to begin building the life she wanted. She adopted her first daughter in 2002. She is now the mother of three girls.
Shonda proves that dreams only come true if you say yes to them. Are you, as Oprah asked Shonda in her interview on Supersoul Sunday, “… one of those people who never said yes to what you really wanted, but you said yes to a lot of things you didn’t [want]?” Be inspired by our Spotlight Spinster, Shonda Rhimes, and ask yourself, “What am I saying yes to?”