10 Lessons from "A Year of Yes"

There are books that linger long after you've read them. For me, this was one of them. I took so much from this book that it was hard to narrow it down to just ten lessons. But I did. If you want a concise, viewable version of the book then make sure you watch Shonda Rhimes TED talk "My Year of Saying Yes to Everything".

YES! Yes, it absolutely should. Yes should feel like being bathed in warm sunlight. If yes makes you feel cold or alone, you've said the wrong thing. 

Say YES to: Making every yes you say feel like the sun, especially when it involves other people.

To put this in context, it refers to the brilliant Amy Cuddy TED Talk "Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are". If you haven't watched it yet, you should. I am not ashamed to say that I power pose in the bathroom before every talk I give. Yes, I do.

Say YES to: Power Posing in the bathroom whenever you need a boost of confidence. 

Running a volunteer organisation, this one hit home. I see far too much "social helping" and only a fractional amount of actual hands on deck help. Fortunately, those who do put actual time into supporting causes they believe in are some of the best people you will ever, ever meet.

Say YES to: Picking a cause, and genuinely donating your time. 

My so called Facebook life. The curse of the social media generation. Everyone's life looks better on the internet. It's rare that we are posting about the whole, unvarnished truth of our multi-faceted lives. 

Say YES to: Holding out a hand to a friend who is struggling with any part of their life and saying "me too".

And if we're lucky, we never will. Parenthood. It is a fabulous leveller. No matter what you think you know. You don't know. But that's ok, because none of us do. So let's work it out together.

Say YES to: Recognising that you are no better and no worse than any other parent. We are all doing the best we can.

Oof. So true. And really this is the stuff that even if you are told before parenthood hits you, you can never truly understand what it means until you are living it on a daily basis. 

Say YES to: Setting your heart free.

losing yourself.png

I found this quote powerful and painful in equal parts, because this is exactly how it happens. The shift from a place of vibrancy in the world is a slow, imperceptible retreat. One day you realise, you're lost and have no idea how to get back. 

Say YES to: Remembering how easy it is to lose yourself and keep saying yes when you are able to. 

All too often we dismiss hard work and tenacity as "luck". It's true that some of us come from a more privileged starting point than others but that doesn't mean that our hard work should be written off as luck.

Say YES to: Being a badass, and acknowledging the hard work of other badasses.

At points during this book, the words were so striking that I had to remind myself to breathe in and out. This was one of those points. 

Say YES to: Watching for those who are disappearing and help them find their way back. Make it easier from them to say yes again, instead of no. 

As a parent, somehow it is so much easier to say yes to everything except stopping and being in the moment with our children. Even if you don't have children, with all the pressures of life often we forget that playing is a valid and necessary way to spend our time. 

Say YES to: Playing and having FUN! Whenever the opportunity arises, say YES!

A Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand In the Sun and Be Your Own Person by Shonda Rhimes is available from your preferred bookseller.