Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes


I got my hands on Year of Yes by Shonda Rimes, yet another recommendation. I started reading this right after reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle in an attempt to keep the high I was on. However, I was very quickly reminded why reading is not my thing – long chapters! Being that I had decided on putting more effort into reading, I stuck with it – for a good few weeks. Though it was a difficult book for me to get through, I am so glad I did. 

Shonda Rimes conveys how having the courage to step out of your comfort zone can really lead to a beautiful blooming of your true self.  In the Year of Yes, Rimes decides for one year she will say ‘yes’ to all opportunities presented to her. Opportunities that in the past she had incessantly said ‘no’ to, as pointed out by her sister. Shonda takes us through her year of saying ‘yes’ and the progression of her transformation.

This is so me…

I particularly related to this book because I have backed away from opportunities out of fear, mostly irrational fear. All the negative things that we make up in our heads about the outcome of saying yes to something that is outside of our comfort zone. Shonda talks about all the physical feelings she had when it came to speaking publicly or even socializing outside her circle. As I type this, I literally feel my stomach turning – this is what I always feel at the idea of stepping outside of my comfort zone. 

My life had so drained of color…

Shonda comes to a realization that although she was doing well in her career and had everything she wanted, she was…miserable. She was miserable and she hadn’t even realized it nor did she have any idea why. She describes this realization as “ life had so drained of color and excitement that I could barely see it.” This leads her into her evaluation of where she was in her life emotionally and how this idea of saying “yes”  could possibly lead her to some happiness or at the very least…a change. 

I definitely know the feeling of being unhappy and really not having a valid reason why. I had a great job, a roof over my head, amazing family and friends – but the days just felt like one rolling into the next. If someone would suggest doing something different, something I thought would make me uncomfortable, they would get a swift “no”. I said “no” until the day I finally said “yes”. I said “yes” to quitting my job, to leaving my stable home and moving far away from my family and friends in an effort to explore where that “yes” could possibly lead me or if it could even slightly change some of my unhappiness. 


What is “badassery”? Badassery is that swag you have when you are good at being you, you rock being you, and you don’t lose sleep over anything that anyone has to  say about you being you! Badassery – being great because “…everyone has some greatness in them.” 

Now, this sounds amazing, makes me feel empowered…but am I the only one that finds this a little unrealistic? The real question here is, WHY do we find it unrealistic to not worry about what other people think of us? After reading Year of Yes, I really don’t have a genuine answer. At the end of the day we really have to maintain the thought that we need to do everything in our power to make ourselves happy and not live by other peoples’ standards, as everyone will always have an opinion. We need to be a badass at designing our lives. 

Wait…that’s just not me

Shonda walks us through her reasoning for not wanting to be married. She basically shows us how she unconsciously created this persona that made her boyfriend at the time believe marriage was where she was heading. It was not until he literally said it to her, that she realized…wait… that’s not me and that is definitely not what I want. When her relationship ended she wasn’t sad, instead she was happy, relieved even. Not relieved because her relationship was a bad one, it was just one that was not going to align with what she wanted for her life. 

I think this rings true for most of us who are unhappy with our lives and need something different. It’s not that what we have or had is bad, but it just doesn’t align with what we want. Shonda shows us that it’s okay to give that up and instead go in the direction that will lead us to the life that we ultimately envision for ourselves. 

The unknown result of stepping out of your comfort zone can either be a positive or negative, but why do we ultimately imagine the worst? What Shonda tells us about is how she did imagine the worst every time, but as she started saying “yes” to new experiences, she started to create a new kind of comfort zone, one that was leading her to blossom into her true self and find true happiness. 

Who should read this book

If you need a little motivation in the way of visualizing what could possibly happen if you said YES and stepped outside of your comfort zone, then this book is for you. This read boosted my confidence in some of the decisions I have made to step out and have new experiences. 

Have you read Year of Yes by Shonda Rimes? What were your thoughts on this book? If you have any book recommendations I would love to hear them.. Leave your suggestions in the comments.

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8 comments / Add your comment below

  1. No, I haven’t read the book, but what an amazing concept, to go an entire year saying yes to all opportunities. Not that I would ever do that because I am a firm believer in God and know that not all opportunities will be from Him, but what courage and an adventure that must have been to do so!
    I am glad this book was relatable for you, especially since you have a hard time with reading long books! I can also relate to not wanting to move out of my comfort zone. But God. He has definitely helped me in that department, helping me move across country and to start a whole new life, including a whole new job as a blogger. Good review!

    1. Thanks for your comment Robyn! I also believe my God has a plan for me but it’s up to me to be brave enough to say yes to those blessings and take them and follow through with his plan!!

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