So I gave a brutal first pass review of Shonda Rhimes's Year of Yes in the review here. While I still stick to my guns and say the writing style was boring, my book club members point out that it is more self-reflective and there are several takeaways from this book that can be helpful.
Say "yes" to things that scare you. We all have fears, but when those fears get in the way of us reaching our full potential, or become a hindrance, we have to challenge ourselves to tackle that fear head out. Shonda would not be the writer that she was if she did not write controversial stuff, or challenged herself to write 3 shows simultaneously.
Say "yes" to the people that matter. Put your phone down. Get off Facebook. Turn off the tv. Give the people that matter uninterrupted, full-attention time. I'll refer you to another website that I enjoy and how we really don't know how much time we have with people, so we should cherish them while we can. (Here's the link, excuse the fowl language). In the book, Shonda said yes everytime her kid wanted to play. It was only 15 minutes usually, but in those 15 minutes, it taught her kids that she was accessible, and it gave her insight into their world. Parents often wonder why their teenagers don't talk to them or tell them things. Perhaps they were trying to for the past 10 years and you were too busy. Invest the time now and build those relationships.
Say "yes" to no. The lack of a decision is a guilt-ridden passive aggressive no. But it still lingers over you. If you don't want to do something or go somewhere, just say no. Have enough respect for the person asking to not give them a "maybe" when you know you won't, and enough strength in the choices you are making to decide. We make a lot of decisions by not deciding to decide. But it's not purposeful. Just decide. Just say no and move on. Read the book or return/sell it. Work out or get rid of the gym membership. Go to bed early or decide that you don't deserve enough sleep. Say "yes" to conscious decisions by saying no to passive ones.
Say "yes" to being good enough. One of the stories Shonda told was about a school who looked down upon mothers who brought in store-bought goods over home-baked goods. You can feel bad about our parenting skills because you didn't have time to bake 30 kids snacks or you can focus on what really matters: providing a good home environment, feeding your kids, working so that they can have what they need, and spending time with them. If cookies don't fit into your schedule, forego them. People need to learn to stop shaming other people for not being able to do what they did. We don't know our neighbor's struggles or what they do and don't have time for. Women especially, are expected to do it all. As soon as we all realize that we are not, and will never be, perfect, the sooner we give ourselves permission to be good enough.
There are several good pieces of advice in the book, like just accepting a compliment: Don't downplay it, just say thank you and smile. I recommend the audiobook to push through, and extract what's good for you.
I am motivated to say "yes" more. "Yes" to me!