How to Invite New Energy Into Your Life: A Review of Shonda Rhimes’ “A Year of Yes”


Anybody know what it feels like to get stuck in a rut?

I certainly do. I remember a time in which I was stuck in a rut for a very long time. Years in fact. During this time, my days looked a little bit like this: Work. School. Sleep. Repeat. Work. School. Sleep. Repeat. And so on and so on.

After so many days like that my mind started to scream to break free.  I woke up one day and felt trapped and thought to myself, “How in the world did I get here?!” And I can tell you it does not feel good.

Well Ms. Shonda Rhimes had the same issue. Yes, that Shonda Rhimes. The same woman who is single-handedly responsible for Thursday night prime-time television.  The woman who created  Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and my personal favorite, How To Get Away with Murder, was a self-proclaimed introverted workaholic who suffered from severe panic attacks. The woman that brings unsterotypical powerful, charismatic black woman characters to life, was herself afraid of life and felt paralyzingly inadequate.

Shonda Rhimes after her year of yes

During her working hours she rubbed elbows with Kerri Washington and Viola Davis, but after work she went home alone and compulsively ate in her bed. She had created a habit over the years of saying”no” to all the exciting invitations she received because she was frightened and felt inadequate.  She woke up one day and realized that she was “miserable and deeply unhappy.”

One Thanksgiving, she had an epiphany when her sister told her that she always says “No” to everything. She realized that in saying “no” to invitations, she was also saying “no” to life.



After coming to this realization, Shonda decided that since saying “no” to everything had gotten her to a place of extreme social withdrawal and unhappiness, saying “yes” might help her get out of her rut.

So she committed to a year of “yes” in which she would say yes to all the things that scared her for an entire year.

  • She said yes to giving speeches in front of thousands of people.
  • She said yes to being healthier.
  • She said yes to standing up for herself.
  • She said yes to having difficult but necessary conversations.
  • She said yes to playing with her children every time they asked.

And what was the result of her “year of yes”?

  • She lost more than 130lbs.
  • She was able to get over her deepest life-long fears.
  • She lost some people that she thought were her friends.
  • She began to feel better about herself.
  • She respected her own feelings and life choices.

In short, her life was absolutely transformed.

How incredibly inspiring!?

And all she did differently was say “YES”.

Now you know how much I hate one size fits all formulas, so I am not at all suggesting that we all follow Shondra’s plan verbatim. But what I am suggesting is that there is something really transformative about inviting new energy into your life. Magic can happen when we stop doing the things the we’ve always done. Great things an happen when we decide to shake things up a bit. This is what it means to invite new energy into our lives. It keeps us from being stagnant and promotes our personal, emotional and spiritual growth.

“New” and “different” don’t have to be synonymous with “scary” and “bad.”  New routines bring new experiences and give us new things to think about.

How could all of our lives be changed if we invited new energy into our spaces? So my question to you is this:

What if you made a decision to do one thing different? What would it be? What might change for the better?

Leave a comment below about one thing you can do to invite new energy into your life.



4 Replies to “How to Invite New Energy Into Your Life: A Review of Shonda Rhimes’ “A Year of Yes””

  1. This blog has really enlighten me. The one thing I would do differently; is to acknowledge that I am a beautiful person on the inside and outside. Believing and knowing this statement will transform me from thinking negative thoughts about myself. I am so quick to say to other people “you are so beautiful” but I don’t say it to myself. Although, I have made bad decisions in my life, I am still a beautiful person. So therefore: I SAY YES TO I AM A BEAUTIFUL PERSON!

  2. Hi Jennifer!!

    The blog was amazing, and taught me something new. I need to get out of my comfort zone, and stop allowing what other people (my ex) say bring me down. Once you hear these negative comments you start to second guess and question yourself, and wonder if you are really all the things he say!? This is my year of saying YES to me, and NO to everything toxic.

    1. Hi Faith!!! Thanks so much for reading!That sounds like a wonderful thing to say “yes” to. You’ll have to keep me updated on how it goes.

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