There's real power in learning to say 'yes'

“Grey’s Anatomy.” “Private Practice.” “Scandal.”  

Three television shows all created by Shonda Rhimes.You might already know that Ms. Rhimes developed those shows at ShondaLand, a television production company. Then she left ABC and signed a deal to bring Shondaland to Netflix. For big bucks.

What you might not know is that she changed her life with one little word? YES.

In a 2016 TED Talk, Shonda said: “For one year, I said yes to everything that scared me or took me out of my comfort zone.”

Doing so helped her discover something surprising.

“The very act of doing the thing that scared me undid the fear. It’s amazing the power of one word.”

In addition to mitigating fear, saying “yes” can also be transformative. It opens up new opportunities, whether it’s a chance to try a new recipe, travel somewhere exotic or make new friends. 

As an executive coach and Co-Founder of Fit Within, Craig Wiley has seen firsthand how much power "yes" can hold.  

“It may be scary to say yes, since we’re forced to confront what’s holding us back,” he said. “But stepping out of our comfort zone helps broaden your horizons. A ‘yes mindset’ helps you put aside your fear of trying something new. Once you see you can accomplish it, you’ll want to go for bigger and bigger dreams.”

So, how can create your own “yes mindset” to help make your aspirations turn into real life achievements like Shonda did?

Ask yourself what makes YOU happy. What do YOU want out of life? This will help you set your intentions and get clear about your specific life goals. 

Start by writing down your answers to these questions:

  • What’s something you truly love doing?
  • What does a perfect day look like to you?
  • What’s holding you back from saying “yes” more often? 

Now that have some clear intentions, make time and space for yourself and your goals. Ironically, saying “yes” to more things means you’ll probably have to say “no” to a few things that are already in your life.

What can you sacrifice to create more time for the things that matter most? For example:

  • Can you skip a social outing in order to spend time painting or being creative?
  • Can someone else cook dinner so you can work on your business plan?
  • Can you commit to being on one less school committee so you can go to yoga class more often? 

Once your intentions are set and you have an idea of the aspirations you want to pursue – you’ll have a better understanding of when to say “yes” and when to say “no.” This clarity will help you prioritize your goals and the things that truly make you happy.

As Craig says, “It’s amazing the opportunities that open up when you say yes.”


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TAGS: Personal, Featured, Professional