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The Power of Saying Yes!

Feeling a little burnt out? Simply saying “yes” to new things can change your life and help you rediscover joy! Shonda Rhimes–a titan of television, and the creator and producer of Grey’s Anatomy–took a year to say “yes” and it opened new doors that led to amazing revelations about rediscovering the joy in our work. If she can find balance and happiness, we surely can too!

We often give ourselves to the same schedule: eating the same things, watching the same TV shows, working around the house at the same time… the list goes on. This makes burnout very easy, and we can quickly find ourselves unhappy and uninspired.

Perhaps the burnout problem is not with “work/life balance” but with the monotony itself. What if routines and joy–two very different worlds–could coexist, or even be synonymous?

Feeling a Little Stuck?

Almost every line of work demands that we devote ourselves to some uninteresting daily tasks and finding a way to end this cycle of boredom would be a gift. It turns out, there’s a lot of advice out there on how to accomplish this, from fidgeting with things to trying to turn even the most trivial tasks into little games. Here’s one such article that gives “30 Ways to Add Fun to Your Daily Routine”.

But recently, we discovered a fresh and welcome perspective on this from a world-renowned television producer who can give us even greater insight into the subject of sparking passion into our everyday lives!

You may know Shonda Rhimes from her work producing some of the most popular shows of the past decade, like Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. But even with the wild success of her shows, she found herself in that place so many of us do: burnt out from her work and no longer feeling the spark of creativity and joy from it.

So, how did she learn to love her work again? She started saying “yes”!

With this simple change of habit, Shonda Rhimes changed the way she saw her work, her family, and how it could all come together to bring joy back into her life. Here she is from the TED stage!

Via: TED 1

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“It’s amazing, the power of one word.”

— Shonda Rhimes

Rhimes couldn’t be more correct. The power of saying yes and the earthshaking effect it had on her life is truly astonishing.

You don’t need to be a titan of television to start saying “yes” in your own world. We’ve all experienced the moments when our hum stopped. When we’ve felt lonely, bored, useless, and disconnected from the people and activities we once loved. We stop saying “yes” to new things, and those new opportunities to spark our excitement go away, perpetuating this downward cycle.

Sometimes we need to pop our bubbles of comfort. Saying “yes” can be an easy way to do this and welcome change into our lives.

You don’t have to start by saying yes to everything. Maybe pick a “yes” at home, work, or in a favorite hobby. Start small! Say yes to the things that you once loved. Say yes whenever a friend invites you to dinner. Attend the work events you would normally say “no” to. Eventually, these little “yesses” add up to greater opportunities.

Trying something new can lead to great, new horizons. Don’t fear those horizons. Remember that all of us can succeed and every one of us has the potential to soar!

“The very act of doing the thing that scared me, undid the fear, made it not scary.”

— Shonda Rhimes

Help Others Find Their Hum Again

I was fortunate enough to have a great mentor of mine point out when I lost my hum. And when I started saying yes to the opportunities that came my way, it had a cascade effect on my happiness and outlook on the world. Maybe you’ve noticed somebody in your life that has lost their hum lately. Why not send this TED Talk their way? You never know what impact you could have on the life of a friend or loved one with a simple share.

Explore new horizons, and stay happy!


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  1. TED. “My Year of Saying Yes to Everything | Shonda Rhimes.” YouTube. TED, 09 Mar. 2016. Web. 17 Sept. 2019. <>.
Published: September 25, 2019

Image: Owen Biniecki

Owen Biniecki


Owen has been an intern with the Goodness Exchange team since 2019. He is currently attending college at the University of Vermont and is due to graduate in the Class of 2025.

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