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Year of YesMy dear friend of mine recommended this book to me (and on her blog) a while ago, and I decided it was time to say YES to finally reading it.

I like to think I am a YES person … in my dreams. But the truth is: I am only a YES person when it comes to doing things for other people, not when it comes to me. Matter of fact, I am a NO person when it comes to myself. I have said no to writing a book, to following dreams, to doing what is best for myself emotionally … I have said no when I should have said yes.

Since my trip to the US begins my season of saying YES to caring for myself, I couldn’t think of a better time to read Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person.

Ok – can we start with that title, though? Doesn’t it give you the imagery of dancing in the sunshine (or even the rain) while celebrating a life well-lived? Oh gracious, it does for me! And the book only encourages you to!

Shonda Rhimes may be one of the most famous television writers out there, but she does a beautiful job of making sure you feel like you’re reading something your best friend wrote. (And then, of course, after reading the book you want Shonda Rhimes to be your best friend.) She is vulnerable and honest, even about lying, but also gives just the right amount of kick-you-in-the-pants attitude to encourage and inspire.

A few insightful things that made an impact on me:

Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be.

When you feel the need to apologize or explain who you are, it means the voice in your head is telling you the wrong story. Wipe the slate clean. And rewrite it. No fairy tales. Be your own narrator. And go for a happy ending. One foot in front of the other. You will make it.

And she keeps it interesting and REAL with comments like these:

They tell you: Follow your dreams. Listen to your spirit. Change the world. Make your mark. Find your inner voice and make it sing. Embrace failure. Dream. Dream and dream big. As a matter of fact, dream and don’t stop dreaming until your dream comes true.
I think that’s crap.
I think a lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, powerful, engaged people? Are busy doing.

Lucky implies I didn’t do anything. Lucky implies something was given to me. Lucky implies that I was handed something I did not earn, that I did not work hard for. Gentle reader, may you never be lucky. I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard. Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass.

If you’re looking for a good laugh (she’s F-U-N-N-Y with a side of saltiness), or a kick in the butt to say YES to something – go download, borrow, or buy Year of Yes.