Just say, “yes”! This is a phrase I learned years ago from a friend wanting to expand her life and really step out of her comfort zone. She committed to saying “yes” to everything and having no hesitancy, nor any fear. This meant saying “yes” to social events, saying “yes” to trying new things, and saying “yes” when she really wanted to say “no”. I was impressed but not to the point of wanting to emulate her decision to grow.
In a recent Ted talk by Shonda Rhimes (February 2016, Vancouver), entitled, “My year of saying yes to everything”, she speaks of her tremendous success as a self-proclaimed “Titan” with four hit shows and being responsible for at least 70 hours of television programming each season. As you can imagine, she must have said “yes” to many ideas and opportunities to achieve such success. Rhimes expresses her year of saying yes to things that scared her, including public speaking and being on live TV and how she undid the fear with the power of one simple word. Yet, an even greater epiphany came to her when she realized that the “hum” or the joy inside her, the “hum” that was fueling her work, stopped. She asks, “What do you do when the thing you do and love starts to taste like dust?”
And, then, she realized, the greatest, most important yes of all came when she started saying, “yes” to her daughter’s request to play. No matter how busy she was (I’m guessing quite busy) or how distracted she felt by the desire to check her cell phone, she decided to take the time to be with her girls and to enter their world of tea parties, blowing bubbles, and 15 second dance parties! And, ironically, the “hum” returned – a different hum but a hum that started to fuel her work in a new way. A “hum” that came, not from the work itself, but from the play and the accompanying sense of fulfillment and wonder.
I was very impressed by the passion and conviction of Shonda Rhimes talk and I couldn’t help but reflect on the time I feel we need to spend with girls as we consciously and intentionally raise young girls. They NEED us: to be present and not multi-tasking while “talking”, they need us to listen – to the words and also to the meaning behind the words, they need us to notice and reflect back the goodness and the changes we see in them, and they need us to validate who they are and nurture them to continue to grow into their greatness!
Girls may not ask you to be there and they may say, “I’m fine”. But, please know this: girls need us and they need you to say, “yes” to simply being there for them! Just say, “yes”.