Shonda Rhimes is the queen of Thursday night television thanks to her successful prduction company that’s responsible for ABC hits such as Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy and How to Get Away With Murder, but because she was so focused on work and her family, she realized that she’s slowly started losing grasp of herself.
That’s when she decided to change it all around and make a real effort to cut the excuses and put herself out there more, a journey which she chronicles in her new book, Year of Yes, and talks to Cosmopolitan about in their December issue.
One of the life lessons she learned along her journey was that doing things that scare you are one of the best ways to grow as a person.
“Staying in my safe little writers’ room spinning my stories, which I had done since I was a kid, wasn’t working anymore,” she told the mag. “My characters’ lives had become bigger than my own. Leaping into things I didn’t know I could do helped me see how adventurous I could be and what I’d been missing. When I started to say yes to invites, when I spoke at my alma mater, Dartmouth, and guest starred on The Mindy Project, it was so fun. It went so well, my life started to be good. I wasn’t going back.”
You may have noticed that Rhimes has dropped a significant amount of weight recently, which was another part of her journey back to herself.
“Part of my shyness was never connecting with my body. I thought of it only as a container that carried around my brain. As I started to get healthier, I became more aware of and comfortable with my body. And then, for the first time in my life, I fell in love with fashion. There’s something really powerful about feeling good about the way you look.”
Finally, the Shondaland boss advises that more women take what they want and don’t ask for permission along the way. “If I ask a guy writer on my show what he wants to be, he’ll say, ‘I want to run my own show or take over a network.’ she said. “Female writers answer, ‘Oh, I want to work for somebody great and really learn.’ I yell, ‘Don’t ever say out loud again that you’re going to dream small!’ So many women look for permission. Men don’t—they just do it. Decide the only person whose opinion matters is yours. Don’t be a sociopath about it, but stop worrying people are going to think you ‘like yourself too much.’ Please, god, like yourself too much!”
See what other pearls of wisdom Shonda has to offer in Cosmopolitan‘s December issue (on newsstands now).