How Shonda Rhimes Learned the Power of Saying ‘Yes’

With less work and more play, her entire life changed.

shonda-rhimes
Photo by Marla Aufmuth/Getty Images

Shonda Rhimes’s production company is responsible for some of the most-watched shows on television, including Greys Anatomy, How to Get Away With Murder, and Scandal. Many of these shows air on Thursday nights, which is why you may see “TGIT” on Thursday afternoons—“Thank God It’s Thursday”—as viewers look forward to tuning in. Everyone believes Rhimes has a “dream job,” but her latest TED Talk seems to suggest otherwise. Yes, she works hard and has an incredibly successful career, but she also has three daughters at home who desire—and require—her attention. When it comes to work-life balance, it would seem Rhimes has her work cut out for her.

Rhimes’s new book, Year of Yes, is about her year spent saying “yes” to everything—even actions that made her uncomfortable, like public speaking. The most powerful action she said “yes” to? Playing with her children. At a time when her work was starting to wear on her, Rhimes asked: “What do you do when the thing you do, the work you love, tastes like dust?” In saying yes to everything, in saying yes to playing with her children, she rediscovered her own happiness. Listen to her inspiring TED Talk below.