Transcript: 5 Lessons I Learned From Shonda Rhimes

May 10, 2018

Click here to download the PDF version of the transcript. 

AMY PORTERFIELD: Hey there, welcome to another episode of The Online Marketing Made Easy Podcast. I’m your host, Amy Porterfield, and I am so excited to share some great life and business lessons with you today from a creative powerhouse that I consider a mentor from afar. 

You know the type of mentor you’ve never met, you will likely never meet, however, they have made a huge impact on your life? For me, that person is Shonda Rhimes. 

If you aren’t already aware of who she is, she actually owns Thursday Night Television. She’s the award-winning creator of Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, How to Get Away With Murder, and a few others as well. 

She also wrote one of my favorite books, Year of Yes. The lessons I’m sharing with you today are things that really resonated with me. When I read her book, and by read I mean I listened to it (I’m a huge fan of Audible. Rarely do I pick up a physical book and read it. I’m always listening to books form Audible. I think I need to get them to sponsor this podcast. I need to look into that), I just fell in love with her. 

When you listen to somebody read their own book you really get a good sense for their personality. So the woman is hilarious and brilliant at the same time. In this episode I’m going to give you a little bit of insight on how these lessons that I’m sharing with you have affected my own personal life or my business life as well. 

As we dive in I want to first start with giving you a little framework for today’s episode. Since the lessons I learned were taken from her book, Year of Yes, I want to take a minute and share with you why she wrote that book. 

Shonda and her sister were in the kitchen getting ready for Thanksgiving dinner way back in 2013. Shonda was telling her sister about some parties, talk shows, and conferences that she’d recently been invited to, you know, the Hollywood type stuff. 

She was talking about how she was too busy to do any of it. Without blinking an eye her sister said something to her that day that became the wake-up call that Shonda needed to transform her busy life (and I use that in quotes, her “busy crazy life”) and ultimately write the book, Year of Yes. 

Her sister said, “You never say ‘yes’ to anything.” 

You know how sisters know each other all too well. My sister could call me out on anything like that so I totally get it. Her sister knew that Shonda was hiding behind being busy to avoid doing things that scared her and doing things that would take her out of her comfort zone. 

Her sister knew she had zero balance in her life and that she was actually miserable. Would the outside world have known that she was miserable? No. However, Shonda knew her sister was telling the truth. She knew her sister had called her out and it was the truth. 

Listen to what Shonda wrote in her book after she had this epiphany that something major had to change in her life. She said, “This could not possibly be what having it all was supposed to feel like. Could it? Because if it was, if this is what I spent all of this time and energy working so hard for, if this was what the promised land looked like, was what success felt like, was what I sacrificed for…” 

She then trailed off telling the reader she didn’t want to go there. She realized she was looking at her life right now and if this was what she worked for she was miserable and it’s not worth it. 

I thought that was such a huge ah-ha moment for her and the reason I bring it up here is because I think many of us are working our tails off hustling to the core and if we’re not careful we’re going to work ourselves into the ground and one day we’re going to pop up and say, “Wait, was this what I was working so hard for, to feel burned out and overworked and tired?” 

You’ve got to be really mindful of that. I know we’re creating businesses we absolutely love but you also could work yourself into the ground. Just be careful. 

So from all accounts Shonda was a person that you’d think had it all. But it was hearing her sister say, “You never say ‘yes’ to anything,” and realizing that she was, in fact, denying herself opportunities that could really make her happy that she decided to say “yes” to anything and everything that scared her for an entire year. 

So, 2014 became Shonda Rhimes’ Year of Yes. I don’t even know if I could do this. I don’t know if I could say “yes” to everything that scared me for an entire year. I would like to think I could do it but I don’t know. That’s pretty ballsy. 

Before we move on and I share the five lessons I learned from Shonda Rhimes I want to ask you two questions: 1) Are you at a place in your life where you’re wondering if all of the hard work you’re putting into growing your business is even worth it? Hard work is one thing but being miserable is another. 

Seriously, who wants to bust their butt only to be miserable when they really take an honest look at what life looks like for them. You probably aren’t there. Many of you are not in that space. However, some of you are dangerously close. So just get really honest with yourself about that. 

Question 2) Are you ready to make some changes in your life so that you can embrace things that scare you or that are outside your comfort zone, those things that deep down you know would probably make you a happier or a more successful person? 

With this one, I too have to take a really close look. Do I embrace things that scare me? Do I step out of my comfort zone? I think I used to do that a whole lot more in my early days.  

Many of you have asked me to talk more about what life and business looked like in the first few years of getting my business started. I actually was way more courageous back then because I felt like I had to be. 

I had to hustle. I had to say “yes” even if I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do or how I was going to do it because I was so determined to make this business work. But now that I’ve seen some amazing success I probably don’t embrace the scary stuff enough because, truth be told, I don’t necessarily have to. 

My success is nowhere near Shonda. I would never compare myself to her, of course. But I’m sure that’s kind of how she was feeling at times. She had reached a place in her life that there was so much success that she didn’t have to say “yes” to the scary stuff because she was doing well as things were. 

That also puts a damper on the light in your life, the fun stuff, the exciting stuff, the stuff that gets you kind of scared but gets you going. We all need that in our life. So I’m starting to explore that a little right now as well.  

I don’t have it all figured out but, of course, I like to teach you things that I probably need to examine as well and this is one of them. 

I just went over the questions, 1) Are you at a place in your life where you’re wondering if all the hard work is really going to pay off or if it’s all worth it, or 2) Are you avoiding some things that scare you, are you not jumping into that uncomfortable zone because you’ve either gotten complacent or you are just scared to do it? 

If you answered “yes” to either one of those questions then listening to this episode may mark the day of some serious transformation in your life. Really, these five lessons inspired and encouraged me to live my best life. 

I learn from them still every single day. Obviously I’m a work in progress so I apply them to everything that comes my way. Maybe you will want to do the same. So let’s go ahead and get to it. 

Lesson 1 – Don’t Just Dream It, Do it 

In Shonda’s book she told a story about when she gave a commencement speech a few years ago at her alma mater, Dartmouth. In her speech she was encouraging the graduating class to be doers, not dreamers. 

She would say things to them like, “You want to be a writer, guess what? A writer writes every single day. Start writing. You want to travel? Sell your crappy car and buy a ticket and go to Bangkok.” 

I love this. It’s not that she’s bashing on having dreams. It’s good to dream and have big goals. But if you keep your head in the clouds you’re going to go nowhere.  

It was funny, Shonda said that years and years ago she dreamed of being Pulitzer Prize winning author, Toni Morrison. Yes, she wanted to “BE” Toni Morrison. She said she spent lots of time dreaming about it…From her parents’ couch. 

Then she realized, wait a minute, Toni Morrison already had that job and she wasn’t interested in giving it up. Can you relate? Have you ever dreamed of being so and so or having so and so’s business? You look at someone else’s business online and you think you want to “be” them and have what they have. 

It reminds me of the quote, “Be yourself, everyone else is already taken.” Those are words to live by, right? Just kind of check yourself there and it just comes back to comparing yourself to everybody else and realizing you’ve got to do you. 

I’ve always pretty much been a person that digs in and gets stuff done. I am definitely a doer. But this lesson about doing instead of just dreaming does keep me motivated and on track in my business. I’m taking action every single day. I know that’s a huge part of my success. 

Let me repeat that. Every single day, I take action toward my goals. If at any time I feel like my head is in the clouds I’ve got to pull it back down and ask, “Where’s the plan?” 

If I want to get really specific, where are the action items inside of Asana, our project management tool? If it’s not in Asana then I’m dreaming it. That’s a good indicator. If you don’t have a solid plan, whether it’s written in your notebook or in your project management tool, you’re probably in the clouds with it. That’s something good to think about. 

Here’s another example. I didn’t just dream up this week’s podcast and leave it at that. My team and I broke it down into multiple steps and we talked about what we wanted to include and how we wanted to deliver it. We did all the work. 

By doing, I’m making one of my personal business goals of getting my podcast out there every single week a reality. If I come up with an idea, great! But if it’s part of my bigger goal, which it is to deliver a podcast to you every single week, I’ve got to take that idea and I’ve got to make it into something actionable. 

That is just a little example but, truly, it goes a long way. 

In an effort to be a doer we all need to take action, right? I think we’re all on the same page there. You know how I like to make these episodes very actionable. So I have a little homework for you. 

If you’re in the car or if you’re on the treadmill you can do it later. Just make a mental note that you want to print out the freebie for this episode. If you go to I’ve got a freebie for you. To give you a little hint I’m going to take some of these ideas in your head, some things that are floating around, and have you get them on paper and make them more actionable so that you do more and dream a little bit less. 

When you do more you’re going to actually get to those big dreams and goals that you’ve set for yourself. So I want you to get this freebie because, again, it helps you take this entire episode (all the lessons) and make them incredibly actionable. 

Moving on to Lesson 2 

Lesson 2 – Find Your Own Balance 

For the record, I’m not going to tell you to find more balance in your life. I feel like that’s a cliché. I feel like that’s easier said than done. But Shonda explains this in a very practical way. 

In the book she talks about finding a good personal and professional balance. When she’s talking about that in the book she not only had a super important, big job but she also had three little ones, and I mean little, at home. 

I’ve got one teenage son, a dog, and a husband and sometimes I don’t even know how I get through it all so can you imagine me with three little ones and a big, amazing job like that? I don’t know if I could do it. She literally kept her sanity through all of it.  

First of all, let me say that achieving a perfect balance between work, social, and family is impossible. We all know that, right? So perfect should never be your goal. 

Shonda dropped a nice little truth bomb when she said, “Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life that almost certainly means that I am failing in another area of my life.” 

The reason I love this woman so much is because she tells the truth. Let me read that one more time. “Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life that almost certainly means that I am failing in another area of my life.” 

Here’s an example. If you were a Grey’s Anatomy fan then you will never forget Sandra Oh’s last scene. It was epic. Sandra Oh is Christina in Grey’s Anatomy. Anyway, watching that last scene live was a huge importance to Shonda because for ten years she had poured her heart and soul into that character to develop her and to make her the person that she is. 

It was the last hurrah. Christina was going off the show. Spoiler alert! Shonda wasn’t there to witness the last scene because, guess what else was important at the time? Her kids’ school musical was going on at the same time. 

She chose her daughter’s school musical that day over something incredibly important at work. This is what real life balance looks like. There’s not going to be a perfectly easy solution every single time. 

On the flip side of that she also admitted that if she was working late on a script for one of her shows, like Scandal, she’d probably end up missing bath and story time at home, which as parents we all know that is an important time. 

She doesn’t always give up the work stuff for the family stuff. She definitely flip flops back and forth. 

She found her own sense of balance and obviously the choices were not always easy. Listen, as entrepreneurs we are no doubt living full lives. To achieve some sort of balance there’s got to be some give and take. 

Yes, there will be hard decisions to make but it’s up to us to make daily choices through a balanced type of lens that each of us is going to have to define. Your balance only needs to make sense in your world. 

I want to say that one one more time as well, “Your balance only needs to make sense in your world.” Even if that looks or feels something like you hopping from one foot to the other to maintain that sense of balance, that’s okay. 

People always ask me how I keep everything in balance. I got a lot of questions when I did the 20 question episode with Hobie. There were a lot of questions around work/life balance. Those always make me really uncomfortable because my answer is that I don’t do it very well. 

I try to have that balance but I also know it’s never going to be perfect and I need to be okay with that. Then I remind myself that I am the only one that defines my balance and that’s why I feel uncomfortable. 

To explain to all of you what balance looks like in my life, you might actually judge me and say that I don’t spend enough time with my son or I’m not home enough or I’m not present enough with Hobie. 

You have to remember that we each live our own experiences and what I do and how I keep the balance works really well. I have an amazing marriage and I have a really good son. I have a great connection with him. But I probably am around less than the average mom, I’m guessing. I can’t compare myself to anyone else. 

Let me give you a quick example. Cade had a two-day wrestling match. It was during B-School so I chose to be there on the first day and I chose to miss it on the second day. The second day is not a really great day to miss because that’s when all of the awards are given out. 

I had to see Cade get an award through a video that Hobie took and a bunch of pictures. It doesn’t make me feel great but I was needed in my business on that second day and we were in a really big promotion. 

I’m actually totally okay with that. I still feel a tinge of wishing I could have seen it live but I’m okay with it. 

Here’s a mistake I made that I’m not okay with. Hobie was actually in the firefighter wrestling, I’m totally getting the title wrong but it was a big international wrestling competition for firefighters. Hobie is 46 years old so it’s not like he was a spring chicken. 

It was a big deal. He trained for it. He promised Cade he was going to do it so he kind of wanted to get out of it but he promised his son he would do it. It fell during a really busy work week. 

Hobie is really quick to say, “Don’t worry, you don’t need to come. I’ll be fine.” It was really far, it was in L.A. which is far for us with a lot of traffic so I couldn’t just go and watch him and come home. 

He had to spend the night there for two nights. I had planned to be there but Hobie downplayed it and said, “Don’t worry, I know you’re really busy. Stay home.” So I stayed home and worked instead of being at the big wrestling match that Hobie had. 

I’m talking about my husband, not my son. It kind of feels weird. Anyway, he went alone and he did his thing and he won a silver medal which is really amazing. The guy hadn’t wrestled since high school and he wrestled some really great big guy so he got silver. 

No one was there. No one was there to take his picture. No one was there to celebrate and I should have been there. In that moment I really did feel like I got the work/life balance wrong that time. I chose work over Hobie and sometimes that’s going to happen and I’m okay with it but in that instance I let it go a little too far. 

Sometimes I do that. I think I’m okay and then I realize, “What was I thinking? That is my husband. No matter if he said I didn’t need to be there or not I should have been there.” I really screwed up. 

Hobie never made me feel like I screwed up but I need to just ask myself if I’m going to be okay with this. If you miss this are you genuinely going to be okay with it whether it be a work question or a personal question? 

I just wanted to share that with you. I just poured my heart out to you so how about you? Do you ever feel wacky and totally out of balance sometime with the work/life balance that we all try to get down and try to perfect?  

Now we know, of course, you can never perfect it. Now you know if you’re listening to these lessons and really taking them to heart, they only matter to you and you have to define what that looks like. 

Remember I told you I have a freebie for this episode? I want you to do a little bit of work around your own definition of work/life balance. I want you to get a little bit more clarity in it because if I had done that earlier I wouldn’t have missed Hobie’s big wrestling experience. I would have made a decision that would have felt good to me. 

I was a little out of whack and if you feel out of whack I want you to get the freebie at If you go there you will get it right away. 

Moving on. Our balance lesson perfectly transitions us right into our next lesson from Shonda all about creating boundaries, boundaries that will actually help you thrive so let’s move right into Lesson 3. 

Lesson 3 – Creating Boundaries 

I could have lumped this lesson into the whole lesson about balance but I’m not going to do it because without clearly defining boundaries for yourself or sometimes for others in your life you’re going to have a hard time creating any sort of balance that truly benefits you. 

Think of it this way, boundaries are the framework for your very own definition of balance. Boundaries are just the rules or guidelines to what you will or won’t do and what you will and won’t allow. 

In Shonda’s book she talks about some of the most important boundaries she puts in place during her Year of Yes. I think these might be some of the very boundaries that you, my dear listener, might need to put into place too. 

Truth be told, I need to put some of these into place so that’s why I thought maybe you too. Let me just go through some of the boundaries. I thought they were just really interesting.  

  1. No checking or sending emails after 7 p.m. period. Notice, she doesn’t say 5 p.m. She’s reasonable. She’s an entrepreneur. 7 p.m. 
  1. No working on Saturday or Sunday unless there was some sort of emergency or filming where she really needed to be there. 
  1. Home by 6 p.m. for dinner so that she could eat with her kids. 
  1. “No” would be a complete sentence. That’s a good boundary. She wasn’t going to feel like she had to give excuses for saying “no” to stuff. Oh my gosh, this one, I am notorious for. If I say “no” and then I feel guilty because I’m a people pleaser I’m going to give you a whole story behind it. It’s not a lie, I’m going to tell you why I’m saying “no” but it would feel really good just to decide and tell myself that “no” is a completely sentence. I like that one. 
  1. No hot glue gun or no home-baked cookies (Super funny but super important). 

There is a great part in the book about Shonda attending some school meetings and a room mom was telling everyone to bring cookies to some event and that they had to be homemade. Shonda just kind of about lost her mind when that came up. She actually blurted out a profanity in voicing her disbelief.  

Can you even imagine? I would kind of die. No one was going to tell her that she couldn’t bring Costco cookies. Let’s be honest, we all know that Costco cookies are kind of amazing. Funny, yes, that this mom said they had to be homemade and Shonda was like, “No.” But that is a real boundary that she put in place.  

She wasn’t saying that she wouldn’t bring cookies to the school event. She just wasn’t going to stay up late into the night baking. That didn’t work for her. The other scenario of going to buy the cookies and showing up and being there for her kid, that worked.  

She also wasn’t judging that the other mom was going to make the homemade cookies. She just said, “More power to you but I’m not going to do that.” That’s what boundaries are all about, letting someone else have their own boundaries and their own rules but that doesn’t mean they have to be yours.  

Believe it or not, when I read some of the boundaries that Shonda had put into place I actually felt a sense of permission to do the same in my life. Maybe it will work for you too so I thought I would just read through the list. 

Sometimes just hearing what other people are doing and what’s working for other people can inspire you and then just spark some ideas as well. After I read the book that’s when I decided, actually it was a little while after…Let me correct myself, I haven’t read the book, I’ve listened to the book probably three or four times. 

I have a funny thing I do where I just love a book so I will just listen to a chapter while I’m going to pick up Cade from school or when I’m getting ready I will listen to another chapter out of order, just some of my favorite tidbits from any book that I really like, especially ones that are more self-help and really good for me to hear and really get into my mind and use the lessons. 

I’m constantly listening to different chapters from this book so recently, when I listened to this boundaries chapter again, I decided I was not going to work on Fridays. I’ve been taking Fridays off.  

I also struggle with this one. Sometimes I cheat and will work just in the morning and then take the rest of the afternoon off. That still feels really good to a girl that’s worked every Friday since she got into the work world. 

Taking Fridays off is a very big leap for me. I’m not great at it. I’m actually borderline okay. However, if I just keep working at it every Friday (my team’s been amazing) I’ll say, “You know what, I’ll end up working Friday because we need to do this or that.” 

They will say, “No, we don’t want you working Friday. Where else can we put this?” They know it’s important to me to and they help me, which is really cool. I probably get it right 60% of the time. That’s why I’m saying I’m “okay” at it. But, I’m determined to make it 100% and that’s one of the boundaries I recently set up. 

One quick little tip. I found that using tools in my business like Asana (my project management tool) and a team Google calendar have given me some framework to be more mindful of the time I’m spending on my work and more mindful of when I’m stepping away. 

I’m going to share this a little bit later in another episode but we recently started to do a morning check in and an end-of-day check in with my team. Everybody, when they start their morning, they are checking in to Slack, our communication tool. 

They are checking in to Asana. There are certain things you’ve got to do to acknowledge any new tasks that came your way so we all know as a team that everyone’s going to check in morning and evening. Just those quick check ins, knowing my due dates, and everything goes into Asana. 

Every task I need to do goes into Asana and that actually gives me some boundaries as well because there’s a container for all of that. If those things were floating around in my head I can tell you I’d never take a Friday off because I would always think, “What about this,” and “What about that”? 

Now if it’s in my project management tool with a deadline then I know I don’t have to do it on Friday because there’s actually a designated time for me to do it. That was a big ah-ha for me. I just wanted to share that with you. 

When my new program comes out about organizing and systematizing your online business I’m going to share more of that with you, for sure.  

Lesson 4 – It’s Good to Have Difficult Conversations 

That sounds like an oxymoron. But hold on. Just listen to this nugget of wisdom that Shonda shares about having difficult conversations: 

“No matter how hard a conversation is I know that on the other side of that difficult conversation lies peace, knowledge, an answer delivered, character is revealed, truces are formed, misunderstandings are resolved. Freedom lies across the field of the difficult conversation and the more difficult the conversation the greater the freedom.” 

That’s so good! Peace, knowledge, answers, freedom. Can I get an amen on having a little more of that in our lives? 

You may be thinking, “Sounds good, Amy, but I hate having difficult conversations and I’d rather avoid them at all costs.” Believe me, I don’t love having them either. Actually, I think that as women (I know we’ve got men and women listening right now but I might go out on a limb) we struggle with these difficult conversations more than men. 

At least that has been my own experience. Ladies, can we just resolve to fix that? The main reason I don’t like to have difficult conversations is that I never, ever want to hurt somebody else’s feelings. 

Yeah, I’ve already said it, I’m a people pleaser. Let’s just say I’m a recovering one. I’m trying to get out of that but I know it’s not healthy. I know that I am definitely a work in progress over here because it’s not all about me worrying about other people’s feelings. I get that but I still go back to it.  

One thing I found is that I can sort of have a loose canned plan in place in the event that I end up getting into a difficult conversation. In her book she gives some really great examples of these types of statements that we can equip ourselves with. 

These are ones that you use when it looks like you just need to draw the line and shut the conversation down instead of rambling or giving in. You have the hard conversation and my big fear is that the conversation continues and I kind of dig myself in a hole and don’t know where to take it. 

I’ve said what I need to say but then it kind of continues on. From there, there are some statements you can say to draw the line and end the conversation, something like, “That doesn’t work for me,” or, “I’m done,” or, “This isn’t worth it, “ or, “You aren’t worth it.” 

This one may seem a little bit harsh but Shonda shared this one, you could maybe just say it in your head, to give yourself permission to end the conversation. Then again, “No,” remember, she said that’s a complete sentence. 

It might take some practice. I know for me it has definitely taken some practice but you might be surprised how empowering it can be to break out one of these statements when you’ve had the courage to have the difficult conversation and now that is enough. 

It’s interesting, when it comes specifically to difficult business conversations it’s not so much as me not wanting to hurt feelings. That’s more for personal conversations. But, in difficult business conversations I am more afraid that I won’t know what to say or that I’ll get stuck or that I won’t sound intelligent. 

I think it goes back to me learning my own bad assery. This is one of my very favorite words. Shonda uses it in her book so I can give myself no credit for that one but what bad assery means is that if we’re working hard and we’re seeing proof that we’re helping people let’s just own that and not let insecurities get in the way even when we are in difficult conversations. 

I have got to kind of remember my bad assery when I am in those difficult conversations in business and I am feeling like I might not know the answer or I’m going to get stuck or I’m not smart enough. I just think, “No, I’ve got to bring up some of that bad assery and just move on.” 

That’s just something to think about and I thought you might like that word as well. Use it. Use it whenever you want. 

I found that if I want the peace and knowledge and answers and freedom that Shonda says comes from having those hard conversations then I’ve got to put myself in situations where I can step up to the plate, where I have the courage to feel awkward and uncomfortable but not back down. 

I personally know that I’ve got to get to that place where I’m speaking more of my truth and not hiding behind what I think would make other people happy or would be the easy way out. That’s another thing, you can quickly avoid a hard conversation if you just don’t have it because you think it might be better for everybody. 

That truly is the easy way out and I do believe that the more difficult conversations you have the more courage you have to stand up for what you know is right for you and the truth for you. 

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’m turning left and right and having difficult conversations all the time. Yes, they do come up and, yes, I’m getting better at them. This is something that, if you shy away from it as well, it is a game changer for an entrepreneur. 

Like I said, there is a silver lining here. The more you engage in these difficult conversations the easier they get and as a recovering (that’s what I’ll call myself) people pleaser I need to remember that I’m not put on this earth to make everyone else happy and make sure that everyone else is feeling good. That would be a good post-it note for me to put on my bathroom mirror. 

Speaking of, if you need some mantras and need to kind of get down to your own truths, that’s part of the freebie of today’s episode. Today’s episode, I know you might not want to get into the touchy feely kind of things, but if any of these lessons are resonating with you get today’s freebie because you’re going to work out some of these things and make it actionable.  

So is where I want you to go to get the freebie. It’s going to be worth it to you and it won’t even take you that long to get through it but you’re going to have some ah-has and you’re going to get some clarity around some of these lessons. 

We’ve made it to lesson 5, our final lesson. 

Lesson 5 – Learn to Take a Compliment Like a Boss 

I really struggle with this one. Recently, I was with a group of really amazing women. There were five of us at the table and I was with my friend, Danika Brysha, who owns Model Meals. She had invited a few of us ladies over to her house for dinner and I was sitting next to Jasmine Star, who happens to be a very dear friend of mine. 

Someone said, “Amy, tell us about your business and what you do,” because I didn’t know the other two women well. I just didn’t want to say anything. I just hate talking about myself and I didn’t really know what to say. 

Jasmine said, “I’ll tell you about Amy.” Then she told my whole story. It was beautiful and it put me in a good light. She bragged about me and I wanted to die. In that moment I thought, “Oh my gosh, I need to get it together.”  

I need to be able to take a compliment and not act so weird and uncomfortable with that. I think my weird and uncomfortable attitude around Jasmine saying these beautiful things about me probably made everyone else uncomfortable as well. 

That part’s the not important part. The important part is that I need to learn how to take a compliment like a boss and maybe you can relate to this one as well. I think the truth is that I know my inability to accept compliments well comes from a place of not feeling worthy or deserving of it. 

I’m actively trying to get better at graciously accepting a compliment because deep down, if I was being really honest, I know I’m worthy of that. For some reason, on the surface, I just don’t want to admit it or I want to act like I don’t. It is the weirdest thing. 

I don’t even know if I’m making sense here but hopefully some of you are saying, “No, I get it. I get it.” Please, I feel like I’m drowning here. I don’t know, just to be fully transparent, I love to teach and I love to be important. I like to be your go-to person if that’s how you feel about me. 

I want to be people’s mentors. My ego is definitely part of that. I want to be a big shot in my industry. I’m very aware of that. I don’t say that out loud like I just did now but I’m just telling you because we’re all family here. 

At the same time, I don’t want people making a big fuss out of it. I don’t want to make like it’s a big deal. I want it but I don’t want it. I’m sounding crazy right now so let’s just move on. 

What I love about Shonda is she decided to start taking the compliments that she was getting like a boss. In her book she wrote, “I’m going to say ‘yes’ to accepting any and all acknowledgments of personal fabulous awesomeness with a clear, calm thank you and a confident smile and nothing more.” 

Fabulous awesomeness. I love how she says that. But I can’t even imagine if someone were to give me a compliment and I just say, “Thank you,” and I just smile at them. That feels very awkward to me but I am going to do it. 

This is the lesson that I’ve learned, but not really. I haven’t done it yet. I just really admire the lesson. Have you ever admired a lesson but haven’t really applied it? Yeah, that’s me right now. 

There is something I want to tell you as you’re listening to this. I know you’re out there working hard, serving others, and getting stuff done. You’re making an impact in this world and you deserve the compliments that are coming your way. 

I deserve the compliments that are coming my way. I’ll own it too so I won’t be a hypocrite but I want you to hear that. I want you to embrace your fabulous awesomeness and try to just say “thank you” and just smile the next time you get a compliment. 

It’s going to be awkward, believe me, but I want you to do it and I’m going to do it too. As a matter of fact, let’s try that now. I’m going to tell you something and then you just smile and say, “thank you.” 

Even if you’re listening to this as you walk through the grocery store or you’re on the subway or wherever, let’s just do it. Here it goes. 

You should be proud of what you’re doing to move your business forward and I love that you care so much about making an impact in this world. You’re pretty amazing. 

Uh? Are you saying it? Thank you, with a smile. There you go, you’ve got your first one out of the way. I’m going to practice it. You’re going to practice it. 

There you have it. I want to run through those one more time. We went through all five so here we go: 

  1. Don’t just dream it, do it. 
  1. Find your own balance. 
  1. Create boundaries that help you thrive. 
  1. It’s good to have difficult conversations. 
  1. Learn to take a compliment like a boss. 

Good stuff, right?  

There you have it. I hope these five lessons that I learned from my mentor, Shonda Rhimes, have given you a new perspective on how to live a more fulfilling life and to run your business from a place of empowerment and truth. 

Don’t forget to download the freebie I mentioned a few times throughout this episode. It’s at The worksheet that I created is going to walk you step by step through some exercises that go along with the lessons I talked about today. 

It’s a bit of a journaling type of exercise but believe me, it will make everything you learned more actionable. If you want to just jump to the lessons that spoke to you most in this freebie then go ahead and do it. Do it your way. But I want you to make this actionable. 

Thank you so very much for being with me here today. I cannot wait to talk to you again next week. Next week’s episode is kind of funny because I’m going to be talking about the early years. 

I’m going to be telling you about all of the things that I said “yes” to in the early years that were really important for me to say “yes” to but now I’ve shifted that and I actually say “no” to them today. It’s kind of funny that we’re talking about the yesses and no’s and balance and boundaries and all of that in today’s episode. 

It kind of continues into next week’s episode but a very different conversation where I’m going to get into strategies and tips and tricks of online marketing and what I did back in the day versus what I do now. We’re going to get back into the nuts and bolts of online marketing and I cannot wait to see you there. That would be Episode #211. 

I’ll see you next week. Bye for now. 



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