50 Empowering Quotes from A Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

You probably know Shonda Rhimes from her popular television series How to Get Away With Murder and Grey’s Anatomy, but did you know she is a fantastic writer as well? Her iconic characters live boldly and speak their minds, but they are the polar opposites of Shonda Rhimes in real life. 

A Year of Yes is a story about how Shonda Rhimes embraced the challenge: for one year, she would say YES to everything that scared her.

This poignant, intimate, and hilarious memoir explores Shonda’s life before and after her Year of Yes—from her nerdy, book-loving childhood to her devotion to creating television characters who reflected the world she saw around her. The book chronicles her journey to explore, empower, applaud, and love her truest self.

Keep scrolling to read 50 Empowering Quotes from A Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes.

Get The Book: A Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes available now on Amazon.

50 Empowering Quotes from A Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

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

    Quotes from A Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

  2. 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.

  3. There is no list of rules. There is one rule. The rule is: there are no rules.

  4. Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to.

  5. Being traditional is not traditional anymore.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.

  9. Who you are today . . . that’s who you are. Be brave. Be amazing. Be worthy. Be heard.

  10. Dreams are lovely. But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral. Pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them.

    Quotes from A Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

  11. You can quit a job. I can’t quit being a mother. I’m a mother forever.

  12. Mothers are never off the clock, mothers are never on vacation. Being a mother redefines us, reinvents us, destroys, and rebuilds us.

  13. If you want crappy things to stop happening to you, then stop accepting crap and demand something more.

  14. 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.

  15. Her toolbox is full. She has learned to not let go of the pieces of herself that she needs in order to be what someone else wants. She’s learned not to compromise. She’s learned not to settle. She’s learned, as difficult as it is, how to be her own sun.

  16. Losing yourself does not happen all at once. Losing yourself happens one “no” at a time.

  17. If I don’t poke my head out of my shell and show people who I am, all anyone will ever think I am is my shell.

  18. Badassery: the practice of knowing one’s own accomplishments and gifts, accepting one’s own accomplishments and gifts, and celebrating one’s own accomplishments.

  19. Not a single woman in the room could handle being told, “You’re awesome.” I couldn’t handle being told I am awesome. What in the hell is wrong with us?

  20. Perfect is boring, and dreams are not real. Just DO.

    Quotes from A Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

  21. It’s not bragging if you can back it up,” I whisper to myself in the shower every morning. That is my favorite Muhammad Ali quote. If you ask me, Ali invented modern-day swagger.

  22. You just have to keep moving forward. You just have to keep doing something, seizing the next opportunity, staying open to trying something new.

  23. We all spend our lives kicking the crap out of ourselves for not being this way or that way, not having this thing or that thing, not being like this person or that person.

  24. Yes to everything scary. Yes to everything that takes me out of my comfort zone. Yes to everything that feels like it might be crazy.

  25. Sometimes a broken woman needs the red wine more.

  26. The goal is that everyone should get to turn on the TV and see someone who looks like them and loves like them. And just as important, everyone should turn on the TV and see someone who doesn’t look like them and love like them.

  27. Badassery, I’m discovering, is a new level of confidence—in both yourself and those around you.

  28. Think of them. Heads up, eyes on the target. Running. Full speed. Gravity be damned. Toward that thick layer of glass that is the ceiling. Running, full speed, and crashing. Crashing into that ceiling and falling back.

  29. When you negate someone’s compliment, you are telling them they are wrong. You’re telling them they wasted their time.

  30. Ditch the dream. Be a doer, not a dreamer.

    Quotes from A Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes

  31. Because no matter how hard a conversation is, I know that on the other side of that difficult conversation lies peace.

  32. You know what happens when all of your dreams come true? Nothing.

  33. Everything sounds like crap until you are in the right mind-set.

  34. 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.

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

  36. One. Word. NO. No is a powerful word.

  37. There is victory in surrender.

  38. People really do not like it when you decide to step off the road and climb the mountain instead. It seems to make even the people who mean well nervous.

  39. This Yes is about giving yourself the permission to shift the focus of what is a priority from what’s good for you over to what makes you feel good.

  40. Saying yes is courage. Saying yes is the sun. Saying yes is life.


  41. Volunteer some hours. Focus on something outside yourself. Devote a slice of your energies toward making the world suck less every week.

  42. Anyone who tells you they are doing it all perfectly is a liar. 

  43. Once I stopped expecting to like it, once I stopped demanding that losing weight be easy or pleasant, once I stopped waiting for the band to start playing, paying attention to what went into my mouth became tolerable.

  44. Marriage is a financial partnership. Marriage has nothing to do with love. Love is a choice we can make every day.

  45. Being a mother is not a job. Stop throwing things at me. I’m sorry but it is not. I find it offensive to motherhood to call being a mother a job.

  46. Your body is yours. My body is mine. No one’s body is up for comment. No matter how small, how large, how curvy, how flat. If you love you, then I love you.

  47. Don’t apologize. Don’t explain. Don’t ever feel less than. 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.

  48. Being a mother brings us face-to-face with ourselves as children, with our mothers as human beings, with our darkest fears of who we really are.

  49. Hate diminishes, love expands.

  50. Every “yes” changes something in me. Every “yes” is a bit more transformative. Every “yes” sparks some new phase of revolution.

Which quote from A Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes is your favorite?

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