“Instead of wallowing in the problem, I figure out what its yes would be.”—Shonda Rhimes
I just finished Shonda Rhimes’ inspiring book, My Year of Saying Yes. It’s a memoir that takes up after she’d already won countless Emmys and Writers Guild and Directors Guild awards for creating Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and all the other shows on ABC’s prime time Thursday. You’d assume that, by that point, she’d be 100 percent happy, confident and living the dream.
Except, she wasn’t. She was scared to speak in public, unhappy in her own body and well, experiencing the same wacked out crazy head space as the rest of us.
In fact, she mentions some big banquet honoring the top women in television, the women who are at the very pinnacle of success. She noticed, one by one, as each was introduced how they downplayed their success, how they pooh-poohed all they’d accomplished. She noted (even though she did it, too) that they should have been jumping to their feet, giving each other fist bumps and saying, “Hell yeah! Thank you for noticing.”
After Shonda’s sister pointed out her tendency to avoid scary things, Shonda decided to embark on an experiment in saying “yes!” Especially to all the things she avoided at all costs. Like speaking in public. Like accepting invitations to be on late-night talk shows. Like looking at how she treated herself.
I especially loved, loved, loved that her remedy for stepping out of her comfort zone was my old favorite: the Wonder Woman pose.
If you’ve been to any of my talks over the past year or two, you know I use the Wonder Woman pose to stave off my own nervousness. I often get my audience to join with me and even took a Wonder Woman action figure to a workshop I gave at the Omega Institute.
Scientists have proven that when you stand like Wonder Woman (fists on waist and legs spread in what Harvard Business School professor Amy Cuddy calls a power pose) you lower your cortisol levels and boost your testosterone.
“So what?” you might be thinking. WHAT is that when your cortisol levels go down, you drastically lower your stress and when testosterone goes up, you feel more confident.
Cuddy discovered that standing in this pose for a mere two minutes helps folks ace job interviews, tests and other potentially stress-provoking events.
The point is…our physiology can help us get our mind out of the gutter of wack-a-doodle thoughts and back on the joy frequency.
The last little tip I’d like to share is to sing. Shonda didn’t mention if she used this little life-changer.
But Jay Pryor, a life coach who I’ve written about before (check out his new book Lean Inside or this article I wrote about him for People magazine), and his wife Jessica sure do. Instead of demanding that their two young kids come to dinner NOW or stop drawing on the Lazy-Boy, they simply break into an aria that much better gets the point across.
Have the best weekend of your life, my friends.
Pam Grout is the author of 17 books including E-Squared: 9 Do-it-Yourself Energy Experiments that Prove Your Thoughts Create Your Reality and its equally-scintillating sequel, E-Cubed, 9 More Experiments that Prove Mirth, Magic and Merriment is your Full-time Gig.