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Shonda Rhimes on Her 'Year of Yes'

Shonda Rhimes, the mastermind behind ABC's Thursday night lineup, doesn't let a demanding schedule get in the way of saying "Yes!"

Shonda Rhimes Headshot 2015 DFree/Shutterstock
Shonda Rhimes, the mastermind behind ABC's Thursday night lineup (Grey's Anatomy and Scandal, for starters), holds many powerhouse titles: screenwriter, director, executive producer, and single mom of three: Harper, 13, Emerson, 3, and Beckett, 2. Now she adds author to the list with Year of Yes, out November 10.

P: Year of Yes is about your decision to say "yes" to every opportunity for one year. How did this start?

SR: At Thanksgiving in 2013, I was fanaticizing about the invitations I received but wouldn't accept because I have three kids at home and shows to work on. My sister reminded me that my family is willing to help and I have the luxury to define my own hours at work. I decided to start saying "yes" to everything that scared me: speaking at Dartmouth, appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Then it translated to other areas of my life. Now, every time one of my children asks, "Do you want to play?," I stop what I'm doing and say "Yes!"

P: What surprised you the most while writing the book?

SR: Saying "no" boxes you in. The fear of saying "yes" is much worse than doing whatever it was that was making you nervous.

P: What advice do you have for other busy moms?

SR: Give yourself permission to fail. The guilt that we place on ourselves as parents is tremendous. I feel like we are supposed to be setting examples of strength, power, joy, and excitement for our children. And it's been really lovely to embrace that mind-set both in how I'm parenting and in how I'm working.

Melissa Bykofsky is the Associate Articles Editor at Parents who covers millennial trends and pop-culture. Follow her on Twitter: @mbykofsky.