In this Year to Flourish, I have been spreading my reading wings mighty wide! I made it one of my goals this year to read more books, and since making it a priority, I've probably read more books in this first quarter of the year than I did all of last year.
Reading has become a mainstay in my nightly routine, and it's brought a lot of welcome benefits along with it.
I'm reading more fiction than I have in years - when I was doing events for the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, we'd bring in business leaders and professional development authors to speak to our members and thus my personal library leans almost exclusively to the non-fiction side of life. I needed the escapism that fiction books bring and have been reveling in it so far!
Reading is taking up time I probably would have spent online, and making it a priority during my nighttime routine helps ensure I'm not social media surfing before bed. Life is so much calmer with that little change!
One book I devoured recently was The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. It's a quick read, and for someone who doesn't watch any of Shonda's shows, it was clear to me why so many people fall in love with her writing.
In The Year of Yes, Shonda chronicles her life as a staunch introvert who was deathly afraid of doing things outside of her comfort zone. While she found success as the creative force behind beloved shows like Grey's Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away with Murder, she felt stagnant and stifled in many ways. By committing an entire year to saying yes to whatever came her way, she found her confidence, her public speaking chops, her own path to weight loss and an active lifestyle, and most importantly, her swag.
The book was short, yes, but I couldn't tear through it fast enough. Shonda's Year of Yes was all about conquering fears, swallowing pride and showing up by any (for real, any) means. Y'all know I'm into yearly themes, and though my Year to Simplify brought me a lot of clarity, it also left me feeling a little too comfortable in saying 'no' to everything.
I've felt stagnant in my creativity at times, and lately the cravings for adventure and new things have been getting stronger and stronger - almost right in sync with the changing of the seasons. I know I'm ready to flourish even more, but finding the balance between taking care of myself and saying 'yes' to the right things isn't firmly in my grasp yet.
I'll catch myself agonizing over whether or not to do something. Ziplining. Kam Chancellor's boot camp. Happy hour with new friends. Going to a new workout by myself. I get scared, I overthink about what could go wrong - basically, I look for all the reasons to say no. Then I say 'yes' and do it anyway. I have yet to regret one of those instances! Even if things don't turn out as expected, often times the experience is much more than I could have asked for.
While I'm not turning back on my quest to simplify my life, the Year to Flourish is about saying 'yes' to adventure and new opportunities. I'm grateful to Shonda for sharing her own journey about swallowing her fears and her pride - and coming out even stronger every time.
See what I'm currently reading and books I love on my Goodreads profile!