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Year of Yes: 4 Things to Say “Yes” to in 2016

4 Things to Say "Yes" to in 2016

If you spend any amount of time online, you’ve seen people raving about Shonda Rhimes’ book Year of Yes. Shonda is the producer of Scandal, Grey’s Anatomy, and How to Get Away with Murder, but I just like to call her the queen of primetime TV. While I haven’t read her book yet, it got me thinking about what I observed about myself and others last year.

In 2016, say “Yes” to…4 Things to Say "Yes" to in 2016

Taking Yourself Seriously… Regardless of Your Job Title

Walmart is probably one of the last places anyone ever wants to be, yet the lines are always long. And let’s not talk about how there never seems to be enough cashiers present. Anyway, one day at my local Walmart, I noticed the work ethic of a certain cashier. It was clear as day that she took her job seriously. I noticed that regardless of how customers put items on the conveyor belt, she was determined to bag like items together—even if that meant she had to reach far for certain items. And she worked quickly—I mean lightening fast. Every time I go to Walmart, I see her working with the same sense of urgency and professionalism. Every. Single. Time. I’ve worked in retail before, and I know how tiring and discouraging retail life can be. So for this cashier to show up to work every day always ready to serve? She’s the real MVP, and I admire her for it.

Now, I’ve also worked in “corporate/government” settings and some of the employees would have you thinking otherwise because of their lack of professionalism. Your mindset is everything, so don’t let your title get to your head. People are always watching you, and you never know when your next opportunity will come from you simply conducting yourself as a professional.

Slowing Down and Being Present

I swear it was August just the other day. It seems like the more bills I pay older I get, the faster the days go by, and it makes me a little sad. We live in such a fast-paced, instant gratification society. Because of this, I’ve tried to be more mindful about how I spend my time and what I deem as urgent. People are always trying to beat a traffic light just so… they can get somewhere five minutes faster? Dinner conversations have been replaced with updating your Instagram with the sushi platter you’re about to demolish. Making time for yourself and your friends/family has been replaced with hustling non-stop (because are you really working if you’re not working all day, every day?).

I never want to be so busy that moments and days quickly pass me by, and before I know it, I’m 30 and have no idea where the time went. I want my life to reflect how grateful I am for every day I’m able to open my eyes. For me, this means spending less time in front of a screen, working smarter, and spending more time doing things worth remembering.

Making Your Actions Speak Louder Than Your Words

We love talking about what we’re going to do, what webinar we just attended, what life-changing book we just read, and the list goes on and on. At the end of the year, what do we have to show for it? Oftentimes, not much. I’m all for speaking your dreams into existence, but speaking only gets you so far. I think many people, including me, find a little too much comfort in saying they’ll do something—because saying it is half the battle, right? What’s more important, however, is holding yourself accountable and following through. Don’t let fear of the unknown, difficulties, or feelings of discouragement prevent you from accomplishing what you know, deep down, you’re capable of.

Anything you truly want for your life is yours, but you have to believe you deserve it. Believing you deserve something comes with a lot of responsibility because it’s up to you to have unyielding faith and put in the work. And believe me, I know attaining what you want for your life is much easier said than done. But I also know there’s not one thing—that I truly wanted—that persistence, courage, and consistency haven’t allowed me to attain. Sometimes we get lazy. Sometimes we get discouraged. Sometimes we just wanna lie in bed and watch Netflix for a week. But we must always keep in mind that the rewards for consistently doing great work (and not just talking about it) outweigh the obstacles and distractions.

Focusing on Your Own Progress

For the past year, plenty of women have inspired me to create a life and business of purpose. I’ve learned tons of business, branding, and life tips, but the most important lesson I’ve learned is to take what I learn and do it my way. I wasn’t put on this Earth with certain gifts just to end up running my business exactly like someone else. As an entrepreneur, if you’re not careful, you’ll allow yourself to become consumed with other people’s work and strategies. What’s the result? You start second-guessing yourself to the point where you don’t follow through with your ideas or plans simply because you think someone else’s service, product, or event is better.

I’ve learned how pointless it is to compare myself to other people. You can’t control what other people do, so you might as well put all of your energy into creating and releasing your best work. We’re so quick to admire someone else’s work, but how often do we acknowledge the great work we’ve done? I’ve unsubscribed from newsletters and deleted certain apps from my phone so I’m not always bombarded with what someone else is doing. I stand by, “Excellence over everything,” and I can’t be excellent if I’m concerned about someone else’s work more than my own. The more I focus on my own business, the more creativity I have and the more I execute my plans. Crazy how that works.


Your turn:

What are you saying “Yes” to this year?

Tell me in a comment below.

Vanessa R. Williams

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  • These are all GREAT. I’ve been having similar things in my head as focuses for this year.

    • Thanks for reading, Nesha. Wishing you a great 2016!