We’ve all been there—life is moving along just dreamily and then, oof—we encounter one set back after the next, and the ground beneath us feels shakier than ever. It’s times like these that I look to the words of strong women to help me rekindle my motivation and confidence. Naturally, I was delighted to recently stumble across the uplifting wisdom of the inimitable TV producer and screenwriter Shonda Rhimes.
Her shows, Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How To Get Away With Murder, have featured women-led casts that have helped change our expectations about who can take center stage. Rhimes has used her creative talent and hard-earned platform to represent women of color, the female experience, and the LGBT community in engaging and eye-opening ways. If that weren’t enough, Rhimes is also a creative director for Dove’s Real Beauty Campain (which is pretty cool, especially now that Dove was just accredited as cruelty-free by PETA!).
Hopefully, her words can inspire you the way they inspire me!
Why Shonda Rhimes Has Confidence Like No Other
One of the forces behind Rhimes’s drive and success is her unshakeable confidence. In an interview with Glamour, she explained, “My sisters and I were actually sitting around the other day, talking about the fact that we grew up in a weird way: not caring what anybody else thinks. This sounds crazy, but we’re not concerned by other people’s thoughts about how we should look or be or think. I think about how to impart that to my three girls. I want to make sure they know who they are, not some reflection of what they think beauty is.” When all else fails, however, Rhimes turns to loud music and dancing.
Shonda Rhimes Defines Beauty on Her Own Terms
Part of Rhimes’s confidence comes from fully embracing who she is, inside and out. (Easier said than done, right?) Rhimes has a logical approach to feeling gorgeous in her own skin—and it certainly wouldn’t hurt to try it! “For me, it was also saying to myself, ‘Look at all these women you know—you think they’re beautiful and interesting and fantastic and fabulous. Why don’t you compliment yourself the same way?’ I don’t necessarily look at anybody and think, This is my beauty standard, because my beauty standard is now me.” How would you compliment yourself if you were one of your friends? What if you became your own beauty standard?
Her Works Makes Her a Better Person
As someone who has juggled the desire to be in the working world with the demands of motherhood, I am particularly sensitive to conversations about how employment and professional purpose support mental health, so I *may* have gotten a bit misty-eyed when I read Rhimes’ position on the matter, which she shared during her Dartmouth College Commencement Speech:
“I want my daughters to see me and know me as a woman who works. I want that example set for them. I am a better mother for it. The woman I am because I get to run Shondaland, because I get to write all day, because I get to spend my days making things up, that woman is a better person —and a better mother. Because that woman is happy. That woman is fulfilled. That woman is whole.”
Rhimes Has Grit
Rhimes has had to work amazingly hard to push through multiple barriers, including racial and gender discrimination, on the way to sharing her creative visions—not to mention making it in an already difficult field, the television industry. Her unshakable commitment to her goals and her realistic approach, however, has helped her stand apart. “Dreams are lovely,” she stated in her commencement speech. “But they are just dreams. Fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change.”
And with that, I’m ready to get back to work!
Who inspires you when you’re face-to-face with big obstacles?
Get more like this—Sign up for our daily inspirational newsletter for exclusive content!
Photo: Shonda Rhimes via Instagram