If you’re like me, you see commutes as a colossal waste of time. It’s 45 more minutes I could sleep, shower, or get work done. As much as I love a good jam sesh, it’s hard to get over the time wasted in the car. Luckily, in 2018, there’s a solution: podcasts + audiobooks. While I’m not super into podcasts, I have found audiobooks to be my long commute’s saving grace. Thanks to Audible, I am able to get through my ever-growing reading list + even enjoy my time in the car. So far, I am on my 5th book of 2018; it’s been a breeze.
The last two books I’ve made my way through have had a similar theme: they focus on gratitude + self-development – two things we could all focus a little more on. The Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes + Yes Please by Amy Poehler were not only funny + eye-opening, they also inspired me to open myself up a little more + become a better me.
The Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person
This book details Shonda Rhimes’ (of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal fame) journey of self-discovery, self-love, and self-improvement. An off-handed comment by her sister leaves Shona feeling like she isn’t living up to her full potential + that she may be missing opportunities to grow personally + professionally. Shonda talks a lot about how she got where she was + how she realized she needed to change to be a better, happier person. Through her journey of saying yes to things that scared her, she found her inner joy. During that year + the years that followed, Shonda gave a commencement speech, met Oprah, tackled her fear of public speaking, took control of her health, and truly owned the world she had created, Shondaland. One of my favorite quotes in the book reads:
Dreams are lovely. 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.
Shonda spends a lot of time talking about the importance of action. It is easy to hope + wish + dream. It is not easy to get out there + do the work. It’s easy to lose yourself in busy-ness + complacency. One day you look up + you don’t know how you got there or even who you really are. Action is the only way to take control of your journey + get back to where you want, need to be.
In this book, Amy Poehler bears it all. She recounts her life + the moments that got her to who she is today. The audiobook features guest stars like Seth Meyers + Carol Burnett. In a similar vein to Shonda, Amy discusses taking leaps of faith to get further on your journey. She believes that great people, successful people do things before they are ready – even if it scares them. Another nugget from Amy is that ambivalence is key to success. You should care about the work you are putting out there but not the result. Doing your best is all that you can do. It’s not about how others perceive you or your work, it’s about creating something you are proud of + that you know is your best.
With that same idea in mind, Amy discusses not letting other people’s problems overtake you. Other people’s mistakes, other people’s issues are not yours. She states, “Too often, we women, try to tackle chaos that is not ours to fix.” Not everything in the world needs to be perfectly in order. The best we can do is take care of what is under our control – doing the best job we can – and realize other people’s mistakes are not our burden to bear. While we should help when it’s convenient for us (both physically + emotionally) there is a sense of relief knowing we aren’t Wonder Woman + don’t have to save the world.
These two books, like most on my list, are written by powerful women, looking to empower others. These funny, light-hearted memoirs take a look at what it is truly like to be a woman in the 21st century + how we can make it a better, easier place for all. I highly recommend you get both these books. If you like audiobooks, these are both self-narrated which I find a huge plus. No one can really catch their sass + humor the same way that Amy + Shonda can.