6 things one of the most powerful producers in TV learned from saying ‘yes’ to everything for a year

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She owned Thursday nights on television with her hit series "Grey's Anatomy," "Scandal," and "How to Get Away with Murder."

She got to make things up for a living — something she'd thrived on since childhood.

But Shonda Rhimes was unhappy. She was overworked and unhealthy, and she didn't feel like she was living her life to the fullest.

So she embarked on a yearlong experiment in which she'd agree to any and every request that came her way — in her personal or professional life.

As she describes in her 2015 book, "Year of Yes," over the course of that year, she stepped out of her comfort zone and learned what it means to be truly successful. Here are six life-changing lessons she learned.

SEE ALSO: The creator of 'Grey's Anatomy' and 'Scandal' describes the moment she came into her own as a boss

1. You'll never know if you can get your way until you ask

Jimmy Kimmel had been requesting Rhimes' presence on his show, "Jimmy Kimmel Live," for years, and Rhimes had politely declined each time.

Once her Year of Yes began, however, there was no way out. She agreed to appear on the show, except for one thing: The interview wasn't live.

"If I have to be on TV, if I have to do something as scary as 'Kimmel,' Rhimes writes, "we're going to do it my way or we don't do it at all."

In other words, Rhimes learned that if there's a will, there's a way. She'd always assumed that appearing on "Jimmy Kimmel" was out of the question for her because it had to be a live interview — and she was terrified of making a fool of herself on live television. But when her assistant communicated her request, Kimmel's team was able to make it happen.

Rhimes was begrudgingly proud of herself for overcoming her fear: "I said yes to something that terrified me. And then I did it. And I didn't die."

2. Other people benefit when you get over your fears

Shortly after Rhimes, who graduated from Dartmouth College in 1991, began the Year of Yes, she received a phone call from the president of Dartmouth, asking her to give the commencement speech in 2014.

Though she was terrified, she agreed.

As she reveals in "Year of Yes," she rewrote her entire speech during the plane ride to New Hampshire. While onstage, she calmed down when she stopped focusing on herself, and started thinking about the students in the audience as younger versions of her:

Whatever I'm going to say is not for me. It isn't for the outside world. It doesn't matter how people react to it or judge it. I'm not talking to anyone but these graduates sitting in front of me. This is just for them.

The speech encourages students to "be a doer, not a dreamer," among other advice. You can watch it below:

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3. Making time for love is a priority

Perhaps the most important "yes" Rhimes uttered was in response to her youngest daughter's question: "Mama, wanna play?"

Rhimes was heading out the door, all dressed up for a fancy event, but she kicked off her heels and sat down on the floor to spend 15 minutes playing with her three daughters.

Though she was late to the event, Rhimes writes, "That little fire inside of me has been reignited. Like magic. Let's not get carried away. It's just love."

Now, she says, whenever her kids ask her to play, she says "yes."

She urges readers to take at least 15 minutes a day to "play" — whether that means hanging out with their kids or indulging in a long bath or a manicure. In other words, those 15 minutes should be filled with love — for others or for yourself.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

By | 2016-03-28T09:47:21-05:00 March 24th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Some top execs are saying ‘big data’ is screwing up their business

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CFO Insider is a weekly newsletter from Business Insider that delivers the top news and commentary for chief financial officers and other finance experts.

Why big data isn't paying off for companies yet (Fortune)

The promise of big data hasn't yet been fulfilled, and some executives say it's hurting more than helping. According to a new survey by the American Institute of CPAs, which was cited by Fortune, "roughly 80% of large companies report they've seen an important strategic decision go haywire in the past three years because it was based on 'flawed' data." Meanwhile, nearly one-third of C-level executives say information overload has "made things worse." The biggest challenges so far have been trying to do too much too fast, and internal bureaucracies that limit the flow of information in the business.  

Retail CFOs on 2016: Down, but not out (

Retail CFOs have a tepid outlook for the year ahead, according to In a recent survey of 100 finance chiefs in the retail sector, "three quarters said they expect sales to increase this year, but on average they pegged the increase at only 3.4%." That's down from 3.9% last year and 5.1% in 2014. Meanwhile, retail sales growth last year was significantly lower than expected, at just 2.1% — "the poorest year-over-year performance since the sharp decline suffered in 2009," the publication reports.

Nordstrom's CFO makes crystal clear why online shopping is killing traditional retailers (Business Insider)

After releasing a negative outlook for 2016, Nordstrom CFO Michael Koppel said part of what's dragging down the company's profits is its attempt to keep up with online retailers like Amazon. "With our increased investments to gain market share along with the changing business model, expenses in recent years have grown faster than sales," he said. This is a major industry challenge as millennials, who have become the dominant force in retail sales, do much of their shopping online, forcing brick-and-mortar retailers to bulk up their online presence.

Companies pay workers to live close to the office (The Wall Street Journal)

According to a report in The Wall Street Journal, some companies like Facebook are beginning to offer a new perk: "rent subsidies, house-hunting services, and down-payment help for employees willing to live close to the office." It aims to attract talent to high-cost areas like New York and San Francisco, and to help reduce the stress and burden of long commute times.

Charles Schwab's CEO takes job candidates to breakfast and asks the restaurant to mess up their order — here's why (The New York Times)

In a recent interview with Adam Bryant of The New York Times, Charles Schwab CEO Walt Bettinger described an unconventional hiring tactic he uses to find candidates with strong character: Sometimes he invites the job candidate to breakfast — but arrives at the restaurant early, pulls the manager aside, and asks them to mess up the candidate's order. "I do that because I want to see how the person responds," he tells Bryant. "That will help me understand how they deal with adversity." Sneaky, but effective. 

SEE ALSO: The world's most valuable private tech company hasn't had a CFO for almost a year

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