Photography by Sandra Costello

Ok, Shonda, game on!

I just finished reading Year of Yes, and I’m not trying to steal your thunder or anything like that. Promise. But it’s time for MY Year of YES!

I’m a homebody. A varsity-team recluse. That is until I miss my kids or sisters, and then I go into full-on-planning-get-together mode. And after, I’m a homebody again. 

To say I was made for COVID and social distancing…that’s cliche. Every introvert has been claiming this for the past 18-months. But I really was made for it. 

For real. The pandemic just provided positive reinforcement that I don’t need to go anywhere or see anyone to be happy.

I’d been practicing for this moment my entire life. 

Until I decided to start practicing for the next part of my life.

My year of yes started in February when I said yes to a virtual retreat hosted by branding expert Juju Hook, called Prime Time Prosper. It was an emotional, jarring, and magical journey over 3-days with talented, beautiful prime time women (40 and over), all seeking the same thing: to design the 2nd half of our lives the way WE want. To do what WE want and build businesses we never want to retire from. Mind. Blowing.

And after saying yes to the retreat, I said yes to a year-long coaching program with the same group of women, also led by coach, mentor, sister-in-prime-time, and beautiful human, Juju Hook. 

What I expected to get from the program was guidance, support, and a roadmap for my business. Check, check and check.

What I didn’t expect? 

  • I didn’t expect to feel like I ‘belonged’ in a community of women who are kicking some major business booty. But I do.
  • I didn’t expect the pureness and richness of genuine, authentic friendship and connections.
  • I didn’t expect the giving-nature of my prime-time sisters and a culture of community over competition.

But I got ALL of this. Because I said yes.

So why stop there?

Why not say yes to something I would have said a gigantic NO to a year ago… A rebranding photoshoot with a real professional photographer. 

WTF?

Could I actually say yes to getting in front of the camera, having my makeup done by a ‘pro,’ smiling, laughing, tilting my head, and tossing my hair? Yes. I said yes.

And instead of feeling self-conscious, like I would have in my 20s, 30s, and 40s, on photoshoot day, I gave zero fucks about my past insecurities… 

too curvy, 

too busty,

too short, 

too curly-haired,

not enough this, 

not enough that,

blah, blah, BLAH!

Hey insecurities, bite me.

At 59-years old, I said yes to ME…

  • More confident in ALL of myself-ness than anytime before in my life. 
  • Yes to building the life and business I want. 
  • Yes to knowing I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be. 
  • Yes to connecting with amazing, talented women.
  • Yes to all of it.

I’m chipping away at things that feel uncomfortable and not quitting when things feel hard or even when the path forward is zig-zaggy and pebbled. The voices in my head that used to say ‘no, you can’t’ are now saying ‘oh hell yes, you CAN!’

My year of yes is morphing into my life of yes. I’m saying yes to all of the experiences and people of my choosing. 

Yes to overcoming challenges and fear.

Yes to more adventures.

Yes to more connections with family and friends.

Yes to my gifts and talents.

Yes to everything that ever felt out of reach or not for me.

YES, big wide world, bring it on!

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