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Shonda Rhimes taught me to start asking for what I want

Michele King

Shonda Rhimes is my best friend in my head. So of course when she released her book, Year of Yes, I went out and bought a copy. Hello, that is what friends do for one another, we support our friends. A simple conversation where her sister points out how Shonda never says yes to anything inspired her to spend a year saying yes to social interaction at parties and events, addressing conflict and public speaking.

You see, Shonda and I are both classic introverts. There is a keep your head down and get the work done nature about us. We can be preoccupied with our own thoughts and feelings. We direct our actions inward. My best friend in my head, Shonda, and I are introverts. So when she wrote about all the times she said yes for a year, it inspired me so much.

Shonda Rhimes did not start her career with three successful shows on Thursday night. She is a smart, driven and creative person who had a goal and went for it. Along the way, there were many struggles and stumbling blocks.

I have a food blog. I cook the food. I write the articles. I do the food styling and photography. Some days I wonder, does anyone really care about what I have to say? How can I get more people to read?

When I started to doubt my purpose, I remind myself, Shonda did not start her career ruling Thursday night. She was given a chance, and she built on that opportunity. My blog, Enjoy by Michele, is my first show. I write about food and entertaining. Some days, I review cookbooks; other days, I am talking about foodie events and restaurants that people should try out for themselves. My blog exists to encourage people to enjoy food in a variety of ways.

In an effort to improve my blog, I went to the #BlogherFood 2015 conference. Again, I am an introvert, so signing up for a conference where I did not know anyone was hard. If I was going to improve my blog, I had to step outside my comfort zone. I took the plunge, got lucky and met a few people I clicked with at the conference. Notes were shared, laughter was had, and new connections were made in the name of writing sisterhood. I learned about engagement, popular hashtags and other ways I could be using my skills. Looking at my numbers, I started feeling down on myself. I had all this great new information telling me how much I sucked about letting people know about my blog.

After the conference, I read Shonda’s book, and I came up with a goal of my own. I was going to spend a whole year asking. I was going to do things like ask people to follow me on social media like Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. I was going to ask companies if I could be a brand ambassador. I was going to apply to SheKnows. Wait, what? My application was approved to be a part of SheKnows! I asked to be a brand ambassador for a company, and they said yes.

This asking stuff is working. I was telling people no before they had a chance to tell me no. It is time that I let people see what I have to offer. It is time to attend some events and talk to some people I don’t know. I am going to spend the year initiating the ask. Thank you, Shonda, for being such a good friend.

Image: Michele King

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