Writer, speaker and creator of successful production company, Shondaland, Shonda Rhimes is the perfect example of what it means to thrive in every area of your life. What can we learn from her? Let’s take a look.

Her backstory

Shonda Lynn Rhimes was born January 13, 1970, in Chicago in the USA. The youngest of six children, Shonda went to Dartmouth College after high school, and graduated with a Bachelors Degree, majoring in English and Film Study. During her years at university, she was a part of the campus newspaper, and wrote and directed plays.

Against all odds

While it might be hard to believe that someone as successful as Shonda could have any self-esteem issues, she’s actually spoken out about her intense fear of having to speak in public as well as issues with self-confidence as a result of her weight. In her book, The Year of Yes, Shonda opens up about having to confront her weight problem and how it had affected her confidence. She talks about standing in the way of her own happiness and success by limiting herself and refusing change and opportunity out of fear. By the end of her book, she’s come to the realisation that everything she thought she couldn’t do was a result of her own limiting beliefs and that learning to say ‘yes’ to the things she wants is the key to living a fuller life.

Career map

While working towards her postgrad qualification in screenwriting, Shonda became an intern for television producer, Debra Martin Chase, who became her mentor and taught a lot about writing for TV. Shonda later interned at Denzel Washington’s production company, too, and later produced a short film, Blossoms and Veils, starring Jada Pinkett-Smith; which earned her the opportunity to become a scriptwriter for a few other movies.

After her first script for a TV series was shot down by television channel, ABC, Shonda decided to write about something she was actually interested in - medicine and surgery - this was the birth of her successful series, Grey’s Anatomy. Grey’s Anatomy has made history as the longest running television series, and although she’s had some other rejections, Shonda’s also written a few more successful shows like How To Get Away With Murder and Scandal. It’s clear that this TV mogul refuses to let a little criticism or failure stop her from doing what she loves.

What we can learn from her

“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.”

If there’s one thing that we can learn from Shonda Rhimes, it’s that being a dreamer means nothing if we don’t have the hard work and dedication to back it up. She’s made her own dreams come true by being consistent with her craft and not allowing a few rejections to stop her from doing what she loves. She’s applied the same consistency to other parts of her life, like her health and weight as well as being a friend, mother and sister.

As a little girl in Chicago, all Shonda knew was that she liked to tell stories. Years later as an adult, her dedication, conscientiousness and willingness to go the extra mile for her art has made her one of the most prominent women in Hollywood.

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