I LOVE Shonda Rhimes. Obviously, many of us know her for all of the TGIT craziness in Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away with Murder, among other writing and producing work. I watch religiously, but, over the past year specifically, I watched more of her empowering interviews and even read her book, Year of Yes, which truly shaped my 2017.
In this clip, Shonda speaks openly with Robin Roberts about being a doer, and not just a dreamer. People often have the gifts, but do the bare minimum thinking that their big break will come out of nowhere. That someone will magically find us on Instagram or YouTube, and we’ll blow up overnight. For a rare few, that happens. But most of us will never succeed if we think and act that way. We really have to bust our tails to make our dreams become reality!
I get this. When I first The Spotlight when I was 18, I made the naive mistake of believing that my work was so great that people would automatically find me, love my blog, reach out to be featured, and want to hire me for other opportunities. Let’s all laugh together. I soon realized the harsh reality that that wasn’t the case, and I had to be willing to put in the work necessary to get ahead. I had to balance school, and working on the site. I had to reach out to people for new opportunities to continue to grow. I had to take on less exciting jobs in order to pay bills and continue to boost my freelance career. I had to DO THINGS to be successful. Dreaming and planning are only the first part.
You can’t wait for opportunities and success to magically appear in your lap. It really doesn’t happen like that. Even promoting your blog, business, or SoundCloud just on social media doesn’t do as much as people think, especially when people’s timelines are already flooded with links. You have to be willing to go the extra mile. Pitch managing editors your ideas. Send your music to various websites for potential features (following their submission guidelines of course). Go to networking events and meet people of similar interests and backgrounds. Take on that job fair coming up. Get an internship on the side in what you really want to do. Get that side hustle going. Whatever you do, don’t just sit around, passively promoting yourself, thinking that somebody is going to find you and give you the opportunity of a lifetime. We’re all unique and clever in our own ways, but, be real, you ain’t THAT special.