How Shonda Got Her Hum Back



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How much of your life would be altered if you simply accepted the challenge of being taken out of your comfort zone?

In her first book, Year of Yes, the critically acclaimed television producer and writer, Shonda Rhimes, opens up about the year she spent exploring the possibilities of saying “yes” to all things frightening and uncustomary. And of all the newness she encountered, she attributes a request from her toddler to being the “yes” that changed her life; the results saved her career.

Rhimes is a titan with one of the most influential voices in Hollywood. A single, working mother responsible for millions of dollars, hundreds of jobs and over 70 hours of content a season. An entire evening’s lineup on ABC dedicated to her work alone with her latest series, The Catch, premiering next Thursday, March 24th. She has the ultimate dream job by definition but, in actuality, it’s all job, all work, all of the time. It takes everything she has to make it into the homes of millions across the globe.

As she explains in an episode of TED Talks, there’s an exhilarating shift that takes place and puts everything into gear. When she’s hard at work and deep in focus she gets this feeling she calls the hum. It’s what keeps her going and striving for absolute greatness. It’s what keeps four shows on television at once.

But eventually, the rigorous demands of “building a nation out of thin air” left her overworked and burned out. The work she loved began to “taste like dust” and the hum stopped.

Thankfully, Rhimes’ young daughter asked her to play before she left for the day and she said “yes”. The laughing, dancing, and singing that followed were nothing extravagant but it sparked a new light. In a tiny burst of life where nothing existed but her children and joy, Shonda found new fuel to feed her hum. She faced her biggest fear of being away from work and found that the moments of not having to pay attention—when she could really be still and present—are the times when life feels more good than not good. Cue her renewed and improved hum.

Rhimes discovered the real hum to be joy and love specific--the result of being excited by life. Her new rule is simple: say “yes” to playing with [her] kids. She doesn’t always do a great job playing but she knows it’s important to delight in the simple joys that make life worth living. The more you indulge in the good, the better and more powerful the hum becomes.

Since the day McDreamy met Meredith Grey in Grey's Anatomy, Shondaland has been endowed with dynamic women, lost in the everyday whirlwind of building a career while fostering some semblance of a life outside of work. While the source of Shonda Rhimes' creative brilliance will forever be a mystery to all that watch in awe, it's safe to say a piece of herself and the eternal work-life-balance struggle goes into each of the characters we've come to know and love.

Let’s just rejoice in the fact that Shonda got her hum back!


Through writing, New York native, Bri.L, has produced a creative voice that speaks for the sake of her mind and heart. Her poetry is a raw reflection of the world’s culture - telling stories that embody life, consciousness, acceptance and more – from unpredictable perspectives. At an early age, putting pen to paper became a way for her to heal, to evoke, to love and she’s been left to write ever since. For more on how she tells it, visit | IG: @Bri_Bossy