See what happens when one of our own lost her hmmm...
See what happens when one of our own lost her hmmm…

Could you say “yes” to the things that scare you for an entire year?

That is what Shonda Rhimes (creator or Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, etc.) did.  Speaking in front of people, acting, being on live TV, etc.

During a TED Talk, she opened up about how she conducted this experiment and I REALLY think this will hit home with many of you, it did me.

Work, Work, Work
Work, Work, Work

Shonda points out that she defines herself by the work that she does.  She openly calls herself a tyrant.  She talks about loving the “hummmm” she hears in her head.



What is the “hummmm”?  The “hummmm”, she explains is the result of what she hears when everything in her work life is going great.

Shonda’s daughters know that she was a hard worker.  They knew that she is the happiest when she is working.

Who am I ?

Then one day… it’s gone.

No more “hummmm”.  Nothing.

Burnout? Maybe.

Overloaded? Probably.

Going through the motions? No love for her work.

She didn’t know what to do.  Who was she? She was lost!

What happens when you lose your hmmmm?
What happens when you lose your hmmmm?

Then one day her youngest daughter asks her, as she was on the way out, “mama, do you want to play”?  She found herself getting ready to say “no” when she remembers her experiment and therefore says “yes”.

Playing…It Saved Her Family

As she starts playing with her daughters and all the little sticky fingers and the gooey kisses, she realizes that all she has to do is focus on her girls.  The work—out there, doesn’t matter.  It’s okay.  She is safe, playing.


Then it happens.  It wasn’t loud and she has to sit really still to hear it.

It was a distant and soft…it was A “hummmm”-

Not the same “hummmm” but nevertheless – A “hummmm”.

This “hummmm”, was Love, Joy, Life!

She now always says “yes” to play.  Why? It is a way to continue to hear the “hummmm”.  This “hummmm” fills her up and rejuvenates her- remember this “hummmm” is Love, Joy, Life – instead of work, work and more work.

She realizes that the work becomes easier, she was able to be creative again and she loved her work- again.

The Love, Joy and Life that she got from playing with her daughters allowed her to realize that her work didn’t define her, rather her new “hummmm” did.

Why Did We Stop Playing?

She wonders the same thing.

It is the love that we share with our family, friends, pets, etc.  It’s the joy of meeting friends for lunch and coffee on Sunday instead of spending the weekend behind the computer.  It’s the life that we build outside of our work.

It’s saying “yes” to our children when they want to play and saying “yes” when our significant other wants to go for a walk.  As a result, it’s giving yourself permission to say “yes”.

Remember, that if you say “yes” to play, you might just find and continue to hear your “hummmm”.



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