We may know Shonda Rhimes as the brilliant mastermind behind some of our favorite TV shows — “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Scandal,” and the upcoming “How To Get Away With Murder” — and, as she proved during her commencement speech at her alma mater Dartmouth College, she’s got some candid advice on how to get there…or closer to realizing your own dreams.
The TV powerhouse, who was asked by Dartmouth College President Philip Hanlon to speak at the Class of 2014 commencement six months ago, said she was nervous to give the address. But even though Rhimes was prepared to say no, she decided to challenge herself. “This year,” Rhimes said in front of the class, “I made a promise that I was going to do the stuff that terrorizes me.”
We’re glad she did!
Despite her internal fear, Rhimes spent the next 24 minutes of her speech giving unforgettable advice that would not only help the newly-minted college grads, but also those of us who are still straddling the fences of adulthood, a career and life in general. Check out her full speech above and a few of the highlights:
Be A Do-er Not A Dreamer
“I think a lot of people dream. And while they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, powerful, engaged people? Are busy doing…. Ditch the dream. Be a do-er, not a dreamer.”
Spend Some Time Understanding Your Passion
“You are going to need to spend a lot of time out in the real world trying to figure out how to stop being a lost loser so one cause is good. But find one. And devote some time every week to it….. Volunteer some hours. Focus on something outside yourself. Devote a slice of your energies towards making the world suck less every week.”
…And Actually Do Something About It (“Twitter Activism” Isn’t Enough)
“Hashtags are very pretty on Twitter. I love them. I will hashtag myself into next week. But a hashtag is not a movement. A hashtag does not make you Dr. King. A hashtag does not change anything. It’s a hashtag. It’s you, sitting on your butt, typing into your computer and then going back to binge watching your favorite show.”
Anyone Who Says They Are Doing It All Are Probably Not
“Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means that I am failing in another area of my life. That is the Faustian bargain one makes with the devil that comes with being a powerful working woman who is also a powerful mother. You never feel one hundred percent okay, you never get your sea legs, you are always a little nauseous. Something is always lost. Something is always missing…. And yet, I want my daughters to see me and know me as a woman who works…. The woman I am because I get to run Shondaland, because I get write all day, because I get to spend my days making things up, that woman is a better person — and a better mother.”
We’re taking notes!