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18 Powerful Shonda Rhimes Quotes to Live By

The most successful female showrunner also dishes out amazing advice

Cara Hutto
Contributor

Television producer Shonda Rhimes’ career has been making headlines for the past decade. She’s best-known for the incredibly successful series Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal, and How to Get Away With Murder. In 2017, she signed a four-year development deal with Netflix, making history as one of the first show runners to solidify such an exclusive deal with the streaming service. Rhimes is revolutionizing the television arena, making it a point to feature female protagonists in her shows, a process she calls “normalizing.”

Rhimes wants to change the narrative on diversity and what it means to be a woman on and off the screen. She’s actively advocating for more female representation on screen, especially women of color and LGBTQ groups. Rhimes’ experiences have allowed her to dish out some of the most important and relatable advice in the industry. Her advice applies to all women who want to be the best version of themselves—so we couldn’t resist sharing some of it with the InHerSight audience:

On being successful and accomplishing your goals…

“Lucky implies that I was handed something I did not earn, that I did not work hard for...I am not lucky. You know what I am? I am smart, I am talented, I take advantage of the opportunities that come my way and I work really, really hard. Don’t call me lucky. Call me a badass.”

“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.”

“There's nothing wrong with being driven. And there's nothing wrong with putting yourself first to reach your goals.”

”I don't know how this is going to come off sounding. I'm in a position of power where I run this world and handle this situation... If I'm going to make a crazy decision, then I better be damn sure. Because it's not like anybody's going to tell me, ‘You can't do that.'”

”You want to be a writer? A writer is someone who writes every day, so start writing. You don't have a job? Get one. Any job. Don't sit at home waiting for the magical opportunity. Who are you? Prince William? No. Get a job. Go to work. Do something until you can do something else.”

“Everyone’s got some greatness in them. You do. The girl over there does. That guy on the left has some. But in order to really mine it, you have to own it. You have to grab hold of it. You have to believe it.”

“My dreams did not come true. But I worked really hard. And I ended up building an empire out of my imagination.”

Read more: 38 Powerful Quotes from Women Who Don't Mess Around

On being yourself...

“If I don't poke my head out of my shell and show people who I am, all anyone will ever think I am is my shell.”

“There is no list of rules. There is one rule. The rule is: there are no rules. Happiness comes from living as you need to, as you want to. As your inner voice tells you to. Happiness comes from being who you actually are instead of who you think you are supposed to be.”

“I don't put up with bullshit or nasty people. I don't have time for it.”

“I want my daughters to see me and know me as a woman who works. I want that example set for them. I like how proud they are when they come to my offices and know that they come to Shondaland.”

“Everyone’s got some greatness in them. You do. The girl over there does. That guy on the left has some. But in order to really mine it, you have to own it. You have to grab hold of it. You have to believe it.”

On being an introvert...

“Who you are today . . . that’s who you are. Be brave. Be amazing. Be worthy. And every single time you get the chance? Stand up in front of people. Let them see you. Speak. Be heard. Go ahead and have the dry mouth. Let your heart beat so, so fast. Watch everything move in slow motion. So what. You what? You pass out, you die, you poop? No.”

“My worst trait is that I'm an introvert. When I've led stuff, the hardest thing for me to overcome has been my natural desire to run and hide. I'm very proud of the fact that I have been able to do that.”

Read more: 20 Mindy Kaling Quotes to Bring You Back to Life

On diversity and normalizing TV…

“I really hate the word ‘diversity.’ It suggests something … other. As if it is something special, or rare. Diversity! As if there is something unusual about telling stories involving women and people of color and LGBTQ characters on TV. I have a different word: normalizing. I’m normalizing TV. I am making TV look like the world looks. Women, people of color, LGBTQ people equal way more than 50 percent of the population. Which means it ain’t out of the ordinary.”

“There are stories to be told that are still untold and characters to be portrayed that haven't been portrayed correctly. So there's work to be done.”

On the value of different perspectives…

“Because no matter how hard a conversation is, I know that on the other side of that difficult conversation lies peace. Knowledge. An answer delivered. Character is revealed. Truces are formed. Misunderstandings are resolved. Freedom lies across the field of the difficult conversation. And the more difficult the conversation, the greater the freedom.”

“It's important to have people who are absolutely willing to say you're wrong or who have a totally different perspective than you do on everything. Fresh ideas are hard to come by, and good ones are even harder.”

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By Cara Hutto

Born and raised a Tar Heel, Cara Hutto is a culinary aficionado and zealous writer consumed by wanderlust. She's passionate about women's issues and interviewing inspirational women in her community.

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