On June 8, 2014, Shonda Rhimes (creator and writer of Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal) gave the commencement address at Dartmouth College. She graduated from there in 1991. It was a really good speech. A really, really good speech.
I loved what she had to say about “doing it all,” which you can read below. And she shared loads of other gems. Do yourself a favor and read the whole speech or watch the YouTube video (below). It will feed your soul. Trust me.
Shonda Rhimes on Doing It All
“As you try to figure out the impossible task of juggling work and family and you hear over and over and over again that you just need a lot of help or you just need to be organized or you just need to try just a little bit harder … as a very successful woman, a single mother of three, who constantly gets asked the question “How do you do it all?” For once I am going to answer that question with 100 percent honesty here for you now. Because it’s just us. Because it’s our fireside chat. Because somebody has to tell you the truth.
Shonda, how do you do it all? The answer is this: I don’t. Whenever you see me somewhere succeeding in one area of my life, that almost certainly means I am failing in another area of my life.
If I am killing it on a Scandal script for work, I am probably missing bath and story time at home. If I am at home sewing my kids’ Halloween costumes, I’m probably blowing off a rewrite I was supposed to turn in. If I am accepting a prestigious award, I am missing my baby’s first swim lesson. If I am at my daughter’s debut in her school musical, I am missing Sandra Oh’s last scene ever being filmed at Grey’s Anatomy. If I am succeeding at one, I am inevitably failing at the other. That is the tradeoff. 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 a hundred percent OK; you never get your sea legs; you are always a little nauseous. Something is always lost.
Something is always missing…. anyone who tells you they are doing it all perfectly is a liar.”