I’ve been learning a lot about entrepreneurship, creativity, innovation and passion projects this past year. I’m fascinated by the subject and I’m learning a lot from successful men and women from different backgrounds.

I recently finished Amy Poehler’s autobiography “Yes Please” (read by her on Audible which added to the awesomeness) and I absolutely loved it! The book is heartfelt, smart and funny – a true reflection of what I imagine Amy Poehler is like in real life.

This was my favourite part of the book that really left a lasting impression on me: “What do we do? How do we move forward when we’re tired and afraid? What do we do when the voice in our head is yelling THAT WE ARE NEVER GONNA MAKE IT! How do we drag ourselves through the muck when our brain is telling us you are dumb and you will never finish and no one cares and it’s time you stop.

Well, the first thing we do is we take our brain out and we put it in a drawer. Stick it somewhere and let it tantrum until it wears itself out. You may still hear the brain and all the shitty things it’s saying to you, but it will be muffled. And just the fact that it’s not in your head anymore will make things seem clearer.

And then, you just do it. You just dig in and write it. You use your body you lean over the computer and stretch and pace. You write, and then cook something. And write some more.
You put your hand on your heart and feel it beating and decide if what you wrote feels true.

You do it. Because the doing of it is the thing. The doing is the thing. The talking and worrying and thinking is not the thing. This is what I know.
Writing the book is about writing the book.

So here we go you and me. Because what else are we going to do? Say no? Say no to an opportunity that may be slightly out of our comfort zone? Quiet our voice because we are worried it’s not perfect? I believe great people do things before they are ready.”

This really resonated with me because I have a tendency to get in my own head and psyche myself out of doing things either through thinking this won’t work, or there are others who are doing a far better job than I could, or the chances of success are so minuscule that it’s better to just not waste my time. I just say to myself, just shut up and do it and you will either succeed or learn for the next one. “Writing the book is about writing the book.” Working on that post or project is about working on that post or project. Just start it and finish it, it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be done.

Another thing I loved about this book is Amy’s (yes, we’re on a first name basis) resilience and optimism. She shares the start of her career and how she made it in comedy, a field that is still to this day a male-dominated field. She always looks for the positive side through successes and failures. It is no wonder that everyone loves working with her, and that is a big plus no matter which field you’re in. She says, “Almost every job I have gotten was due to someone knowing my work or seeing me in something else.”

Seth Myers (who has a guest chapter in the book) talks about how Amy was in labour and he was supposed to do SNL Weekend Update by himself for the first time, and she still managed to text him encouragement. She is a great example that you don’t have to be an asshole to be successful and being kind is a good way to work.

Amy also didn’t sugar coat any of her stories about drug use, heartbreak and failure. She takes responsibility for her mistakes and apologizes for them. Like the chapter she talks about a crass SNL skit about Hurricane Mary which was a movie based on a true story about a girl with cerebral palsy. Amy admits that she didn’t know it was about a real person, but she still was too ashamed to face the girl’s parents and she only apologized 5 years later.

I really enjoyed this book and I highly recommend the audio version, she’s just fantastic. We need more women like Amy Poehler in the spotlight.

 

Amy Poehler - Yes Please

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