What I've Learned from Mindy Kaling About Believing in Myself

Fashion show, fashion show, fashion show at lunch!!

I am a true fan of Mindy Kaling. (If that didn’t make sense to you, it is a quote by Kelly from The Office who was played by Mindy.) I have to say, her second book Why Not Me? Is ridiculously inspiring and I don’t even think she intended for it to be that way. She's just that wonderful.

Let me give you an example of something I learned about her in reading her books.
She wrote and starred in a play that went sort of viral, getting the attention of the guys about to start an American remake of the British Office. She was hired. A few years later, as a writer/actor on The Office (ie - successful), the writer’s strike happened. During that time, someone she knew at Saturday Night Live offered her a temporary writing job.

And here is the part that sticks with me to this day.

As a writer on one of the most successful shows at the time (the Office), she said she really sucked at writing for Saturday Night Live. She said that she didn’t get one sketch on air and that she was completely humiliated in a read through where one of the hosts loudly said a sketch she wrote didn’t make any sense.

In sharing this story with you, I have tried to nail down what about this impacts me so much. I think what it is, is what she did next.

She went back to writing and starring in The Office and was promoted. She later pitched her own show to NBC. And they turned her down.

So she pitched it elsewhere. They picked her up.

Then after a few seasons, her show was cancelled.

Thankfully it was picked back up by Hulu and she finished as a writer and actress of her own show with 6 seasons.

Why does this resonate with me so much? Maybe because if I were in her shoes I would have been so embarrassed to not have gloriously succeeded on SNL after my initial success, that I would have packed up my career right then and there. I would have thought that the first network to turn me down knew what they were talking about and my work was no good. I would have seen my cancellation as a cue to pack up my bags. 

I’m so inspired that she just keeps going. She feels the embarrassment and the pain, but then she just tries again. It doesn’t seem like shame has a say in her life.
I want to ask you,

What would you try again if shame had no say in your life?

​All the love,



“People's reaction to me is sometimes "Uch, I just don't like her. I hate how she thinks she is so great." But it's not that I think I'm so great. I just don't hate myself. I do idiotic things all the time and I say crazy stuff I regret, but I don't let everything traumatize me. And the scary thing I have noticed is that some people really feel uncomfortable around women who don't hate themselves. So that's why you need to be a little bit brave.”

-Mindy Kaling

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