What does it mean to live well? For some, this might be physical health; for others, strong relationships or a storied career. For Rachel Hollis, author of the breakout 2018 book Girl, Wash Your Face, a life well lived is about bringing all of those different components together in harmony. In her recently released follow-up book, Girl, Stop Apologizing, Hollis targets those who have spent most of their lives apologizing or making excuses for their dreams.
“How many of you are reading [Girl, Stop Apologizing] are living half lives or, worse, are a shadow of who you were truly meant to be because someone in your life doesn’t fully appreciate or understand you?” Hollis writes.
She believes that knowledge is truly the greatest power you can harness. When you’re feeling unqualified to take the first step toward one of your goals, remember that Hollis launched two successful companies and wrote a New York Times best-seller with a high school diploma and zero experience. Knowledge combats fear, she says.
She offers these bite-sized pieces of advice as a spark to ignite even a curiosity about what it means to be in control of your life:
“We didn’t all pop out of the womb with the skills we have now. We didn’t just show up on earth like, ‘Man, I am a leader. Here I am. Look at me; I’m a leader.’ All of these things are something that you can learn. When you can flip that mindset and realize that you can acquire any of these things, it changes everything.”
“Do you ever look at pictures from 10 or 15 years ago and you’re like, What was that hair? What was that outfit? I want that. I want to always look back and think, I thought I was so great, and I didn’t even know what I was going to become.”
3. You don’t have to be broken to need therapy.
“I’m trying so freaking hard to be an awesome mom for my kids and they’re still going to be in therapy. Everybody can use it. Everybody can use sitting with someone, who has no allegiance to anyone else in your life, who can say, ‘Actually you were kind of a jerk; actually that’s ridiculous.’ Or for me with anxiety, it was being able to identify the trigger.”
4. Be the change you want to see.
“A lot of things I create are because I get super pissed that I don’t see women in that field. So I started my podcast in the business category because I love business podcasts and there weren’t a lot of female hosts. It’s important for women to hear women voices.”
“I’ve gone to conferences [led by men] and I’ve learned a ton, and a lot of guys that are very alpha, like ‘Roar! Eat the world!’ Which is awesome, and I want to eat the world, but I also have to wake up with a 4-year-old who is puking… I think we need more female voices speaking about what this looks like for you.”
“If I get to the end of my life, and we’ve built all of these things, and we’ve made this money, and we have this team, but I was numb to it… That’s the weakest thing I can imagine. It takes someone strong to be willing to feel all of it.”
7. Stay in your lane.
“You’re either going to create or you’re going to reach for opinion, but you can’t do both… Someone else’s opinion is none of your business.”
“There is a big difference between seeing the path that someone else walked so that you know what pitfalls and traps to look out for, and using it as an excuse of why you can’t start moving forward… If it doesn’t inspire you, don’t consume it.”
“Too often, women just throw a dart at the wall. If you want to get healthy, you might get a gym membership. Well, do you like the gym? Do you feel comfortable there? Do you know what to do once you arrive, or would you be better off joining a running club because you really like being outside? Or would you be better off in a dance class because you like hip-hop music? There are 57 ways the rest of us can get to a healthy physical body, but you’ve got to figure out what it is for you.”
10. True growth takes longer than you think.
“For me, what made things stick was seeing results. But often the only time you’re going to see results is if you have enough consistency to get to that place, and usually the result takes longer than you think it’s going to—at least lasting results.”
11. Don’t knock it until you try it.
“I would have totally judged the life I live now, and then when you try something and it works, you’re like ‘Oh, that’s why everybody loves SoulCycle. That’s why people carry giant jugs of water around with them; because they feel better when they’re hydrated. All of these things make sense when you try them, but you won’t even let yourself try them because you have some preconceived notion of what it’s going to be.”
12. Ditch mom guilt.
“The problem with mom guilt is that it’s rarely about you. It’s rarely about your kids. It’s about how you think other people perceive you and your kids, and that just doesn’t serve them or you in any way.”
13. Embrace your nontraditional life.
“You’re worried about being different than every other family. I would ask you to flip the script and see that as a blessing, not something bad, but what are my kids going to get because they have a different life than other people did?”
14. Shock yourself out of a bad day.
“When I’m having a bad day, it’s about identifying the trigger, and then it’s honestly about forcing myself to do something physical, which you never want to do when you’re having a bad day. Do a really hard workout, put on some dance music in the living room, do something to change your physical state to interrupt what’s happening mentally.”
“What comes at you is not in your control. The only thing you can control is your response to it. Understand that there are things that will pop up that will be hard, that will be awful, that people will be mean. Life is hard, but how you go through life doesn’t have to be hard.”
PHOTO COURTESY OF THE HOLLIS CO.