If any of you reading this blog post follow my blog, you’ll know that I have a thing for books on self improvement. The latest treasure to be added to my reading list is Rachel Hollis’ Girl, Stop Apologizing. The tagline sums up what it’s all about which is “A shame-free plan for embracing and achieving your goals.” Hollis identifies the excuses to let go of, the behaviours to adopt, and the skills to acquire on the path to growth.
The number one excuse I could relate to and I think most of you reading this can too is “I’m Not Enough To Succeed.” Hollis says that “when we set out to pursue something, we’re often dealing with our fear of what we lack multiplied by a factor of nine million” (Hollis 29). How often do we decide to give up on pursuing a goal because we think we have no business pursuing that goal and that we are not enough to achieve it? I’ll admit for me personally, more times than I care to admit. She points out the irony in this and how the thing you’re attempting to take on might be the exact thing that proves your misconceptions about yourself wrong.
For example, I have been reluctant to return to school because I think I am not smart enough to succeed at it so rather than prove myself wrong by trying and possibly very well succeeding, I reaffirm the notion that I am not smart enough by not returning to school and getting the education that I need. Hollis says “It’s a catch-22, because your feelings of not enough keep you from proving to yourself that you are. You haven’t yet achieved the things you hope for, and so you decide that you’re unable to” (Hollis 30). If you don’t try basically you’ll never know whether you are truly good enough and the idea of failure is too terrifying to sometimes overcome but it is also a beautiful part of the process of achieving something – falling down and getting back up.
Hollis breaks down the beginning of Girl, Stop Apologizing into nine excuses to let go of when setting goals and attempting to achieve them. These range from excuses like “I Don’t Have Time” to “What Will They Think” to “I’m Terrified of Failure.” The excuse that “I’m Terrified of Failure” really relates to me as I am a terrible perfectionist and want to do everything perfectly. Hollis breaks down why this is unreasonable and how you’re going to suck at first when doing something you’ve never done before. The following is a quote from her book that really struck a chord with me and left me with that “Aha!” moment: “This isn’t a question of whether you can do something well, because nearly anything can be learned; this is a question of whether you’re humble enough to suck for as long as it takes you to become better” (Hollis 61).
It’s so simple and yet I had never thought of it before or had it broken down like this for me. To achieve a new goal you need to be prepared for a new challenge because it is something you have not tried before and so your experience and comfort with it is limited or non existent. This does not mean you cannot succeed but like most things in life it may take some time but never give up! I have decided, for example, that I want a car by next year however I do not even have a G2 license and will inevitably have to go to driver’s school since nobody in my family is willing to teach me. I am terrified I am going to fail at driver’s ed but Hollis has reassured me that with practice, I can achieve anything I set my mind to. So yes, at first I will probably suck at driving but if I keep showing up to my lessons and committing myself to learning, I will eventually become good at it.
Another quote from Girl, Stop Apologizing that struck me was the following: “There’s a great Chinese proverb that says, “The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago. The second-best time is now.” You can keep talking yourself out of the thing you’re hoping for, or you can decide that your dream is more powerful than your excuse” (Hollis 60-61). Now This is powerful because I am sure like me you are beating yourself up for not chasing some goals sooner or are focused on how you did not do them in the past. But have no fear the best time is now. Do not dwell on what could have been but what may be and you may be able to achieve that dream if you start working towards it now in the form of goals. In a previous blog post I broke down Hollis’ 10:10:1 ratio (ten years, ten dreams, one goal). I have a dream of owning and driving a luxury car so where can I start today in achieving that dream? Probably by getting my fucking license first, then owning my first beater, then owning yet another beater, then save save, hustle hustle til maybe one day I’ll own that luxury car I have my eyes on. I could easily get caught up in the fact I could have had my license like ten years ago and started this process but you know what the second best time to start is now.
Dream Big, Dream Often but don’t forget to turn those dreams into reality by setting very real and tangible goals that stretch like a stepladder to your end destination. It literally and figuratively takes one step at a time to make a dream a reality. Hollis outlines how to set real and meaningful goals in order to achieve your dreams in Girl, Stop Apologizing that I argue every girl can’t miss. She is your coach, your mentor, your inspiration and more than anything she is rooting for you because she’s been there and has failed as many times as she has succeeded. Hollis taps into your dream spirit, the one that was always there but you were scared to let lose.
Girl, Stop Apologizing for having dreams and go fucking chase them!