I’ll be honest. Whether they’re my own or someone else’s, excuses make me yawn. That’s what drew me to Rachel Hollis’ second book, Girl, Stop Apologizing: A shame-free plan for embracing and achieving your goals. If you feel you could do with a little coaching to ditch the excuses that are holding you back, you’re going to want to pick up a copy of this for yourself.

Who is Rachel Hollis?

Rachel Hollis is a best-selling author and motivational speaker who looks and sounds like the girl next door. In other words, she’s warm and accessible. She knows how to keep it real, despite owning a multimillion-dollar media company. Yeah, apart from that, she’s exactly like you and me.

Who is Girl, Stop Apologizing for?

This self-help book is for anyone who believes there is no way in hell they have what it takes to make their dreams come true. It’s for anyone so stuck, they don’t even dare to have dreams. And it’s for anyone who may or may not have dreams and goals, but appreciates honesty, vulnerability, authenticity, and a really good read.

What’s it all about?

In Girl, Stop Apologizing Rachel Hollis inspires us to ditch the excuses by sharing a number of self-sabotaging lies she used to tell herself; relatable lies that you may be telling yourself, like I’m not good enough to succeed. (Ring any bells, anyone?)

When I flicked through the table of contents at my local bookstore, I noticed the book was divided into three sections: Part I: Excuses to let go of; Part II: Behaviours to adopt; and Part III: Skills to acquire.

Rachel had me at Part I: Excuses to let go of.

Now, I could share highlights of the entire book with you but here’s the thing: there’s no point learning about behaviour and skill acquisition if you’re not going to ditch the excuses.

Sure, it’s good to know you need to network if you want to build a successful business but how far will knowing this get you if you don’t ditch the excuses that keep holding you back from actually doing it?

While I devoured every page of this book enthusiastically, I’m particularly passionate when it comes to owning your sh*t, which is why I found her ditch the excuses section to be the juiciest bit.

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Ready to ditch the excuses?

Or rather, as Rachel so gently puts it, are you ready to let go of them? If so, here, in a nutshell, are the nine excuses Rachel Hollis suggests may be standing in the way of your success.

9 excuses to ditch today!

Excuse #1: That’s not what other women do.

Even if you grew up with a feminist mom and a cheerleader of a dad, chances are you had a pretty clear sense of what society expected from you as a woman. It’s hard not to, despite the strides women have taken towards equality.

In a study conducted as recently as 2017, Americans were asked what they most value in each gender. Honesty/morality and professional/financial success took up the top two spots for men. As for women, physical attractiveness and empathy/nurturing/kindness ranked highest.

Surprised? I didn’t think so.

As Rachel Hollis pursued her ambitions, she encountered harsh criticism for going against the normAs a result, she became more secretive about what she was building, and this secrecy perpetuated the feeling that what she was doing must be something to be ashamed of — until she had a major epiphany.

If you ever find yourself worrying about others perceiving you to be too bold, too weird, or too obnoxious, the epiphany she shares in Girl, Stop Apologizing will help you give at least two sh*ts less!

Excuse #2: I’m not a goal-oriented person.

There are dreams and there are goals, Rachel Hollis explains. What’s the difference? “A goal is a dream with its work boots on.” How much do I love this quote? THIS <————-> MUCH.

Perhaps you dream of launching a business, but it’s just that: a dream. You really, really want it but you simply don’t own the right pair of work boots. Or do you?

Being an entrepreneur requires bravery, confidence, discipline — none of which may have been granted you at birth, but then what skills were you actually born with? Were any of us born walking, talking and able to chew food without choking? No, yet these things come naturally to us now. Heck, some of us can even walk and chew gum at the same time.

If you’re wishing your life away instead of going for it, Rachel Hollis will give you a wake-up call you won’t regret.

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Excuse #3: I don’t have time.

Oh, puh-lease. (Sorry, but this particular excuse really gets me. Just make time, dang it!)

I know. Easier said than done. You feel you don’t have time and that’s totally valid. Ignore my rant, read this book and let Rachel Hollis help you reconfigure the time you have so that you can achieve the goals you’re after.

Before you begin reconfiguring, though, I suggest you try to come to terms with these words from Rachel Hollis:

“It’s not whether or not you have the time, but whether this goal you have is so compelling, so beautiful, so necessary to your future happiness that you’re willing to trade your current comfort in order to achieve it.”

Yes, yes, yes!

Excuse #4: I’m not enough to succeed.

I’m not thin enough to wear that dress. I’m not outgoing enough to date that guy. I’m not intelligent enough to get into that school. Even when we’re pursuing relatively ordinary goals, our sense of not being enough is something to be grappled with.

Throw in a far-reaching goal — like launching a business or writing a book — and suddenly you’re experiencing insecurity on steroids. The problem is, all these I’m not enoughs are actually sabotaging your chances of success because they leave you too paralyzed to even give whatever it is a try.

Rachel Hollis explores this excuse by taking us back to toddlerhood — that time in our lives when everything we tackled was new yet we tackled it anyway — like learning to walk. How many times did you fall down while you were learning? More importantly, how many times did you get back up?

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Excuse #5: I can’t pursue my dream and still be a good [fill in the blank].

I believe that the healthier and happier we are, the better a friend, parent, partner, daughter, caregiver we can be to others. However, I don’t think that self-care should be a license to be selfish. That’s why I like Rachel Hollis’ approach to ditching this particular excuse.

She’s all, girl, “you get one chance at this — literally only one chance at this life — and you have no idea when your chance might be over. You cannot waste it living only for everyone else.” At the same time, though, she points out that “part of being in a family or a relationship or a community means showing up for others.” I feel it’s important to understand and honour this.

Provided you keep your desire for self-fulfillment in perspective, I say follow your dream of getting fit by asking your husband to watch the kids for a couple of hours three times a week. This won’t make you a bad wife.

Follow your dream of living on the west coast even if your east-coast mom says she’ll miss you and the grandkids. This won’t make you a bad daughter.

And follow your dream of launching a new business even if it means hiring a nanny. This won’t make you a bad wife.

Just ditch the excuses and do it.

Excuse #6: I’m terrified of failure.

Rachel Hollis has had plenty of wins in her life, and even more failures. She talks about these failures openly in Girl, Stop Apologizing. What she also talks about is how she essentially set herself up for humiliation with every failure, but she doesn’t regret it.

In this way, Rachel and I are kind of alike. I don’t subscribe to the school of keeping your goals secretive just in case you don’t achieve them. To me, the very notion of doing so suggests that you failing to achieve them is shame-worthy. I’m more: Hey, I’m gonna give this thing a try everybody and anybody who’s willing to listen and cheer me on! 

All those winning people you hear about — make no mistake; they’ve had failures, too. (They just don’t share their unrealized goals with the public, so all you hear about are their wins.) And they’ve learned from those failures. As will you.

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Excuse #7: It’s been done before.

I started Viv for Today because I noticed a personal growth and development void on the world wide web.

I’m kidding, of course.

There are hundreds if not thousands of personal growth blogs out there and the large majority are way better than mine. I didn’t let that stop me from launching this site, though. Nor do I let the success of others hold me back.

What I’m doing here has been done before. Pretty much everything has been done before. But it hasn’t been done your way, and that’s all that counts. So, when you catch yourself thinking there’s no point in me writing a book because I’m no Rachel Hollis, take her advice:

“Girl, stop comparing your beginning with my middle! Or anyone else’s for that matter.”

Excuse #8: What will they think?

Here’s how Rachel Hollis explains why you need to ditch this excuse:

“There are two types of people in the world. Nonjudgmental people, who aren’t ever going to think badly of you for anything you do regardless of the outcome, and judgmental people, who are jerks. These jerks are probably working through their own issues and we’ll pray for them, but, at the end of the day, judgmental people are going to judge you no matter what! If they’re going to judge you either way, then you may as well go for it.”

Really, all that matters to your happiness is that you do what you think will make you happy. Strive to live your life unjudged and you’ll end up living your life unfulfilled. If you ask me, that’s far too high a price to pay.

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Girl, Stop Apologizing, Rachel Hollis

Excuse #9: Good girls don’t hustle.

If you recall from excuse #1, Americans value men for their morality and professional success, and women for their good looks and kindness. It’s not fair but that’s the way it goes.

Nice girls aren’t supposed to hustle. It’s just not ladylike. They’re supposed to be happy with whatever life serves them and write about it in their gratitude journals. I am grateful for my health. I am grateful for my children. I am grateful to have a loving family.

Society may imply you’re supposed to play nice, but you’re not required to listen. If you want to, you can go hustle your ass off just as much as any man out there and still count the blessings in your life.

And let’s be honest, despite what the research has to say about popular opinion, there are plenty of Rachel Hollis success stories out there to prove good girls just like you can indeed hustle, so get to it.

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Like what you’ve read so far?

Remember, this book offers so much more than advice on how to ditch the excuses. Here’s a breakdown of what else you can expect from Rachel Hollis:

Part II: Behaviours to adopt:

  1. Stop asking permission
  2. Choose one dream and go all in
  3. Embrace your ambition
  4. Ask for help
  5. Build foundations for success
  6. Stop allowing them to talk you out of it
  7. Learn to say NO

Part III: Skills to acquire:

  1. Planning
  2. Confidence
  3. Persistence
  4. Effectiveness
  5. Positivity
  6. Lead-Her-Ship

“OMG. Me, too!”

These are words I’m willing to bet you’re going to utter over and over again while reading this book. Perhaps you’ve read it already. If so, drop a comment. Let me know what you think. If not, what are you waiting for? Buy it now!

May you find the courage to unapologetically pursue your dreams.

Viv for today xo

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