Author and lifestyle blogger Rachel Hollis is total #momlife goals. Her first book, “Girl, Wash Your Face” outsold nearly every author last year. She’s back with "Girl, Stop Apologizing," a new manifesto on how to stop apologizing for our dreams and go after what we want with full ambition and motivation. We chatted with her about her new book, business moves, and more.
Photo courtesy of Rachel Hollis
Your book is based on cultivating the life you want. What has been your personal journey through this process?
I always imagined doing something I believed in and building a company that was successful, but I never imagined it would take this road—for sure. I have always shared what I’ve been going through personally. So, back when I was a food blogger, I would share what I made for dinner and my thought process was, ‘maybe this will help you, too.’ That has honestly been the foundation of my business—this worked for me and maybe it’ll work for you.
Women so badly latched on to this idea, which said to me that there was a need there. I recognized that there was a space that no one was filling. It took a while to figure out how this could be something that could be sustainable, but now that we’ve done it, everything is exploding.
Photo courtesy of Rachel Hollis
Let’s talk about the process of writing this book. What type of woman did you have in mind when you were writing it?
I had the women who come up to me at book signings or stop me at the airport or talk to me on my platform and tell me they don’t know how to start doing the thing they want to do in life or they’re currently pursuing the thing they want to do, but feel mom guilt or their partner doesn’t support them or their mother-in-law is judging them. This was really a response for those women and those questions I’ve gotten so often since “Girl Wash Your Face” came out. This book is the answer to the “how” do I get started or get on the path.
You’re the source of inspiration and motivation for a lot of women. What brands or women in your life do you draw inspiration from?
Oprah is definitely my gal! I would come home from school and watch her, and I know there’s a whole generation of women that don’t understand why she’s as special as she is. In my generation, she was the woman who encouraged us to think about things in a new way.
Beyonce is also my queen! I love her. What I admire most about her, if you have ever seen her perform live, she’s performing as hard today as she was years ago. Few people have that level of integrity. I want to be that kind of person. I want people to see how hard I’m working. If you come to one of my conferences, I want to show up for people the way they’ve shown up for us.
I’ve admired Cheryl Sandberg. “Lean In” was the first time I read about a woman unapologetically owning her career. I remember being so excited and telling all of my friends, “You’ve got to read this book!”
What Jessica Alba has done with the Honest Company is also so inspiring. It’s so smart. They owned a costumer and then started to spread their categories. I will also say, I’ve noticed celeb actresses like her and Reese Witherspoon who have launched their own brands. I admire anyone who’s using their platform to create their own brand.
You also write about the falsehood of motherhood and being able to do it all. Should we get rid of this notion entirely?
I had a reporter recently tell me, “You have it all, what would you say to other women who want the same thing?” And I was like, “Oh gosh! I do not have it all! And if you think that we need to just rethink that notion for a second here.” Success comes at a cost of rest, being able to hang out with family and my girlfriends. It’s not possible to have all the things. I do think it’s possible to have all the things that you value in life, but it’s about the core necessities. For me that’s my husband Dave [Hollis], being a mom to my kids, my company and content I build for this community—those are values to me. My youngest is 2 and my eldest is 12. I noticed that I was caring and tending to my youngest more, and then realized that my eldest also needed me in different ways too. My son is in middle school and he needs me too. Having it all and doing all of the things is just impossible.
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Self-care really seems to lie on this notion of being unapologetic and not caring so much about how others perceive you. Did you have this theme for the book before you started writing?
Not so much on a self-care level, but it’s so true. At its core, this is about taking care of yourself and being unapologetic about that. This is something as women, we should be striving for every day. You can’t care for anyone well if you’re depleted. We tend to run ourselves down and on top of that worry about being judged. We would never care for our children the way we care for ourselves. This is a great reminder, “Do you take care of everyone else better than yourself?” “Do you speak to others kinder than you speak to yourself?” This book is all about the idea that you are no less valuable than anybody else—including your partner and children. You’re worthy of this care because you’re also leading by example with your kids.
What advice do you have for moms who have an idea and passion for a side hustle, but just don’t have the time to start?
What I talk about in the book is starting with an end goal and work your way backwards from there. Secondly, build on your vision. For example, if I want to take up body building, I’m going to start following a bunch of body builders on social media. Really study how it’s done. There’s so much free knowledge and courses on the internet. You want to take up sewing, be a better mom, start a business, strengthen your marriage, there’s information out there to help you make it happen. I don’t think people struggle with not knowing how, I think people struggle with putting themselves out there because of judgment or added work to your routine. If you’re honest with yourself, it’s going to be a lot of work. If you want to live a life that’s different, you’re going to have to sacrifice and really push yourself to get there.
If you want to live a life that’s different, you’re going to have to sacrifice and really push yourself to get there.
You mention three stages of starting your best life: letting go of excuses, adopting new behavior, and acquiring skills. How do you find that these tips could be applied to daily practice? #reallife?
The three stages are really meant to bring about more self-awareness and help break the pattern of self-sabotage. “Am I doing something or telling myself something that isn’t true?” It’s creating a new narrative for yourself. You can have self-awareness without shame. You can’t begin without laying out the skills you need. That’s why I talk about laying out your road map or foundation to start practicing change.
You write that you’re still in the process of overcoming people-pleasing. Where do you think that need comes from and what are some steps we can take to stop the habit?
I think the how and why are important here and really studying that in your life. When I look at my own people-pleasing, I had to look at my household growing up and how I was raised. I grew up wanting to please and make everyone happy. It’s so ironic that this is what I do for a living because I’m judged every single day. People think I don’t care, but every single day I have to not drown in the comments. A people-pleaser wants to try to make it right, but no, you can’t when it comes to other people’s opinions. Every day I get a little stronger, but yes, I still get triggered. It’s about being clear on your values.
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What’s next for your brand and mission?
I’m still amazed at how I’ve been able to build this business and the message that keeps resonating with women everywhere. In Iran, the hashtag #GirlWashYourFace was even gaining popularity. They aren’t talking about the book anymore, it’s more of “girl, stand back up.” This is amazing! I want to continue that impact.
I’m also really passionate about creating jobs because what changed my life was changing my financial situation. I want to offer that to other women. When a woman owns her financial place in the world, she has freedom. I get really inspired about creating jobs because that will change lives. We have a lot of exciting stuff in the works.