Girl, stop apologizing!
Stop apologizing: A shame-free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals.
Rachel Hollis is CEO of a successful digital media company, The Hollis Co. She has a huge fanbase of over million people and she gives motivation, embracement and energy for women in different phases of life. Two of her five books are New York Time bestsellers. (Shopify, 2020) I read her book Girl, Stop apologizing: A shame-free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals.
Writing style of hers is easy to read, humorous and relatable. She tells stories of her own attempts as well as mistakes in her career and made clear that she would not be where she is today without resilience, hard work and faith in herself. There were many things in the book I do not see the same way as she does, but I think that the idea of the book is to not tell which paths one needs to take in order to achieve goals, but rather helping gaining the mindset and attitude towards yourself and life. I chose to read this book, because often I, as a quite shy young woman face situations where it is hard to be confident and make clear that my opinion, goals and dreams are important. I think these recognitions are crucial in business life when we are selling ourselves and our know-how to companies and clients.
In this essay I share some interesting ideas and points she presented in the book whilst writing about my own experiences and thoughts about those.
Shame is a powerful feeling and at least for me that is something I have struggled a lot with, and still am struggling almost daily. It is funny how I am sometimes ashamed of small things that happened years ago even though those have nothing to do with the person I am today. How to get rid of that burden it slowly piles up on your shoulders? Usually the feeling of shame makes one feel insecure and vulnerable and as can be imagined, these are not something you want to feel when applying for a job or negotiating sales. I have always thought that it is just something that comes with my character, something I cannot change, but I want to believe that it is not true. I cannot totally change the way I am, but I can get new points of view and see myself differently. I have already raised my confidence for a whole different level than what it used to be, but I acknowledge that it can be a lot better still. I can also learn from others and use the constructive feedback received in order to improve myself.
In the book Rachel encourages women to be genuinely themselves and doing exactly what is valuable for a person. As long as one does not harm others, we are supposed to live by our own standards, not how everyone else is living or how someone else would like our life to be. I know it sounds corny and that is how I also felt sometimes when reading the book but when you start thinking it more deeply it is true. I have always cared a lot about everyone else´s opinions, sometimes so much that I could not make any decisions without asking from someone first or investigating what others might think of it. Stupid, I know. I have always known that I can do what I want to, and it is not anyone else´s business but somehow still it has been very hard to execute.
Achieving goals requires hard work. In order to achieve them, you need to be aware of the specific results you want. Listing goals is a good way to make sure you remember to go towards them every day. According to Rachel, you should not list more than one goal at a time in order to focus fully on that. Listing a wage goal such as “I´m going to work in a successful company” is not specified and might be harder to reach than “I will be a Finance Manager at Google”. When your goal is clear you know exactly what you need to do in order to achieve it. It is easier to make step by step plans if you know where you are going to.
It is surprisingly hard to ask for help when needed. Often, we have the assumption that we need to figure out everything alone without telling anyone that we actually have no idea what we are doing. For some reason it is also indoctrinated to our minds that if we don´t survive alone we have failed in the task. Thinking of the most successful persons in the world, they receive help for so many things. They have cleaners, nannies and even managers to take care of their schedule. Asking help for the things one does not enjoy doing or cannot do is not weakness, it is prioritizing so that one can focus to the thing important to the person.
Many times people say that they cannot do something because “it is not in their character”. Rachel emphasized the fact that one can learn anything when just putting the effort to it. If one is not goal-oriented person now, does not mean that they can never be. I have to admit that I have done this a lot during the years. I have turned down opportunities and challenges just because I have thought that “I am not that kind of a person, I cannot do that perfectly”. It is sad to realise later that I actually could have done it. Also it can be one excuse to give when one does not have the energy or motivation to do something. Blaming everything to one´s character might make people blind for the opportunities for growth and improving.
My earlier work experiences as a waitress and tour guide have taught me a lot about people as well as the different stereotypes and approaches they might have. Many times have I heard the sentence “you are just so young, someday you will learn how to do things properly” or “I do not expect you to know that as a girl”. As we know, people sometimes underestimate others based on the looks and expectations might not be as high as for someone else. In many situations I have needed to explain myself and sometimes even that is not enough, but people demand to see the manager who comes and explains the exact same things. Too many times I have apologized for being me and it took me a long time to realise that I do not need to do that. I have kept quiet a lot, since I thought my opinion is not worth it or no one should hear it, but nowadays I am braver to intervene things that does not feel okay to me. Also, I have realised that I am entitled to pursue my own dreams and goals and do not need anyone´s permission for that. As thought this from the business point of view, I see it crucial for myself to know my own worth in order to achieve my goals. If I would not believe in myself, it would be hard for me to work in a field where personal brand affects in so many things.
In this modern society it is easy to gain the mindset of not being enough. There are so much happening around us and we see other´s success every day which might make us feel that we are not doing enough. The pressure from this might cause a lot of stress which makes it harder to move towards the goals set for yourself. For me personally, social media sometimes makes me feel as an underachiever in terms of not working as hard as others. In these moments I try to stop for a minute and remember that I do not want to only perform my life and will proceed in a pace that suits me.
It is great that during the last few years people have been talking a lot more about weaknesses and humaneness is getting more valued. Mistakes, challenges, therapy sessions and possible burnouts are more discussed and brought to people´s awareness which at least for me lowers the pressure of managing everything perfectly. Hopefully in the future we can discuss even more openly and understand each other better, I am sure it would also increase our motivation towards work.
Hollis, R. (2019) Girl, Stop apologizing: A shame-free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals. HarperCollins Leadership, United States