Girl, Stop Apologizing summary

Girl, Stop Apologizing by Rachel Hollis Analysis and Summary

A Shame-Free Plan for Embracing and Achieving Your Goals

Life gets busy. Has Girl, Stop Apologizing been gathering dust on your bookshelf? Instead, pick up the key ideas now.

We’re scratching the surface here. If you don’t already have the book, order the book or get the audiobook for free on Amazon to learn the juicy details.

Rachel Hollis’ Perspective

Rachel Hollis is a #1 New York Times and #1 USA Today bestselling author. Additionally, she is a top business podcaster and one of the most sought-after motivational speakers worldwide. As a bestselling author and wildly successful lifestyle influencer, Rachel has built a global social media fanbase in the millions. 

“Because the world needs your spark. The world needs your energy. The world needs you to show up for your life and take hold of your potential! We need your ideas. We need your love and care. We need your passion. We need your business models. We need to celebrate your successes. We need to watch you rise back up after your failures. We need to see your courage. We need to hear your what if. We need you to stop apologizing for being who you are and become who you were meant to be.”

– Rachel Hollis, Girl, Stop Apologizing
Girl, Stop Apologizing summary
  • Save

Women Neglect Their Dreams for Many Reasons and Excuses

The world would be an entirely different place if women pursued their dreams without worrying about judgment or self-doubt. Plus, the world would undoubtedly be a better place if more women could pursue their dreams. However, the reality is that the majority of women are not pursuing their dreams. 

Our childhoods hugely impact us. As children, we all have a desire for attention and are worried about what other people think. However, young girls have further difficulties. Young girls are taught that their value is based on whether they make a good wife or mom. This upbringing means that girls, and then women, gain their personal worth from pleasing others rather than achieving personal goals. In comparison, boys are raised to pursue their dreams irrespective of how far-fetched they are. 

Women have to start accepting different dreams so they can break free from these barriers. Additionally, women have to stop trying to meet someone else’s expectations. You and other women will have unique life goals and dreams. Your dreams are not tied to your gender. After this, you then need to stop making excuses for why you are not pursuing your dreams. 

Being Different is Positive

Rachel describes how she lived a double life for many years. She was a devoted wife and mom but also had a hugely popular lifestyle blog. Subsequently, Rachel identified herself as a wife and mom, who just happened to write a blog. Rachel adopted this double life as she feared judgment from other people. Specifically, she was aware that moms often lowered their work hours upon having a child. However, Rachel was working 60-hour weeks running a small business. Rachel continued to pursue her work. However, many women would stop working based on fear. They would be fearful that others would think they are not putting enough time into their childrearing. Essentially, women are telling themselves, ‘This is not what other women do.’

This idea of being like other women is particularly common in teenage girls. There are always rebels who stand out, but generally, girls will follow the crowd. Girls find comfort in being like every other girl. However, you need to ask yourself, ‘Does being like every other woman make me feel happy and fulfilled?’ Either way, you should not let other people determine your self-worth. Some women want to care for their children solely, and that is what brings them joy. This is absolutely fine. However, it is also absolutely fine if a woman decides she doesn’t even want children. Don’t apologize for doing what makes you happy. 

Personal Growth Creates Time and Alleviates Insecurities

One of the easiest excuses is merely saying that we don’t have enough time to fulfill our life goals. However, you have to abandon this excuse if you ever want to reach your goals. Instead of searching for free time in your busy day, you will have to start making time. It might require difficult decisions and sacrifices, but it is the most critical change you can make. 

The first approach that will help you start making time is accepting ownership of your life. Whatever your schedule in life, you have to start taking control of your time. This ownership might involve cutting out daily pleasures, such as midweek TV. However, once you have reached your life goals, you will not be complaining about missing a show’s latest episode. 

Secondly, a schedule, listing every hour of your next week, will be vital in keeping on top of your time. Within this schedule, you should aim to find a minimum of five hours in the week where you will commit to pursuing your goal. These hours don’t have to be consecutive but must involve full concentration. Therefore, choose the times of the day where you feel most active and productive. 

Finally, people often use a lack of skill as an excuse for not pursuing their life goals. These feelings can often stem from past failures or moments where you have been left embarrassed by others making fun of your performance. However, past experiences should never prevent you from attaining future success. Your experience of this skill may have been in an environment that does not work for you or may have been at a time when you were less motivated. If you are eager and willing, you will find a way to learn and excel in the skills required. 

Fear of Failure Should Never Be a Barrier

“You are allowed to want more for yourself for no other reason than because it makes your heart happy. You don’t need anyone’s permission, and you certainly shouldn’t have to rely on anyone’s support as the catalyst to get you there.” – Rachel Hollis

Sometimes we have to be selfish to achieve our goals. Rachel’s father recalled how his professor once said to his class that they had to be selfish to make time for the grueling coursework and thesis writing ahead. If they weren’t selfish, others would stop them from putting the required effort into their work. Therefore, don’t let other people’s judgments stop you from spending large amounts of time on your goals. Some people will always be judgmental, no matter what. Therefore, ignore these people’s opinions and do what you want. 

Another barrier to success is a fear of failure. Often we are not scared of failure but the judgments of others upon failing. Rachel gives an example of one of her failures. She tried to orchestrate a big push to get one of her previous books to debut on the New York Times bestseller list. Despite her 850,000 social media fans hashtagging all day, it didn’t happen. This example shows that anybody can fail, and each failure is a valuable lesson. Additionally, you only enjoy the successes of life if you have failed in the past. 

“For many women the weight of other people’s opinions will be too big a burden to carry; they won’t be able to step outside the safety net because they’re too scared. But that’s not us. We’re willing to go after it, we’re willing to be audacious, and we’re willing to take it on because the chance to live into our full potential is worth any backlash that comes our way. Some say good girls don’t hustle. Well, I’m okay with that. I care more about changing the world than I do about its opinion of me.” – Rachel Hollis

Adopt Useful Behaviors

Women have been told for centuries that they have to adopt ‘good etiquette’. Essentially, women were banned from talking about money, sex, or personal success. Instead, they were told they had to make the most of what they were given. However, Rachel quotes historian Laurel Thatcher Ulrich in her book, “Well-behaved women seldom make history.” Therefore, don’t listen to society and instead embrace your life goals. Then, identify useful behaviors that will help you obtain those goals. 

Firstly, Rachel recommends that you stop asking for permission. Men are often given positions of power; therefore, women frequently feel the need to ask for permission. However, the only authority you need is having life goals and wanting to obtain them.

Secondly, Rachel recommends focusing on only one dream at a time. Spreading your interests and goals will reduce your chance of failure across the board. However, spreading yourself thin also means you are less likely to succeed in pursuing any of your big life goals. Rachel suggests that we all adopt the 10-10-1 plan so that we can focus on just one goal. Try and think ahead to ten years from now. How would you like your life to look at this point? Visualize this time, including every small detail. Then, think of ten dreams that would help make this imagined future a reality. Finally, you need to pick one goal from these ten that you believe is the most important. Ten years, ten dreams, one goal. This one goal should be specific and measurable. 

After creating your ten dreams, you will want to write them down every single day. Instead of writing down the goals you want, you should be writing them down as if they have already been obtained. For example, if you want to save $20,000, you should be writing ‘I have $20,000 in my bank account.” Writing these down every day will keep you motivated.

Build a Solid Foundation

“You’ve got to plan for your success. You’ve got to be intentional, and you’ve got to decide right now that you can be whoever you want to be and achieve whatever you want to achieve. You’ve got to believe it.” – Rachel Hollis

Successful people do not reach their goals by themselves. Instead, they surround themselves with people who are loyal and supportive. Additionally, if they are running a business, they hire people to complete mundane tasks so they can focus on the essential tasks. Subsequently, one of the most important tips is to ask for help when you need it. Plus, surround yourself with people who are better than you. If you are the smartest person in your community, then you need to expand your circle. You don’t want to be pulled down; you want to be helped up.

As well as a supportive foundation, we also need foundational practices to excel. Firstly, Rachel suggests that a healthy lifestyle is vital for success. She recommends we remain hydrated at all times, get up early, and fit one piece of exercise in every day. Your body was made to move rather than sit around. 

Morning routines are hugely important. In fact, Rachel describes your morning routine as the cornerstone of your foundation. How you spend your morning sets a precedent for the rest of your day. Therefore, planning a nourishing morning routine will help improve your life. Rachel describes her perfect morning as one that starts at 5 AM. She wakes up at this time as it allows her to be productive while her children are sleeping. Rachel uses this time to meditate and do some journal writing. Also, she writes down her ten dreams from the 10-10-1 method. Rachel then wakes and readies her children for school before driving them there. After this, she puts on some music, drinks a morning smoothie, and plans her day ahead. 

Certain Skills Will Help Everybody Towards Achieving Their Goals

There are specific skills that are universally useful, and anybody can learn.

  1. Planning – Rachel recommends using a road map exercise to get better at planning. Set your life goal as the finish line and then work backward. Think about all the steps you will have to take to reach the finish line. Then, brainstorm any useful ideas that crop up and highlight the three most important milestones
  2. Confidence – A recent study showed that men apply for a job if they feel they meet 60 percent of the role’s criteria. In comparison, women only apply if they are 100 percent qualified. It is important to remember that we can develop the skills within the job criteria through experience. We have to be confident that we can learn through experience
  3.  Persistence and Effectiveness – We always have new things to learn and further things to improve upon. Therefore, be persistent with your work, but also accept small, attainable goals. Giving yourself challenging yet manageable goals will help you to be effective
  4. Positivity and Leadership – Positivity is not always easy, but it will help keep you in control of tasks. Rather than reacting negatively, you are choosing to remain positive and not let your emotions take over. Additionally, leadership may not be natural to you, but all individuals are leaders in their own right

Final Summary and Review of Girl, Stop Apologizing

To achieve your goals in life, you need to let go of excuses and stop apologizing. We often walk away from challenges due to low self-esteem, pressure from society, or merely bad habits. We must learn to let go of excuses and stop letting others dictate our lives. Only then can we reach our goals.

Men and women alike often lose their true identities as they take on the roles and responsibilities expected of them. These responsibilities can leave them feeling a lack of ownership over their own lives. By learning the skills to take ownership of your life, you’ll have the confidence to follow your dreams and live life with no hesitation.

In Girl, Stop Apologizing, Rachel Hollis explains how to conquer shame and doubt to live an unapologetic, excuse-free life.

If you have feedback about this summary or would like to share what you have learned, comment below or tweet to us @storyshots.

New to StoryShots? Get the audio and animated versions of this summary and hundreds of other bestselling nonfiction books in our free top-ranking app. It’s been featured #1 by Apple, The Guardian, The UN, and Google in 175 countries.

Order the Book or get the audiobook for free to dive into the details.

Related Book Summaries

Girl, Wash Your Face

You Are a Badass

The One Thing

The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck

Lean in

The Woman’s Hour


Similar Posts


  1. Rachel is indeed getting abadass lady out of me and probably its the best version of me am don’t apologizing???

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.