Capable or incompetent - what you tell yourself becomes the truth: Rachel Hollis, best-selling author, motivational speaker

For Rachel Hollis, positivity should be at the root of whatever we do. The best-selling author and motivational speaker tells us why positive affirmations in life are important.
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Author and motivational speaker Rachel Hollis

When the rest of the world was busy making statements on body positivity and deriding the popularity of size zero, this best-selling author and motivational author went on Instagram to celebrate her body as it is - stretch marks and all.

Rachel Hollis believes positivity should be at the root of whatever we do. In her book Girl, Wash Your Face, she exhorted women to take ownership of their lives, goals and dreams. In Girl, Stop Apoligizing, she took a deeper look at the events in her life – successes and missteps of becoming an author, and striving to be an exceptional partner and mother.

In her books, Rachel offers both tools and resources for women to fulfill their biggest dreams and how to get they want from life.

In an exclusive chat with HerStory, she speaks about her literary journey, the importance of positive affirmations in life and why “I” and “me” are as important as “we”.

HerStory: When did you take to writing? Was it a natural step or did it happen after a lot of effort?

Rachel Hollis: I have always loved reading ever since I was a kid. My passion comes from reading fiction - anything from historical romance novels to vampires and witches falling in love. I will just read them all. From there, I thought I am sure I can write my own and that’s where Party Girl came about and the rest of the series that followed. Those books were based on my own life and I developed characters from there. I have always told stories from different points in my life.

HS: Can you tell us a little about your life before this?

RH: I was born and raised in Bakersfield, CA. I graduated high-school early and left the house at 17 and moved to LA. I was an intern at an events company where I met Dave. I left to start my own event planning company (Chic Events) and then started blogging in 2008 to help market the company. This blog was called The Chic Site, and I shared recipes, DIYs, styling tips, and anything that would give women the tools to be their best selves. Along the way, my little blog started to get some attention and eventually people wanted to hire me to help them market their own products. In 2018, Girl, Wash Your Face was released, and I knew the impact it would have on women’s lives. So, after years of building my media company (Chic Media), we grew into The Hollis Company and began focussing on creating content, events, and products to give women even more tools to change their lives. That’s when my husband left Disney to become the CEO of the Hollis Company and in June 2018 we packed up our house, kids, and company to move to Austin, Texas, where we live now.

HS: When did you turn into this motivational powerhouse for women?

RH: I am not sure if there was an exact point, but around the time Girl, Wash Your Face came out I realised that I could speak to women in ways that perhaps no other person in the self-development space can. Once I began speaking on stages across the country, I saw how women took what I said to heart and how it pushed them to accomplish things that were never possible.

HS: Your books are simple, easy to understand - girl-to-girl talk. Did you intend it that way so that you could reach a wider audience?

RH: Since I had a blog, I have always told my community that I am just your pal Rach living her life and sharing all the things even when it’s hard. I never intended to grow my audience like this, but more like how I want to engage with the community I am building. I want them to look at me and relate to me on some level. This is how I wrote my books. I wrote them so that no matter where you were in life, you could find some commonality in the stories I shared. And what’s been amazing is seeing this resonate with women all over the world and that just makes my heart so happy.

HS: "You, and only you, are ultimately responsible for how happy you are" - This resonates with all women - how did you bring this across in your book?

RH: I wanted women to realise that you have to take ownership of your own life to truly live as who you were made to be. To understand that they have it in themselves to pursue what they always wanted but should not look to others to fulfill them. In order for me to tell every woman this, I share my own journey and how long it took me to come to this conclusion. That’s why I wrote Girl, Wash Your Face as I didn’t anyone to ever think that it was an easy road or that it was fast. With me saying that if I could do this, it means so can you because I am no different.

HS: How important are affirmations and positive thoughts in a woman's life?

RH: I truly believe that in order to conquer your day, you have to be in the right mindset. To me, that comes from affirmations and positive thoughts. It’s so important for women to understand that they get to decide what they focus on. They get to decide their perception of the world. Blessed or cursed - their belief is their reality. Capable or incompetent - what they tell themselves becomes their truth. They can choose their thoughts just like they choose what to wear every day. It’s definitely not easy to be positive all the time, but it is important to realise that you can control your emotions. And if you feel like you’re about to be triggered by something you can’t control, how can you ensure you’re reinforcing how you want to remind yourself WHO you want to be?

HS: Women often put their lives on the backburner, caring more about others - how can they balance the two effectively?

RH: I want women to understand that you can’t show up for others with a full heart if you don’t show up for yourself first. If I don’t take the time for myself every morning by waking up an hour earlier before my whole house, then I can’t be there for my company, my kids, my husband, and the community of women I interact with every day. So, during this time, I do a 30 minute workout, write in my Start Today Journal, get some work done, or anything else that will set me up for success for the rest of the day. I want women to challenge themselves to create this routine or simply starting with one thing a day that puts themselves first because once they do, they will be able to truly care for others and not worry if they’re balancing it or not.

HS: As a motivational speaker, can you tell us a few experiences where women's lives have changed through some simple girl talk and advice?

RH: I am not changing their lives, they are. I’m happy to be able to put tools in their hands to help them along their journey.

HS: Can you tell us more about your breakthrough moment on Instagram - celebrating your stretch marks and the response your received?

RH: I was on vacation with my husband in Cancun and wanted to post a photo on the beach. When I decided to post it I considered zooming in to cut out my stomach but then I realized I hadn’t ever seen another mom on social media show off her stretch marks… and surely I’m not the only one who has them, right? So, I posted it and truly could not believe the reaction I got. At the time, I was an unknown blogger who shared recipes and DIYs - someone who was just enjoying time with her hubby but people were sending encouraging messages and started to post their photos showing off their bodies. I think it was the idea that most people look at social media and try to compare themselves and want to look a certain way, but there I was showing off my body with stretch marks. This is when I realised that I could actually use social media to make an impact on my community in a more positive way.

HS: What are your plans for the future, including books?

RH: Right now, I am focussed on building The Hollis Company alongside my husband Dave Hollis. We’re creating a company that affects not just the lives of our employees, but also the millions of people that come to our live events, listen to our podcast, purchase our products, or just follow us on Instagram.