This book first came to my attention when my friend Heather referenced it on Instagram, and when I saw it front and centre in a bookshop, I took it as a sign that I should read it. I was feeling pretty lost, not entirely happy with myself and this was just the book that I needed to help me address those issues head on, and reassure myself that I wasn’t alone.
Let’s just get this out there… the book has a big Christian influence. There are references to God, the bible and Christian teachings throughout, which might be off-putting to some. Rachel clearly acknowledges that Christianity isn’t for everyone and that to each their own. I liked it. Having grown up in a church going family, and getting married in a religious ceremony last year, I’ve found myself resonating more and more with the teachings. Whenever I’m going through a tough time or finding something challenging, my Mum will bring up a passage from the bible or remind me that God knows best. For years, I dismissed it, but I find myself going back to them, and finding comfort and solace there.
But if the religious bit isn’t your thing, there’s still a lot you can get from the book.
Rachel makes you take a hard look at yourself. She’s straight talking, making you realise that you are in control of most of the things in our lives. That even if you’ve gone through trauma, you need to try to eventually look for the positives, build yourself back up and stop making excuses.
It can be hard hitting. Anything that forces you to be introspective can be. A book that calls you out on some of the things you’re most vulnerable about, the areas of yourself that you like least or worry about most. This will do that.
But at the same time, it’s empowering, Reassuring. Like a wise old friend giving you tough love over a glass of wine.
Some of my biggest takeaways;
-Asking for help, and accepting it. How often do we just try to manage on our own. Even when people offer it, we are reluctant to accept it, or feel guilty in doing so. Stop…say yes. Or reach out for help. I have wanted to do the podcast for ages, but am terrible at the editing (and frankly, don’t have the time). So I found someone that is an affordable price to edit it for me.
-The only things worse than giving up is wishing that you hadn’t. (Truth. Boston, I’m coming for you).
– Nobody gets to tell you how big your dreams can be. Stop listening to naysayers, or your friends/family/followers that might say you can’t do something, or put the voice of doubt in your head. Goals and dreams are hard, but if you don’t keep going, someone else will, and you will watch someone achieve your dream.
-Healthy bodies -one of my favourite passages, that I think Rachel puts so well (and explains my own feeling far better and diplomatically than I could) is her approach to physical wellbeing.
Rachel talks about how she believes ‘that humans were not made to be out of shape or severely overweight. I think we function better mentally, emotionally and physically when wee take care of our bodies with nourishment, water and exercise’….’its not weight that defines you, but the care and consideration you put into your body’
‘You don’t need to be thin. You don’t need to be a certain size or shape’…’You need to be able to run without feeling like you’re going to puke. You need to be able to walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded. You need to drink half your body weight in ounces of water per day. You need to stretch and get good sleep and stop medicating every ache and pain. You need to stop filling your body with garbage…you need fuel for your body that hasn’t been processed and fuel for your mind that is positive and encouraging. You need to get up off the sofa…and move around. Get out of that fog you have been living in and see your life for what it is’
– Decide what is really important to YOU. not your friends, or influencers on Instagram, but to you. Then do those things first. (after the things that need to happen, like brushing your teeth, and laundry – there’s always laundry).
– Not taking NO as the final answer – I feel like this one I grew up being told by my Mum. And I never let it be the final answer, I would push and push. It wasn’t a good trait as a child but it has held me in good stead as I grew older…however, I think I’ve lost it somewhat. I loved Rachel’s encouragement that even if you get a NO from 10 people, you can still find a way to make it happen. For her, it was with a book. She was rejected by all the publishers, so she self-published. I’ve always wanted to write a cookery book, and although it’s definitely a work in progress (I’ve had a notes section on my phone for YEARS), I know that even if it is just an e-book, I’m going to make it happen.
If you’re feeling lost, a little low or in need of a change…this book might help. It could offer that guidance that you need, or a kick up the bum to stop making excuses, and take action.
Heck, midway through reading it I thought about the thing I’ve been wanting to do but putting off because of the time it would take…and how annoyed I would be with myself if I didn’t give it another go. And so I took the steps to make it happen. I asked for help editing the podcast, reached out to people I wanted to interview and chat with…and its back on! I’m aiming to be posting new podcasts, between 15-20 minutes long (although open to feedback on this), every Sunday morning. In time for those weekend long runs or the Monday commute… I hope you like it.
Overall, I really liked it. It was raw, honest and funny. It tackled tough subjects with a lighthearted spin on it. I felt like Rachel wasn’t too preachy, or overly smug about her achievements, and instead identified her failings, her shortfalls and mistakes and the steps she took to rectify them. And the times where you simply have to be kind to yourself and acknowledge that you’re doing the best that you can.
I’d love to know what you thought of it, if you’ve read it? Or if you’re considering reading/listening to it?
Next month’s book is Strong by Kara Goucher.