the prosperous photographer

Ep 14. What is a Limiting Belief & How does it Affect your Business?

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My mission is to help you create a business and life that you want: profitable, inspired and on your terms.  Give yourself permission to have the business you truly want. 


photography business coach

Welcome to Episode 14, I have finally tested negative. Maybe I did for the last one, too, I’m not sure. But I am officially COVID free now, and I am back in the in the office.

Today I want to kind of connect some dots. Last week or last episode, I was talking about
our thoughts create our feelings. And because of those feelings, what actions do we take and what are results that we have?

Which brought me to this question of what is a limiting belief and why am I even asking this question?

Well, because earlier this week I was talking about thoughts, so I wanted to expand on that a bit. A lot of the thoughts we have are things that limit us or hold us back in some way.

When it comes to starting and operating a photography business, these limiting beliefs show up everywhere. They show up in all sorts of ways.

Let me first start with what the definition is of a limiting belief. I’ll use Tony Robbins definition because I like it a lot. Beliefs are self imposed narratives that obstruct our path to realizing our true potential. Often operating beneath our awareness. These deeply rooted convictions act as barriers that hinder our evolution into the optimal version of ourselves only surface when someone helps us identify and challenge them.

So how does this definition show up in our photography business?

For me personally, limiting beliefs, well, showed up everywhere. Especially when I decided, okay, let me go back a few steps. first started with me thinking that I was too old to go back to school in my become a photographer. put off becoming a photographer for years my dad telling me when I was a teenager to Keith telling me in my 40s that I had a great eye, that I should consider being a photographer. And deep down I actually really did want to be, be more creative. I love business, I love everything numbers, but I do have a creative side. And a long time though, I put it on the back burner because I had these doubts. I had real big doubts. I had limiting beliefs that would show up no matter when I thought about it.

I put it off for years finally I had the support of Keith and several photographer girlfriends that insisted that I was crazy for not giving it a try. But what went through my head were things like I’m a mom of two young kids, I can’t find the time. Who do I think I am? Going back to school at 40 plus years old, never be a good photographer. I mean, honestly, that probably was the most prevailing thought. This would have been the first time this was the first time in my life that I actually put me out there.

So that would be me being judged, me, my photography skills, me going back to school as an older person. was all about really my doubts about myself. And I think the lack of confidence, lack of self confidence I had in my ability to actually be a good photographer. So I could hide for years and let people tell me that I had a good eye and that I should be a photographer.

But it’s a much different story when you actually put yourself out there. And it was that limiting belief that I think was really what really helped me back. as you can see, according to the definition that I read from Tony Robbins said, these thoughts, these limiting beliefs obstructed my my path for years and I eventually got over myself after I disproved these thoughts to myself.

There was no reason in the world I couldn’t do this. So I tried it. I could not have been more wrong.
excelled in photo school. I even had in my first digital photography class, one of my images was featured in an on campus photo exhibition. And was honored. I was embarrassed. I was, like, weirdly embarrassed that my photo was selected. It was like, who am I to have a photo in exhibition that’s going to be judged? I mean, how could this happen? These are things that I never even imagined possible.

I found the time. My husband was so keith was so supportive. Friends were supportive. Family was supportive. They helped out with the kids. But most of all, my kids looked up to me. Or at least they tell me that now. looked up to me for being an example of what is possible. They saw their mother in the middle of busy time in her life, go back to school and do something for herself. And that is something that I’m so appreciative of as well, that my kids got to see me do something that I wanted to do and do well at it.

Why do we do this to ourselves? Why do we have these limiting beliefs? do we stop ourselves from achieving our goals, from following our dreams, from taking chances, stepping out of our comfort zone, having the photography business that we want?

I have no scientific proof, but for me, I think it’s fear. The fear was at the core of my limiting beliefs. Fear of the unknown. if we fail? But you know what? I also noticed that wonder if I succeed. That was another fear that I had accolades or people’s eyes on me.

Wonder if I was actually a good photographer and people started paying attention to me. That was another fear that I had. Weirdly, unfounded. I’m not sure why I would be afraid of that, but these are the things that were underlying. I didn’t want to step out on a limb and fail.

And I also didn’t want to be noticed for doing it, if that makes sense. I felt like a weird impostor. Like, who is this mother of 240 something years old she can do this? the great part is that I could do it. And I did do it. out of our comfort zone and putting ourselves on the line, it can be tough. I’m saying that firsthand. For me, it was very, very challenging.

I am a private person that does not like to put herself out there. And a lot of people, I don’t like to be judged. I don’t want to fail in front of people. I’m this was was the most front facing thing I probably had ever done my whole entire career. I’ve hid behind other people’s businesses, doing a great job and rescuing them and them thrive and survive. But it was never my business. Even though Keith and I shared a business, he was the creative. He was the one out front. He was the one whose work was being judged, criticized, loved, adored, whatever adjective you want to use, it wasn’t me. I was the one behind the scenes making sure the lights are kept on.

But it wasn’t my photography that was judged. Until now. Now I was part of the team. We were a team. Now we were a duo. stepping out of my comfort zone was wildly different for me in this realm, in this creative realm, it was wildly different.

It makes me think of this story that I’ve heard told many times about a dog that’s sitting on attack, and the dog doesn’t want to move because it knows the pain that it’s feeling. And he’s comfortable with that. He’s okay with that. And if he moved off the tack, he wouldn’t know what to expect. [The Howling Dog Story]

I’m going to put a link to that story in the show notes because it’s so poignant, it’s short and sweet, but it is so on point lot of us decide to stay exactly the way we are because we’re too afraid of change. We’re too afraid of failure. We’re too afraid of the unknown, we recognize, what we’re comfortable with. We don’t want to rock the boat. We don’t want to change things up.

Why take chances if we aren’t sure of the results? It’s tough. I mean, these limiting beliefs are there for a reason. It’s because we’re going to become uncomfortable if we face them. But that’s exactly what you need to do if you want to grow, if you want to become a different version of yourself.

I don’t want to say a better version of yourself, just a different version. other limiting beliefs that stop us from reaching our full potential that I’ve seen show up for fellow photographers myself include thoughts like, I don’t have enough experience.

Like, look at my website, I’m not showing enough. I don’t have enough experience shooting five year olds. I don’t have enough experience shooting weddings in the mountains. I don’t have enough experience in low light situations.

No one’s going to pay me blank to shoot their family. No one’s going to pay me blank to shoot their wedding. don’t think I can successfully run a business because I’ve never done it before. I’ll never find clients that want to work with me. too many other photographers out there. The market is saturated. Who will hire me when they have all these other photographers to choose from? I’ll never be able to do this.

This is where impostor syndrome sneaks in. You doubt your abilities. You’re lacking in self confidence. You’re thinking you can never do this.

These are limiting beliefs, we all have them. They show up in some shape or form. Even the most confident person sometimes suffers from a little thought of a limiting belief sneaking in and stopping them from doing something. what do we do when we find ourselves with these limiting beliefs sneaking in? first step is to recognize them.

Notice it like spend some time just your thoughts, attention to what you’re thinking and what is seeping in your subconscious. Briefly take a look whenever looking at our thoughts and seeing what feelings come up as well as taking a look at what you currently think about your business and what you want your business to be.

Do you see these limiting beliefs pop up? that this belief is just a thought, maybe a very tough one to conquer, but it is literally your thought about this limiting belief. You think you’ll never make money in your photography business because you quote, aren’t good at business, then you can keep that thought and resign yourself to never be good at business. That’s how simple this is. Like if you continue to think something, what continues to happen.

In the last episode I’m not trying to oversimplify, just changing a thought. You can switch a thought at any point. That doesn’t mean you’re actually going to believe it, you could decide, using this example, that the best business person in the world had to learn somewhere. They weren’t born being a great business person. Yes, some of it could have been intuitive that they’re born with an intuition to excel at business.

Alot of what makes them great at business is because they learn things along the way. And even more importantly than what they learn is what they failed at along the way. It’s these mistakes that you make that you learn from. And this is where limiting beliefs get buried.

Guess what? To me, this is the really great news. That we get to change our beliefs. We get to decide that we are going to learn something, get better at something, find time for something. This is all within our control.

We get to change our beliefs. We get to decide we’re going to learn something new. We get to get better at something. We get to find time for something. This is all within our control.

Now, of course, the hard and easy part. What if you were wrong about this limiting belief? What about this this thing that you’re thinking? What if it’s not right? I hate to say it, but just made this thought up. Wonder if you decided that you couldn’t be good at your business.

Like I decided for a long time that I couldn’t go back to school for photography.decided that? I did.
now, couldn’t you be a little bit curious about a new question to ask yourself? What if it was possible to do whatever it is you want to do? sit with that for a second. Wonder if it’s possible to do whatever it is that you want to do. Whether that’s to charge $5,000 for a wedding start your photography business and transition from your full time job – it is you want to do. What if you just sat there for a minute and imagined that it’s possible?

Challenge the limiting belief that you’re having. If you continue to hold on to this limiting belief, what is it going to cost you? What are you missing out on?

Take the time to be curious, get in your mind a little bit and start writing about a limiting belief that is that you think is really holding you back – can you think differently about it? How can you question it? What starts opening up for you as you think about it? Favorite thing to ask you to do grab a piece of paper or your journal and grab a pen and let’s do do to paper and write this exercise out. can be scary, or maybe you’re nervous at all the possibilities, including failure, risk taking, maybe your hands are sweating.

Thinking of getting out of your comfort zone and trying this thing.being curious about how you’re feeling when you’re thinking about this limiting belief.little exercise suggestion is to sit with these thoughts for a bit and really dig in and write down what comes up for you when you think about this belief or beliefs that are holding you back. me, when it came to going back to school to study photography at 40 plus years old, I had to disprove each one to myself. was nervous, I was embarrassed, I felt out of place. I thought, who the hell do I think I am? then it got easier. Each class, each assignment, each positive and negative thing that I learned and learned school, but also what I learned about me.

This maybe one of the hardest things I’ve had to do as an adult.

Obviously, having children is right up there, but from a personal level, self confidence level, going back to school after already having a degree from in my twenties getting another degree in photography, wow, did that take me out of my comfort zone.was something I never imagined I can do. I challenged myself to go back to school. And then after finishing school, it didn’t end there. Then I had to get out there and conquer a whole new set of limiting beliefs.

Now I had to prove myself as a photographer. A photographer that actually gets paid, that actually has to show up for a job, that gets judged that actually gets paid for their work.

This was so tough for me because I had never done anything like this for myself.myself out there. It was so tough. My work was going to be judged, I was going to be judged, my value was going to be challenged. But guess what?

I was challenged more by me because of my beliefs than any client ever has. I was the one holding myself back. I had these limiting beliefs about myself. My clients didn’t have them about me.
They saw the work, they assumed I was a good photographer. They had no reason to doubt me. I doubted myself.

I had that limiting belief. I had to get over myself.It was so tough. It took a ton of discovery. And being curious about what was the worst thing that could happen, what was really the worst thing that could happen.

If I went out on a photography job and took horrible pictures, I was literally the worst thing that could happen. I wasn’t going to die. I wasn’t going to lose a child. I wasn’t going to lose an arm. Literally, the worst thing that could happen is that potentially a client was disappointed in me.

That didn’t happen because I started believing in myself. But my point with this is that one limiting belief in my life led to another limiting belief. From going to school to then having to get out there and work as a photographerthen continuously challenging myself with tougher and tougher assignments, taking on harder and harder jobs,limiting beliefs kept surfacing. Impostor syndrome circling around. These are things I’ve had to work on and will always work on. Because the more we challenge ourselves, the more we step out of our comfort zone, the more mistakes we make, the more we learn.

This is where it gets great. This is where it gets uncomfortable. Like I said, my hands sweat thinking of some of the things I’ve challenged myself to do. But if I don’t keep stretching, I don’t keep growing. And chapter of my life is a different chapter because I decided to address these limiting beliefs that I’ve had

I’ll finish with this question again.

What if you’re wrong about that limiting belief that’s nagging at you?

And you know what chances are? You know what chances are you’re wrong about that limiting belief?

Get curious and start changing those beliefs. You can do this. You’ve got this.

Thank you so much for tuning in, and I look forward to seeing you next Tuesday. Take care.

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