Happy Tuesday everyone! I noticed that lately my posts are kind of pouring out a ton of information and deep stuff, but that’s what I’ve been thinking about the most lately. Sometimes I don’t share things on my blog because I feel like no one will want to read them or care, and then someone reminded me of something super important that I tend to forget. Maybe, just maybe, there is one other person out there feeling the same way that I’m feeling. Dealing with the same emotions, hurdles, and thoughts. And if I write about them, maybe I can help that one person.

So today, I bring you, Oprah. Well not exactly. I received an email from Oprah’s life class. Really? Life Class? I almost trashed it, immediately. I’m an Oprah fan, but the first thought that came to my mind was, I really don’t have time for this. And then I saw the preview that included Tony Robbins.

Now, say what you want about Tony Robbins – I’ve found that most people either love him or hate him. I’m kind of indifferent. I think that he has some great information, but I’m not going to be knocking on his door for his autograph anytime soon, if ya know what I mean. But the headline said “Tony Robbins: How to Stop The Fear Machine.” That grabbed me. I have written several times about fear and what that does to me. How it paralyzes me, and keeps me from acting and moving towards the freedom and goals that I’m working towards. So of course, I opened it. DAMN YOU OPRAH! ;)

When I clicked on the link and became another mailing list statistic to Harpo, the title of the article was “Tony Robbins: 5 Ways to Live a More Courageous Life.”  And number one slapped me in the face. Like hard. Tony Robbins is a big man, I’m sure if he slapped me it would hurt.

Don’t Turn an Excuse into an Identity
We need be careful of how we label ourselves, for example, saying “I’m an fearful person” or “I’m a weak person” or “I’m not a strong person.” Usually that label comes from your current or past behavior, but once the label becomes a part of you, it starts to control you. So what I try to get people to understand is: Hey, you’re not broken. You don’t need to be fixed. You don’t need a label. All you need to do is say, “I have to decide how I want to be now going forward.”

Okay everyone that has done, or is doing this to themselves, raise your hand. Anyone who thinks they are exempt, read with me, and think about it – and I’ll bet you can probably come up with a time in your life that you have done this to yourself too.

About six months ago, I used to say “I’m just not very good at the business side.” Meaning that I got into photography to take pretty pictures, not to be a businessperson. And that was true. But it was dragging me DOWN. I was comfortable saying that, and owning up to it, but it was becoming an identity, part of me. Wh-wh-WHAT?! What the heck is up with that? WHY in the world would I want that to be my identity, when I have a business of my own?

Because it was a lot less work. It was easier to say that and end the conversation, than to really dig deep into the WHY and WORK to change that.

Reading that portion of the Tony Robbins thing made me think of something else that someone had said to me. In November of 2011, I reached out to another photographer friend of mine, concerned about the future, scared with the surrounding circumstances, and asked her what she REALLY thought. The beautiful and SO smart Lynn Clark of Lynn Clark Photography is someone that had always struck me as super honest and straightforward. That is also how I operate, and I needed someone to be honest with me. Sometimes we have a tendency, in the path of staying positive, to sugarcoat everything. To paint everything as rainbows and unicorns, and sometimes life ain’t that pretty. I needed someone to really tell me what they thought, to be brutally honest and to make me think. Lynn is one of those people, and I really adore that about her.

I told her the same thing that I just said above – “I love to shoot and am just not good at the business aspect of things.”

Her response stunned me, and actually made me cry. Not because it was mean, not because my feelings were hurt, but because I knew in my heart that she was SO right, and that I was hurting MYSELF by repeating this over and over again.

She said:

*I AM*

The two most powerful words in the universe are I AM. They’re like a magic spell. I am ____. Whatever you put after them becomes true. So, you can choose to put a judgment {“not good at business”} there, or a fact there {“inexperienced with the business side” or “scared about the business side” or “uneducated about the business side” or “not interested in the business side”}. Any or all of those could be true for you right now. “bad” about the business side is a lie told by the “I’m not good enough” monsters that inhabit your brain too.

She continued and basically told me to stop the panic, stop the monsters, and DO THE WORK. Figure it out, work towards a solution, and if the solution didn’t resolve the situation, work towards another solution.

I’m sure to some of you, this all sounds very basic and DUH, right? But to me, saying I am ________ and putting negative things in that blank was really tearing myself down. Unintentionally, unknowingly, but still detrimental.

Today, five months after that conversation, I can proudly say that I AM learning more and more about business every day. I AM running a successful photography business. I AM doing sessions where my clients walk away from my studio feeling better about themselves. I AM moving forward with my life and my business, even though some things still scare me to my core!

So my question to you is, what are you saying about yourself, about your business, that is an excuse becoming an identity? What words are you putting after those two magical words – I AM ? I AM only a mom with a camera, I could never do this full time? I AM only a small town business, they probably wouldn’t even talk to me? I AM not very good at ______. Editing? Pricing? Networking? Marketing?

What are those little monsters telling you in your brain, what are you not very good at, and they’re tricking you into believing it’s because you’re not GOOD enough to do it? If you truly aren’t very good at something, what are you doing to change it? If you want to move forward and grow, what steps are you taking to get to where you want to be? Instead of I AM not very good at something, how about looking at statements like I AM setting five goals every week to better myself and my business, and those goals are….

Some people make things happen, some watch things happen, while others wonder what has happened.

Don’t sell yourself short. I’m not a fan of the motivational things – you can do it if you just put your mind to it! Well yes, you sure can. That is true. BUT YOU HAVE TO WORK YOUR ASS OFF FOR IT TOO. That’s the part everyone seems to glaze over. So what is your I AM statement? What should it be? What steps are you going to take to make that happen? WRITE THEM DOWN. Have an accountability partner to talk to about the goals, the steps you’re taking.

Make Things Happen.