Are You Vulnerable?

A surreal photo of a pair of hands on the beach as they climb out of the oceanVulnerability

That's a tough one. How much do we do every day to keep ourselves protected - to protect our hearts, our pride, our self-image?

As an artist, photography is my medium. I love pushing the boundaries of the traditional photograph. I have lots of ideas, but I can't always execute due to my technical limitations. I'm working on that! Every day I do at least one thing to learn and overcome my technical limitations.

If I'm going to learn and grow, I have to be vulnerable. I have to put work out there that doesn't seem ready yet. I've talked about that before, though. That's the Demon Perfection. It's amazing how much more proliferative I am when I reject perfection.

As I learned at the Tony Robbins event, limitations are just limiting beliefs about ourselves.

I'm done with limiting beliefs. I can learn anything I want to learn to reach my highest potential as a photographer. And that's what I intend to do.

Keep on learning and keep on creating.

Why do I give in to limiting beliefs sometimes? Why do I get stuck in thoughts that I'm not good enough? Or, I'll never be good enough? Or all the other photographers are so much smarter, better, technically adept than I am?

Because it's easy...and a little bit lazy.

It's easy to compare myself to others and come up short. And then it lets me off the hook. If I give in to my limiting beliefs, then I don't have to do anything hard, and I don't have to risk being vulnerable. I can tell myself I don't have to try because I'll never be good enough. 

It's total BS.

Lots of people are held back by their limiting beliefs. Limiting beliefs are the negative voices in your head that wear a groove like a needle on a record. They're difficult to overcome. 

And humans desire certainty. Trying something entails uncertainty and vulnerability. 

But, I realize I've always pushed back against limiting beliefs in my own way, even when I didn't realize I was doing it.

Limiting belief: You're a girl!

In high school, I was a girl on the boy's water polo team, before they had a girl's water polo team. I give credit to my swim coach and my friend, Karin, for that. They both pushed me when I didn't feel ready. If I had only listened to myself, I never would have been ready. I thought I'd make a fool of myself.

Sometimes I did.

It didn't hurt me. And in the end, it was empowering. 

In college, I played NCAA water polo on the UCSD women's team.

I learned to push myself way beyond my limits.

Limiting belief: You're a girl! You're not strong enough or brave enough!

After college, I learned to fly hot-air balloons.

I passed the written, verbal, and flight test to walk away with my pilot's license. Why did I do that? Because I loved flying in a balloon when someone else was in charge. And because some neanderthal passenger made an absurd comment about me - something in reference to me as a woman. 

The good news is, I let my anger take me past my fear, exploding my limiting beliefs. I learned how to fly a hot-air balloon.

I got stuck in a thermal the first time I flew solo, forcing me to come face-to-face with one of my worst fears. I survived.

Limiting belief: It's dangerous to have a natural birth after a C-section! 

My first child was born via C-section because he was a single footling breech. I never wanted to go through another C-section again. When I was pregnant with my second, the doctors encouraged me to be open to another C-section. 

I wasn't. I did my homework.

The rate of C-section is higher when drugs are used during labor. I gave birth two more times, naturally, with no painkillers, epidural, or anesthesia. I used self-hypnosis instead.

I had to fight with a nurse who was about to stick an IV in my arm with the birth of the third. "I'm not doing it that way," I said.

"Where you from?" She demanded. 

"California," I said. 

"You're one of them granola girls, aren't you?"

I laughed out loud, and we were instant friends for the duration, which was only three hours and 15 minutes, by the way. Pushed the little sweetie right out with the nurse yelling, "You go, California girl!"

I put myself to the test physically a lot. 

But, emotional vulnerability is a whole 'nother beast. It's much harder. 

Showing my art photography puts me in a vulnerable state. But, I realize I can't make good art if I'm not willing to be vulnerable. 

With that super long introduction, the above photo is a fine-art composite photo that I recently made. It took me a looooong time to get it to come out the way I wanted it. Look closely.

It's a representation. 

My emergence. My birth from the sea of limiting beliefs. Those are my hands in the photo. What do you think?

Vulnerable is okay. Vulnerable is good.

What limiting beliefs are holding you back? Think about letting go of them. Chances are, they're not serving you.

Have a great rest of your week.

See you between the raindrops!