I want to talk about confidence.

Confidence has been a big theme for me, one because of my own personal growth journey, and two, because as a photographer, it comes up a lot with my clients.

From my clients, I often hear:

    • “I need a LOT of direction.”
    • “I’m super awkward in front of the camera.”
    • “I have no idea what to do in photos!”
    • “I’m not very photogenic.”

The underlying feeling for all of these statements is a lack of confidence.

If you don’t have a lot of experience with photoshoots, the prospect of being in front of the camera – and being the primary focus – can be extremely daunting.

Why is that?

Here are my thoughts: It’s new territory for you. This isn’t your zone of genius. You’re not (yet) confident in your ability to “be” and “do” what you think you need to based on the idea you have in your head.

So, it makes sense that you’ll feel a bit nervous. This is how we all feel when we’re about to do something new and unfamiliar.

And this brings us back to the first area in which confidence is a big theme: life. And our own individual journeys of personal growth. So, we have two concurrent areas where confidence comes up a lot: life and photography.

I want to talk about both.

You might think you need to be confident before you commit to a photoshoot. You don’t need to be.

In your own life, you might think confidence is something you’ll have “when…(you’re better at X, you have more Y, you finally accomplish Z…).” That’s not how it works.

In both cases, confidence isn’t a “thing” you obtain.

What I mean by “confidence”

Confidence is trust in yourself. Confidence is feeling completely safe and self-assured in your own being. You love and accept yourself as you are. You feel good about the way you exist in the world. You feel aligned. 

Confidence = Energy

Confidence is a type of energy.

I know all too well what a lack of confidence feels like, and how it affects your life.

Maybe you’re thinking, “I’m not confident. I’ve never been a confident person. That’s just not me.”

And I’m here to tell you, plainly, that’s not true.

“Confident” is not something you either are or are not, or something you have or don’t have.

It’s not a trait you’re born with (or not).

Confidence is a state.

Happiness is a state. Sadness is a state. Joy is a state.

So is confidence.  It’s a kind of energy you put out into the world.

Because it’s a state, you can tap into it whenever you want. You can harness it. You can cultivate it.

Why energy matters

Your state – AKA your energy – directly impacts your behaviour, and ultimately, your results. 

In other words, how you feel affects your results. 

If you’re in a sad, defeated type of state, that is the lens through which you’re viewing the world. This becomes the filter your mind applies to the interpretation of events, interactions, and experiences.

If that’s how you see the world, and that’s how you interpret things happening around you, of course you’ll respond in a certain way.

If you believe that things happen TO you, your behaviours will reflect that. And, you’ll get the results to match, which will reinforce this view of the world.

Now, imagine you see the world differently. Imagine you look at the world from a happy, empowered state.

What if you were to believe things happen FOR you?

Your behaviours would come from a much more empowered place, wouldn’t they? And your results will match.

So, your state/energy matters for your own results, and it also matters because you don’t exist in isolation.

You impact other people. You impact the world. If you’re a freelancer or entrepreneur, you impact your clients and the work you produce and deliver.

Why showing up confidently online matters

The mindset that allows you to show up confidently online (/in your photoshoot) is the same mindset that helps you thrive in entrepreneurship and life.

The willingness to go for it, to try new things, and to make it fun is the same time of mindset you need to succeed in business.

The willingness to do something for the first time – the willingness to be wrong – is the key to entrepreneurship.

It’s about the willingness to do something before you’re ready, and the confidence and trust in yourself that you can handle it.

And, if you’re prepping for your 10th photoshoot, the willingness to commit and be consistent with how you show up is equally important. (Consistency is one of the central pillars of the framework I walk clients through, and more on that in a later post.)

The same energy you bring to your branding session is the same energy that your audience and potential clients will see online. It’s the same energy you show up with in your business (and life).

And yes, you can see the energy in a photo. Observe (photo by Jessica Charuk):

Me, December 2018

As you can see in this photo…well, I’m not sure what you’re seeing in this photo, but when I look at this photo, I don’t really see “me”. I’m a really happy, joyful person, and it doesn’t come across at all in this photo – and did I mention I was in Miami?

I had actually tagged along with another brand photographer as part vacation, part shadowing experience. I was a super noob, and experiencing MAJOR imposter syndrome. 

Flash forward to March 2019 (photos taken by Jessica Charuk):

You know, I think I look slightly more joyful in these photos, than I do in the one from December 2018. It still feels reserved though. Whatever I was doing, I was holding back. I was trying to hide. Even though I was “doing the thing”, I wasn’t stepping into it fully. I wasn’t trusting myself that it would be okay.

And if you’re thinking, “You just need to smile more!” 

And while smiling can affect your state, it’s just one small piece of a much larger puzzle. A smile cannot override the patterns running non-stop in your subconscious mind.

Here’s one where I’m smiling – I felt most comfortable hiding behind this mug. As you can see, even though I am smiling while I sip, my body language and overall energy are saying something else.

This has been my journey – working my way out of a place of hiding. Of making myself small. Of feeling uncomfortable taking up space, being heard, or being noticed. Of learning to trust and listen to myself and my own opinions, more than the opinions of others.

These photos are from pretty early on in my business, and I was still dealing with a ton of self-doubt and imposter syndrome. I certainly didn’t feel comfortable in front of the camera, even though I was already helping others do just that. 

And this doesn’t mean I wasn’t having fun at this cafe, spending time with a friend, drinking a latte, and enjoying delicious lunch.

The truth is, I didn’t know how to tap into a state of confidence. I didn’t know how to just be in a state of joy. To choose that feeling over the fear. And I doubted my ability to handle everything I was jumping into. 

Moving along on the journey, I started to look a little more relaxed around April (left) and May (right) 2019 (photos taken by Jessica Charuk).

Four and five months after the first photo from Miami, things are improving, but there’s still some inner work I need to do.

Now, here are more photos of me at Disneyland in September 2019 (photos taken by Brianne Wik):

Seven months later, you can see that something is different.

Something was, in fact, incredibly different. I had just left my 9-5 office job to pursue my passion for photography. I was literally living the life I dreamed of living. So you could say I was feeling pretty damn amazing.

I’m in front of the camera, and I don’t look like I want to be as small as possible. It looks like I’m having fun.

I’m doing something I absolutely love – I’m at Disneyland with amazing people doing work I love. I feel on top of the world. And it shows.

I’m literally jumping around in front of the camera. I wasn’t worried about looking weird or people seeing me. I was loving life so much, I forgot to worry.

And perhaps most importantly – I didn’t give up. I didn’t take the feelings of self-doubt and say, “Well, I guess that’s it. I can’t do this.”

I kept going, and learned to trust myself. And it paid off.

What I’m trying to show you is that you can see someone’s energy through a photo. It comes through in their physiology, and I personally think there’s a special glow in someone’s eyes when they’re really feeling the magic.

Confidence develops over time from not giving up. It’s a state and a kind of energy you can cultivate with every decision to keep going. With every decision to trust yourself and your ability to handle something new and/or scary.

Here are some super recent (April 2020) photos to illustrate this even more:

I actually asked my partner to take photos of me. And then I OWNED it. I wanted photos of myself, and I didn’t shy away from it. Previously, I would ask for photos of myself, but then act like I didn’t want to be there – because even though I DID want photos, I didn’t fully own that version of me yet – the version of me that’s confident and doesn’t care what other people think of her.

And, I didn’t allow myself to enjoy being in the moment. Instead, I focused on the fears and worries and doubt.

Here are a few more photos from June 2020 (photos taken by Jessica Charuk).

Right after I shared the photo above of me sitting in the teal chair by the mirror on Instagram, I received a message from someone who has seen my business journey from the start. We’ve known each other for years – from before either of us had a business. I could feel and see the difference in my energy myself, and it was so amazing to know that someone else could see my confidence, too.

Comment from Carmina Dimulescu, hair and makeup artist | cdbeautyto.com | @carmina_dimulscu

Other comments about the change in energy from a live webinar I did in July include: “You look so free,” and “From sad to stunning.”

Cultivating the energy you want to have obviously directly impacts how you feel showing up each day, and the comments above show another reason why it’s so important. Your audience can tell how you feel. This is just one person who sees my content and decided to reach out. Imagine how many others notice the difference and don’t say anything at all.

You’ll know they notice your energy in other ways, though – through engagement with your content, by choosing to continue to follow you and be connected to you, and by wanting to work with you.

How the right energy helps you attract your ideal client

What kind of people do you want to be working with?

What kind of clients do you want to attract?

Rephrased: What kind of clients are (currently) attracted to you?

I’ll bet what you really want are clients who want to work with you. Clients who resonate with you and your story. Clients who aren’t just price shopping. You want clients who value your work and are willing to compensate you appropriately. 

These are your ideal clients. And to attract them, you need to show up as your genuine, awesome, magnetic self.

When you are you – being who you want to be – when you exude joy, you are magnetic to your ideal client.

“But wait – I don’t have time to wait for all this confidence to develop. How can I be myself on camera and show up in life/business as myself when I’m still so dang nervous??”

Oh trust me, I know. From starting my business to now, it has literally taken me years to get to the point of feeling confident in front of the camera (let alone feeling confident in this whole business thing).

And I don’t want you to have to wait that long before you can fully step into your power.

Where NLP comes in

NLP is neuro-linguistic programming.

Neuro refers to the mind, which is what we use to filter information (how we perceive the world).

Linguistic refers to the language we use to apply meaning to our experiences and how we communicate with ourselves and others.

Programming refers to our programs, habits, patterns, and strategies, which we can use (and change) to help us achieve our goals.

Internal Representation (affects) → State → Behaviour → Results

Internal representation is essentially how we perceive the world. It refers to how we represent things to others and the lens we apply to incoming information/experiences/etc. Essentially, it is the content of our thinking – what we think about the world and what’s happening around us, as well as what we think to and about ourselves.

Remember how confidence is a state? So, our thoughts and beliefs (internal representation) directly affect our state of confidence.

If you could record your thoughts and review them at the end of each day, how many of them would be negative? How many of them would involve worrying about what others think of you? 

How much of your time would be spent holding back and dimming your own light to help others feel better about themselves?

How many thoughts would stem from society, the media, and those around you? How many of those thoughts would actually be yours?

All of these thoughts, whether you’re aware of them or not, are affecting your state.

Physiology (stance, breathing, posture, facial expressions, movements, etc.) also directly affects our state.

I’m sure you’ve heard of or seen the Ted Talks about how standing in Wonder Woman or Superman pose has a direct impact on your feelings of confidence. Or how smiling sends a signal to your brain that, clearly, you must be happy because you’re smiling – so you start to feel happier.

Changing your mood changes your physical state, and changing your physical state changes your mood.

Magnetic Visibility: What You Do During a Photoshoot Matters

So, we know that what you do physically affects your state (i.e. smiling to feel happy, or standing like Wonder Woman to feel confident).

You can’t be you, if you aren’t BEING you. And, similarly, you can’t show your audience who you are, if you aren’t being you when your photo is captured (if you are, in fact, using photos as part of your engagement strategy, and I think you should be – #biased.).

And you know what else? You won’t feel confident if you’re trying to be someone other than you – If you’re trying to be some random version of who you think you need to be. You won’t learn to trust yourself if you don’t first allow yourself to, well, be yourself.

Doing things you really love and surrounding yourself with things that bring you joy feed into the “physiology” that impact your state.

You’re telling your brain that “I feel joy right now,” “I’m doing things that I know make me happy, so it must be safe to relax and lean into this happiness.”

This mood then impacts your physical state. You’ll feel your body stop trying to get smaller and smaller, your muscles will feel less tense, your limbs will feel less foreign, and your eyes will light the F up.

And you really ARE happy and joyful. I structure my shoots this way for a reason. So I can capture the magnetic and authentically joyful you. You don’t have to feel fully confident going into the photoshoot. I create a space for you in which you feel comfortable releasing the stress, worry, and fear.

By cultivating joy, by embracing and accepting the things we love without judgement, we also begin to embrace and accept our authentic selves – and that’s how we begin to feel truly confident in who we are.

When you feel this energy, when you fully embody the things that you love and that bring you joy, that will radiate in your photos.

Your audience can see when you’re genuinely happy and when you’re just putting on a show.

And when you’re being authentically you, you attract an audience that is ideal and perfect for YOU. You don’t want the audience that is meant for someone else.

AND, you don’t even have to book a branding session with me to get into this state. 

I have another super helpful and extremely simple way you can tap into a state of confidence. 

Tap into confidence right now

The emotional freedom technique (EFT) – AKA tapping – is a therapy technique loosely based on acupuncture and acupressure. It focuses on the same energy meridians to move blocked physical, emotional, and mental energy and move you into a more desired state.

Watch the video below to tap into a state of confidence right now. The best part is, it only takes a few minutes, and you can go through this tapping sequence whenever you need it – or make it part of your daily routine to keep that confident energy flowing.

Follow my private IG account for more free, helpful resources like this one, including EFT, anchoring, hypnosis, and Q&A/hot seat coaching sessions, to name a few.