Giving Up the Ghost: Releasing the Stories Holding You Back in Your Photography Business.

A few years ago, I started my own process of reflection at the end of each year, looking at my successes… and maybe some of the things that didn’t go so well too. We all have those moments where a client interaction went badly, or we made another embarrassing business mistake that haunts us a little bit.

Part of my process of reflection is taking a look at those moments, learning what I need from them, and then letting them go or, as I like to call it, “giving up the ghost” of the things that haunt our creative businesses, whether it be uncomfortable experiences, business failures, or limiting beliefs. 

So in today’s episode, I’m going to walk you through my five-step process so you can do just that! If you have those memories and beliefs that are causing you shame, you’re not alone. But it’s time to take what you need from them and then let go so you can grow and flourish in the new year. Let’s dive in!

What’s in this episode:

  • [00:00] What it means to “give up the ghost” and some of the beliefs you have that might be holding you back
  • [02:28] Why shame doesn’t serve us and why it’s time to let go of these old experiences and beliefs causing us shame and embarrassment
  • [03:59] My five step process for letting go of these old thoughts and beliefs, including acknowledging and reflecting on these experiences before moving on from them
  • [07:13] Why reflecting on your own limiting beliefs is such an important part of this process
  • [12:18] A few journal prompts to help you reflect on your last year and let go of limiting beliefs going into the new year

Tune in to this episode so you can reflect on your past year and embrace growth and confidence in the new year.

SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcasts | Spotify

Resources Mentioned

The Work by Bryon Katie

Did this episode help you to examine your mindset as a creative? Check out this episode No Limits: How Reframing Your Mindset Can Recharge Your Photography Business with Heather Lahtinen that offers you even more insight on cultivating a positive mindset as a creative!


[00:00:02] Lisa DiGeso Welcome to the Art and Soul Show where We dive into you heart opening chats on photography, business, life and that messy in-between. I’m your host, Lisa DiGeso a mom, a photographer and entrepreneur and I’ll be sharing honest conversations and advice for photographers with insight on mindset, entrepreneurship and creativity. The goal of this podcast is for you to be able to gain insights and strategies that will get you real results. Because let’s face it having a photography business can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. This is the place you can go when you need a boost of encouragement, a kick in the pants and inspiration to pick up your camera. This is the Art and Soul show. 

[00:00:45] Hello, my beautiful friends. Welcome back to the show. So today we’re going to be talking about something that’s near and dear to my heart. Something that I like to reflect on every year. And this is called Giving Up the Ghost. So it’s about looking at the past, looking at the past year. And honestly, December really is always such a great time for quiet reflection. I really find myself pausing and reflecting on how I’ve spent the last 12 months in both my business and my life. And I find it’s a really great time to analyze my ghosts of things that I just need to let go of. Now, these are ghosts of embarrassment, of bad experiences, of maybe less than stellar client experiences, lessons that I just may have needed to learn or keep bumping up against. 

[00:01:34] Now. Honestly, my friend, I’m kind of still hanging on to that mortification of having a client show up in 2011 on my doorstep with her brand new newborn because I had failed to properly write things down in my planner. Now, this was well before I had a client management system, and actually that was the catalyst to why I got a management system. The sheer horror that my studio was such a disaster. It was like a tornado had hit it because I’d done a newborn session the day before. I literally had newborn poop covered blankets all over my studio from the day before because I was so wiped out the day before to even clean them up. I literally answered the door with a robe on and a towel on my head. Now, in hindsight, I really do find it funny, but it really took me years to find the lessons and the humor in this shame filled experience. I was so full of shame about it for years, you guys. I didn’t want to tell anyone about it because I was so humiliated. 

[00:02:28] But to be honest, shaming ourselves really doesn’t work either, because often it feels like we’re completely alone. It causes us to withdraw and it really causes us to self isolate my friend. I promise you, if you have made a business blunder, I’m sure I probably have made it too. I’ve deleted client files. I have spent way more than I made. I felt like a total business loser when I looked at the state of my business. Time out just because I wasn’t paying attention to them. I have lost clients, SD cards and sessions. I have had clients absolutely hate their images. I once had a dad drive off mid-session because he was getting attacked by mosquitoes and he was so angry. He literally yelled at me and had a tantrum and completely left his mortified wife and family there. Now, they weren’t completely stranded because they do have two vehicles. But I was beyond mortified, you guys, because I kind of created this experience for them. I picked the location, not them. I brought them to it. 

[00:03:26] Now, I promise you, whatever you’re going through, you’re not the only photographer going through it right now. Now, to me, letting go of past mistakes or embarrassments really is a process of forgiving myself for the even happening and looking at ways I can just learn from them. Maybe the lessons that I might have needed to go through to create those policies and systems and procedures so I don’t have to go through that mortification ever again. So I really wanted to share with you on this episode my method for working through letting go of those things that really are no longer serving me. 

[00:03:59] Now, number one is to acknowledge it. I know sometimes we really want to banish these mortifying thoughts or situations that we really don’t want to feel or think about. We want to banish them to some far corner of our mind and memory and never pull them out again. But really, friend. And last we pull it up, learn from it, and release that we are doomed to repeat it. Now acknowledging really is saying well this happened and yeah, it sucks, but we’re not hiding from it. 

[00:04:27] Next we want to sit with it, like really sit with it. So something you did was a mistake. Maybe it was mortifying. Maybe you were filled with shame. This step really involves allowing yourself to feel whether it’s disappointment, regret, or even anger. Suppressing these emotions really only prolongs your healing process with it. Really? Take a seat with your feelings. Explore the situation and your feelings about it without judgment. Understand the impact this experience has had on you. This isn’t about dwelling on the negativity, but about allowing yourself to experience and to process what happened. It’s okay to feel it’s a crucial part of this journey. This is a time that I often will pull up my own journal and just kind of dump out onto paper honestly how I’m feeling about it. 

[00:05:17] Number three is grow from it. Now what actions can you take from this? What steps or procedures or policies or systems can you implement so it doesn’t happen again? You need to figure out how you can actually take this and turn it into a learning experience. What can you take away from this situation? Maybe there’s a lesson about yourself, about others, or maybe just life in general. Consider this step as extracting valuable insight from your experience and about creating an action plan on what policies, procedures or systems you need to implement. Now, for me, when I had that experience of a client showing up, when I had forgotten, I figured out how to create and use a CRM system. Finally, this was a system that was able to book my clients, send reminder emails to me and to them, create my weekly schedule analyst it to do list. So I would never forget a client again. And I haven’t. It’s really not about erasing the past, but about using it as a stepping stone for your own personal growth. 

[00:06:15] Number four is forgive yourself and release it. My friend, we are all human. We’ve all never done this before in business and life. You’re going to make mistakes. Give yourself the grace to not be perfect. It’s really time to make peace. Forgiving isn’t saying what? And is okay or really excusing it. It’s really just giving yourself permission to let go. They are ready to move on. You don’t want to carry this baggage around anymore. Picture forgiveness is kind of a way to clear your space for new beginnings, releasing maybe any lingering negativity. It’s really like decluttering your emotional space and like closing one chapter to open another. I also like to take this time of year really to do a deep dive, to look at what’s holding me back and clearing out those limiting belief ghosts to those are those little gremlins that chip away at your confidence that make you feel small and untalented. And they’re completely untrue. 

[00:07:13] The world needs your perspective, my friend. And we all need you to show up and share what you see as beauty in the world. Because we all shine brighter when we show up, because it gives others courage and permission to do the same. I really like to spend some time looking at my own limiting beliefs, things that I’ve been really bumping up against. They really stop me from living my most creative and fulfilled life and really working through them. So looking through those limiting beliefs, some of them might be holding on to a belief that maybe clients won’t pay what you want them to pay or what you need them to pay. Maybe it’s thinking maybe you won’t be as good as your favorite rock star hero. So why should you even bother trying? I’ve been there. Those are beliefs I once had, or even the false belief that we have about success. That maybe it only happens to those who are lucky. Not those that show up consistently and do the work. 

[00:08:07] So really, how do you find your limiting beliefs? That’s always a question that I had. And the journey really is about really some honest reflection. It’s about taking a quiet moment and asking yourself what thoughts repeatedly pop up when you think about your goals and your dreams. Are there recurring doubts or fears? Because honestly, these are those breadcrumbs that are going to lead you to your limiting beliefs. You got a job in doubt. Write them down in a journal. It could be something like, I’m not good enough or success is only for lucky ones or clients. I’ll never pay that. Or I’m not talented. Now identify these thoughts. It’s the first way for you to dismantle them. 

[00:08:47] Number two is to really question these beliefs. Once you’ve identified those beliefs, it’s really time to interrogate them and ask yourself, Where did you even get these beliefs? Are they based on fact or assumption? Because a lot of the time they’ve just been inherited or picked up along the way without really having much scrutiny over them and really challenge their credibility. Are they just stories you’ve been telling yourself? Questioning the beliefs is really like turning a light on in a dark room because you can start to see things a lot clearer that way. One of my favorite methods for my own thought management is called The Work by Byron Katie. Now, Byron Katie is a renowned self-help author and speaker best known for developing a method of self inquiry called The Work. Her approach is designed to help identify and question thoughts, beliefs and judgments that may cause suffering and really limit personal growth. Now, the work consists of four simple questions. So if you have a notebook, you might want to write this down. It’s really a turnaround process that encourages a shift in perspective. 

[00:09:44] So here is an overview of the work by Byron Katie. Number one is identify a thought by identifying a thought, a belief, or a judgment that causes you stress, discomfort or emotional turmoil. It really could be a statement about yourself, about others, or really about the world around you. And it’s about asking these four questions. Question number one is, is it true? It’s challenging the validity of the thought. Is it an absolute truth or just a perception? Question number two, can you know that it’s absolutely true? Now, really dig deeper into the certainty of this belief. Are you absolutely sure about the truthfulness of it? Now, question number three is how do you react when you believe that thought? Reflect on the emotional and the behavioral consequences of holding on to that belief. Now, question number four, who would you be without that thought and really envision how your life would be without the influence of that particular belief? 

[00:10:40] Now. Then there’s the turn around. And this is when you actually turn around that question. And this is really transformative. Once you question that thought, turn it around to its opposite and consider if that statement is true or truer than your original thought. Now, for example, if your initial thought is my clients will never pay that the turnaround thought could be there are clients that will pay me that now for me, questioning my limiting beliefs and using this method to work through my own limiting beliefs really has helped me be able to step up and work through a lot of my own fears to achieve what I want in my business and my life. 

[00:11:13] So, my friend, what’s next for me? Now, if you’ve been listening to this for a while, you know this year I took a sabbatical for milk and honey, my photography business. And that’s coming up to the end of my photography sabbatical. And my friend, to be honest, I thought I would have a clear answer on what I wanted to do with my photography business. But in all honesty, friend, I’m not. I’m going to say that’s going to have to be okay. I’m not sure in 2024 if I want to reopen to clients yet or if I want to close my business altogether. Both don’t really feel like aligned choices to me yet. And also Limbo sort of feels like I’m being indecisive. But right now I’m letting go of that obligation that I feel that I need to have an answer because I really don’t. So I’m giving myself permission to let go of that. So for now, my friend, I’m just saying I’m on hiatus. I’m model calling and I’m shooting for trainings for the Milky Way and the various courses and classes and retreats and personal projects I’m working on. And I’m really just letting go of the pressure on myself that I need to make that decision right now. 

[00:12:18] So I want to leave you with a few journal prompts to my friends to help you work through and get through some of your own limiting belief. Ghosts. So if you haven’t already grab a journal or a notebook, press pause, and get ready to get a little introspective here. Number one, revisit a specific mistake or embarrassment from this year. How did it make you feel and what insights have you gained about it? Number two, explore a limiting belief about your photography business or your personal capabilities. How has this belief influenced your decisions and actions, and has it been negative or positive? Number three, reflect on maybe a moment of shame or isolation in your professional journey. How did you cope and what strategies can you employ to overcome such feelings in the future? And are there any mentors or advisors or teachers you want to learn from or reach out to or connect with next year? Number four, Consider the lessons learned from past mistakes. How can you implement change or systems to prevent similar mistakes? Number five, envision a future where you fully let go of those past mistakes and your limiting beliefs. What does that future look like and what steps can you take to move towards that vision? 

[00:13:41] Now, my friend, if you want an even deeper dive into goal setting, releasing last years and setting yourself up for an incredible next year, make sure to download our free yearly planner at the Milky Way dossier slash yearly planner and I’ll make sure that’s included in our show notes. My friend, I am sending you so much of my light and my love today and every single day. I really appreciate you so much for tuning in and spending your time with me. Thank you for listening and I’ll see you next time. Hey, friend, you know what’s the worst? It’s just being Midwestern and completely freezing. You start to feel awkward. Your clients start looking at you for direction, and your brain feels like you just hit a wall. Now, believe me, you are not alone. And that’s why we created the Storytellers toolkit. It’s an emotive prompt guide to help sessions stay free flowing and fun. And best of all right, now it’s totally free. It’s full of prompts for parents, motherhood, family, siblings and couples, and even surefire smile prompt. We’ve put together over 200 prompts for you, but you’ll never be at a loss for an idea again. Grab your copy at 

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