Conversations about vulnerability, adversities in our life path, shame and pain can be tough topics. Sometimes things can be easier said than done but hard to open oneself to normalize the struggle. When you drop your shame and give your pain purpose, the energy that comes from this vulnerability will connect you with others and unlock growth.
My guest today, Jen Rozenbaum, is a kick ass woman. She is a boudoir photographer, nikon ambassador, breast cancer survivor, and founder of the Shamelessly Feminine movement. Her movement is for all the kickass women who need a kick in the ass. Jen opens up with some real talk on many pains in her life that she has overcome through vulnerability, channeling her energies, shifting ego to gratitude and staying curious.
As Jen says it best, “We need a little kick in the ass to remind ourselves we are worthy and able to do these things that make us happy and fulfilled and in turn change the world”
Jen shares her vulnerable story of miscarriage and pregnancy complications. She opens up about how she found shame behind miscarriages, although they are so common, until she found the healing exchange between women when they would connect and share. She felt like she was being a bad wife and a bad mom because she was always in a bad mood.
That’s when Jen picked up a camera as a distraction and it led her to see happiness in others through her lens—“You shed your clothes you shed your inhibition.”
Through her job she wanted to vocalize. Share her struggles, connect clients with their struggles. Vocalize vulnerability.
“Presence over perfection” on her breast cancer journey.
Finding gratitude in the little things. Do the things you want to do. Take more risks.
Struggling with Shame
In launching her Shamelessly Feminine movement, Jen has found a reach to women that unites them. Shame makes us afraid to connect with others about struggles, it isolates us. Rather we should share and find the common ground that normalizes the struggle. This goes hand-in-hand with vulnerability. As Jen says, “you don’t just find your woman super power, you have it. So drop your shame.” Dropping your shame gets you away from the (should, would, could)’s of the world. It may open doors, allowing things in your life to fall into place that you never expected could happen.
Connections in Vulnerability
Through Jen’s photography career working with clients she has found her calling to be vulnerable as her clients are as well. Being vulnerable about so many aspects of her life has allowed her to connect and help other women. Jen recognized this was not only a service she could do for others by providing comfort in their common experiences, but it helped her grow in her personal relationships. By being vulnerable, Jen could connect better with her husband and her children by being exactly who she was.
Template for Vulnerability: Find a way to be who you are right there.
I’m really good at ___, ___, ___, but i struggle with ___, ___, ___.
Find someone who will help you with that. If you speak up, it may be the person sitting next to you. You will find you can be suddenly connected with so many.
The Imposter Syndrome:
The ability to step into who you are and say “I’m not perfect” aloud. People will flock to you because at least one person will be glad you said it out loud.
Jen relates this to her experience at her first Nikon ambassador conference. (She talks more in depth in her new book but gave us a snippet) She was surrounded by very different, successful photographers that she felt had more meaningful photos; but when talking to them, they were just as nervous to show their work as she was. Rather than shrinking in these situations, Jen chose to uplevel herself and connected with more people then she could have imagined
- When you come full circle-- say “I have a lot of strengths and I'm grateful for them, but I don’t have all the strengths, and others do … so I'm going to connect with others for their strengths
- Shift from ego to gratitude (be grateful for your strengths but be curious)
- Ask yourself questions in the scenario: be curious with yourself
When imposter syndrome kicks in “it's not because you’re not good enough, it's just that you CARE.” Being aware of how things serve you attribute to their meaning.
Nervousness --> Care --> Meaning --> Dedication of time and hard work
Honing in on your curiosity allows deeper connection. When you lose your curiosity, you see things on the surface level. This could be shame or lack of vulnerability that is preventing your curiosity to see things on a deeper level. Go 1 level deeper.
Jen talks about adversities that have actually led her to success and happiness. If she didn’t have her miscarriages, she wouldn’t have her business. If she didn’t go through the battle and challenges of breast cancer she wouldn’t have this amazing energy in her Shamelessly Feminine movement. Once she saw the dark times and the adversities as a gift, it reshaped her motivations.
If you’re going through dark struggles:
- What are you going to do about it?
- What are you going to do with it?
- How are you going to give it purpose?
Giving the pain PURPOSE makes it something that isn't so painful anymore.
Jen’s Breast Cancer Journey
There was shame. Jen was nervous people judged her all the time, looking at her as though she did something wrong to get cancer.
Cancer is a physical process until you’re done with treatment and then the emotional process begins. Jen has learned she must view cancer in these two processes to beat it. Now that she has overcome the physical challenge, she must take the emotional process head on.
Her emotional journey: Jen sought a therapist immediately to help through the PTSD and began painting -- in order to do something with this new energy
How Jen channeled this new energy
- Woke up 30 minutes earlier
- Painted for those 30 minutes about 5 days a week
- Didn't pressure herself if the energy wasn’t there, but when she was excited she would channel that
I found energy in my morning routines as well. I chose one small change, waking up 15 minutes earlier, and worked towards become a morning person. This challenge for 30 days turned into a lifestyle and the energy I found in changing that simple routine has been endless. You can get my free Morning Routine Planner.