Bust Through 7 Limiting Beliefs

I’m getting ready to offer my free LIVE workshop again. It’s called: How to Get Started in Surface Pattern Design and it’s a lot of fun. I’ve been reflecting on some limiting beliefs that come up again and again when creatives are thinking about embarking on something new. Let me correct that. These don’t come up for everyone but they do come up for a lot of people!

I’ve just finished Michael Hyatt’s book Free to Focus. The book is about productivity and how we need to think differently about productivity in today’s world which is full of so many distractions. There is a section in the book where Michael talks about limiting beliefs that hold people back from achieving their potential. I realized that these limiting beliefs are also true in other contexts as well.

Here is my interpretation of them, through the lense of creatives who hold themselves back from achieving their dreams. My goal in this blog post is to help you recognize these limiting beliefs and bust through them so they don’t hold you back. Let’s jump in.

#1: I don’t have enough time.

I hear this one a lot. And granted, many of us are very busy with a full-time job, with kids still at home, with other obligations. However, if you get right down to it, you will find time for things that matter to you. You find time to help your children with their homework or to attend their school play. The issue is more often a matter of putting yourself higher on the priority list. You can find time to invest in yourself. You can find time to draw, sketch or paint. You do have time if it really matters.

#2: I’m not that disciplined.

I don’t know about you but when I’m doing something I love, like creating a new repeating pattern in Adobe Illustrator, or helping a student break through a creative challenge, I don’t need any discipline. I jump out of bed in the morning and can’t wait to get started. Don’t you need discipline when you are working on things you don’t really like? When you are creating and working on things you love, it’s not hard. It’s full of joy and motivation and positive energy. Am I right or am I right? Pursuing your passions don’t require discipline.

#3: I’m not in control of my time.

This one relates to limiting belief #1 but it’s a little different. If you work for someone else, you have less time for your own pursuits. However, everyone can find 15 minutes! I attended a creative retreat this past weekend and my mentor, Bonnie Christine, mentioned that 15 minutes adds up to 90 hours in the course of a year. That’s PLENTY of time to learn new skills. Please don’t fall victim to the thinking that you are not in control of your time. You can make great use of the time you have that’s yours. Live your life the way you want to live it.

#4: Creative people are just born that way.

This is just plain not true. I’m sure you’ve heard Albert Einstein’s famous quote: “Genius is 1% talent and 99% hard work.” Yes, some people are born with special talents. But they work very, very hard to maximize those talents and become truly exceptional at whatever it is. We can all acquire the skills we need especially in today’s world where education is so freely available. I’m not talking about expensive colleges or advanced degrees. I’m talking about the availability of online courses and training programs both free and paid. Don’t demean yourself by thinking that you can’t develop new skills. You can.

#5: I tried before and it didn’t work.

This might happen but the key is you need to keep trying different approaches until you find the one that works for you. At the creative retreat I mentioned, one of my students shared the most beautiful story with me. Her name is Sara and she was struggling to create her first repeating pattern earlier this year. She was in Bonnie’s program but decided to take my free workshop. In the workshop, she was able to successfully create her first repeating pattern in Adobe Illustrator. Eureka! Woot! Yay! Something just clicked with the way she learns and the way I teach. I’m not a genius and my teaching style won’t work for everyone. But it might work for you! You’ve got to keep trying new approaches to see which one clicks for you.

#6: My circumstances won’t allow it right now.  

This is a tough one. You can stay stuck here and what you think is temporary becomes a permanent way of being. I don’t know if you are familiar with Brendon Burchard. He is an online life coach with books, online programs, and several podcasts. He talks about how humans really like control. We get all messed up when we feel out of control. If you are trapped in this limiting belief, you need to take control, my friend.  If you keep waiting, you may end up waiting forever. You can make progress TODAY. Get started and take it one step at a time.

#7: I’m not good at [fill in the blank].

This limiting belief may seem similar to #4 but there is a very important mindset shift required here for you to move forward. We all have those little voices in the back of our head saying: You can’t draw. What are you thinking. Or Adobe Illustrator? You’ll never learn that. You aren’t good with technology. Or The market is saturated. There isn’t room for you. Those voices never go away. But you can quiet them while moving ahead to pursue your dreams. Don’t let these fears hold you back.

I wrote an entire blog post called Is There Room For Me? It’s specifically about how there is plenty of room in the enormous surface pattern design industry. If you’d like to get started, sign up today for my free LIVE workshop:  How to Get Started in Surface Pattern Design.


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Hi…I’m Anne!
My creative inspiration comes from a lifetime of observation. I grew up in Paris on the Place St. Sulpice and walked to school through the Luxembourg gardens. And that was only the beginning… Learn more by watching the video on my About page.


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