Josie and I sat down with our Creative Tribe on Facebook last week to have a heart-to-heart about limiting beliefs and creativity. We shared some of our own stories and experiences as a way of helping you discover things that might be holding you back from living your best creative life.
You can watch our chat below.
Don’t feel like watching? Here’s what we said in a nutshell. (Although, if you have time, watch the video because we share some stories that really illustrate the points below.)
No time now? Pin this post for later.
How Can I Become More Creative?
Creative growth comes from being self-aware. That doesn’t mean being self-focused or being selfish but it means being honest with yourself about what’s going on inside you. It’s also recognizing the beliefs you’re operating from.
These beliefs filter how you see yourself and your work. It’s crucial to remember that not all beliefs serve you and some can be false. That means it’s important to question them from time to time to make sure they aren’t holding you back.
3 Beliefs That Are Stunting Your Creativity
(There are many more than three but the ones we’re about to share are among the most powerful limiting beliefs because they’re centered around your relationship with your creative work.)
1. Failure in my work means I’m a failure.
There are two things here. The first is that you as a person are separate from your work. A response to your work is not a response to you personally – so don’t take it personally. 😘
Second, personalizing a failure can make you afraid to take risks or get adventurous in your work. You hold yourself back because you’re afraid of failure and, as a result, stop short of your creative potential.
It’s so easy to forget that failure is where all the growth happens because it forces you to try something new to overcome the failure. Failure can really be a blessing in disguise if you let it be.
When it comes to creativity, the only true failure is quitting and refusing to grow from it.
2. All criticism is insulting.
A common reactions when hearing a criticism are:
- “Haters gonna hate”
- “Well, that’s your opinion and you’re entitled to it”
- “I don’t need you to like what I do”
There’s an element of truth in each of those responses, but you still need to take what’s helpful and beneficial and dismiss what is not.
If your automatic response is to ignore criticism, then you risk dismissing the potential that maybe the person delivering the criticism is seeing something you don’t.
Before ignoring a criticism, honestly weigh if there could be a bit of merit to it and ask yourself how can you grow from it?
This is not easy and it requires first sifting through the negative garbage and useless information. But it’s important to pause and make sure you’re not ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater.” Don’t assume all criticism is irrelevant and bad, instead discern who and where it’s coming from. And then use the good stuff to help you grow.
So, once you determine the criticism is coming from a credible source with good intentions, filter the feedback into one of two buckets:
- I’m going to hold on to this and incorporated into my creative process going forward because it’s going to help me grow
- I’m going to leave this behind because it serves no purpose (Just remember, if you automatically putting all critiques here, you’ll lose out)
3. My work isn’t good enough to share and my worth is connected to my work.
There’s a prevailing idea in creative communities that your work is YOU because you are putting much of yourself into it. But we don’t agree with that at all!
Your work is something you do. Taking something from your head and heart and putting it into something tangible for your community to see is a beautiful thing.
But that work (the physical product or piece) should not limit or define you – it is not your worth. Really internalizing and embracing that mindset – your work is not you – will in turn give you the freedom to share.
If you choose not to share because you think your stuff “isn’t good enough” or “isn’t as good as” somebody else’s work, then you’re losing the opportunity to grow and expand your creative skills.
But when you share, the community becomes an engine for your growth. Hearing what people say without attaching it to your self worth accelerates your skills and pushes you to become better faster.
When you’re making something, you can’t help but become very close to it and see it in one way – to the point where you can only see it “Your Way.”
When the community sees it (… ahem… when people who are NOT YOU see it…) they have a different perspective. They’re seeing it in another way. They have the opportunity to see things you’re not seeing.
Allow that to sink in.
That doesn’t mean that your work should be all the different ways everyone is saying it should be. You have to process through their feedback and filter it through what you know to be your goals for your work.
But you can use the community to gain input in a wider way on your goals. Rather than closing down or getting defensive, which will cause you to be stagnant, stay open and curious about their input – and grow. Process and use the things that you want and leave the rest behind.
Your creation is a part of you – but it’s not you. It is scary to put your creativity out there, but your creation is not you. It’s a beautiful part of you, and it feels vulnerable, but make the distinction that your creation is not you and not connected to your worth.
What’s next? Challenge Yourself
Next time you share a piece you’re working on or ask for input if you’re at a struggle spot, take the feedback you get and process it in a self-aware way. When you feel the walls coming up, try to pause and take a deep breath.
- What is being said here?
- Is this an attack or someone trying to help answer my question?
- Why am I feeling this way?
Tap into the “Why” behind your feelings:
- Why is this bothering me?
- Why am I getting upset?
- What’s happening inside of me?
- Is it pride or fear?
Really try to unpack it. If you make a habit of this, you can overcome any limiting belief and tap more deeply into your creativity. There is so much freedom when you let go of limiting beliefs. Once you recognize them for the falsehoods that they are, you can process failure, fear, and criticism in a way that is more loving to yourself and more open and productive for your creative soul.
Ok, thanks for this chat, lovely!
Want to learn more about how us? Read more about how we started Iron Orchid Designs.