What's holding you back from fully expressing your creativity?


Written by: Angie Noll The list of things that hold us back and prevent us from reaching our creative goals, is potentially endless. However, most of these factors generally fall into one of two categories. Knowing how to categorise your hurdle can go a long way towards becoming unstuck.

“Why do you sign up for other people’s newsletters and online courses?”

A friend asked me this baffling question a few weeks ago when we met for coffee. I’d just finished telling her about a useful article on the therapeutic benefits of writing that I read that morning from a newsletter that I'm subscribed to.

“What do you mean?” I asked, slightly dumbfounded. I mean, I don't live in my own little bubble, and neither does anyone else. Newsletters and online courses are ways to connect with like-minded people, learn cool stuff and generally be part of the global conversation in whatever area we’re participating in, no?

“But there’s so much free stuff available on the net,” she explained. “Why would anyone want to sign up for my newsletter or online course when they can get the information for free?

Ah… right. The question wasn’t about the value of signing up for other people's newsletters or online courses, it was really a question about her own value as an artist wanting to take her passion online.

She's passionate about her art, has sound knowledge, many years of experience, enough resources available to her and a supportive family.

So what's really holding her back?

The things that hold us back generally fall into one of two categories

These categories are simple and pretty much self-explanatory.

Category One is for things that are uncontrollable (we can't do anything about them.)

Category Two is for things that are controllable (we can do something about them if we really want to.)

That simplifies things immensely – or does it?

While my friend explained her wonderful online business idea to me, I felt butterflies of excitement for her. It all seemed so clear cut and do-able. Yet from her perspective, her path was fraught with obstacles holding her back, all of them seemingly beyond her control.

“I don’t have time anyway,” she says dismissively.

“Imagine what you could get done instead of meeting me, and other friends, for coffee so often,” I say.

“But I have children. They need me,” she explains.

“Your children are much bigger now and they certainly don't need you all the time anymore,” I point out.

“But I don’t know how to start an online business,” she pleads. "I'm an artist, not an entrepreneur."

“You have a friend who knows how to set up an online business, a husband who will be your entire I.T. support team and more, and you already have a community of artist that know you and respect you,” I point out, trying not to sound too exasperated. I know many entrepreneurs have started online businesses with much less of a head start than that.

The list of excuses didn’t end there, but you get the point. The things my friend saw as obstacles were actually fully under her control, and thus changeable, but she refused to acknowledge it.

How to get back in the drivers seat

My friend chose to remain a victim to circumstances “beyond her control” and her online business baby will probably never be born. But what about a situation where you really do want to take action, even though you feel stuck? How do you move forward?

I have two tools that I rely on For. Everything.

  • Surrender

When I find myself stuck, unable to move even though I know that it is in my power to do so, I step back. I’ve come to realise that when I don’t move, it's because I'm trying too hard. So I surrender control over the situation, I step back and I allow the situation to unravel, to show me the way. I've done with this with writing blog articles, short stories and even in yoga, which I consider an art form as well, and it always brings results.

  • Intuition

Following my gut feel, my intuition, has become a way of life for me. I do everything by intuitive guidance only. Yes, sometimes my guidance leads me to another person – a newsletter or an online course for instance – which I’ll sign up or enrol for because that will be exactly what I need at the time.

Learn to trust yourself explicitly, and you will probably never feel like “something” is holding you back again. You will also experience how few things are truly ever out of our control - and that includes creative inspiration, ideas and the ability to produce our art consistently.

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