There are lots of things that build our creative confidence. Being awake to what works in our creative process is vital to feeling happy about our creative lives.
Most important to my satisfaction is noticing progress. When I see improvements and changes, it boosts my morale immeasurably. I train my clients to notice shifts, because when we see progress, we are motivated to continue.
We can easily see progress in our craft – better writing, better art, better at our business. But we often overlook some of the most potent progress of all – when old beliefs and thought patterns no longer apply.
Two limiting beliefs used to hold me back with my art.
I am bad at drawing people.
Every time I set out to sketch a person, this thought would pop into my head. Of course this made me feel bad about myself and my art abilities. Until one day, when the thought appeared, a surprising new thought came alongside: “Well, you better practice.” So I began, slowly and doubtfully to practice drawing people. Over the course of ten years, I got better. Not great, but better.
Second limiting belief:
If you can’t draw people, you can’t have a career as an illustrator.
Where did that notion come from? I have no idea. There are plenty of thriving illustrators who can’t draw people in any realistic or appealing way. And whose art isn’t technically accomplished. One of my favorite illustrators thrives on drawing things that look purposefully amateurish.
Logically, that belief needn’t hold me back. But because I thrive on seeing progress, I recently set out to develop my people-depiction skills.
For the 100 Day Project, I chose to paint people. I’m at #75 today, and I have seen MASSIVE improvement. Not only am I having a blast, I am seeing progress.
It’s apparent that I can no longer accept the limiting belief that I am bad at drawing people. Or that I can’t work as an illustrator. These limiting beliefs have fallen away like an old scab covering a wound that healed long ago.
This is the result of dedicated practice focusing on improving specific skills. I call this the Creative Edge, where you grow and hone your abilities. It’s specific, it’s edgy, and it improves your art.
These limiting beliefs seem to relate to the things we want the most, so it makes sense that we’d perhaps be scared to let them go. But if we focus on the joy of noticing our progress, we will have less room – and proof – for those limiting beliefs.
What limiting beliefs relate to your creative dream? What can you do to prove it is no longer true? Share your experience below.