Did you know that the way you think can drastically affect how you act and in turn, the results you’re able to create in your life? Your beliefs and the stories you tell yourself can either boost your progress or hinder your success. Today I want to dive deep into the five limiting beliefs artists have that can keep you from succeeding and reaching your goals.
What are limiting beliefs and how can they keep you from success?
Limiting beliefs are thoughts that we consider to be true and that usually have a negative impact in our lives. They’re often a system to prevent even worse negative feelings.
For example, one of the limiting beliefs I’ll go over in this article is that only a few lucky artists get to make a living from their art.
This belief can keep you from taking action on implementing a solid marketing strategy that drives more sales. Since you don’t believe you’re one of the "lucky few", you don’t put the marketing strategy into action and thus you don't make money from your art. This further reinforces your belief that you can't make a living from your art.
The limiting belief perpetuates itself and keeps you stuck.
But this belief also protects you from even more negative feelings. Because what would happen if you tried your darned best to implement that marketing strategy and you still didn’t get the results you wanted?
Still, at the end of the day you want to try your best and know that this isn’t Game of Thrones. It’s not you win or you die. It’s you win or you learn.
And when you find what doesn't work, you get much closer to finding what works and succeeding.
Like Carrie Green says:
“Success begins with me. Success is inside me, and it’s something I have to create on purpose, day in, day out.”
Now, let’s dive in and go over the five limiting beliefs that may be keeping you from success.
Limiting Belief #1: Only a few lucky ones get to make a living from their art
For the longest time, this was something I believed to be true and the thought of making a living from my art felt impossible. Like something that’s reserved for a lucky few.
But now I realize that’s not the case at all! Anyone can make a living from their art if they have something to offer that people want and they know how to market themselves.
And you may think that marketing yourself strategically is out of your reach, a skill you don’t possess. End of story. Roll credits.
But you know that’s not true either, is it? You know you can learn the best strategies to get your art and offers out there. You can learn how to make clients see the value in your offer. How to boost sales.
It’s a skill you CAN learn. You don’t need an innate ability to sell, you can learn. And then you’ll be able to unlock the key to making a living from your art.
Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity. Prepare yourself and all those things you once thought impossible will become a done-deal.
You will be making a living from your art, collaborating with those you look up to, inspiring thousands of people and living your best life.
Those who make a living from their art aren’t any more special than you are, they simply decided what they wanted to achieve and they took action to get it.
✦ Related: 15 smart ways to make money as an artist
Limiting Belief #2: If you don’t improve overnight, something’s wrong with you
Have you ever found yourself hoping to get really good, really fast? And when it doesn’t happen you feel disappointed?
It took me a long time to overcome this limiting belief and it still creeps up on me sometimes. But when it does, I can just recognize it as the ugly little lie it is and shush it.
Developing a skill takes time, practice and determination. Look back at all the new skills you’ve mastered over time and notice how much consistent effort you had to put into them.
Have you ever learned a second language? Got your driver's license? Learned to cook? Dance? Yoga?
How many times have you struggled because you didn’t improve fast enough or got good overnight at them?
I gave myself more grace and permission to improve at my own pace while learning all of those things than I did when I was learning to draw. Why is that?
Why do we feel the pressure to get good at drawing overnight when we’re usually more patient when we’re learning other skills?
Understand the flaw in your logic when you think you need to get better overnight or that you should be ahead of where you are.
Enjoy the process. Give yourself grace. Improve at your own pace.
You just need to be better than you were yesterday. If you do that, you’re already doing marvelously.
Limiting Belief #3: You have to struggle and figure everything out on your own
Do you have this belief that you need to figure everything out on your own or else you feel you don’t “deserve” the results you get?
Like somehow not struggling through the process, getting help or having extra resources makes your achievements less meaningful?
I struggled with this belief for many years until I said enough is enough.
I was having such a hard time getting more people to see my art and making more sales. But I was set on figuring it out on my own because that felt like the only “valid” way to do it.
But then I realized that if I wanted to achieve my goals faster, I needed help! As an Enneagram 2 seeking help is no easy feat lol but I was tired of spinning my wheels and have nothing to show for it, you know?
So I started attending classes on marketing, investing in online courses, reading books and implementing as I went.
The moment I decided to stop trying to crack a code that had already been cracked by others before me, that’s when I started making progress by leaps and bounds!
And I don’t feel any less accomplished or unworthy!
What are you trying to achieve? What’s the biggest roadblock in your way? What kind of help do you need to overcome it?
Once you know what you need to achieve your goals, GO FOR IT!! 💃
“But if I get help I won’t feel deserving of the results…”
You deserve to reach your goals without struggling and suffering all the way through.
Limiting Belief #4: You can’t enjoy art for the sake of it
I have to admit this is one of the reasons that led me to my year-long art block.
At some point I noticed I hadn’t drawn for the sake of it in years. Whenever I created a new piece, it had a specific goal: a commission for a client, a Markiplier fanart for my Youtube channel, a new print for my merch store...
I felt the pressure to draw for something else. I couldn’t remember what it was like to draw for the sake of it. Just for fun. And that was draining my creativity, big time.
If this is something you’re going through as well, take some time to really connect with your why as an artist.
Why are you drawing that piece? Does that reason light you up inside or does it make you feel anxious and stressed? If there weren’t any external expectations and nobody to let down, would you still draw that specific piece?
If you’re drawing out of obligation to social media, clients or to avoid letting someone down, sooner or later you might find yourself in the same place I was.
Make time to draw for the sake of it. Have fun. Experiment. Draw something and don’t show anyone.
Enjoy yourself! Not everything you draw needs an ulterior motive.
Limiting Belief #5: You’re not good enough and your art sucks.
If I got a nickel every time I heard this, I’d be a millionaire. And the best part is that when I ask them to show me their drawings, they proceed to blow me away with their epic art.
Actual footage of me seeing their art:
Now, there's a difference between not being good and “not being good”. Confused? It’s quite simple.
If you’re not good, YET, it’s because you’re still learning and practising. It takes time to master a skill and re: you shouldn’t expect to become the best overnight. The Matrix isn’t that advanced yet.
Remember to give yourself grace as you walk through your journey as an artist. And take a look at the unexpected benefits of your art sucking 🙂
On the other hand, if you’re “not good enough” it means you’re actually quite good but you don’t feel that way and there’s a chance you’re struggling with negative thoughts about your art. Or maybe even hating your art altogether.
If that’s your case, I know it’s a difficult situation to be in and those feelings are very real but you are GOOD and you deserve the praise that you’re getting from your fans.
I’d encourage you to dig deeper to see where these feelings of not being good enough are stemming from and how you can start reframing them to be more empowering for you.
These thoughts won't go away when you improve your skills because they're often rooted somewhere else and you not liking your art is merely a symptom of this larger problem.
If this resonates with you, it could be helpful to talk this through with a therapist so they can help you find the root cause and heal it.
Over to you - What’s possible for you if you let go of these limiting beliefs?
Now that you’ve shed some light on the five most common limiting beliefs that may be keeping you from success, you can identify them when they show up in your life.
Identifying them is the first step to overcoming them because even if you’re not yet ready to let go of them, you can bring your awareness to the fact that they’re just limiting beliefs. They’re not your reality and you can start taking steps to overcome them or replace them by more empowering beliefs.
I know you have what it takes to reach your goals as an artist and find a place where you can express your creativity, love your creations and have others be more than willing to pay for them.
I’d love to hear from you! Are you experiencing any of these limiting beliefs? How are they hindering your progress? Do you have a plan to quiet them the next time they come up for you?
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