I spend a handful of hours each week doing one-on-one career coaching calls with creative professionals.
I do not know how to draw, paint, sew or knit. I am not a designer of any sorts. I can’t do anything more complex than complete a coloring book. But I know everything you could possibly know about how to turn those skills into a successful business.
Coaching all of these creatives has given me a ton of insight into what holds people back from reaching their goals.
It turns out that everyone has the same problems.
Here are the 5 things that are holding you back from reaching your goals:
1. You assume everyone wants the same thing as you
I ask every coaching client to tell me their dream job, and each person gets completely overwhelmed. They hesitate for a minute and then whisper an idea about what they would love to do, and then quickly explain their idea away.
Like this; “I would love to build a full-time career around my artwork, but everyone would love to do that.”
This is totally not true! Do not assume everyone has the same dream as you. You are not competing against the entire world to reach your goals. I would never want to spend all of my time creating artwork. I have no intention of ever writing a book. There are a million really interesting things that I have no interest in doing. Every person is unique. Your dreams are unique. Honor that.
2. You dont think you have what it takes to reach your goal
Every great company started out as a stupid idea that some crazy person had. They didnt succeed because they had some incredible skill that noone else has. They succeeded because they stuck with their idea when everyone else thought they were crazy.
You can’t think of everything you will need to do to reach your goal, and try to figure out if you have what it takes to succeed. You just have to take small steps every single day, and ask for help when you need it. There are no special people in the world who are more talented than everyone else. There are just regular people who work really hard on something they care about.
3. You think your problems are special
Big life changes ruin your career.
Every person I coach has a similar story: They had a clear idea about what they were going to do with their life, and then some huge life event come along and derails their entire plan.
Maybe they had a baby or moved across the country or had to care for a sick parent or had an illness that left them unable to work.
Everyone thinks that their problem is special. They wish they had handled the situation differently, and feel like a failure for not reaching their goals on the schedule they had planned.
It’s fine. Everyone goes through this at some point in their career. Bad things happen to everyone. These big events derail everyone’s career. No one follows a direct path to reaching their goals. Getting derailed does not mean your career is over. It just means you have to get it back on track.
4. You spend too much time doing work you like
Everyone has a different mix of strengths and weaknesses. Some people are amazing at sitting in a studio and creating work, but totally suck at selling their stuff. Other people are amazing sales people and totally suck at getting anything produced.
Understanding your personal strengths and weaknesses will help you succeed in the long-term. We enjoy doing the type of work we are great at, and we avoid the work we suck at. This is human nature. The only way to really grow your business is to spend more time doing the work you hate. You have to be intentional about how you are spending your time, and balance the time you spend creating with the time you spend selling.
5. You don’t have a clear idea of where you are going
You cannot reach your career goals if you have no idea what it is you want to do with your career. You need to take a step back and get a clear idea of where you are going, so you can make a plan for getting there.