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Recognizing what’s holding you back from doing the work and moving forward

October 6th, 2023 - Tag: Mindset

Have you ever found yourself staring blankly at a canvas, filled with ideas but unable to execute a single one? You're not alone. The journey of a designer is often punctuated by obstacles that might seem insurmountable. From lacking creative motivation to battling inconsistency in our practice, these hurdles can keep us miles away from where we aspire to be. Let's delve into the real barriers holding us back and chart a way forward.

1. The Elusive Muse: Finding Creative Motivation

It's not uncommon to feel like our creative well has run dry. During such times, seek inspiration outside your usual circles. Visit a local art gallery, take a walk in nature, or delve into cultures different from your own. Remember, creativity isn't about waiting for the muse; it's about finding her in the everyday and the extraordinary.

Action Step: Dedicate one day a week to pure exploration, away from your usual workspace. It could be as simple as trying a new art technique or as adventurous as a weekend trip to a nearby town.

2. The Invisible Chains: Identifying What Holds You Back

Sometimes, our biggest barriers are the ones we don't immediately recognize. It could be fear of failure, the pressure of perfectionism, or even impostor syndrome. Reflect on your mental and emotional state when you feel stuck. Journaling can be a powerful tool in this introspection.

Action Step: Maintain a 'feelings diary.' Document your emotions when you're most and least productive. Over time, patterns will emerge, offering insights into what might be holding you back.

3. The Wavering Journey: Staying Consistent

Consistency is key to growth. But how do you remain consistent when motivation wavers? The answer lies in discipline and establishing routines. Set aside dedicated 'design hours' each day, even if it's just for a short while. Over time, this commitment solidifies into a habit.

Action Step: Start a 30-day design challenge. Commit to creating one pattern or design every day. Share your progress on social media or with peers for accountability.

4. The Distant Horizon: Mapping the Gap Between Now and Your Goals

When our goals seem light years away, it can be disheartening. But instead of focusing on the vastness of the journey, break it down. Set smaller, achievable targets that lead you step by step towards your bigger vision.

Action Step: Draft a six-month plan. Outline where you'd like to be in terms of skills, portfolio, and opportunities. Now, divide these into monthly and then weekly goals.


By recognizing our hurdles and actively working to overcome them, we not only enhance our skills but also fortify our spirit. Remember, every block, every pause, every moment of doubt is an opportunity to learn, grow, and evolve. Keep designing, keep dreaming and do the work.