When I find myself in a creative rut it always helps tidying and reorganizing my studio workspace. For some reason my creativity is very much affected by the interior and the feeling of a room. When I see my workspace with fresh eyes it’s like an instant mindset shift and a stream of new ideas are coming to me.
If you find yourself in a creative rut, feeling empty and uninspired don’t wait for something inside of you to change so you can create again. What feels like an inner block can often be fixed with physical changes. By moving your body and changing your environment you can pull yourself out of creative frustration and into creative stimulation and inspiration.
It is critical to embrace these phases of low productivity. Stop believing it’s a weakness and learn how to leverage your creative ups and downs. Nothing is wrong with you just because you have a creative block and you are certainly not broken because you are in a rut.
Instead of waisting valuable time blaming yourself for not being creative enough, start spending your time on physical changes and practical activities.
Move your body, go for a long walk, visit a museum, paint a wall, throw out all clutter in your studio, jump or dance like no one is watching. Take back your creative power by moving, doing and taking action.
“I often think of the creative lows as my brewing days…,I can feel the restless heartbeat of the next idea. Often I’m so eager to get going… but it’s a process, a cycle, and it never leaves us, just goes around for another turn”.
Every Summer, I do a half-year LIFE check-up. I investigate every corner of my life to make sure I´m on the right track, moving in a direction that brings me happiness.
I love doing my half-year check-up! I feel like it´s a second chance to make things right. I re-evaluate my decisions, my goals and all my dreams that I planned back in the beginning of the year. I re-consider my business plan. I re-connect with my passion, my WHY and my life purpose.
Taking time to checkin with ourselves is crucial because we sometimes lose sight of what´s most important to us doing the daily grind. We get so caught up in daily chores and to-do´s that it so darn easy to lose sight of what matters most.
I ask myself; are you where you want to be now? And are you on track to be where you want to be at the end of this year?
Rarely, will our dream life magically appear. If you genuinely want to live your dream life, you got to get out of your comfort zone and ask yourself some hard questions. You got to get comfortable with the uncomfortable questions, and you got to challenge yourself to answer truthfully.
Not always easy…but very effective!
Without being MINDFUL about your direction in life, chances are someone else will take over your agenda. And without the clarity and purpose from choosing your steps mindfully, you´ll never truly experience and express your highest potential.
You owe it to yourself to live a life that is extraordinary to you. A life that makes you happy and fulfilled.
Doing a half-year review is an act of self-love. It´s NOT an excuse to beat yourself up for not reaching your New Years´ resolutions.
I want you to do this exercise with kindness. Being hard on yourself NEVER works – it only results in lack of motivation, depression and low self-esteem.
At the end of the day, your personal goals should be serving you. They are YOUR goals, and you get to set them so that where you end up is exactly where you want to be.
So as you enter the second half of the year, I want you to set time aside – maybe a few hours, perhaps a full day or a weekend and do a half-year check-up.
Use this time to reflect back on the first six months of the year and make adjustments to your goals for the rest of the year.
I created the following questions to help you be fully mindful of the way you live and to look at your life with open eyes. These questions are asked with love, and the intention is to guide you to stay on track with your life purpose.
Are you ready?
Okay, here we go…
Half-Year Check-Up: 10 Questions You Should Ask Yourself To Make Sure You Are On Track
1. WHAT do you need to let go of?
There´s a big difference between giving up and letting go. Letting go means freeing yourself from something that is no longer serving you. It involves removing toxic people and negative belief systems from your life so you can make space for wellbeing and happiness. Giving up reduces your life. Letting go expands it. Giving up is self-defeat. Letting go is self-care. What do you need to let go of, so you can make space for the things that really matter?
2. WHO do you need to let go of?
Is there someone in your life that is blocking your happiness and growth? Perhaps a person that is close to you? Or maybe someone you interact with online? A person that is always negative, putting you down, pointing out your weakness and accusing you of not being good enough? Is it time to let go of that person?
Remind yourself that you don´t need anyone´s permission or approval to live your life the way that feels right. No one has the authority to tell you who to be or how to live.
3. What do you need more of in your life?
Focus on the exciting feelings, relationships, events and habits that will improve your life. What makes you feel full of joy? What makes you feel completely at peace? What makes you feel confident and happy with yourself? How can you get more of that in your life?
4. What´s your biggest struggle and how can you deal with it?
Everyone has a difficult time coping. So if you feel like life is a struggle you are not alone. Life is a rollercoaster, and sometimes we all fall apart. During these times, we aren´t always easy to be around. No one is easy to be around 100% of the time. It´s called being human. So when that happens, remind yourself that it´s okay, to not be okay. You are not Superman or Superwomen.
Acknowledge that you struggle and turn your attention and focus to the things in your life you are grateful for. What in your life do you truly appreciate? What and who are you sincerely thankful for?
And remember, you are better today because you have learnt from your setbacks. You are stronger today because of the pain you overcame. You can love today because you understand that nobody is perfect and everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have. You can overcome your struggles because you are not what happens to you, you choose to be who you are.
5. What areas of your life do you need to simplify?
I can never say this enough; simplify the heck out of your life, and you´ll be a much happier person! Think about it; where in your life do you need less drama and less pressure? The best way to quiet your mind is to simplify your life. When your mind is quiet, you can work on the big things. Focus on things that really matter, like your goals, health, giving back, your passions, hobbies, and quality relationships with your loved ones. To simplify, ask yourself what in your life you can delete, delegate, remove, say no to or take immediate action on. Remember, it´ s always better to keep things simple and flexible rather than chase perfection.
6. How can you bring more self-compassion into your life?
We, humans, tend to strive for perfection. We want to be perfect. Look perfect. Act perfect. We hide our insecurities behind flawless social media images. And we protect ourselves when we don´t feel complete. The truth is we are just HUMANS…and no human is perfect. We fail. We disappoint ourselves. We disappoint people. We judge others – and judge ourselves even harder. So instead of striving for perfection – strive to do things with love.
No one cares about you being perfect….the only thing people care about is how you make them FEEL. Nothing is more attractive than a person who is comfortable in her own skin and who has compassion for others as well as for herself.
Self-compassion makes life very simple. It’s us that complicates things with our expectations. The biggest mistake is thinking that you have to change something before you can love yourself. The truth is that love is the ONLY thing that needs to be changed. You don’t have to get better before you can love yourself. And if you don’t know how to love yourself start with kindness and compassion. Treat yourself as a loving mother would care for a child. Treat yourself as you would treat your best friend.
7. Are your “shoulds” getting in the way of your “wants”?
I delete about half of my emails every day! Why? Because my time is my most valuable asset and I want to be in full control of how I spend it. Now, don´t get me wrong here…I do love all the emails from you, my dear readers, subscribers and students – those emails are always my favourite emails. I´m talking about all the emails offering web service, SEO, unpaid work, collaborations with no rewards, ad requests, guest blogging requests, unpaid speaking gigs and I could keep going…. I don´t want anyone else´s agenda taking over my time! I know so many business owners who answer all emails as fast as they can, just because they feel they “should”. And it´s keeping them from spending time on their most important projects – or even worse it´s keeping them from valuable time with their family.
“Should” is how other people want us to live our lives. It’s all of the expectations and obligations that others lay upon us. But here´s the truth; you don´t have to answer all emails, you don´t have to reply to all Instagram comments, and you don´ have to say yes, to things, jobs or events you don´t wanna do.
If “shoulds” have overpowered you in the past, how can you make a shift and focus on “wants”? These are the things that are super important to you. “Wants” is who you are, what you believe, and what you do when you are alone with your truest, most authentic self. It’s your instincts, your desires, the things, places and ideas you are passionate about.
Every day you are being presented with two choices: evolve or repeat. Will you step away from “shoulds” and evolve or will you keep repeating things you really don´t want to do? How can you reduce “shoulds” and make space for “wants”?
8. What important goal or decision are you procrastinating?
The costs of procrastinating can be enormous. When we procrastinate our goals, we are basically putting off our lives. Think about it; what in your life are you currently procrastinating? Do you delay making an important decision you know you need to make? Do you need to take care of something, but keep postponing it? Look into areas such as happiness, stress, health, finances, relationships and work.
A recent study shows that 47% of people’s time online is spent procrastinating. Social media can be fun and bring loads of good things like new friends and creative inspiration – but potentially social media is also one of our greatest time wasters. How can you help yourself to take action and break free of procrastination? Think about how great you´ll feel on the other side of procrastination.
9. What BIG DREAM do you need to go after?
What big dream are you putting off, because you are waiting for: ⠀⠀ 1. the perfect time? 2. the perfect conditions? 3. more confidence? ⠀⠀ . . Let me just say this; there are people less qualified than you doing the things you want to do, simply because they decided to go for it. So stop waiting. Go after it.
You will be surprised at the things you can accomplish with a little belief and action. There will never be a perfect time anyway, so you might as well just start. And confidence….it will grow as you take action. Confidence comes from taking action – not from waiting.
Forgive yourself for accepting less than you deserve. Re-adjust. Re-start. Re-focus. And then set a step by step plan to reach your goal. You don´t need to have it all figured out before you start something. Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the most significant step of your life. Tiptoe if you must, but take the step.
10. How well do you celebrate your life?
On a scale from 1-10, how good are you at celebrating? Unless it´s a big fat 10, you need to start throwing more confetti NOW! Listen, YOU are the only cheerleader you got, so you better show up cheering on yourself and throw a happy dance whenever you get the chance. Life is serious enough, as it is, so spice it up with some fun. Growing up my dad always said to me, life is as fun as YOU make it; meaning YOU are responsible for bringing joy into your life.
Don´t wait for someone to come and entertain you. Don´t wait for people to cheer on you. Don´t do things just to please others. Be pro-active and create small everyday celebrations. You don´t have to buy yourself a fancy new car or eat at the finest restaurant in town to celebrate. It can be little moments of joy that you create to make you happy. Like serving champagne for breakfast on a Monday morning. Enjoying a long warm bath while listening to your favourite podcast or a phone call to a long lost friend. The key is to fill your life with celebration – and not just fill it with chores.
That´s it…now it´s time to….
Perhaps you are on vacation while reading this, enjoying a refreshing GT or a big scoop of chocolate ice cream, laying on the beach or by the pool? If so, there really is NO excuse to not find a moment to yourself, to ponder on the above questions.
Get a notebook, a hotel napkin or use the Notes app on your phone and make sure to answer each question as truthfully as you can. Enjoy the process and remember to do it with kindness. Harsh self-critique will get you nowhere.
Like this article? Share it with your friends or post it to Pinterest – perhaps you´ll help someone get unstuck!
Got an aha-moment? Come on over to my Instagram account and share it with me. Your feedback always inspire me so much.
I would like to say that I`m lucky to make 6-figure every month. But to be honest, running a 6 and 7-figure business has nothing to do with luck. It´s all about MINDSET and SKILLS.
It saddens me to see how many creatives give up on their dream because they struggle to make money. They blame themselves, lose confidence and doubt if they are good enough – when really, what they lack is business know-how.
It can be super depressing and frightening to realize that you do not make enough money to cover your monthly expenses.
You feel lost and alone. Like you are this huge failure that cannot figure out how to make a living doing what you love.
I know the feeling. I´ve been there.
As a young mother in my early twenties, I collected empty bottles in the streets and exchanged them for money, so that we could get something to eat. It was not my proudest moment, but I was broke. I was a young, frustrated + struggling artist.
And I gave up my dream back then because I wanted a better life for my children. Today, many years later I wish I knew back then what I know today.
I get questions all the time on how creatives can make money in their businesses, and it goes something like this;
“My business is not making enough money, how can I increase cash flow so that I can afford to pay my bills and so I don´t have to worry about money ever again?
“I don’t know where to begin or what to do, and because I never get bookings I feel like I’m the worst photographer ever!”
So, today I’m sharing the top five reasons why creatives don´t make money with their businesses. These are POWERFUL steps, and if you commit, you’re well on your way to making it work.
5 Reasons Why You´re Not Making Money With Your Creative Business (And How to Fix It)
Don’t freak out if some of these apply to you, because it´s totally normal. The first step to change is to acknowledge you need change. Being real and honest with yourself will help you get things back on track.
Reason #1: You are not fully committed
Let me ask you this; are you fully and totally 100% committed to making money?
If you do not do at least ONE thing daily to grow your bank account, grow your profit and sky-rocket your sales – you are not fully committed.
You got to let go of that old story about the struggling artist and be laser-focused on growing your income.
I didn´t start to make money in my business until I decided. I decided that this is what I want and I wouldn’t accept anything less. I stopped giving up and backing off, and I made a conscious choice to believe that I could have whatever I wanted.
Making money starts with a mindset shift and a whole lot of action. This is you being really clear on what you want, stepping up, and doing the work.
So if you want a profitable business, the first step is deciding that’s what you want, and that’s what you’ll have… because there’s no other option.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Every day ask yourself; “what action can I take today to actually put money in my bank account?” Asking yourself this question will help you focus and get what you want.
Reason #2: You play hide and seek
The number one reason why so many women don´t make money in their business is that they don´t show up.
They hide, thinking it´s so much easier to play safe and color so far inside the lines that they don´t stand out as being too much.
As humans… we crave safety. It’s one of the top human needs. We need to feel safe.
So when presented with the idea of getting out from our hiding place… it can feel terrifying!!!!!
Perhaps you know the feeling. You want success with your creative passion, but you avoid showing yourself to the world – hoping that one day will be your lucky day and someone will discover you.
Let’s get serious for a moment.
Have you ever noticed how much time you spend presenting the EVIDENCE about why you need to hide and play small?
Because it’s way, way, way too scary to show up as YOU and you find yourself thinking; “Let me put everyone else first and let me just hide in the shadows and then….”
Someday, I will put myself out there… Someday, I will promote my products… Someday, I will ask for the sale… Someday, I will show the world how great I am…
But here´s the truth; visibility is critical to the success of your business:people can’t pay you if they can’t find you.
“Someday”, will not make you a profitable + successful business.
“Someday”, is an excuse to hide and play small.
And YOU are better than that!
YOU deserve more!
You have SO MUCH to offer. And it doesn’t do anybody any good if you keep it to yourself.
You’re done disappearing into the background. Beige was never your color anyway.
Now, is when you stop hiding. Now, is when you forget about “someday” and act TODAY!
This is your time to step out into the light and show the world what you have to offer.
KEY TAKEAWAY: You can’t wait for a miracle, sign, or lucky break. You have to make your own luck. If you are serious about your dream, you must go for it – every day!
Reason #3: You are a perfectionist
One of the biggest causes of creative dry spell is the need to “get it right.” We strive for perfection, and when we fall short, we feel less than and worthless.
What we don’t seem to realize is that perfectionism is the enemy of done. CREATING something and being WILLING to share it with the world is super important.
Why? Because though your content might not be perfect, it will help people who were once in your shoes.
You don´t have to be an expert; you just need to be a small step ahead of those you wish to help.
And if you help and inspire people, that´s an accomplishment in itself, regardless of your need to be “perfect”.
Let´s be real. To run a profitable business, you need to create products and content that solve your clients biggest pain points.
And this takes time and effort to create. Many business owners get overwhelmed just by the thought of this. They want to make the perfect product, the perfect newsletter, take the perfect photo for Instagram or write perfect caption for social media.
But you can´t create perfect stuff all the time… and if this is your goal, you´ll most likely never get your business up and running.
Instead of berating yourself for messing up and stumbling backwards, give yourself a warm-hearted pat on the back for trying, for making progress, and putting things out there.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Solving problems your clients have is more important than you showing up perfect.
Reason #4: You don´t know your target audience
If you are confused about exactly who your target audience is and what position to take in your industry, you will struggle to make money – it´s that simple.
You need to know your potential clients inside and out and make sure you can answer these three questions:
#1: What do your customers want and need most? #2: What are their pain points, that is, the most urgent problems that they need to solve? #3: How can you help them?
Customers are looking for solutions and if they are confused about how you can help them or if they don´t understand the exact benefits from working with you – they´ll move on.
Potential clients are constantly asking the questions, “What’s in it for me?” and “Who can provide me what I need, in the most convenient way?”
With so many websites and businesses online, you need to answer that question from the moment they show up at your website or discover one of your products online.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Get really clear on the value you provide your clients and charge accordingly.
Reason #5: You are afraid to ask for the sale
Do you get a dry cotton mouth when people ask you how much you charge?
Do you avoid selling your products and service because you are afraid to appear pushy, salesy or icky?
If so, you are not alone. From working with thousands of women around the world, I´d say that 95% of creative women feel this way.
The number one excuse for not going for the sale is lack of confidence.
But here´s the truth. It´s not lack of confidence. It´s lack of skills.
How can you be a world-class sales queen when no one never taught you how?
I mean, no one wakes up one day thinking; “I´m going to be a professional ballerina”, and then the next day dance with the New York ballet, right.
You need to learn how to promote yourself. You need to learn how to communicate to your desired audience. And you got to learn how to love selling.
And just to be clear; selling is not about being annoying, or trying to force your products on someone.
Selling is LOVE. If you love what you do, all you sell is LOVE.
Selling is sharing inspiration. If you feel inspired to inspire others, all you sell is inspiration.
Selling is storytelling. Forget icky sales emails. Talk about your journey. Share how you got from where you were to where you are today.
Share how you overcame your struggles and how you now are ready to help people who are in a similar situation as you once were.
KEY TAKEAWAY: Talk about the experience and the benefits people will get by working with you. Be passionate about what you do and what you offer and share your excitement.
Alright, that´s it for today. Now commit to changing just ONE thing at a time.
Allow yourself to step outside your comfort zone because it´s outside your comfort zone you will sky-rocket your profit.
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Branding yourself to stand out like the creative star you were born to be.
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