Made Vibrant

What’s Holding You Back From Leveling Up In Your Creative Business?

These 27 limiting mindsets could be what's preventing you from creating more in your business and reaching your financial goals.
Caroline ZookCaroline Zook Caroline ZookCaroline Zook

Written by

Caroline Zook

What’s Holding You Back From Leveling Up In Your Creative Business?

Do you feel like there’s just something holding you back from accomplishing your goals, but you’re not sure exactly what it is?

Back in October, some of you will remember that I sent out a long-form survey to get to know you guys better. I wasn’t interested in the typical stuff — how old you were, where you come from, where you found Made Vibrant, etc.

Instead, I wanted to open up a deeper dialogue. Things like — What does success look like to you? What relationship do you want to have between your creativity and your income? What do you think is holding you back?

As I pored over HUNDREDS of entries, I felt l got to know each of you in a much more vulnerable and intimate way. (Thank you for sharing those things with me, by the way.)

Turns out that last question —what do you think is holding you back? —was quite illuminating. 

I was struck by just how diverse and specific the answers were regarding the limiting beliefs and mindsets that keep us from our full potential. With every new entry, I felt I unearthed another fear that I myself had experienced, but that I hadn’t specifically identified for some time.

Which got me thinking…

It’s impossible to break through your limiting beliefs if you can’t first identify exactly what’s holding you back.

So that’s what I want to attempt to do in this article. I went through all your responses looking for patterns and I plucked out 27 distinct mindsets or limiting beliefs that you all feel are holding you back in one way or another.

I want to encourage those of you that feel a sense of potential for your life beyond what you’re experiencing right now to carefully cull the list and write down which of them apply to you.

I’ve also shared some links to past articles related to some of these mindsets so if they call out to you, you’ll have some actionable advice on how to work past them. (You guys know me… I can’t just leave ya hangin’ with a list of things holding you back without some direction on how to change them!)

So, let’s start here, and let’s get honest about what habits and old mindsets have been deepening their grooves in your head.

Let’s identify exactly what’s been holding you back from the future you envision for yourself.

(One caveat: some of these obviously overlap and share similarities, but I wanted to break them out into their most granular characteristics so that we can really see how broad the idea of Fear is and how it manifests in so many different ways.)


1. Lack of Self-Worth

“I don’t deserve good things.”

I listed this first because it is probably the most insidious of all the following self-limiting beliefs. If we don’t believe we’re deserving, we’re always going to be sabotaging the good things that unfold in our lives. This is work that takes time to break through, but once you truly believe you are enough and that you are deserving, it makes the rest of this list become a heck of a lot easier!


2. Lack of Confidence

“My skills aren’t good enough or I’m not unique enough to make my work valuable.”

See this article: Confidence And Learning To Trust Yourself


3. Financial Anxiety 

“I hate looking at or dealing with all things money-related so I just hide from my accounts and hope things get better.”

See this article: How I Wiped Out $7,500 in Credit Card Debt in Six Months


4. Lack of Motivation

“I don’t feel enough of a catalyst to work towards my goals; I say I want things, but I struggle to take action to make them happen.”

See this article: Is There A Secret To Sustained Motivation?


5. Overwhelm

“I have no idea where to start or what to work on.”

See this article: Using Prioritization To Make Values-Based Decisions


6. Guilt of Success

“I’m holding myself back for fear of alienating a family member or partner.”


7. Fear of Public Failure

“I’m afraid if I try things and fail, everyone will see me negatively.”

See this article: The First Helpful Thing Failure Teaches Us


8. Fear of Success

“I’m afraid that if I accomplish my big dreams I won’t be ready for it or I’ll have to sacrifice too much to get there.”


9. Perfectionism

“My skills aren’t where I want them to be and my work is never close enough to perfect so I don’t put anything out there.”

“An imperfect reality will always beat a perfect mirage.”


10. Fear of the Unknown

“I keep myself limited because it’s comfortable and a lot less scarier than putting myself out there and not knowing what will happen.”

See this article: Are Your What Ifs Helping Or Hurting You?


11. Fear of Commitment

“I’m afraid that if I go down one path I’ll be stuck doing that forever and I won’t be able to change my mind.”

See this article: Are You Giving Yourself Permission To Evolve?


12. Lack of Discipline

“I can’t get myself to sit down and put in the work or stick to a consistent schedule.”

See this article: Why It’s Harder For Some People To Form New Habits


13. Self-Sacrifice Syndrome

“I feel responsible for everyone else (my family, my partner, my kids) so I put myself and my dreams last.”

See this article: Re-defining What It Means To Be Selfish


14. Fear of Rejection

“I don’t want to go after projects that I want because I hate the feeling I get when people say NO.”

See this article: How To Deal With The Pain of Rejection


15. Fear of Asking for Help

“I’m at max capacity and I know I need help in order to move forward but I don’t want to feel like a burden and I have trouble delegating.”

See this article: Why Is It So Hard For Us To Ask For Help?


16. Lack of Patience

“I want to see the results of my hard work right away so when I don’t see something payoff immediately, I quit.”

“Give it time.”


17. Second-Guessing Everything

“I’m afraid to make a move one way or another for fear I’ll make a ‘wrong’ move, so I waffle on everything and stay stuck.”

See this article: Are You Afraid of Running Your Business The Wrong Way?


18. Over-Optimization Syndrome

“I need to know the BEST, MOST EFFICIENT, MOST EVERYTHING way to do something or it’s not worth doing at all.”

See this article: How To Make Big Choices With Less Stress?


19. Need for Comfort

“I’m afraid to make any financial investments in my business or myself because I’m comfortable with the life I have right now.”


20. Need for Struggle

“I tend to not trust things that come easily or that just flow.”


21. Fear of Selling

“If I try to promote my work or earn money with my creativity, I feel it undermines the authenticity of the work.”

See this article: Selling What Is True Over Selling What Is Easy


22. Fear of Judgment

“I care too much about what people think about me and it prevents me from doing anything that feels risky or vulnerable.”


23. Lack of Self-Trust

“I can sense my intuition sometimes and what my ‘gut’ wants me to do, but I don’t necessarily trust it; it doesn’t feel practical.”

Watch the workshop: Connecting With Your Core


24. Lack of Focus

“I have SO many ideas that I end up making a tiny bit of progress on each one but never finishing.”

See this article: Framing Your Year With Thoughtful Reduction


25. Lack of Expertise

“I feel like I’m good at a lot of different things but not great at any one thing.”

See this article: How Do I Create A Brand When I Have Many Different Interests?


26. Fear of Disappointing People

“My family or people I care about expect something different from me and I don’t want to let them down.”

See this article: Do You Feel Pressure To Make Everyone Around You Comfortable?


27. Inflexible Idealism

“Everything I work on at all times must be 100% in line with the vision and values I have for what I want to do and who I want to work with.”

See this article: Defining The Relationship Between What You Love & What Makes You Money


One you won’t see on the list “Lack of Time.” Time is simply about prioritization so if you don’t “have the time” it’s because you’re not “making the time” and that means something else is filling up your days. The answer to why those activities are getting all of your attention is hidden in one of the items listed above.

Your challenge this week is to identify which fears/beliefs/mindsets from the list above describe the challenges that are specifically holding you back your own personal evolution.

You can see just based on the fact that I’ve written articles pertaining to a majority of these topics that they are all things that have crept up on me at one time or another. Thankfully, though, by confronting them head on and taking steps to overcome them, I’ve been able to stretch my own boundaries and continually raise my own expectations for what’s possible in my life.

I’m hoping this list is the beginning of that process for some of you!

What’s Holding You Back From Leveling Up In Your Creative Business?

(Big Fat Takeaway)

It's impossible to break through your limits if you can't first identify what they are. Take the time to understand what's holding you back so you can practice growing in that area.

IT IT

This article written by

Caroline Zook

Artist, designer + writer passionate about helping soulful creatives grow into their brightest selves. Lover of bright colors + even brighter people! One half of the crazy duo running these parts!

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