Hello amazing creative, it’s Emma your Creative Business Mentor!
This week, we’ll dive into the impostor syndrome and the starving artist mentality. We all have negative thoughts about our abilities, our creativity and certain aspects in our life. Often these are fuelled by other people or external influences but they hinder our progress and stunt our happiness.
However, as creatives, we’ve got an extra, nuanced layer of negative belief that we need to clear out. Society has told us since the dawn of time that if you’re an artist or a creative, you’re going to be poor…that it’s not a real job or that you have to be a tormented soul to make good art.
These external messages, these inherited thoughts and beliefs, become the foundation of our reality. We assume that our thoughts are facts when actually our thoughts are just opinions. Opinions that we think over and over again, making them our truths. To truly bust any negative beliefs we need to break those thought patterns. We need to rewire our thoughts to create a new reality for ourselves.
I am a true believer in the ability of your thoughts and your mind to create your reality: thoughts become actions and actions lead to outcomes. So if we can catch the thoughts at the beginning, it will lead to better actions which will lead to a better life experience.
Most of us live on a default setting when it comes to thought patterns. We don’t often give much thought to what our beliefs and opinions are. We think, we act, and we assume our thoughts are facts.
But I want to challenge you to really curate your thoughts, to be mindful of your thoughts. And more importantly, be aware of what you’re allowing into your mind. Just as we feed our bodies nourishing foods, we need to feed our minds something nourishing too. We can’t feed our minds junk and expect a healthy, enjoyable and positive life experience.
I have a short poem that I want to share with you, by an author called James Allen, which he wrote in the early 1900s. He was a pioneer of self-help therapy and he wrote a book called “As a Man Thinketh.”
I grew up with this poem: my father would read this to me and my brother, and it’s stuck with me all these decades. He proposed that our life experience mirrors our thoughts and beliefs.
Mind is the Master power that moulds and makes,
And Man is Mind,
And evermore he takes the tool of Thought, and shaping what he wills,
Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills:
He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass:
Environment is but his looking-glass.
How powerful is that! We have the ability to control our thoughts, to notice and change them. And then change the outcomes of our actions and improve the experience of our lives and the environment around us.
💡FIRST: Write it down
So here’s what I want you to do. It’s a little exercise that you can do yourself. I want you to get pen and paper and I want you to write down all the truths, facts, stories and opinions you have about your art, your work, your creativity, your ability to make money from your talents. The power in this exercise lies in physically writing them down. What were you brought up to believe? What did your teacher tell you? Did you have a defining experience in life that shaped you?
💡SECOND: Observe it
And once you write them down, notice them with a fresh eyes. You’ll literally be looking at them from a distance because they’re no longer only in your head. They’re on paper. Look at them dispassionately, objectively and ask yourself:
- Is this actually the truth?
- Am I being kind to myself?
- Is this useful to me?
- Does this thought pattern actually have a use for me? Or is it holding me back?
- Am I being kind to myself, giving myself the best chance to succeed?
- Is what I think true or have I inherited someone else’s beliefs and thought patterns?”
We are fed so much information as we grow up. It can be from teachers, parents, society or friends, and we don’t think twice about it. It becomes our reality and it becomes our truth.
But if we step back, we can start looking at them objectively. Are they hard facts or just an opinion or slanted perspective? Are they your stories and truths or someone else’s? And start rewriting these statements. Swing the opposite way. Release your limiting beliefs. Explore the possibility that the opposite could be true. Go wild!
These new truths, thoughts and stories may seem crazy, improbable and impossible to you. But if you want to overcome your limiting beliefs, you need to step out of your comfort zone and think new thoughts. Imagine new possibilities. And if you truly want to improve your life experience, you can start by reframing your past and rewriting your future.
💡THIRD: Curate your thoughts.
This final step is crucial in overcoming imposter syndrome and dealing with the starving artist mentality.
What do you feed your mind with? Think about your social media feeds, the radio you have on, the music that you listen to, the TV shows you watch and the people that you hang out with. Are they feeding your mind the most nourishing food for thought? Are they influencing your life positively?
Because if they’re not, then chances are they’re bringing negativity in your life and you’re living off a base level of negativity. This includes reality TV shows. So many revolve around criticism, gossip and negativity, and that energy seeps into our bodies and into our minds.
If you really want to control your environment and have a better outcome in life, you need to start curating what goes into your head. Pay attention to your social media, radio, TV, the books you read and the people you hang out with.
About 10 years ago, we were having terrible financial issues. My husband and I had to really dig deep, pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and change our financial reality.
We lost a lot of money in the global financial crisis, and we found ourselves in a place that was alien and scary to us. And I realized that I had to step up with my business and try to make a decent income from my talents and creativity.
Of course, I had to battle with my own impostor syndrome and overcome some ingrained starving artist beliefs. I felt panic and fear. It all seemed totally impossible. But bit by bit, I climb myself out of this funk by doing exactly what I’ve just advised you to do. Here’s a recap:
💡 FIRST is to write it down.
💡 SECOND is to observe it.
💡THIRD curate your thoughts.
I didn’t listen to mindless breakfast radio in the morning. I didn’t watch reality TV shows. Social media was in its infancy but I avoided gossipy blogs and news outlets. Bitchy magazines were a No-No.
I want to share three books that I had on audio loop for about a year during this period. I listened to them in the car, at home, while working, letting them seep into my subconscious. And it changed everything for me. It changed my thoughts, actions and outcome in my life, business and with my financial situation.
📖 “The Science of Getting Rich” by Wallace Wattles. Written over a hundred years ago, it’s still completely relavent today. It’s not a get rich quick book. It’s about how we use our thoughts attract the things we want into our lives, which also includes money. It’s absolutely brilliant!
📖 “The Strangest Secret” by Earl Nightingale Written in the 1950s as a motivational speech for his employees, it became a seminal book on self improvement through controling your thoughts and deliberately taking positive action. If you listen to the original audiobook it will resonate further. His voice is so old-fashioned, so earnest and so mesmerizing that the message really hits home.
📖 “Ask and It Is Given” & “Money and the Law of Attraction” by Jerry and Esther Hicks More contemporary, both books deal with raising your vibration to attract positivity into your life. If you only think low vibration thoughts, allow low vibration experiences & people into your life, your reality will be less than ideal. You need to think better thoughts, tell a better story and raise your vibration to improve your reality.
Do you have books, videos or tools that you use to allow your thoughts to be of the highest good for you? And I’d love to know what they are, what do you do to help your mindset, your belief system?
And if you need more help with busting your starving artist mentality, join my creative business mentoring program The Creative Business Hub. Click here to join.