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How I have been blocking my own success (and how you might be doing the same)


Written by Louise Fletcher

A few days ago, one of my Facebook friends asked this question: ‘What assumptions are holding you back?’

The question stopped me in my tracks because just a week earlier, I had decided to drop several long-held assumptions and “go public” with my artwork.

I have always drawn and painted, and over the last year I have become much more committed to my art work. But still, almost no one had ever seen it.

What assumptions were holding me back all that time? Too many, I’m afraid.

Here are just some of them: No one will want to see my work. It’s not good enough. Black and white art isn’t real art. I’m not a real artist because I have a full-time job. People might hate my drawings … the list goes on and on.

And then over the last few weeks, a series of things happened that changed the way I felt. I attended a talk on creativity and came away inspired. A relative stranger saw one of my pictures and gave genuine and heartfelt praise. I watched a video about a successful artist who only started painting at the age of 60. I read the book “Choose Yourself” by James Altucher and realized I hadn’t done that in the past (If you haven’t read it, I recommend it as a though-provoking, if sometimes a little crazy, jolt of inspiration).

And all these events came together like bricks making a wall and I started to wonder … why don’t I try this? What’s the worst that could happen? I will still run Blue Sky, so I won’t starve if I fail. The only risk is that my feelings will get hurt if people don’t like my work.

So I set up a Facebook page for my art and paid for a small advertising campaign to test reactions. I figured if no one liked it, I could delete the page and move on. I’d only be down a bruised ego and about $30.

And to my genuine amazement, it turns out lots of those assumptions were completely wrong. I’ve been overwhelmed with positive comments, kind words and even with gallery opportunities. It seems I was wrong that people don’t want black and white art, and wrong that I’m not good enough, and wrong that I’m not a ‘real’ artist because I also have a job.

And now it has me wondering … if all those assumptions are wrong, what other self-limiting beliefs am I clinging on to?

And if I have all these self-limiting beliefs, what about you? What assumptions are holding YOU back?

The cow in the drawing is one I saw yesterday. She was standing right at the barbed wire fence looking out mournfully. She’d have loved to explore the next field, but she couldn’t go any further.

She reminds me of me just a few weeks ago.

Maybe she reminds you of you?


  1. Miko Holt says:

    This is so so awesome and I too need to put my writing out there… I have the same doubts…but just as I’ve told my students so many times: “The voice in your head telling you, something is not possible is a liar!”

  2. Louise says:

    Hi Miko, what a great quote. I don’t know why we all have that voice but it’s both annoying and useless! Hope to hear that your writing is now out there.

  3. Cheryl says:

    great, inspiring post, definitely feel like that cow! thanks for sharing your beautiful work and how you developed the courage to share it.


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Our CEO, Louise Fletcher

Louise co-founded Blue Sky in 2002 after a career as an HR executive. Her industry experience includes music, video games, fashion and advertising. She lived and worked in the US for many years, but moved back to her native UK in 2012, where she now lives in the Yorkshire countryside. In addition to her full-time role with Blue Sky, she's a professional artist, so you can imagine why she couldn't answer the 'what do you do with your free time' question! Contact Louise by email.

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