In the early years of my coaching practice, I must admit, I did not know the power of ingrained beliefs. would listen intently to what it was my clients wished to achieve in our coaching engagement. Then I would help them devise a range of goals and the steps they needed to take to make those goals a reality. In a number of cases, setting the goals and working through the agreed steps resulted in major changes to the lives and careers of my clients.

However, I also began to notice a consistent trend with other clients who did not, or could not, follow through with the agreed plan – even though they had a burning desire to do so. Something inside of them stopped them in their tracks. As their coach, I was baffled. How could I continue to take their money if they were not getting results?

It became clear to me that something was missing in my coaching approach. I thought if there was a fierce desire to succeed or achieve a dream, and there was a well-designed plan in place, then my clients ought to be reaping excellent results.

But this was not always the case. On further investigation, I realized that there was often a collection of ingrained limiting beliefs about their talent or their abilities that was keeping them stuck. This, in turn, prevented them from living the life and enjoying the lifestyle they wanted. They were stuck on ‘Struggle Street’.

Through additional training and learning, I came to understand the power of beliefs and the positive or negative impact they had on results and outcomes. During this time, I identified 5 particularly damaging beliefs that are commonly held by creatives, coaches and business owners.

The bottom line is this: if you want to succeed in your art, your coaching practice or your business and get off Struggle Street once and for all, you must take a close look at these limiting beliefs and reboot your thinking.


“I’m not good enough – I don’t really know if I have what it takes to succeed.”


This is a common belief among many creative people. However, if you hold on to this belief, it will surely become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Lying deep within this belief is an even deeper underlying conviction that you are unworthy.

With practice and a range of personal development tools now widely available, you can move from this unhelpful belief to one that you are worthy, that you are valuable, and that you have an important contribution to make.

Reflection: What new belief can I replace this limiting belief with?


“I already have everything within me that is necessary for me to succeed and fulfill my purpose.”

“All that I need to succeed is both within me and around me.”

“I trust that my gifts, talents and ideas are worthy and that the world is waiting to receive what I have to offer.”


“What’s the point? I’ll probably fail.”


The fear of failure is one of the most stubbornly ingrained negative beliefs that can be held in mind. It causes us to remain stuck, and this can result in a vicious circle of self-judgement and self-loathing.

As an NLP Master Practitioner, I have witnessed radical changes in my clients who move from this destructive fear of failure when they choose more resourceful thinking. NLP provides a range of techniques to facilitate belief change.

Reflection: What new belief can I replace this limiting belief with?


“There is no failure, only feedback.”

“I am enthusiastic to ‘have a go’, no matter what the outcome might be.”

“I will learn and learn some more until I’m happy with the result.”


“I always procrastinate.”


Always? You procrastinate about everything? Check your generalizations!

Procrastination is a symptom of something deeper, such as the need for everything to be perfect, a fear of failure, a lack of motivation, an inability to anticipate a benefit, a lack of focus, or low energy levels.

We are masters at making excuses such as ‘I don’t have enough time’, ‘I don’t have everything I need’, ‘it will take too long to set everything up’, or ‘I have other important things to do’. And so the list goes on…

Over time, chronic procrastination is likely to result in chronic stress – and the tasks or projects we had wanted to achieve remain incomplete.

Reflection: what new belief can I replace this limiting belief with?


“I am capable and I choose to focus.”

“I begin all my tasks with the positive intention of getting them completed on time.”

“I am not afraid. I am ready and focused to complete the task.”


“I don’t know how to plan to succeed.”


The ability to plan a step-by-step strategy is definitely an important skill, and I’d even go as far as to say that it can be described as a talent. Some people find it very hard to devise a plan and they beat themselves up over it. From my observation, many creatives have an abundance of ideas – but they lack the clarity regarding which ideas to foster, and what steps they must take to get from A to B.

It is also worth noting that much emphasis is placed on future planning at the expense of living in the present. It’s good to check in and ask yourself if planning is what you actually need – or if it is more valuable simply to begin.

As creatives, we know that the painter’s brush, the dancer’s body and the fingers on the keyboard often have a ‘mind of their own’, or creative flow that unfolds without preconception or planning.

If you struggle in this area and you know a good plan would facilitate the attainment of your dream or goals, then remember you can seek out others who actually enjoy the planning process. These people can give you the lift and direction that you need to get you on your way and stay on track.

Reflection: What new belief can I replace this limiting belief with?


“I know where my gifts and passions lie. I ask for help when what is needed is beyond my talents, skills or interests.”

“I hold the vision and the passion for my work, and I bring in others who can partner with me to help me plan.”

“Planning is a skill that I am planning to learn!”


“I lack all the skills I need to succeed.”


Successful companies and organizations thrive on skill-set diversity. Creativity, innovation and vision are the hallmarks of success. This success does not and cannot depend on one person. Each role within the organization contributes to the whole.

You do not need to be skillful at every level of your business or career, nor do you need to know every step required for a particular project in order to begin.

If you have the desire to succeed, and a vision for the end result, then even if you are faced with a knowledge gap, you can choose to learn those new skills or partner with others who are experts in the relevant fields.

Reflection: what new belief can I replace this limiting belief with?


“I’m open to learning new skills of my choosing.”

“I do not need to possess every skill required to fulfill my dreams and goals. I call on others with the necessary skills to help me.”

“I hold the vision for my business/career/life, and others help me achieve my goals.”

Struggle Street is real. Feeling stuck, unable to move forward, caught in a cycle of inertia is not only frustrating, it can also be soul-destroying. If you want to live in a new neighbourhood, free of struggle, with a strong, robust mindset, make your choice today. Throw off those ingrained beliefs that do not serve you. A whole new adventure awaits you – new experiences, new relationships, new ideas… freedom!

Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below on how your beliefs have helped or limited you in the quest to live the life you desire.



Monica O’Brien is a professionally trained and accredited Coach and founder of Creative Edge Coaching She blogs on issues about creativity and small business development for conscious artists and business entrepreneurs. 


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