Whether in our personal lives or our careers, we all want to grow. Change. Evolve. Get better. And we all have those voices in our head that pipe up and tell tell us we can’t. Have you ever wondered what’s holding me back?

My clients tell me:

I can’t find new work”

“I’m not that talented”

I’ll never get out of this job”

“No one likes my showreel.”

what's holding me back

Sometimes these ideas are so deep rooted, stemming from years of telling ourselves “You can’t…” You’re not…” “You’ll never…”

They are rarely true.

Here are the steps I take with my clients to challenge and overcome these voices.

Recognise the voices and what they say

To break us out of this cycle the first thing to do is really recognise these voices and the things they say. Ask yourself ‘what’s holding me back?’ What do those voices in your head tell you you can’t do?

Where did these come from?

These voices aren’t always our own. Sometimes they’re things people have said over the years. I can think of several times people have been critical of my work, and it’s stuck well beyond that particular moment. The fact they happened years ago, in a completely different context, doesn’t make them any less potent. It’s good to identify where they stemmed from, so we can really show how outdated they might be.

Recognise that these are beliefs not truths

These voices are making statements which sound like solid facts. But they’re not. They are beliefs. And they’re limiting the way you behave by telling you something that is not necessarily true. And reframing them as such is a huge step in moving forward.

What are they stopping me from doing?

Look back at those self-limiting beliefs. What have they blocked you from doing in the past? How have they held you back?

What else will I lose?

Ask yourself what you will lose if you don’t let go of these beliefs. If they continue to chip away at your confidence, what will they stop you from achieving?

Commit to letting them go

Embrace these beliefs and get ready to discard them. It’s going to take work and persistence to move on from them, so you need to absolutely commit to letting them go.

Question the beliefs

Ask yourself ‘why do I believe that?’ Then ask yourself, ‘And why do I believe that?’ And then again, ‘And why did you believe that?’ This process has been very revealing to my clients, as it turns out their beliefs are based on flimsier and flimsier foundations, all the easier to knock them over and rebuild!

Try to identify when you took on the belief. Sometimes they can be rooted even back to childhood. It’s time to put them in the past.

Has this belief ever served you in a positive way? Sometimes they can actually spur you on. More than once my doubting voice has said “you can’t” and I’ve replied “Sod off, I can!”

Counter your doubts

When has your belief not been true? Who would never say this about you? When have you done something that contradicted these beliefs?

What do you want to replace this belief with?

Imagine if you reversed the belief. “You are creative.” “You have great ideas.” “You can finish this project.” Let them settle in your brain. What would happen if you acted like these were true? What would be the consequences? How would you act differently?

Today is Different

If you don’t take action to affirm your new beliefs, you’re simply giving your old beliefs more power.

Remind yourself that today is different. Whatever stumbling blocks you’ve had in the past, they are not in your way today. You can choose to act differently, act confidently, act with purpose. It’s not easy to achieve, but you can do it.

Your first steps don’t have to be perfect, just headed in the right direction.

Getting help when you can’t answer the question “what’s holding me back?”

One aspect of the coaching work I do is helping my clients identify these is helping clients unpick those beliefs that are holding them back, and identify new beliefs to follow.

If you find yourself wondering what’s holding me back and want help moving beyond this, get in touch. You can also follow our Clearly Creative Space Facebook Page.


Gavin Ricketts is a Producer/Director with twenty year's experience. His book on writing CVs for the creative industries has helped Film and TV Crew win more work.