What People Are Saying
“I was stuck in a pattern of over-committing. I felt constantly overwhelmed and without time or energy for things I really wanted in my life. Duff’s coaching and hypnosis sessions made such a difference. They helped me change the patterns that lead to overload and instead enjoy a balance of work, relaxation, adventure, and relationships.”
~Cove Sturtevant, Data Scientist
Common Problems Creative People Have
Which I Can Help With
Fear of Failure
Thinking about starting your business, artwork, or other creative project makes you wanna barf. “What if I fail?” And it’s not like you haven’t tried before. You have a string of failures in your past (just like all successful people by the way) and can only see doom and gloom in the future.
Our creative brains can imagine hundreds of worst case scenarios. But we can use this same creativity to imagine solutions, and recall all the things you have succeeded at and all the resources you have inside. When we learn how to use our brains more effectively, we no longer need to fear the monster in the closet, but can shine a light into the dark corners and move toward what used to feel scary.
Fear of Success
In the past when you’ve really gone for things, you’ve suddenly entered the spotlight more than you’re comfortable with. You can go from invisible to superstar in 3 seconds flat, and that is scary as shit. But holding back your talents is slowly killing your soul.
“Fear of success” is often really a fear of overwhelm. Your current productivity system can at best be described as “organized chaos teetering on the edge of disaster.” Adding more things to it would put you over the edge. You could really use a better system before adding more opportunities to your plate. But also you probably don’t yet realize that many successful people are a hot mess, so you don’t have to be perfect to take action now.
“Not Good Enough”
The #1 insecurity of all creative people is feeling shame, like there’s something fundamentally wrong with them. But that can’t be the case because we all feel that way.
Imagine a room full of 50 creative people you think are amazing, who go around one by one and talk about how they feel like there’s something fundamentally wrong with them because they struggle with creating things. Nonsense! You don’t have to feel bad about yourself because you are a creative human. You are imperfect, sure, and you are plenty good enough.
Feelings of worthlessness are worthless! We can overcome them and reclaim our inherent dignity and Inner Power.
Us creative weirdos can easily generate multiple ideas a day for projects that would take a lifetime to complete. We are idea-generating machines. So we actually have more things to manage and organize than the average person.
This means feeling overwhelmed is extremely common amongst creatives. We need better systems, both in our brains and in the external world, to manage all our amazing ideas. Normal to-do lists don’t cut it because we can add 100s more to-dos for every 1 that we check off.
We can learn not only to use the conscious mind to chunk things down, but also reorganize our unconscious structures so we feel consistently motivated and in control.
Childhood sucked. We creative kids were labeled “gifted and talented” which meant we not only were forced to do our normal boring homework but also the special homework for the creative kids. And yet we also had real limitations, perhaps problems reading, focusing, learning social skills, doing math, or coordinating our limbs in gym class, adding a hidden burden on top of disability.
As a result we created an internal taskmaster that forces us to do shit we hate, pushing ourselves to the max, while also creating an internal rebel that refuses to do anything at all, to “stick it to the man.”
We turn our passion projects into “have to’s” and then don’t want to do them, escaping into fantasy worlds of video games and social media, or going down research rabbit holes on Wikipedia and YouTube.
We feel like we don’t know enough to start, even though the very nature of starting a creative project is that you literally cannot know anything until you start! So we research endlessly, leading to analysis paralysis and making it impossible to decide. But hey, at least we can impress people at parties with trivia we’ve collected!
Our brains are highly attuned to novelty. This makes us much more likely to be artists and entrepreneurs, coaches and consultants. But it also makes it hard to focus when it’s time to crank shit out. You might have received an official diagnosis of ADHD, autism spectrum, or dyslexia, or you might have always wondered if you would qualify.
We need to create rituals and learn skills to enter the focus zone and block out all other distractions while we single-task and do our Deep Work.
On the other hand, sometimes we hyperfocus, pushing ourselves for hours to stay on a task, neglecting our bodies that are screaming for a break. So we also need to learn when to stop, and how to really rest and recharge.
In either case, focus is a learnable skill that we can get much, much better at with good strategies and regular practice.
Creative people are more sensitive, we notice more things. Other people can’t even sense what we are sensing. So this leads us to have ridiculously high standards for our work, making it hard to finish anything or even get started, because our work will never be up to our impossible standards of perfection.
We tie our self-esteem to our finished products, making it a matter of life-or-death to send something out into the world that other people can see.
We need to learn to chill the fuck out, make crappy first drafts, iterate and improve over time, and be comfortable shipping something that still has a flaw or two.
Due to issues with starting, focusing, and finishing, as well as having resume gaps when we were pursuing our niche interests, creative folks often struggle with conventional employment. But entrepreneurship can seem risky and daunting.
The fact is we are more likely to succeed at doing our own thing, but it is far easier with support and accountability.
We also tend to work better when collaborating on a team or in proximity to others who are also working, so we need to seek out resources and create structures for doing so.
Due to feeling like there is something fundamentally lacking about us, we overcompensate by pushing ourselves too hard, ignoring signals from our body for rest, sleep, and food. Eventually this catches up to us and we feel tired all the time, lacking motivation and drive, and wondering what is wrong with us, further amplifying the vicious cycle of pushing even harder.
This isn’t necessary. There are ways of working sustainably that not only don’t burn us out but actually recharge and energize our bodies, minds, hearts, and souls. But in order to do that, we need to change that ridiculous belief that there is something faulty at our core that we are overcompensating for.
We also need to be willing to be weird, to do things our own unique ways that are different from the norm. When we do, we feel liberated and energized as well as somehow getting more done without it feeling like work!
As weird kids, many of us we were bullied, picked on, or teased for moving, talking, feeling, thinking, and dressing differently. As a result we developed social anxiety or became people-pleasers. We masked who we really were, hiding our authentic selves because being ourselves was punished by peers and parents.
Hiding your true self is fucking exhausting. It has lead us to take jobs we hate, avoid speaking out for our wants and needs, and stay in relationships that just aren’t working.
We need to learn to be assertive, neither passive nor aggressive, and boldly ask for what we want with an attitude of win-win, committed to getting what we need while also caring deeply for the other person.
With courageous practice often we go from shy to charismatic. We are never boring!
Getting Up Early
Creative people are often night owls. We sometimes stay up to 1, 2, or 3 in the morning, thinking exciting ideas or mindlessly consuming content on the internet. In our late night ambition we set an alarm for the early morning but when morning comes around we compulsively hit snooze and go back to sleep.
This schedule can work in our teens and 20s but is no longer a fit in our 30s and 40s when we have careers and family. Morning is often the best time for creative work or self-care. We can use hypnosis to reprogram ourselves to easily and automatically get up with an alarm and go to bed at a reasonable hour.
Creative people are often different when it comes to sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression. We may have struggled with knowing or expressing our authentic selves, or otherwise feeling like society doesn’t appreciate and celebrate our way of being. We may have been bullied, denied employment, or otherwise treated like shit just for existing.
Learning to fully accept that we are just fine the way we are can help us to really show up and give our gifts to the world. It can also inspire others to do the same, making the world ultimately a much better place for everyone.
We creative people often have high sex drives. This can be a problem in dating and relationships, or show up as a compulsive porn habit.
Having a high sex drive is not itself a problem, nor is masturbation something to be ashamed about. If it wasn’t for sex, we wouldn’t exist! The sex drive is simply the impulse to create.
And it can also be useful to direct some of that erotic, creative energy into actually creating something: a business, an album, a book, etc.
With Neuro-Linguistic Programming it’s possible to make sex less compulsive, giving us back choice about how we direct this creative energy.
We have different ways of experiencing time. As a result, we are chronically late, lost in “the now,” or are awful at predicting how long anything will take.
This can lead to problems in relationships and at work. But with Neuro-Linguistic Programming, we can reshape our very conception of time, leading to far-reaching positive changes in our lives.
We can also change the way we conceive of the future, so that uncertain futures no longer feel scary, leading us to not act. Instead we are excited about the possibilities and eager to get started making stuff!
You Are Not Lazy or Broken
There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with you. Creative people just require creative solutions.
You already have all the creativity you need. You can get your Productivity Engine running and turn your Big Ideas into reality.
I’ve done it, my clients have done it, and you can do it too.
It can help to have a certified weirdo on your team, someone with the knowledge and experience to make changes automatic at the unconscious level. Hey, I happen to know such a person!
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