How To Get Past The Emotional Blocks That Keep You From Growing Your Business With Your Art (And Being Your Absolute Best)

Alexis Fedor

Portrait of a young redhead woman dressed as Alice in Wonderland, video game.

Have you ever sat down to deal with your finances, to really look at where you are right now and where you’d like to see yourself in the next six to twelve months while you focus on growing your business with your art, and found yourself stuck, like a deer in headlights, unable to move forward with what you have in front of you? You were all ready to organize your numbers, understand what you need to do to grow and put a plan into action for the next several months, but you found yourself completely overtaken with some emotional block that would not let you get past the word “go”?

This kind of back-story trance can not only keep us from completing the task we have in front of us, but stop us from moving in the direction we need to in order to grow, share and fulfill our vision as artists through an effective plan. The fact is we can’t move forward when we are focused on the past!

[bctt tweet=”The fact is we can’t move forward when we are focused on the past!”]

There have been several times as a business owner, both with my art and my consulting business that I found myself unable to breathe when I sat down to deal with my finances. I remember feeling paralyzed at times, stopped on the first set of numbers, as my mind drifted to a story from my childhood that took me back to a time when I had a negative experience with money. I would zone out on that story for several minutes until I realized I was out of time and needed to get on to the next part of my day, leaving my plan in the exact same place as it was when I first sat down to create it.

One moment in particular almost put me over the edge. I was trying to form a plan for my business as I was in transition between clients and had to move. I had a number of unexpected bills come up that set me way back for the month, and with the cost of moving I saw myself going into debt. As I sat down to figure out how I could solve this problem, my mind drifted to a time when I was living in Chicago, trying to make ends meet and got myself into credit card debt for the first time. My father prided himself on never having debt, so I vowed I would never get myself into such a bind again. I had done it again, and was envisioning my father’s disappointment in me for not catching my mistakes that lead me to this point earlier. I started to feel my head pound, and before I knew it my stomach was upset and I had a massive migraine that took over my mind for the next 24 hours.

The next day, when I woke up free from the pain, I vowed that I would not let such guilt over my past stories overtake my current state of mind. I wasn’t going to blame myself anymore for my own mistakes. Instead, I was going to learn from them while staying active in the present moment. My problem was that I couldn’t figure out a way to stop those moments from taking over my process.

I then remembered a director I had worked with in the past- Karen Kohlhaas, one of the most efficient and successful directors in NYC and founding member of Atlantic Theater Company- telling me that she would set a timer when she needed to complete a scene study to make sure she only spent a certain amount of time on it. Then she would walk away, forget about it and come back to it later, again setting a timer to only give herself a certain amount of time to critique her own work. This helped her “stay out of her own way”, she had said, and she swore by this technique. I had heard of some other entrepreneurs using this method as well, so I thought I would try it.

I sat down one more time to look at my financial situation, set a timer for one hour, and got to work. Not only was I able to put that story of past guilt aside for that time, but also I was able to figure out what I needed to do in a few simple steps. When the timer went off, I shut my book, walked away and got on with my day. I came back to it later to look it over and add a few ideas that popped into my mind as I was doing other things (and not thinking about it).

I have been using this technique for the last six years, and have found it to be one of the most powerful tools in my strategic arsenal that I use to build my business. It is clearly one of the best-kept secrets to getting past your emotional blocks- because when you aren’t focused on your past, you open the door for creating your future from the present moment.

[bctt tweet=”When you aren’t focused on your past, you open the door for creating your future from the present moment.”]

Here is how to stop yourself from blocking your own planning once and for all:

1. Choose a task you need to complete right now- large or small- without question that you have been putting off due to a resistance you feel come up each time you think about it.

2. Block out a time in your calendar for the amount of time you believe it will take to complete it. (If more than an hour, you probably have a project on your hands, which you can break down into smaller, more manageable tasks. Do this first, and then choose the one that needs completed first.)

3. Sit down at your designated time, set your timer and focus on completing your task. When the timer goes off, stop wherever you are, and walk away. If you need more time, repeat steps 2 and 3.

What is a task you need to complete that you have been finding resistance around? Take action now by posting it, along with your commitment to overcoming it, in the comments below.