3 Reasons your Creative Boundaries Need a Refresh, Right Now

creative, creativity, barbed wire boundary

The creative boundaries you set for yourself serve two key purposes. One is to help focus your energy and self expression and the other is protection from pain and fear. The trick is that while boundaries keep you safe and clear they also box you into a way of creating that’s limiting, repetitive and drains your creative spark.


When you feel comfortable there’s no real reason to change how you create. However, over time, the boundaries you’ve established for comfort become creative blocks that set you up to stay small or worse, limit your vision of what’s possible. This keeps you in a loop of repurposing the same half-inspired insights instead of opening up to something fresh.


Creative boundaries need to be flexible yet firm, depending on their purpose – and you need to remain mindful of the reasons you set them up in the first place.


This week’s Creativity Kick-Start is all about feeling into your creative edges and releasing self-imposed boundaries that box you in. 


creative, creativity, box


I see creative boundaries as living, breathing tools that support you as you grow into a new level of self- awareness and experience, but they also require maintenance like anything else in life. If they are no longer valid for who you are right now, what started as a tool turns into a liability that limits your potential.


Here are 3 reasons you will want to refresh your creative boundaries and revitalize your connection to be more in tune with the flow of life – and your true purpose.


1. Your own creative work is boring to you. Yes, this happens to us all sooner or later. There are times when you feel the work you create has the same thread, vibe or feeling to it, or lacks a certain spark. You might also feel like you’ve reached a plateau of comfort mixed with boredom.


What’s your first step? Celebrate. This is one of the first clues that your current creative boundaries are out-of-date and now you have a clear reason to give them a refresh. It doesn’t mean all aspects of your approach or vision need to change completely, but you can take a little time to think about why you are “phoning it in.”


Is there a distraction in your personal life keeping you from digging in deeper? Do you feel safer keeping things as they are right now because other aspects in your life are chaotic? How can you shift that? Or are you simply ready for a change but unwilling to admit it?


creative, creativity, frustration


2. You feel out of creative options. It’s no fun to feel like you have no choice when it comes to what you are creating. Limited time, tools and resources can make you feel this way or when you talk yourself into playing it safe – right where you are.


Creativity is a risky personal act of self expression and requires faith in yourself to pull it off. When you look around and see no way out, your creative boundaries are too small or your thinking is. It’s time to regroup and look at new ways to change the language you use to describe yourself and capabilities to shift the “emotional clog” and give yourself breathing room to crack open how you see the situation.


It can also help to talk to someone who doesn’t know you well and brainstorm ideas or collaborate as mutual coaching partners. When you have a reflection point within another person, you are able to see what you might fear most – your own awesomeness. Then the boundaries you’ve made can fade away.


creative, creativity, proud like a lion


3. You forget what it’s like to feel creatively fulfilled and proud of yourself. Every single person is capable of providing something of creative worth. Yet, the boundaries we set around what’s “creatively worthy” choke out how you experience joy in the act of creating.


It might be time to switch up the pressure you put on what you make and instead look at finding joy in everything you do. If you told teenage Katrina she would have fun folding laundry – I would have thought you were insane, yet, I truly enjoy it. I focus on the fresh, clean smell, the sense of accomplishment in finishing a task and the chance to a small break from sitting behind my desk to be fully present during a simple act.


Take the time to appreciate all you do. The act of creating is not limited to artistic expression. It’s the way you greet others, connect with your family, cook your dinner and fix things that are broken in your home. A truly creative act is being present as you feel into what you want to create as much as it’s about the act of doing it.


With spring in full swing, its a great time to review and refresh creative boundaries to give yourself a bit of a challenge and release the old box of tricks.


How can you tell when you need a bit of a refresh? What are some of the ways you like to switch things up and give yourself a new challenge?


Want to do a little extra reading on creative boundaries? Check out Expanding my Boundaries by Channeling my Inner Hippie and Choosing Supportive Creative Connections.


Photo credit: Dilip Muralidaran, michael_hamburg69, Lotus Carroll, William Warby