Creating Without Fear: a.k.a. "Getting Out of Your Own Way"

Art &Soul
Art of Darkness

Have you ever noticed that some pieces of art just seem to create themselves while others are a painful process and exhausting evolution?

I have made it a point to be more aware of both processes over the past six months and have come to realize that for me, the art that just seems to flow happens when I have “Gotten Out of My Own Way“. Funny thing…I learned this concept in the most unlikely of places: on the tennis court. But what is really amazing is that I have found it is applicable in so many areas of my life.

Getting Out of Our Own Way requires us to believe in ourselves and not question what we know; it requires us to realize when a personal truth has hit a wall of doubt because doubt inevitably turns into fear…and fear into anxiety…and anxiety into paralysis.

Because my mind is always thinking, always questioning and always visualizing, it’s not easy for me to Get Out of My Own Way. I have had to learn to push my doubting thoughts aside and ask myself “What is the worst that will happen here?” The answer is usually that I won’t like the outcome…okay, so what? Will I be devastated? No. Will I never get another offer to work as an artist? No. Will I lose a match? Maybe; but I’ve lost before and I lived to tell about it! Something will come out of what I’ve done…even if it’s to realize what not to do again!

The Future Belongs to Those Who Believe
“Believe” ©2006 kelly angard

Getting Out of Your Own Way seems to be most challenging when we’re doing something that “matters”…whether it’s trying to win a tennis match, create a piece of art for publication, or express our opinion in a peer group. Whenever we attach ourselves and who we are to what we are doing, we are more vulnerable to becoming frustrated, tense and unable to perform. If we can just Get Out of Our Own Way and realize that we know what we know, our experiences will be so much more enjoyable no matter the outcome. How do I get to that place? Well, I have to talk to myself like a mental patient and tell myself that I know how to serve, return the ball and move on the court…just like I know how to blend colors, translate what I’m thinking to paper, and use my tools. So no matter whether I win or lose, create something I like or don’t like, the outcome is the outcome…and I am so much the better for doing it.

The next time you feel stuck or frustrated, try asking yourself what you could do to Get Out of Your Own Way. Should you just try the color that keeps popping into your head? Should you just write the words that are ringing in your ears? Stop debating with yourself and go with what you feel. Trust yourself…and really, what’s the worst that can happen if you do that?

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5 Responses to Creating Without Fear: a.k.a. "Getting Out of Your Own Way"

  1. Lisa G says:

    Kelly, how do you do it Kel. Can you teach me, can you bottle it up and I can buy it…your talent is beyond words my dear. I just dont understand how one person can be so creative.

  2. Jennifer says:


  3. Catherine Sebree says:


    That first piece is wonderful!! Getting out of my own way seems to be my biggest hang up. This ATC swap is one example. I’ve been staring at my cards all week, and I just go blank. I freeze. Now give me a picture and I can draw from it for inspiration, but just tell me to create art` AAAAAAHHHHH!

    You inspire me!!

  4. islandgirl says:

    I LOVE that first piece too, WOW, stunning!

  5. Fiona says:

    What wonderful artwork. I love them both. Great advice too. I constantly agonise over every LO, & each takes me many hours because of this. I MUST try to let go:-)

    Your book is winging it’s way to me in Australia right now, & I can’t wait to get it!