I have worked with hundreds of artists for over 35 years. Each has had a story, a muse, and a tormentor. No two artists are alike for each had their passions, their dreams, and typically their own form of self-sabotage. Self-sabotage is interesting. It reminds me of a good murder mystery. The writer in a murder mystery will introduce you to the killer in the first chapter. An artist will introduce you to their sell-sabotage within the first five minutes of the first meeting. My challenge is to slowly introduce the self-sabotage to the artist. The artist knows it is there. They simply choose to ignore it. That is why they have come to me. Over the years, I have begun to realize why the artist ignores the self-sabotage. It is because the sabotage and the muse often walk hand-in-hand. Too often the muse becomes the saboteur. An example of this would be the need for perfectionism. The artist may set goals too high for themselves, which are unattainable. Making peace with the muse of perfectionism and setting goals that are attainable, relaxes the muse and allows the creativity to flow.
My role is to create a healthy playing ground for the muse and keep self-sabotage in check. Asking simple questions can begin the process to address the self-sabotage such as, “What drives your creativity, your muse, and how do you access it?” Working with an artist, I look for patterns and blocks. I figure out what needs to be fed and learn when I get too close to the fire of creativity to pull away. As a coach, that fire can burn me too. I have learned to approach it cautiously.
As a coach, I need to not murder the artist’s muse in the process. Time after time I have met coaches who will tell an artist to focus. This is a huge mistake because it can murder the muse. Creative minds are often in a few directions. My goal is to approach the different directions the creative mind is working and point them towards a similar goal.