5 Signs That You’re Ready for a Change

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Welcome to Good Enough Creative, a podcast for creative people.

Hi again! Welcome back. I’m your host, Marie Greene, and in today’s episode we’re talking about how to recognize when it’s time to make a change.

I don’t know about you, but I’m not the same person I was 20 years ago, 10 years ago, even 5 years ago. Heck, I’m not even sure I’m the same person I was 2 years ago. As we make our way through life’s many adventures, we may find ourselves evolving in ways we hadn’t expected. Sometimes we change because of circumstances we can’t control, and at other times we may just realize that our interests aren’t what they once were.

But as we learn and grow and evolve, sometimes we experience the discomfort of knowing that things aren’t working, but we don’t yet realize that what’s happening is really a call to make a change. It’s just that the call for change is often disguised – and I want to talk about that today, and identify the ways that change might be sneaking up on us, but if we slow down for a minute and ask the right questions, we can recognize that change is needed, before it knocks us over.

Here are 5 signs that you might be ready to make a change.

1. Feeling Stagnant

Recognizing stagnation in your creative journey often starts with a subtle feeling of discomfort—an inner whisper that something is off. Creatively, you might find yourself circling back to the same ideas, techniques, or themes, feeling uninspired by the very same projects that once felt so exciting. But sometimes, even the thrill of starting new projects begins to wane, and might be replaced by a sense of obligation instead of passion. Have you ever stared blankly at your project, just feeling absolutely uninspired to take the next step? We (hopefully) don’t feel this way very often, but feeling stagnant can happen to the best of us, and usually it sneaks up when we least expect it.

Motivation can hold up to a lot of challenges, thank goodness, but every one of us will find ourselves reaching a point of feeling like we’ve lost our mojo. Tasks and projects that used to energize you might start to feel like a burden, and procrastination may become your new BFF. The progress on your creative journey might slow to a crawl; you might start numerous projects but struggle to see any through to the finish line. This lack of forward momentum can lead to feelings of frustration and really make you doubt yourself, which only reinforces that sense of being stuck in a creative quicksand. Recognizing these signs is the first, crucial step toward rejuvenating your creative spirit. It’s a signal from your inner self that it’s time to seek new inspirations, challenge your norms, and embrace the discomfort of growth. But to create that movement, we sometimes just have to acknowledge that we feel stuck. It’s normal, it’s okay. We all experience it. It doesn’t mean anything about you, except that maybe it’s time to switch gears.

2. Lack of Inspiration

When I first started my knitting design business, I was filled with ideas, but I did worry that I would eventually reach a point when those ideas would start to flounder. I mean, how many different kinds of handknit sweaters and shawls and beanies can possibly exist in one person’s creative mind. Right? But over the years, the ideas just kept coming. The more I designed, the more new ideas I had. I was beginning to think those ideas would never stop coming. But then – during moments when I’ve been incredibly busy with deadlines, worried about my kids, or dealing with sick pets, or other stresses – you know, all of those things that come up in life – I would find myself up against a deadline and absolutely out of ideas. Life stress has a way of crowding out space for creativity. There are a variety of reasons why we might suddenly run out of inspiration – it might not just be about other stresses in our lives, but the good news is that there’s always a way to get it back. Sometimes it just means that you have to get out of your creative bubble. For me, that looks like stepping away from the deadline and the pressure and just giving myself a little white space so that ideas have room to bounce around.

What works well for me is to sign up for a workshop for something completely different than what I normally do, or read a memoir of someone else who’s lived an interesting creative life. Even just going for a walk and giving myself space from everything for 20 minutes can help me find my connection to inspiration again.

If you’re not feeling super inspired – especially if that feeling lingers for a while – it might be time to shake things up a little bit. Sometimes even a small change can help you find your way back.

3. Feeling Frustrated

Emotions are an interesting thing – so often they can give us clues about what’s going on with us, except that sometimes we’re so aware of the feeling that we forget to ask what might be causing it. If you’re feeling frustrated every time you sit down to work on your project, ask yourself why. Are you being too hard on yourself and expecting perfection? Do you feel like your work isn’t a good reflection of your potential (I certainly understand that feeling)? Feeling frustrated might be a sign that you need to reflect on why you’re showing up to work on that thing in the first place, and to measure your own expectations to see if you’re putting too much pressure on yourself. But it might also be a sign that something needs to change. Maybe your creativity is ready for a different kind of challenge – change doesn’t have to be forever, but it might be just enough to help you fall back in love with the things you enjoyed before.

4. Feeling Envious

Eww. This is a hard one, right? Nobody wants to admit feeling envious of someone else. But if you see someone living a vibrant creative life, and seemingly pursuing their passions with a ton of joy or success, you might have this little inner feeling that you wish that could be you. And while we typically think of this feeling as a big negative, what it might really be is a little hint from your inner self that says you’re capable of something bigger. And maybe you’re not yet on your most aligned creative path. If you find yourself feeling a little bit (or a lot) of envy when you see someone else doing the thing you always dreamed of doing, it could just be a nudge that points you toward your own next step. Sometimes when we push down our dreams, we can almost bury them deep enough that we forget they’re there. And it’s only when we start to see those dreams coming to life in someone else, that we start to hear those whispers that remind us of what we wanted to do or achieve in our own lives. It’s never too late to take that next step.

5. Feeling Like You Don’t Know Yourself Anymore

This is a big one, and I think it comes up, especially, when we’re going through a big life change. Sometimes you sit down to do the things you always do, and you’re just not into it, and you don’t know why. You may feel like you don’t even know what you want to do – you just know it’s not what you’re doing right now. I remember once that I participated in an exercise (this was maybe 20 years ago) and we were supposed to create a passion poster filled with all of our hopes and dreams – things that were just about us, not about our roles in our families or at work, just us. And I found myself absolutely paralyzed. I couldn’t think of anything. I felt like I must not even know myself, because how can I not think of anything I enjoy or dream of or aspire to? That’s ridiculous. Who would know but me? I mean, how can you not know that about yourself? But that’s honestly how I felt in that moment because I had become so busy BEING and DOING all the things that were expected of me that I had not stopped, not even once, to get to know myself as an individual person. It sounds really silly to say it now, because if you were to ask me this today, I could give you a list 20 miles long. But at that moment in my life, I drew an absolute blank. I felt like I didn’t even know myself. And this can happen at various points in our lives – we can wake up one day and realize that we don’t recognize ourselves in the context of the lives we’re living. And the good news, is that I didn’t have to change my whole life in order to make that connection with myself – I just had to make it a priority to figure it out. To give myself permission to do that. And do you know what I did? This is going to sound so silly, but instead of making a passion poster about my hopes, dreams and aspirations, I sat down and cut pictures of magazines that just inspired me. Words that I liked. Images that maybe had nothing in particular to do with goals, but that just made me happy to look at. I had so much fun just taking the pressure off, and letting myself focus on images that made me feel like me, that by the time I had finished, I was able to look at the poster and recognize myself in it. It was like, oh – duh, of course that’s who I am. It’s so obvious. I just had to give myself permission to get there.

Change is a blessing and a curse, but if there’s one thing I know – it’s that change will always be with us. We have to learn to recognize the signs that we’re ready – that change is the right next step. Big or small, sometimes a change is exactly what you need.

If you love this podcast and would like to support the show – and enjoy bonus episodes, please consider becoming a premium subscriber like Donna, Lee and Sally. Thank you so much fo your support. Until next time my friend, you’ve got this.

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