Three Roadblocks to Success as a Creative Entrepreneur (and How to Get Past Them)

Mountain road closed, with no entry sign in Spanish

When you set out to earn a living from your creative talent, you will inevitably encounter obstacles.

Over the past week, I’ve been hearing about plenty of these, from students in the process of signing up for the Creative Entrepreneur Roadmap. So I thought it would be helpful to share three of the most common roadblocks to success I’ve been hearing about, and offer solutions to them.

Roadblock #1. Technophobia

“I don’t get on with technology.”

“I’m not a geek.”

“The internet is like a foreign country to me.”

“It feels antisocial to spend all that time on the computer.”

I hear this kind of objection a lot, and to me it’s based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what the internet and related technologies are really about.

Let’s start with the fundamentals:

  • People are critical to the success of your creative business.
  • Realising your ambitions means finding the right people – collaborators to co-create with you, and customers to buy the finished results.
  • The more creative and original your business is, the more picky you have to be about the people you work with, and the people you sell to.

You have high standards, so when it comes to creative collaboration, you want to work with the very best people you can find.

And you are not creating your artworks, products or services for everyone. You are creating them for the discerning ones – the ones with the particular tastes you can satisfy, or the very specialist problems you solve.

So you are looking for a very special class of person. And the chances are these people are not all located in your home town. Even if you live in a big cosmopolitan city, where the odds are better of finding your ‘right people’, it can still be a struggle to find enough of them to keep your business afloat, let alone thriving.

And there has never been a better place, network or system for finding the right kind of people than the internet.

When I started coaching artists and creatives in London in the mid-nineties, in spite of the fact it’s a relatively Bohemian city, finding my ideal clients was like looking for a needle in a haystack. I found some, and they were a delight to work with – but I had to take on other work (psychotherapy, copywriting, corporate consulting) to keep the show on the road.

Today, my websites, courses and newsletters are read by people across the globe. And not just any people – interesting, creative, inspiring and motivated creative people. People like you.

You are my ideal audience, and it’s thanks to the magic of the internet that you are reading this now.

That same magic can help you find YOUR perfect readers, collaborators and customers – people you love to work with. People you love to help and inspire. People who LOVE what you do.

So please don’t be put off by the technology!

Fundamentally, the internet is about connecting people. Yes, we need technical tools to facilitate this, but don’t get hung up on the tools – focus on their purpose, which is basically social. And you’ve known how to be social for years now! ;-)

And the tools are getting simpler year after year. When I started my own online adventure six years ago, the technical learning curve was steeper than it is now – I spent a lot of time on html and css forums, which I don’t need to bother with any more. If a poet and ‘people person’ like me can get my head around the technology, so can you. ;-)

Roadblock #2. Assuming the Internet Is Only for Digital Entrepreneurs

“But I don’t have an online business.”

“I sell real products, not ebooks.”

“I’m a local business, what use is it to me to have an audience all over the world?”

Again, I hear this kind of statement a lot. But, surprisingly, in some ways online marketing is simpler and easier for people selling physical products or artworks than it is for those of us selling digital products and online consulting.

Firstly, remember what I just said about the internet – it’s an amazing tool to help you find the right customers and collaborators for your business. And people are just as important to bricks’n’mortar businesses as they are to purely online ones.

Secondly, if you’re creating information products and using content marketing to market them, then you face tricky decisions about what to charge for, and what to give away for free.

But if you’re selling stone sculptures, or ceramics, or running live classes in your studio, it’s fairly obvious you can’t make those available as a free download from your website. :-)

So that frees you up to be generous and have fun creating digital marketing content to promote your physical products/artworks or face-to-face services.

Thirdly, you may have noticed that most local businesses are clueless about online marketing. Even if your customers are not the most web-savvy people, they probably at least use Google to search for products and services – and even a modestly popular and link-worthy website should make it relatively easy to outrank most of your competitors on local search.

And when customers land on your site, they will likely be impressed if, instead of the usual ‘brochure site’, they see original and engaging media content, as well as signs of live interaction with other readers, in the form of comments, subscriber count, and links to busy profiles on Twitter, Facebook etc.

Finally, you may be surprised what new opportunities open up for your business once you set out your virtual stall and plug in to worldwide creative networks.

When I started blogging back in 2006, I was simply looking for coaching and consulting clients in London. I’d never have dreamed it would lead to me delivering coaching sessions and courses to students scattered around the globe. Or to partnering and running a business with people I’d never met in person. Some days I still have to pinch myself.

This part is the hardest to picture in advance, since by definition you don’t know what unknown opportunities may be out there for you. But if you do take the plunge and start attracting an audience and growing your network online, be prepared for unexpected and magical things to happen…

As networked technology becomes ever more integrated into our daily lives, the boundaries between ‘online’ and ‘offline’ will continue to blur and fade away. So one of the best things you can do for your business – wherever it’s located – is to embrace social media tools as a means of getting yourself found (and recommended) by your ideal customers.

Roadblock #3. Letting the Pressure Get to You

Working for yourself is hard. Knowing that the buck stops with you brings a unique type of pressure. Responsibility is the price you pay for the freedom and opportunities you enjoy as a creative entrepreneur. But it doesn’t have to crush you.

It’s obviously important to take care of yourself for personal reasons. And when you’re running a creative enterprise, there is a compelling business case for doing so: you are your own biggest asset.

Unless you are grounded, happy and energized, you won’t be able to maintain the high-level creativity that is the true source of value for your business.

So how can you do that? Here are three ways that work together and reinforce each other.

Firstly, you need some kind of daily practice that keeps you grounded and in touch with your body, your feelings and the physical environment.

It could be a formal meditation practice, or a body-centred discipline like yoga or tai chi. It could be physical exercise, making something with your hands, or even just a quiet stroll in the fresh air.

And when I say ‘daily’ practice, I mean every single day. Skip a day, and you could easily find yourself not having done it for a month – and feeling more anxious and less grounded as a result.

Secondly, make sure you have several hours of ‘digital downtime’ – with no connection to the internet – every day. And yes, that includes the phone – I call this ‘put-the-phone-down-time’. :-)

And thirdly, spend plenty of time with people who care about you, who are fun to be around, and have nothing to do with your business.

Do all three of these, regularly, and you’ll find yourself much better equipped to handle the ups and downs of running your own business. Not only that, you’ll retain that vital spark of creativity and enthusiasm that will bring you a constant source of great new ideas – and make you a remarkable person to do business with.

Get past two of the biggest obstacles you will ever face

Resilience: Facing Down Rejection and Criticism on the Road to Success

If you want to achieve something original and meaningful with your life, you must learn to deal with rejection and criticism.

Mark McGuinness shows you how to handle them in his new book Resilience: Facing Down Rejection and Criticism on the Road to Success.

Based on 16 years' experience of coaching creative people like you, Resilience gives you tried-and-tested ways to get past rejection and criticism and succeed on your own terms.

"Read this book and you will be bulletproof!" ~ Steven Pressfield, bestselling author of The War of Art and Turning Pro

Click to learn more about Resilience (and read the opening chapters for free). >>

Responses to this Post

Comments

  1. Mark,

    Boy, have I used these excuses, mostly out of fear. Oh, I can’t do that with a website. Coding? I’ve got a creative brain. Numbers? Hah! No way!

    Lame.

    Dig down. Sometimes I just have to set aside the time and do the research and make this process of developing a digital presence a priority. Even if it’s an about me page: http://about.me/GarryStafford Sorry, that was too obvious plug. ;-) It’s surprisingly easy to set up a centralized contact/promotional presence.

    And I appreciate what you said here: “So that frees you up to be generous and have fun creating digital marketing content to promote your physical products/artworks or face-to-face services.” I’m starting an ebook and I’m considering how to distribute and whether or not to charge, even a nominal amount. But ultimately my desire to increase face-to-face services. So be generous. Create great content. Offer unexpectedly excellent information that justifies experience. Over time I think that that’s the recipe that’s needed, at least for me.

    Thank you Mark!

    • My pleasure Garry, glad to hear the excuses’ days are numbered! ;-)

      Re the ebook ‘to charge or not to charge’ question – it really comes down to your business model. If you want direct revenue, you obviously need to charge something. But if you’re selling consulting you could make more money by giving it away.

      My own free ebooks have done a good job of generating leads for coaching and training work – although experience has taught me the value of including a strong call to action at the end if you want people to contact you!

      If you do give the ebook away, a related question is whether to ask for an email address in exchange for it – if you do, you’ll get fewer readers, but you’ll have a means of contacting them. If you really want it to spread, you don’t ask for an email address – in which case it becomes even more important to have that call to action at the end!

      • Thank you Mark! I appreciate the perspectives and suggestion to include a strong call to action.

        My intent is to show knowledge/experience while providing valuable information, thus with the hope of generating leads. It also seems to be clarifying points that I could expand on in consulting.

        Thanks again. I appreciate as well what you offer others in your replies. That’s going the extra mile!

        • My pleasure Garry.

          “clarifying points that I could expand on in consulting” – this is one of the non-obvious benefits of this kind of marketing. When consulting clients come to you having already read and digested some of your ideas, it saves you having to spend valuable consulting time explaining the basics. So you get to move more quickly into how the ideas apply to them, and what they can do with them.

          Not only does that give your clients more value for the time and money they spend with you, it also means you are doing more creative and stimulating work, instead of having to keep repeating the basics. Definitely a win-win. :-)

  2. Juan Enrique Ramos says:

    I fin your words and ideas very inspiring, thank you very much, and like very much your helping attitude…

  3. Mark, I am really looking forward to this course. I am totally geeky, so I get the technology. What I struggle with is not letting the technology become a huge time sink. The two tactics I most need are how to find my target market online, and how to corral social media so I don’t wind up spending so much time on it that my prodicutivity suffers.

    • It will be great to have you in the group Kristen.

      Re finding your target market online, it’s a combination of going out to look for them (on blogs, forums, social networks etc) and creating content (e.g. a blog, newsletter, free report) that will attract them.

      Keyword research is another way of finding them indirectly – when you know what they’re looking for, it helps you create the kind of content they will be happy to find when they search on Google.

      I see you’re a copy editor looking to help business owners. One way of putting yourself in the ‘shop window’ in front of these people might be to write a guest post for a popular business or copywriting blog, highlighting the business benefits of having a website properly copy-edited. E.g. It would be great if you had a few horror stories of how poor spelling and grammar was making a poor impression and putting off customers – until a bit of judicious copy editing saved the day. :-)

      Re social media and productivity – this is a very common issue these days, but it also has deep roots in the nature of creativity. It’s inspiring to make new connections and discover new people and information – but we also need to find time for focused work, i.e. actually creating something. :-)

      It helps if you know your own best time(s) of the day for producing. If you’re a ‘morning person’ then set yourself some boundaries around that time – no Twitter/Facebook/surfing – and stay focused. Then have dedicated times for relaxing and hanging out online. Also having social networking apps on your phone allows you to use odd snippets of time for checking in.

  4. Yes, everything you say rings true. I really do need to learn more but there’s no reason why that should hold me back in the business.

  5. Hello, Mark! Long time no chat. :)

    I am definitely feeling the pressure. I’m going into my 5th year running a successful, one-person marketing and writing business – primarily serving B2B clients. I am grateful for the work I have, the referrals from happy clients, and a fabulous support community of peers and mentors, BUT (there’s always a “but” …) there is other work I want to do that is not at all related to the work I’m doing now. The stress I’m feeling (as an entrepreneur, but even more intensely as a single mom and head-of-household) is around transitioning from the existing business (which is paying the bills and seems, ironically, to be growing just when I’m thinking about evolving in new directions) into a hybrid business model which is partly about a new twist on my current work and partly about this totally different, kind of “out there,” really creative/emotional/off the wall thing that I’ve been noodling about for THREE YEARS.

    So, my question is, how can I reduce the stress and create a smooth (as possible) transition? I feel like the universe is challenging me by suddenly dropping all kinds of new business (that fits my old business model, but not my new one) in my lap. Kind of a dry sense of humor, universe.

    Thanks for any advice you can offer.
    And thanks for all the work you do – I get so much value out of your content. Really great stuff. :)

    • Jamie!

      Good to hear from you. And also good to hear you have such a nice problem. ;-)

      Seriously: one of the surprising things about success is how stressful it can be – bringing more pressure/responsibility/choices to be made. And it’s an odd paradox that in order to succeed at something, you have to go through a learning curve. Once you come out the other end, you may well have learned so much that you’ve outgrown your original ambition.

      So what can you do about it?

      One option would be to walk away completely, and focus on your new projects.

      But if you don’t like the idea of turning down eager clients, I’m wondering whether there are ways you could help them without having to do it all yourself?

      Supposing you had some trusted associates to whom you could refer some of the work? You could retain the client relationship (and earn a percentage of the fees), making sure you’re providing the right kind of solution to them, and then handing over most of the execution to your associates. That way you still earn from the business, the clients get helped and the associates are happy to have some work. But you wouldn’t have to have people on your payroll.

      And if you have one or two seriously good associates, you might find the relationship deepening into a partnership, where each of you takes responsibility for the area of the business you’re most at home with. Again, you’re not burdened by payroll and each of you is equally committed to making the business succeed.

      How does that sound?

  6. The technical issue is my biggest roadblock. My husband and I were just talking about it this morning – we used to have a great webmaster who had my husband’s art site wired to where there was a lot of traffic and our sales were very good.

    But, that guy moved on and since then, sales have dropped significantly. Neither one of us can do more than just basic WordPress funcitons. I’ve taken one class, which didn’t help much.

    Web design is not one of my talents. It’s so difficult for me – excruciating, actually. I’m wondering what’s the best way to learn? If only there was a class at the local college…. (I learn so much better in a class than online – reading online hurts my eyes)

    • Hi Maria, nice to see you.

      I’m wondering whether you’re conflating several different things under the heading of ‘the technical issue’.

      Web design may not be one of your talents, but it’s not typically something that brings traffic – it’s more about the experience people have once they’ve arrived at your site. So when you say your technical guy was ‘wired into’ sources of traffic, I doubt they had much to do with the WordPress or web design. And if increasing traffic is your goal, I’m not sure that these are the main barriers.

      I don’t suppose you could ask him where the traffic came from? (One of my habits as a coach is looking for old solutions that have a proven track record. ;-) )

      Assuming you can’t find out, here are some of the most effective sources of traffic, and the level of technical know-how they require. (I know you’re already familiar with some of these, but I know attracting traffic is a challenge for many people, so I’ll include them for their benefit.)

      Advertising – This can be very effective but you need to be good at numbers to make it work. Systems like Google Adwords are very complex, and take a lot of time to learn. (The learning curve can be pretty expensive too!) Another approach is to buy advertising direct from a site where you think potential customers will see it – but again, you need to be good with numbers to make this profitable.

      Search engines – This CAN get very complex too. On the other hand, if you’re producing content that’s relevant and valuable to your audience, you can also do pretty well on search engines without worrying about the mechanics too much. (I know, because I’ve done it.) That’s because search engines tend to rank sites higher the more quality inbound links they attract – and if you produce good content it increases your chances of getting links.

      It’s definitely worth learning some basic keyword research skills for this, and getting key pages on your site optimised (by a specialist if you can’t face doing it yourself). But

      Social media – especially networks like Twitter, Facebook etc. and other blogs. (I also hear from some creatives that they get some great traffic from showcasing their work on the Behance network – behance.net) This one definitely isn’t rocket science! It’s about social skills rather than technical ones – and I know you have plenty of those. :-)

      Subscribers – The best traffic is often repeat traffic. Does your husband’s site have a subscription option? Particularly with art, people often need to be exposed to an artist’s work for a while before they are ready to buy.

      Guest blogging – This gives you instant access to a warmed-up, relevant audience. A link at the end of your article can send you a lot of very high-quality traffic.

      Viral content – This one’s hard to predict, since, of course, it’s the audience not the creator who get to decide whether something goes viral. :-) But you can increase your odds by creating valuable content in ‘link-friendly’ formats – e.g. comprehensive resource articles, or free ebooks.

      I hope that’s some help – and shows that many of the best traffic-building strategies are more dependent on creative and social skills than on technical expertise. :-)

      • Mark, thanks for taking so much time to give me solutions in this comment! Greatly appreciated.

        I should clarify that I do believe the problem with declining sales happened when we hired a webmaster to re-design our site last year. Since then, sales declined significantly.

        Two things that you wrote in the comment above that will help me greatly:

        1 – Go back to old solutions that have a proven track record: yes, you’re right. I think I know what that is now with the website – the old home page design used to inspire people to click on the links of items for sale, and then buy. The new design doesn’t;

        2 – Viral Content: That’s what’s also missing from the old days. Our old webmaster would blog some cool stuff. We dropped the ball on keeping that going.

        So, now I just have to figure out how to turn the site back into the selling machine it used to be; if only I could learn how to make the homepage look like it used to! This is where I need to learn web design….

        And, the other suggestions you gave were right-on, too. If anyone’s curious, the site is http://www.drewbrophy.com (not plugging, just quenching possible curiosity!)

        Thank you!

        • Thanks for the clarification Maria. And those are some far-out images! Thanks for sharing and props to your husband. :-)

          I thought you were saying the problem was solely down to traffic, but it sounds as though there are two separate but related issues here – traffic and conversion.

          I suggest you focus on solving the conversion problem first. If you increase the traffic without doing this, you’re basically pouring more water into a leaky bucket. But if you can get the site back to being a ‘selling machine’ then you can focus on bringing more traffic, confident it will lead to more sales.

          Conversion

          I’ve done a little detective work, looking up drewbrophy.com on the Way Back Machine (internet archive) and came up with this screenshot of the site on 17 June last year, which I assume was before the redesign you’re talking about.

          I can see there has been a BIG change that may well account for the drop-off in conversions: the home page of the old site was covered in links to your husband’s DVDs, prints, skateboards etc. In the sidebar was a ‘latest news’ section with links to the blog.

          The home page of the new site is almost a mirror-image of this: it’s dominated by the blog, with links in the sidebar and header to Drew’s work for sale. So while the old site looked like a shop with a blog attached, the new one looks like a blog, and as a new reader I may even miss the fact there’s a shop attached.

          Sometimes conversion optimisation is about identifying tiny little significant details, but in this case it seems pretty clear that – as you say – “the old home page design used to inspire people to click on the links of items for sale” much more than the new one. That’s a big, obvious change, and fairly easy to test.

          It should be pretty straightforward for a WordPress specialist to revert to something similar to the old design – basically moving the blog to drewbrophy.com/blog (making sure to use a 301 redirect to preserve your links and tell search engines those pages have moved permanently), and laying out the home page the way it was before.

          But it would be beyond my technical competence to do the actual site rebuild, and if I were you, rather than try to do it myself, I’d hire someone to make the change for me. I’d show them the layout of the old site and say ‘Make it like this’ – ensuring that they stuck very closely to the original layout – which was proven to work, remember?

          Once you’ve done that, pay close attention to the traffic and conversion stats to see if you see an improvement. (If you don’t see an improvement then at that point I’d say it was worth consulting a conversion optimisation expert, to figure out exactly what will make the difference.)

          Traffic

          Assuming the site starts converting better, you’ll then be in a good position to start building traffic again.

          Again, I would start by going back and analysing what worked well before. I’d go through your analytics data and WordPress archives, and identify the most popular blog posts – in terms of page-views, comments, incoming links, social media likes/tweets etc. Then look for the common patterns – in terms of headlines, post content and format (e.g. were videos popular?).

          Once you’ve identified what you think are significant patterns, start creating more blog posts featuring those elements and see what happens to traffic.

          A related question is how active your previous webmaster was on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, and trying to replicate the important elements of what s/he was doing.

          So for example if you discover that videos or ‘how to’ posts were getting a lot of traffic, and that your old webmaster was sharing a lot of similar content on Facebook (from others’ sites as well as your own) it would be worth doing something similar to see if that works.

          There are no absolute guarantees that going back to the old way of doing things will bring the traffic back, but it does give you a good place to start experimenting from, rather than trying to reinvent the wheel.

          Thanks for sharing in such detail – these are two really important issues, and hopefully it will be useful for others to see this example and reflect on the implications for their own sites.

  7. Hi Mark,

    I hope I am placing my comment in the right place. My questions is, What are the most unusual ways of finding freelance writing jobs online? Thanks

    • Yes, you’re definitely in the right place!

      I’m tempted to say I’d rather go for the most effective routes, whether they are the usual or unusual ones. ;-) But there’s definitely room for using your creativity.

      Basically, you need two things to attract clients:

      1. A sales page, on your own website, that clearly and persuasively explains:

      – Who you’re looking to help
      – What you can do for them
      – How they can contact you
      – How you’ll work together

      2. A means of demonstrating your expertise, by showcasing your skills in action – in a place where potential clients are likely to find it.

      The more specific you can be about who you want to work with, the easier it is to position yourself as an expert – and to create original content that makes you stand out from the crowd.

      E.g. I see you have a taste for chocolate, so you might decide to specialise in writing web copy for businesses in the chocolate industry, and see whether there’s enough demand to make it worth pursuing. I’m sure the research would be enjoyable. ;-)

      That’s just one possible example, but it really helps you stand out if people can identify you with a particular subject or type of problem that you solve. For example, I’ve found it MUCH easier to market myself since deciding to specialise in working with creatives.

      In terms of places to get your work noticed, as you’re a writer a blog is an obvious choice – and I see you’re already blogging, writing some good posts, and using guest posting to build your audience, which is great.

      If you do develop one or two specialisms, then publishing the kind of articles you’d like people to commission from you would be a great way of showcasing what you can do.

      You may also want to use some more of the traffic-building strategies I describe above, in my answer to Maria, maybe particularly the ‘free report’. And I’ve heard quite a few freelancers find the Behance network a good source of clients – although that *may* be more true of visual creatives than writers.

      (Disclosure: As I’ve reference Behance twice in this thread, I should mention I know the founders of Behance, and write for their magazine site.)

      I hope that helps. I may not have recommended the most unusual methods, but sometimes creativity is about taking a familiar format and giving it an original twist. ;-)

  8. Thank you so much Mark for the feedback. I am flattered that you took time out to peruse my website. Based on your feedback, I realise that I am doing somethings okay however, I need to streamline my blog to suit the kind of clientele I hope to draw, which is proving to be a little bit of a quagmire for me.

    I wanted my blog to be like yours i.e. the “Dear Abby” type blog where people in need of inspiration, motivation visit because in real life people do come to me for advice (I am not a clinician of any sort), which is similar to what you do for freelancers and creative minds.

    I realise that my posts so far have been scattered because I am still in a dilemma about how to go about doing this because, the inspirational market is a little tricky especially if you aren’t one of the well established gurus. I had envisioned having a blog in a question and answer format flanked with related posts but still figuring out how to achieve this.

    I am truly grateful for the nuggets of information you’ve shared with me and the other readers and have noted them especially, rethinking and redesigning my sales page as well as writing a free report. I shall keep you abreast with my progress.

    • My pleasure, glad it was helpful. You clearly have several interests and things you’re good at, which can make it hard to streamline. I can relate. ;-)

      Re ‘Dear Abby’ – yes, as you point out, I’m in the helping business, so blogging responses to people’s questions is a good fit for a coach! And because I focus on helping creatives, it means ‘Dear Mark’ is distinct from ‘Dear Abby’. :-)

      You may find you evolve two or more separate strands to your business, and you might want to devote different sites to each. E.g. I have another blog that’s more focused on my work with creative companies (rather than freelancers and micro-entrepreneurs). And I have a poetry site that’s very different again!

      All the best and do let me know how you get on.

  9. On reflection it’s the technial issues that really frustrate me. I’m used to being an expert in my field and either having the answers to people’s questions or knowing where to find them. I have spent days and days and days struggling with the web, my website, my blog and so on.

    I’m not prepared to hand over control to others so I persevere. The response to my questions that really annoys me is: “Ask your web designer or web master.”

    Example: I use Genesis but haven’t been able to use more than about 10% of its capability because of my lack of capability.

    • Hmm, it’s a tricky balancing act. On the one hand, I do try to get as much technical help as I can these days, as I know my time is better spent on other things. Paradoxically, surrendering some control over technical stuff means I maintain more control over my business as a whole. So it may be worth finding a ‘webmaster’ you can consult from time to time.

      Having said that, I do try to learn as much as I can about the technical issues that come up (within reason) as it helps me have a more informed discussion with the technical people I consult and get better results.

  10. Here’s an interesting read from Businessweek, that may be germane:

    “People with above-average aptitudes — the ones we recognize as being especially clever, creative, insightful, or otherwise accomplished — often judge their abilities not only more harshly, but fundamentally differently, than others do (particularly in Western cultures). Gifted children grow up to be more vulnerable, and less confident, even when they should be the most confident people in the room. Understanding why this happens is the first step to righting a tragic wrong.”

    http://www.businessweek.com/management/the-trouble-with-bright-kids-11212011.html

    • Thanks Walter, very interesting piece. My takeaway is that the more we focus on our self-image, even if it’s a positive one such as ‘smart’, or ‘gifted’, the more we lose sight of what we need to DO to succeed.

      The kids who were praised for their ‘effort’ rather than ‘ability’ were clearly more focused on doing what it took to solve the problems. And having more fun in the process. :-)

      Guess I’ll need to watch what I say around my kids…