Maria Brophy


  • and make good money doing it!

    ‘Strategies for a Successful Art Business!’
Entrepreneur / Personal / Philosophy

Three Things that Could be Holding you Back From What you Want

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Maria and Drew Brophy Sacred Geometry Fine art

Maria and Drew at Drew’s Art Exhibit at Conscious Life Expo

When I was working in the corporate world fifteen years ago, I dreamed of leaving my job to work with my artist husband, Drew.

But truth be told, I was afraid to leave the steady paycheck, the comfort of knowing what to expect every day and all of the benefits that came with working for a corporation.

On the other hand, I yearned to create a business that allowed me to live a life of travel and freedom.  I was tired of “clocking in” to a job working for people I didn’t really like and selling a product (insurance) that I didn’t love.

My ultimate fear was that I wouldn’t be able to make money on my own, and that I’d end up destitute!  Yes, my mind went to the worst possible scenario.

Drew had begged me for years to quit and come work with him, and I truly wanted to.

But for a long time, I only dreamed about it, too afraid to gather up the courage to trust in myself and my abilities. 

Then one day, an ugly fight with a difficult boss was the final straw that gave me a kick in butt to quit.  And I did.  I never regretted quitting.  An amazing lifestyle for myself began the day I left the corporate world.

Recently I was interviewed by Entrepreneur Coach Karen Kalis and we discussed the challenge of “WHAT HOLDS PEOPLE BACK”. 

Karen had some great questions for me and they got me to thinking:

What is it that truly holds people back from doing what they love?

In all the years that I’ve been helping creative entrepreneurs, I have learned:

THERE ARE THREE MAIN OBSTACLES that hold people back from realizing their dreams:

1 – Not BEING CLEAR on what you really want

2 – Not truly BELIEVING that you can have what you really want

3 – Not being willing to make a true 100% COMMITMENT to doing what it takes, to create a life that you love

When I was at that corporate job, I was terrified to quit.  And when I reflect back on what held me back for so long, I realize that I didn’t truly believe that I could live the life that I now live.  I wasn’t seeing how it was possible.  Fast forward to today, and I have proved my old self wrong!


If I dig deeper into this lack of faith in my own abilities, I realize that I wasn’t doing my own thinking.  I was buying into the thinking of many people who warned me NOT to leave my comfortable corporate job.

Digging deeper into this concept of not doing my own thinking, I realized that from a young age, we are conditioned to have others do our thinking for us! 

Our parents think for us from the time we are born.
Then we go to school and our teachers think for us.
This continues when we get a job; we are told what to do at work and our bosses think for us.

In that sense, it’s only natural to be fearful of coming up with our own ideas that are different from the norm.  Such as the idea of being able to create a business where you can sell art, travel and surf around the world, while supporting a family.  Or any other “out of the norm” idea you may have.

Here’s an exercise in thinking that I’d like to ask you to try:

Think for a moment, and ask yourself:  “What is one thing that I have dreamed of doing for a long time, but haven’t made it happen yet?”

And now ask yourself:  “What has been holding me back?”

Explore these questions, take the time to think and write down your answers as they come to you.  You may be surprised at what comes up, and when you go deeper into it, you may discover that the thing that is holding you back isn’t a real threat at all. 

Please, share in the comments below, the answer to this question:

If you aren’t yet doing what you love, what is it that is holding you back? 

And, if you are doing what you love, did you struggle with it in the beginning?

Please share, I would love to hear your thoughts!

With Love,

Maria xxoo

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19 Comments Three Things that Could be Holding you Back From What you Want

  1. April Lacheur

    Thank you Maria for this great article and an insight in to how you started your business. I too have left (mostly) my “real job” / “safe job” as Nurse to purse my passion for creating and selling my art work. (We follow each other on instagram.. I always appreciate you likes!) Your article and story inspires me and reminds me that it indeed CAN be done and to keep going.. Its all a LOT of work and I know I must keep working hard to make my goals and dreams happen. Each experience in this business is just a piece of the big picture and I have to remind my self of that. Each little thing is getting me closer to my bigger goals. Sure some of this ‘artist path’ is scary but thus far it has been working out and I just keep reminding myself that its an up and down ride but as long as Im growing and enjoying the ride its a good one! thanks for your thoughts and I appreciate your site.. so much great info! thanks Maria!

    1. Maria

      April thank you for your comment and for sharing your story!

      You’re right, it’s an “up and down ride” and I totally agree, we should enjoy it!

      Thanks for reading my blog 🙂

    2. Fred Vasquez

      Hello Maria, I just read your article and was inspired by your story. I’m in a similar situation. I’ve been working as a middle school art teacher for a couple of years now. At first it was different, it was a challenge, and the financial stability was great. But I’ve grown to hate it. I now have nearly 200 students daily, and the level of immaturity is really bad. I feel totally drained at the end of each day. On top of that I’ve been getting bad and unfair reviews from my boss. Ironically, I’m making the best artwork of my life at home. I’ve decided to make this my last year and concentrate on my artwork where I’m making a breakthrough. My family thinks I’m crazy and I’ve always listened to them, but strangely enough there is no fear in me at all. I’ve got some money saved up, I have no debts, I have some clients lined up, and I’m not too old yet. I’m ready psychologically, artistically, and financially. It really is inspiring to hear stories and advice like yours.

  2. Linda billet

    YES, I struggled. I still have never regretted leaving my job even when I had to get a temporary part time job. Every bit of my struggle was a necessary part of my learning and I wouldn’t change a thing. I actually wrote a book about a few years of the journey and some of the things I learned… “my meteoric rise to here.” I love this life and would never trade.

  3. Caroline

    It’s really about positive expectation, even when there is no physical evidence of things working out yet. It’s definately easier to do that when you don’t have the negative forecasting of those (well-meaning) people around you! There’s no guarantee of success when you leave your comfort zone, but there’s an entire history of human experience that shows that a seemingly impossible goal can be reached by anyone crazy enough to expect positive results…Very inspiring post Maria!

  4. Eleanore

    Thank you Maria for this timely reminder. I related to this by realising that much of the freely offered ‘advice’ from fellow artists was really their fears repackaged for me!

    I am gaining wins in baby steps in my art business and am learning to let these comments roll off my back and not take root in my mind. What really clarified my path for me was a good old business plan!

    Here’s to another day doing the best job in the world!

    1. Maria

      Eleanore, thanks the taking the time to comment. I love how you worded this, “advice from fellow artists was really their fears repackaged…” What a great way to explain it!

  5. Anna

    I have been working as an artist part time for years, and for years I have been going back and fourth with leaving a steady, well paying part time job to live as a working artist full time. Im sure the biggest thing holding me back is fear of failure. I have 3 young children (which has its own challenges when working from home) and my fear is that we won’t “make it” without my part time job. In reality I’m sure we would get along fine but the fear still holds me back anyhow. Thank you for the article it was very thought provoking and inspiring.

    1. Maria

      Anna, thanks for sharing your personal experience. It sounds like you have been doing the right thing all along. When we have kids to care for, sometimes it’s wise to play it a little safe. When they are grown up, you can throw caution to the wind more easily!

  6. Claudine

    Money is a big issu for me. As a singglemother, there is so much payement that I have to take care. So I have to work a day job, and improve my project in the evening.

  7. Tabitha Paige

    Thanks for this article Maria! I cherish and take to heart each one and the valuable lessons in them. I absolutely struggled with making the decision to quit my ‘real job’ to pursue my art career. My biggest obstacle was that I had spent so much time and money getting a bachelors and masters degree to become a speech pathologist, which truly was just supposed to be just my back-up career. Of course once I had started, it was so ingrained in me that I had already chosen my path and could never go back. I felt that if I left my career, I would be a failure in a sense. Well, I tricked myself by saying I would quit temporarily and give myself 2 months to see if I could make even a little money. When you really put yourself out there, it’s amazing what you are actually capable of! A year later, I have a nice little business selling home decor prints, a few wholesale accounts, and my first fine art line premiering in two weeks. I’ll NEVER go back to a ‘real’ job!! So thankful to have you as a constant reminder that being an artist is a real job and this career choice is a living, breathing business capable of sustaining me and my family!

  8. Rusty Sherrill

    Great article. Left my full-time job a few years ago. It was tough. My job title was artist but mostly I did paperwork and on the rare occasions I was able to get creative it was always under someone else’s strict direction which usually smothered any hope of producing good work. Now I allow my creativity fly and though it is hard and often times frustrating work finding my audience and even if it doesn’t work out I’ll never regret giving it my all. Thanks for all your articles, they really help. And thank Drew for his inspiring work and stories also. Looking forward to meeting you both at your upcoming open house.

  9. Alexander Smith

    Dear Maria,
    Thank you for putting this blog out for all to read.
    I’m an artist living in the Netherlands. Started as independent due to the fact that my wife was working. Things went well until a few years ago. Now: still independent with part time job but not happy with how things go.
    So…I started to put things in order and do research about how and what to get what I want. Funny to see how much info there is and never to have seen it before.
    I’m a very gifted painter but have (like most) a bad sense of business.
    So now I on the start of making an actual business plan that will make it clear for me what I want, how to reach it and also get it!

    reading your blog already helped me to get things clear, gave me insight and will help me to create my business plan.

    thank you so far.
    Alexander Smith

  10. Jamie, Illustrator

    My husband and I moved to NYC in 1995 so I could go to art school to be an illustrator. I got my degree and found my illustrative voice doing posters for bands, and cd covers, and the like. I got good freelance work and was doing well.

    We had a daughter in 2007, but by the time she was 4, we discovered it was increasingly hard raising her in Queens, and that she needed to be able to have a yard and ride a bike. Like a normal active kid. She needed 10x the space we did.

    I was creating artwork very regularly in the city, but once we moved to North Carolina in 2011, I’ve lost my way artistically. I don’t know if it’s the area we’re in, or what, but I get stalled out on projects all the time. We’re struggling with money constantly, and for 3 years now, it’s been really hard to make the bills, let alone save anything extra.

    All I want to do is create posters, illustrate books, make cd covers, and now I’m starting on murals. But I feel really stuck, like my creativity is squashed.

    I could take on managing my husband’s band, and have that as my “job” rather than waiting tables (what I’m doing at the moment).

    Working with (and living with) an artist, Maria, do you have any advice for launching forward with new artistic endeavors while being so stuck in the mud? I hardly ever go see artwork around town, never to to a museum, my daughter’s schedule is busy, so I don’t get out like I should…

    With our fear of being broke all the time, I maybe feel like I’m not allowed to have creative time? Like that won’t pay the bills? My creativity used to pay the bills…

    I dunno… any advice?

  11. Jan Dale

    Hi Maria,

    I found your blog about a year ago and immediately began to make small changes. My mural business has at least tripled. I am looking forward to making even bigger changes this year. I am now beginning to have the focus I need to make my living from my art.
    Thank you from the bottom of my gizzard!

  12. 4APK.RU

    What is one thing that you have dreamed of doing, but haven’t yet done? Three obstacles that hold people back from their dreams You may be surprised at what comes up, and when you go deeper into it, you may discover that the thing that is holding you back isn’t a real threat at all.


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