I recently made a new friend, who like me, also discovered a new passion when she moved to the Netherlands. She is passionate about photography and likes coming up with creative ideas for portraits. She arranged all the elements for this picture, which became the invitation card for her baby’s first birthday party (and the feature image of this post!).

Meeting her is what inspired me to write this post and reflect on the idea of creativity. We are all creative humans, and we are each talented in a unique way. Whether it’s painting, writing, taking photos, baking, or gardening, there is a craft for every one of us. Some identify this craft at an early age, and others (like me and my friend) take some time to unleash their creative side.

However, there are still many people who haven’t accessed their full creative potential yet. If you’re one of them, this post is for you. Here are six ways you can unleash your creative side:

1. Quiet your internal dialogue.

When I first started writing on my blog, I was afraid nobody would read what I write. There was a voice in my head that kept saying “Who are you to write about this?” Or “This isn’t good enough.” I was also afraid of what others would think. Since English wasn’t my first language, I was afraid my posts wouldn’t sound native speaker enough. But I started my blog anyway, and I’m SO glad I did. The more I worked on my writing, the more confident I became.

In order to unleash our creative side, we have to be willing to quiet our internal dialogue. Sometimes our thoughts can be our worst enemy, and we need to learn how to control them rather than letting them control us.

2. Listen to the signs.

Have you ever come up with a creative idea, only to soon afterwards hear something related to that topic on the TV or radio? Well, this could very well be a confirmation from the universe. This means you’re aligned with your creative side and need to take action! The signs could come in the form of an article or a podcast, or even through someone bringing it to a conversation.

Whenever I have a blog post idea, I write it down in my notebook. And often, I will see this idea again on my Facebook or Instagram newsfeed. It will keep presenting itself to me to the point in which I have no choice other than to bring that idea to reality. These days, even a sound from the wind can act as a sign for me. I see inspiration wherever I go, and simply because I’m aware of it.

Pay attention to the signs, and listen to the voice that is telling you to start that project you’ve been wanting to start. Whatever it is that your creative side is craving, give yourself permission to do it! @jessaraus13 (Click to Tweet!)

3. Let go of perfectionism.

One way to block our creativity is by striving for perfection. Many great ideas never come to life because we think they’re not good enough.

Whenever I feel I’m in my perfectionist shell, I read this quote by Natalie Goldberg, and it instantly sets me free: “I am free to write the worst junk in the world.”

So I encourage you to feel the same way when it comes to your craft. Give yourself permission to create the worst junk in the world, and to create for the sake of creating.

When we lower our standards a little bit, we’re able to see the beauty that already exists in what we do.

4. Stop waiting for the right time.

Another thing that keeps us from creating is the idea that we need to wait for the right time. “When I have my own office”, “once I quit my day job”, or “when I buy a new camera” are only excuses.

It will never be the right time, and conditions will never be perfect. You might want to start creating now, because NOW is all we have. The future isn’t promised to anyone. So make it count today. Don’t keep delaying your dreams and creative ideas!

What you have and where you are right now is enough. Believe me. You’ve got what it takes.

5. Eliminate distractions.

If you haven’t discovered what your passion is yet, it could be because of distraction. Maybe you’re distracted by what others are doing. Maybe you’re distracted by social media, or the clutter around you. This is perhaps the most difficult obstacle to tackle, but if you start identifying your distractions, you can minimize them, and eventually eliminate them.

Whenever I want to create something, I first set the intention for it. I work at a desk that is clear of distractions, put my mobile phone on airplane mode, and start writing. My creativity is at my best when I give 100% of my focus.

In order to get those creative juices flowing, we have to honor the creative process by shutting down all distractions.

6. Stop comparing yourself to others.

Please don’t let comparison be the reason for not creating. Imagine if your favorite singer would stop making songs just because he thinks others are already making music. Or if your favorite author would stop writing books just because he thinks there are other authors writing better books. It would be silly, and sad!

Like Elizabeth Gilbert said in Big Magic “It might have been done before, but it hasn’t been done by you!”

Each of us has a unique way to deliver, and by consequence a unique tribe. Creativity equals abundance, and there’s plenty for everyone!

Let’s unleash our creative side and just create for the sake of it. Feel free to share in the comment section below what idea or project you would like to bring to life.

Jessica Araus is a language teacher, entrepreneur, and writer at www.jessicaaraus.com. She is driven by her desire to inspire others to live a better lifestyle. She believes that by changing certain beliefs and taking the necessary action, we can live the life of our dreams. Sign up to her newsletter and get a free copy of her ebook: Live Your Dream Life in 2018