How to overcome an architect’s limiting beliefs


Table of Contents

Thoughts that made me feel insecure

Sometimes I had thoughts that kept me from doing my best.

I used to compare myself to others and felt that I was not that good.

Sometimes I was afraid of making mistakes and thought I had to be perfect.

Other times, I used to worry about not being recognized or not finding good opportunities.

I would work very hard and forget to take care of myself.

All these thoughts made me feel insecure and less confident in my abilities.


It is important to remember that these thoughts are not permanent and can be changed with a positive attitude and hard work.

Luckily, I had the energy (and guidance) to overcome these limiting beliefs and achieve greatness in my career.

I will try to guide other architects, so that they too can overcome them.


The only comparison is you

The 10 most common limiting beliefs that I had, and that any other architect could have

It's important to note that limiting beliefs are not inherent traits but are shaped by experiences, societal influences, and individual perspectives.

Recognizing and challenging these beliefs is essential for personal and professional growth as architects strive to reach their full potential and achieve success in their careers.

Here are some of the most common limiting beliefs I had:

I'm not creative enough

I doubted my creative ability. I thought I wasn't imaginative innovative enough to design exceptional buildings or spaces.


It is not uncommon for architects to wrestle with self-doubt.

They question their creative prowess and feeling that they fall short of producing exceptional designs.

This limiting belief, "I'm not creative enough," can be a significant roadblock to success. However, by adopting a fresh perspective and implementing certain practices, architects can unleash their boundless creativity and design projects that leave a lasting impact.

The first step in conquering this belief is to recognize that creativity knows no boundaries.

As architects, our minds are fertile ground for innovation and ideas.

Embrace your unique vision and artistic flair, knowing that each architect has their individual touch that makes their work distinct.

Be open to exploring unconventional approaches. Experiment.


I can't handle the business side of things

I was basically focused on my technical knowledge. But lacked the confidence to handle business aspects such as marketing, sales or financial management.


As architects, our passion often lies in the art and science of design, yet the business side can feel daunting.

However, it's essential to recognize that developing business acumen is a learnable skill.

Start by seeking resources and courses to gain knowledge in marketing, sales, and financial management.

Surround yourself with a supportive network, seeking advice from experienced colleagues or mentors.

Embrace the process of learning and gradually apply the principles to your practice.

With determination and a growth mindset, you can confidently navigate the business aspects, securing a prosperous future for your architectural career.


Success is only for the well-connected

I believed that success in the industry was reserved for those with influential contacts. I felt at a disadvantage if they lacked those networks.


The belief that success in architecture is contingent solely on influential connections can be disheartening for aspiring architects.

However, it's crucial to understand that while connections can open doors, they are not the sole determinants of success.

True accomplishment lies in a combination of talent, hard work, and strategic networking.


Instead of focusing solely on influential connections, concentrate on nurturing meaningful relationships within the industry.

  • Engage with other architects,
  • attend industry events, and
  • participate in workshops to build a strong professional network.


Collaborate on projects and seek opportunities to showcase your abilities.

They can organically lead to valuable connections.

(I found great partners when collaborating).

Genuine talent and a strong portfolio can attract attention and opportunities.

Let your work speak for itself and consistently strive for excellence in every project you undertake.


Seek out mentorship and guidance from experienced professionals.

A mentor can provide invaluable insights, career advice, and support, helping you navigate the complexities of the industry.

In my case, I found a business mentor who walked with me from the initial moments.


My designs must be perfect

Perfectionism paralyzed me and made me doubt my work and inhibited my creative process.

The belief that designs must be flawless can create an unrealistic standard, leading to self-doubt and creative paralysis.


To overcome this limiting belief, it is essential to recognize that perfection is subjective and unattainable.

Imperfections are a natural part of the creative process.

And they can add character and uniqueness to your designs.

Focus on the big picture and the overall vision of your project, rather than getting lost in minor details.

Prioritize the key elements that are crucial to the success of your design and trust your instincts.

Establish a supportive feedback loop by sharing your ideas with peers, clients, or mentors.

Constructive criticism can provide valuable insights and help refine your work without triggering a fear of imperfection.

Celebrate your successes, even in the midst of imperfection.

Recognize that each project is a stepping stone in your growth as an architect.

And it's the journey that matters as much as the final destination.


I can't charge higher fees

A classic.

I used to undervalue my services. I used to think that clients would not pay higher fees, which led to financial hardship.


Undervaluing services can create financial challenges for architects.

Especially when they believe clients won't pay higher fees.

It's essential to recognize the true worth of your expertise.

Develop a mindset that allows you to charge higher fees confidently.



Start by understanding the value you bring to clients.

Assess your skills, experience, and unique approach to design.

Recognize that clients seek quality and expertise, and they are willing to invest in exceptional services.


Position yourself as a specialist rather than a commodity.

Highlight your unique selling points and the specific benefits clients gain from working with you.

Emphasize the value of your personalized solutions and the impact they have on projects.


Effectively communicate your worth during client interactions.

Clearly articulate the value of your services and how they can lead to successful outcomes.

Educate clients on the advantages of investing in well-considered design.


Want to go further?

Conduct market research to understand industry standards and competitive pricing.

Set fees that reflect the quality of your work while being mindful of the market demands.

Be confident and assertive when discussing fees.

Avoid undervaluing your services to secure a project.

Instead, focus on attracting clients who value your expertise and are willing to invest in the results you deliver.


Charging higher fees is not about greed but about ensuring sustainable growth for your architectural practice.

Your skills and talent deserve fair compensation, and confidently communicate the value you bring to every project.

By valuing your worth, you can attract clients who appreciate your expertise and build a financially rewarding career as an architect.


I hope at least this point has opened your eyes.

If not, read on.


I don't have time for self-care

Long work days and high-pressure projects lead me to neglect my well-being. I used to think I couldn't afford time for self-care. Until I suffered extreme burnout. I had to hit rock bottom.


In the fast-paced world of architecture, the belief that there's no time for self-care is a common misconception.

It can have detrimental effects on an architect's well-being.

Neglecting self-care can ultimately impede productivity, creativity, and overall happiness.


Recognize that self-care is not a luxury but a necessity for maintaining physical and mental health.

Just as you meticulously plan projects, allocate time in your schedule for self-care activities.

Start with small changes to build healthy habits.

Incorporate short breaks during work hours to stretch, meditate, or take a walk outside.

These moments of rejuvenation can enhance focus and productivity.


Set boundaries with your work commitments.

Establishing a work-life balance is crucial for sustained success in the architecture field.

Remember that overworking can lead to burnout and diminish your effectiveness.


Explore activities that promote relaxation and reduce stress.

Engage in hobbies, spend time with loved ones, or practice mindfulness techniques.

Investing in your well-being will replenish your energy and creativity.


Prioritize sleep to ensure optimal cognitive function and decision-making abilities.

Aim for consistent and sufficient rest each night to feel refreshed and ready to take on the day's challenges.

Seek support from colleagues, friends, or a mentor.

Openly discuss your challenges and feelings of overwhelm, as talking about it can alleviate stress and provide fresh perspectives.


Prioritizing self-care, you become a better architect.

A nurtured and balanced mind is:

  • minimalist
  • more innovative
  • adaptable & resilient


That’s why self-care is an essential part of the architect's journey.

It will make your professional life fulfilling and more successful.

This is a message from someone who has hit rock bottom.

Don't forget your self-care.


I'm too young / old to learn new skills

I sometimes resisted adopting new technologies or learning business skills. I used to think it was too early or too late to improve my knowledge.


The belief that age hinders the ability to learn new skills is a myth that holds many architects back from learning new things.

Architecture is evolving rapidly: AI, automatising tools, market trends…

Adopting new technologies and business skills is essential for staying relevant and thriving in the industry.

Are you still using AutoCAD?

It’s time you update your tools, my friend.


Here are 6 tips you could follow:


1 Recognise that age is not a barrier to learning.

It is an asset that comes with experience and wisdom.

Your years of expertise and existing knowledge can serve as a solid foundation for acquiring new skills.


2 Approach learning with an open mind and a growth mindset.

You have the capacity to continually improve and adapt to the changing landscape of architecture.


3 Invest time in exploring new technologies and trends.

Attend workshops, seminars, or online courses to familiarise yourself with the latest advancements in the field.


4 Collaborate with younger architects or tech-savvy colleagues.

Their insights can provide valuable guidance and support as you explore new skills and technologies.


5 Make it simple

Break it down the learning process into smaller, manageable steps.

Consistent effort and dedication can lead to significant progress, regardless of age.


Celebrate your tiny wins.

Each new skill acquired enhances your value as an architect and widens your scope of opportunities.

Celebrate each one of your accomplishments and milestones along the learning journey.


Age should never be a deterrent to growth and learning.

You are never too old to evolve as an architect.

By adopting new skills and technologies:

  • improve your career,
  • empower your creativity,
  • secure a promising future in the ever-changing world of architecture.


Still thinking that you are too old to learn new skills?


My ideas aren't as good as others

I had a feeling of inadequacy when comparing my work with that of other architects. Which led me to doubt myself and lose my self-confidence.


The belief that your ideas are inferior to others can diminish creative confidence and hinder architectural progress.

It's vital to understand that every architect possesses a unique vision

Comparing oneself to others only stifles individual creativity.


How can you fix this?

Acknowledge that creativity is subjective and there is no universal measure of what constitutes a "better" idea.

Each architect brings a distinctive perspective and skillset to their designs, making their work inherently valuable.


Shift your focus from comparison to self-improvement.

Instead of measuring your ideas against others, concentrate on refining your skills and exploring innovative approaches to design.


Seek constructive feedback from colleagues or mentors.

View them it as an opportunity for growth rather than validation of inadequacy.

Get feedback as a means to refine your ideas and elevate your work.


You already know this:

Architecture is a collaborative field.

Collaboration with others can lead to groundbreaking ideas and inspire fresh perspectives.

And I’m not talking about only architects.

Look into other fields: programming, cinema, internet, sports, travel.


The market is too competitive

I believed the industry was oversaturated, making it difficult to stand out or find opportunities.

The belief that the architecture market is oversaturated and fiercely competitive can deter architects from pursuing their dreams and reaching their full potential.

It's crucial to recognize that success in any industry lies in embracing uniqueness and strategic positioning.


Still looking for your uniqueness?

Again, shift your perspective from competition to collaboration.

Instead of viewing fellow architects as rivals, seek opportunities for partnership and shared projects.

Collaborating can lead to a more diverse and robust portfolio.


Focus on finding your niche or specialisation within the field.

Identify your unique strengths and passions.

And tailor your services to meet the specific needs of your target clientele.


My tip: Stand out from your competitors.

🎓 If you need help finding your Uniqueness, we can work on it with the Audience – Blue Ocean Strategy challenge, in order to find your differentiation on the market.


Leverage technology and digital platforms to amplify your presence.

An impactful online portfolio and engaging social media can help you showcase your work to a broader audience.


Engage in continuous learning to stay updated with industry trends and innovations.

Invest in professional development to enhance your skills and offer cutting-edge solutions.


Network strategically with potential clients, peers, and industry leaders.

Attend industry events, workshops, and conferences to build meaningful connections and create opportunities.


Embrace the belief that there is enough room for success for everyone.

Instead of viewing the market as limited, see it as an arena of infinite possibilities.


Where is your unique talent?

Your distinctiveness is your biggest asset.

Your passion and dedication will set you apart.

Be different. Be unique.


I can't balance work and personal life

I worked long hours, and I had difficulty finding a balance between my professional and personal life, which led to burnout.


For architects, the belief that balancing work and personal life is an impossible feat can lead to burnout and diminished well-being. However, it's crucial to understand that achieving work-life balance is essential for sustained success and happiness in both realms.

Prioritize self-awareness and set clear boundaries between work and personal time. Designate specific hours for work and commit to unplugging once the workday ends.

Learn to say "no" when necessary. Overcommitting can lead to overwhelm and compromise the quality of both professional and personal endeavors.

Delegate tasks when possible.

Entrust responsibilities to capable colleagues or team members to reduce the workload and create time for personal pursuits.


Work-life balance is not about perfect equilibrium but rather about flexibility and adaptability.

Some days may require more focus on work.

Others may necessitate more attention to personal matters.

It depends on each architect.

Which is your ideal work-life balance?


Something valuable I learned these last few years:

Incorporate self-care practices into your routine.

Allocate time for activities that rejuvenate your mind and body, such as exercise, hobbies, or spending time with loved ones.

Set aside designated periods for rest and relaxation.

Go to bed early. Take a sauna or spa session. Write your thoughts in a journal.

A well-rested mind is more creative and efficient in problem-solving.


On last recommendation

Create a supportive work environment that values work-life balance.

Make the case for flexible work arrangements. Be an example.

Promote a culture that encourages employees to take care of their well-being as well.

If you need any help, seek guidance and support from mentors or colleagues who have successfully achieved work-life balance.

Learn from their experiences and implement strategies that resonate with your lifestyle.


Work-life balance is an ongoing journey.

It requires conscious effort and a commitment to self-care.

And, it is achievable.

Architects can nurture their well-being, enhance their professional performance, and lead a fulfilling life both inside and outside the studio.

Don’t you agree?


What did I learn?

Here are my 5 key takeaways for architects looking to improve their productivity and business:


Believe in Your Creative Potential

Recognise that creativity is boundless and unique to each architect.

Expand your creative vision and develop your own style.

Trust in your ability to design exceptional buildings and spaces.


Business Skills Are Learnable

Don't shy away from the business side of architecture.

Invest in learning marketing, sales, and financial management.

Then showcase your expertise and attract valuable clients.


Success is not dependent on connections alone

While connections can be advantageous, focus on building meaningful relationships and showcasing your skills.

Don’t be shy and talk to people. Be honest and help other people genuinely.

True success in architecture comes from authentic connections.


Adapt your style: Change and Iteration

You are not perfect. Let go of the need for perfection.

View mistakes and challenges as opportunities for growth.

And welcome feedback to refine your designs.


Continuous Learning and Self-Care Are Vital

Age should never be a hindrance to learning.

Develop a growth mindset, stay open to new technologies.

And invest in self-care to nurture your well-being, creativity, and long-term success.


I hope that, if you have read this far, you have regained some self-confidence.

Wish you the best,



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