It will almost always get messy before it gets good.
I remember watching a documentary once about Beyonce, and seeing her kind of lose it because days before a big show, nothing was coming together. The stage wasn't finished. The lighting was wrong. The choreography was off. She was pissed. There was no time left. This was not her vision. Nobody was doing their jobs. You could feel her anxiety.
And I remember thinking when I saw that, "Yeah, that feels right. I know that feeling."
Sure, I've never been paid millions to perform on a world stage (yet), but I still know the feeling of everything falling apart.
If you've ever embarked on a creative project, especially one associated with your brand, your image, or your reputation, you probably know the feeling, too.
when it comes to a projects you care about, especially ones that require some heart and vision and creativity, it will almost always get messy before it gets good.
And by "messy" I mean: It will all fall apart. After months or even years of working on something, it will all suddenly feel wrong. The work will appear more complicated, and overwhelming. You might even be struck with the realization that your project has been a total waste of time. You will want to scrap it, start over, break things. There will almost always be crying and sorrowful calls to mom.
When this happens, take heart.
The messy middle, as I call it, usually strikes right before I'm nearing the end of something big. Right before I hit a breakthrough that will make everything better. Knowing this, I try to react a little differently now when it arrives. Be a little more patient. A little kinder. But it still sucks.
when you hit the messy middle, keep going. It's a sign you're almost there.
Most people do stop here. They stop when it gets messy. They stop when they're afraid they've already wasted too much time or money and they can no longer see the return on investment.
But here's something else to know: It will vanish almost as quickly as it comes, leaving you standing with an awesome _______ (website? online course? you get the idea.) And hopefully, a feeling of immense pride for sticking it out.
So the next time you hit the messy middle, try taking a breath. Then keep going.
Keep going. Keep going. Keep going.