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The “Messy Stage”: Working Through Self-doubt

“I understand that this all seems very overwhelming.” My marketing professor motioned to the slide up on the projector.  “But it’s alright to feel a little overwhelmed at this point in the project.”

And I did.  I felt very overwhelmed.  

As I sat there thinking about the project that will reflect one fourth of my grade in the class, I started thinking of my other classes and the other exams and assignments that hold a fraction of my grade.  I started thinking about work and my ability to write about topics that interest the masses.

I thought about the stack of dishes that I forgot to do the night before, and about how I need to pay my roommate for our PG&E bill.  I thought about the Welcome Night for the academic fraternity that I really need to try to join. I thought about how I need to somehow manage all these tasks so that I’m able to go to the first home football game on Saturday like a normal college student.

Ha. Normal. As if.

It was at this time the wonderful emotion known as self-doubt kicked in leaving me with a mindset of: there’s no way I can do this.

I’m not a superhero.  I can’t be in two places at once.  If I’m studying for one class what about the other class that I really need to do well in.  If I’m thinking about Task A, I’m not thinking about Task B.  Even if I try my hardest, what if my best isn’t good enough? What if I’m not good enough?

It was a never ending spiral of negativity inside my head.  I could feel the tension in my chest.

I’m supposed to be a normal college student, why is it that I can’t even handle stress?

Amidst my silent crisis,  my professor continued: “In business we have this saying called the ‘Messy Stage.’ It’s when we’re in a project and everything’s an absolute mess, but in the end it we turn out something clean and polished.  Right now, this project is in the ‘Messy Stage.’ But I assure you it’s a great learning experience.”

I didn’t really think much of that for the remainder of the class period.  Quite frankly I was still hung up on the things I had to do.  

When I got home and opened a blank document to begin writing this post, I really processed what my professor

But I put into my own terms–outside of the business world.

Life is the ‘messy stage.’ As cliche as that may sound.  We’re not superheroes. We are essentially a project in the making.  Who we are as individuals are unique on its own, and every day we attempt to grow and become better human beings.  

And it’s messy.  There’s not a ‘normal’ way to go about this because everyone is different. Not everything is going to turn out the way we thought, but that’s okay! There’s going to be days when you think you can’t or you won’t be able to do what it is you want or need to do.  But you can.  

Just remember, the messier the better.