We love watching big stage performances. We see the bright lights. We see the confidence, the swagger. March Madness is now in full swing, and personally, I too enjoy all of the hype around it! Everything culminates with a national champion, and of course, the “One Shining Moment” highlight reel. It epitomizes what we love about the big moment. My favorite line from that song, however, is not at all about the moment. It’s about everything that has gone into creating that moment:
And all those years
no one knows
just how hard you worked
but now it shows…
Upsets may shock everyone watching, but they aren’t a surprise to those in the underdog’s locker room. When a team has a dominant performance and makes a run to the Final Four, it isn’t because they just showed up and played at the highest level in the most pressure-filled games. No, they trained for years to have the ability to come up big in those moments.
We don’t rise to the occasion, we resort to the level of our habits/systems/disciplines/etc.
We don’t raise our level of play in clutch moments. As a Navy SEAL said, “Under pressure, you sink to the level of your training.” In critical moments, teams are able to execute because they’ve already rehearsed that moment hundreds, if not thousands, of times. We actually fall back to the level in which we’ve prepared. We revert back to the strength or weakness of our daily decisions. It’s why experience is so valuable. Those who’ve experienced the big stage know what it takes to get there.
The big moment is great. It should be enjoyed and applauded. But anyone who’s ever achieved anything meaningful knows that it’s not about a single breakthrough event. It’s about the sacrifices and the small decisions along the way. It’s about all those years (and sometimes decades) of consistent, disciplined, purposeful work. No matter where you’re at today, start training for your moment…
In comedian and actor Steve Martin’s book, “Born Standing Up: A Comic’s Life,”he details his journey to becoming a celebrity. He wrote, “I did stand-up comedy for 18 years. Ten of those years were spent learning, four years were spent refining, and four years were spent in wild success.”
There are no overnight successes. The grand stages are preceded by a countless number of small and seemingly insignificant moments.