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RG3, Seizing the Moment, and the Snails

Having grown up in the Bronx, I've been a New York Giants fan since the fifth grade when I first started watching football. Over time, like any fan of an NFC East team, I've developed a disdain and a grudging respect for the other teams in that division; the Cowboys, Eagles, and Redskins. But this post isn't about football rivalries, it's about something that was said by a young player on one of those "other" NFC East teams. A player heading into the biggest game of his very young pro football career. A player going into a game against one of his team's most hated rivals with the weight of a playoff-starved city on his shoulders.

That player is the talented rookie quarterback of the Washington Redskins, Robert Griffin III (aka RG3), who will lead his team against the Dallas Cowboys this Sunday for a chance to get the Redskins (once playoff perennials) back into the post season for the first time since 2006. Despite all the pressure Griffin is facing this week, he sounded more like a veteran coach (Mike Shanahan?) when he addressed the media at a press conference earlier this week: "Basketball, the big game, track, the finals, whatever it is, whenever you play the moment up too much it can become too big to seize the moment. So you just want to make sure you don't make something so big that you can't grab a hold of it."

Don't make something so big that you can't grab a hold of it.

Alison Scarpulla Photography

Now I'm not the type of person that would ever write a "motivational" post but those words really resonated with me. And they should resonate with you, too. Why? Because at some point in our lives, we do tend to "play the moment up too much" making it too big to seize. Whether it's interviewing for that executive management position at our job, auditioning for that big part in an off-Broadway play, deciding to make our first film, our first keynote speaking gig, our first sales pitch to a major customer...

Don't make something so big that you can't grab a hold of it.

How do you avoid making that big moment too big to seize, you ask? Prepare. Get your skills up to match the enormity of the moment. That's how. Because when you prepare properly you gain confidence - and you need big confidence to seize big moments.

Got a big interview for a big job? Make sure your interview skills are honed; that you understand the requirements of the job and have the qualifications to accomplish them.

Big audition? Get working with an acting coach; seek to understand the character, their motivation and mannerisms.

Gonna make your first film? Watch the first films of some of your favorite directors, understand their progression, read about the challenges of first-time filmmakers on books and blogs.

First keynote? Understand who your audience is, what information they're seeking; go over your speech again and again until it just flows out of you.

First major sales pitch? Understand what the prospect's hot buttons are, your competitive advantage, anticipate objections and be ready to own them.

Whatever it is, prepare.

Alison Scarpulla Photography

When you're properly prepared, the moment doesn't seem so big anymore. Now, that's no guarantee of anything other than that you're gonna go into that moment with confidence and not trepidation. But two scenarios will play out, both of them wins:

A) You'll get it.

B) You won't.

How the heck is B a win? Well, you'll come to realize two very important things:

A) What you're made of.

B) What you have to do to be ready when that time comes again.

Big moments aren't meant to be seized by everyone. For some people, losing out on that big moment turns them into the snail "whose tender horns being hit, Shrinks backwards in his shelly cave with pain, And there, all smother’d up, in shade doth sit, Long after fearing to creep forth again." For others, losing out on that big moment reveals to them the areas where they need improvement and they prepare even better for when that big moment comes again. And when you're looking for a big moment, you'll eventually find one - and you'll be ready to seize it.

By the time many of you read this post, this weekend's Redskins/Cowboys game will already be decided. RG3 may indeed lead his Redskins to victory over the Cowboys. Or he may end up throwing three interceptions in a humbling defeat; maybe even a rout. Either way, we'll eventually see what young Mr. Griffin is made of. The seizing of one big moment makes the greatest of us hungry for another even bigger moment. For others, the thrill of accomplishment gives way to contentment and loss of passion.

And then there are the snails.

Which one are you?

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Photographs by Alison Scarpulla

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