By Nicola Albini, J.D., M.A. -This article originally appeared on June 28th 2016 on huffingtonpost.com
Interviewing for a job, auditioning for a lead role in a major TV show, competing in the Olympics, or even holding an important meeting requires a greater level of focus, discipline, and preparation. To ensure your best performance, never prepare for these so called life-defining moments by making them “the moment.”
Our ambitious culture has conditioned us to believe that we live for these life-defining moments, particularly in our work, and that if we fail, we’ll never have a second chance.
Every life will have countless, life-defining moments. So while I understand that some moments feel more exciting or important than others, the first step to preparing yourself for a life-defining moment is to put things in perspective. Understand that your life is made up of many important moments. “Failing” at any one in particular will not be the end.
The second step, which goes hand in hand with the first, is to understand that EVERY moment leading up to it is as important as the life-defining moment itself.
Let me share an example from my own life to illustrate what I mean.
On my 40th birthday, I decided to embark on a long and intense journey of competing for Iron Man. The preparation leading up to it took years. At the start of every training day, my coach would say: “Let’s make today another masterpiece. Another ordinary day, not an extraordinary day.”
His words were and continue to be significant to me because they serve as a reminder to focus on the process, not the product. What was important in my preparation was not Game Day, it was the day in front of me.
In order to be your best then, you must be your best now.
We call this a growth-mindset. It allows you to make being your best a habit as opposed to something you prepare for.
So, the real question becomes: How can you be present and at your best every day?
Start by asking yourself these two questions:
1. Why am I doing this?
2. Who am I doing this for?
Whatever you do in life, you should be engaged in the process. There are no half measures to living. So, to show up present and at your best each and every day, you must know that your actions are aligned with your life’s purpose — and your joy.
The reason for this is to inspire you to bring all of yourself from a place of higher quality, as opposed to a place of ego. It’s not about winning or losing, it’s about relaxing into the moment and living it out for what it is — an opportunity to live your purpose.
The last and final step is visualization.
Many neuroscientists suggest the subconscious mind is the most powerful part of the mind, and it is never utilized. I suggest visualizing your life defining moment on a nightly basis; picturing exactly how you’d like your moment to actualize — with ease, love, joy, and success.
When you align your conscious mind with your subconscious mind you will find yourself prepared for whatever adversity may be thrown your way. You will also be happier! Not only will you be prepared for your life-defining moment, but you will find the joy in every moment that leads to it.
Let’s face it — at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.