I met another musician at a wedding several years ago who shared a perspective that has been formative for me not just as a musician but also as a leader, a father, and a friend.
He said once you’ve taken your place on stage with instrument or microphone in hand, the only thing that matters is that moment. While it’s possible that others may possess more experience or better technique for a particular style of music, they are not on stage at that moment. Only you are. In that moment there is no one else who can express what you’re feeling. No one else to use your instrument or speak your verse. Maybe next week you’ll have practiced a new skill and could express today’s experience a little differently, but the only moment that matters now is this one.
This mantra doesn’t just apply to playing music. Whatever situation you are in, whatever moment you are living, there is no one else but you. To have the conversation with your child. To set aside distractions and be available for a friend. To give a pep talk to the team. To coach a colleague at work. Could someone else do a better job than you? It doesn’t matter, because no one else is there – just you.
Thus the value of constant preparation. We never know when our moments will appear. It’s up to us to continually practice, continually develop our skills, continually prepare ourselves. Then when the moment arrives, we can seize it.