Making it big or great?

It was heartbreaking. And I don’t say that lightly.

Bunninadden’s last minute goal that denied us (Coolera-Strandhill) an historic county championship in 2000. And then two years later in another final we conceded two late points to Eastern Harps who then beat us in the replay.

And then in 2005 we reached our third final in 6 years. And a man by the name of Padraig McKeon who had trained me during my time in Dublin texted me beforehand to wish me luck. And the content of his message has stayed with me since.

He advised me to focus on the game, not the outcome.

And I realised in that moment that I had been thinking about football all wrong. It had been all about how it would feel to win a championship. How it would feel to beat this team or that team. The craic we would have.

Instead I should have been thinking about the game itself and how we were actually going to win that. Who I was marking. How I was going to get the better of him. Visualising myself contributing positively to the game.

I heeded Padraig’s advice and we won our first championship in 98 years. The feeling afterwards was even better than I had imagined, but I may never have experienced it if I had focused on it beforehand.

We have a similar discussion on this week’s episode of In The Lamplight. Our guest this week tells us of dreaming of making it big when she was a child, and then finding it it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be when she reached the final of the X Factor, coincidentally also in 2005.

To find out more check out this video where I reveal all while on a tractor, or you can listen to the podcast here.

So if you’re a musician gearing up for a big gig, try to focus not on the buzz you’ll get or the acclaim of the crowd, but on making the best possible setlist and figuring out how you’ll introduce each song.

Or if you want to be a star, try to focus not on the money you’ll earn or the number of Instagram followers you’ll have, but on improving the songs you write and making your show unforgettable.

Focus not on making it big, but on making it great.