Everyone has their version of the Super Bowl: that one challenge you'll have to face if everything goes the way you want it to. Success is increasing challenges and responsibilities - there will eventually (and repeatedly) be the Big Challenge that changes the game. And the first and hardest thing you have to do at that challenge is show up.
Showing up is hard. Period.
It is easier than one thinks to not show up, ask Peyton Manning. Whatever the reason, and I'm not going to attempt to guess, something didn't show up for Manning and the Broncos last night. "Showing up" isn't just physically being somewhere, going through the motions, hoping that what has worked before will continue to work. "Showing up" is when preparation and planning meet execution; it's being both in the moment and three steps ahead.
In order to show up to your Big Challenge, you have to know it's the Big Challenge.
That's where planning and preparation comes in. Not every challenge is the Big Challenge. You have to be able to differentiate between today's challenge and the Big Challenge. It's why the playoffs in any sport are special - the stakes are different. You don't take playoff risks in regular season play. You don't deplete the resources you need for the Big Challenge for today's challenge.
Even then, sometimes it just won't be there. Show up anyway.
There is no real doubt that Peyton Manning is good at his job - the debates around him center on just exactly how great he's supposed to be. But something did not happen for him and the rest of the team. Fatigue, lack of clarity, overthinking, or any number of thigns could have contributed. The dangerous part is when we let that be the norm and stop showing up. Defeats are inevitable, but so are more Big Challenges.
Show up, show out, and prepare for the next one.