Throughout my academic career, I'd given some pretty good talks. But being considered the best speaker in a computer science department is like being known as the tallest of the Seven Dwarfs. And right then, I had the feeling that I had more in me, that if I gave it my all, I might be able to offer people something special. "Wisdom" is a strong word, but maybe that was it.
Source - The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
What is the meaning of "that was it"? And why it is "was" instead of "is"?