You know, I really only do two things for Novell. I mean, there’s the research, the meetings, the email, and all that stuff that I lump under “preparation,” but through it all I’m really only preparing for two things:
1) Presenting to the public
2) Negotiating with Engineers
I’ll liken these activities to the martial arts.
Presenting to the public is like performing the katas. You study the forms, you rehearse them slowly, and then you perform them at speed. It’s physically draining, as you’re supposed to be putting every bit as much power into those moves as you would be if you’re sparring. Ultimately, though, you’re in control. Sure, sometimes when I present to the public there’s a hostile out in the crowd, but I’ve prepared for this, and it’s in the context of my “show,” so it’s never a real threat.
Negotiating with engineers is like a street-fight. All those katas, all that rehearsing, all the study of the forms… it all comes down to surviving for the next thirty seconds. It’s just as physically demanding as kata performance (obviously), but there’s also a mental aspect to it that is completely exhausting, as you act and react real-time with your opponent, knowing that the stakes are a lot higher than missing a jump, pulling a muscle, or falling down during tricky footwork.
I have a two-hour street-fight scheduled to begin in forty-five minutes, and I’m currently sick. I need the martial-arts metaphorical equivalent of a handgun, so I can give all that exhausting stuff a wide miss and just FINISH HIM!