Eye opening

Coming up on my contribution to SPaMcast we talk about my preparation for the World Masters Jiu Jitsu tournament and go into a discussion of how it relates to professional careers.

Last week was the tournament and I did compete. Unfortunately I did not have the outcome I wanted. Like 50% of the people who register for the tournament I lost in the first round. This year though was way different that previous as although I was in a good training camp and was prepared physically, my mental game was worked out more than any other year.

A few things have happened over the past few months and it all culminated the Thursday before I left for the tournament. I was impacted by a company takeover. Not the best news you would want to have on your mind while you are about to embark on the biggest competitive event of the year.

In previous years at this tournament my heart rate for the day I competed would be over 100 beats a minute for the entire day. Amazingly enough this year my heart rate was normal, around 75-85 beats per minute and I didn’t feel anxious. I was relatively in control of my mind and was in a good state.

Then came my fight. I would be a mess on the inside as I am about to step on the mat. The reason for that was in the past I was playing the “What If” game in my head, which you usually do, unfortunately for me I was trying to be a super computer and run through every conceivable scenario I could. This year I had my initial game plan and was confident I could readjust when needed. I was in a good state.

As the referee called us on to the mat I was focused, nothing was going to change the task at hand. As the match went it was all good. I never panicked, even when in danger I was able to get through and do what I wanted. Unfortunately at the level of competition I am at if there is one small mistake made the opposition will take advantage of it, and that is what happened. I was a bit off balance and the end was near. In the last 30 seconds of the fight, where I was winning on points, I was submitted. My day at the tournament was done.

Now in previous years I would be very upset, especially with all the work that I did to get there and with the added stress from being impacted. I wasn’t, I felt good. I could have gone off on people that said they would be there to help me and didn’t show up. I could have been miserable for the next few days there and just add to my stress. I didn’t my next focus was on two other teammates there that were competing later in the tournament.

I focused my energy on helping. One teammate was extremely nervous about competing on this stage. I kept my talks with her consistent and focused on what she needs to do. On the day of her competing I kept things simple and helped her focus at the task at hand. I coached her through her bracket she is now a World Champion. It was a great feeling for me to help her get that achievement. As time went on that day things started to change in how I saw myself and how I dealt this things in the world.

My next coaching duties was Tyler. There was a teen tournament going on at the same time and I had the opportunity to coach him as well. Unfortunately he did not have the outcome we desired. He met a very tough opponent and lost his first match. As a coach it is easy to talk to athletes that win, the challenge is when they don’t.I took him aside and let him know it is not a lost that it is a learning experience. We went through the match and found areas of improvement. He was hard on himself for the loss, I get it. With my clearer view of things I told him that it is only a loss, I have been to the World Championships 5 times, spend a lot of money, sacrificed a lot each year to get there and lost each time. It didn’t matter, we step on the mat and go to battle. It is a 50-50 shot you are going to win, this time he didn’t. There would be other tournaments.

After all the competition was done it was time to enjoy the Vegas night life. Before that I had conversations with other colleagues and it opened my eyes to how much I was setting up barriers for myself, not only in Jiu Jitsu, in life in general. I started to see that the obstacles that were in my way were of my own doing.

Over this year I have been reading a lot of books and two that really stuck out for me were:

The subtle are of not giving a f*ck and You Can’t Hurt Me.

After ready these two books I feel it started to shake the foundation of my obstacles. They were still there but now they were weakened. Last week destroyed most of them, I know there are others there, just hidden, and I know I will be blowing past them as well.

It is amazing how one week can completely turn around one’s outlook.

I am blessed with all that has happened and the support I have from family and friends.

I got this.



Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson has a great video on YouTube where he just says “focus”

It is odd to put this here in a blog on QA and Leadership, I know. I thought I would lighten the mood and put a smile on people’s face.

As you all know I tie my blog entries with my recordings on SPaMcast and the latest entry is on QA Focus. (Here is the recording and the page for a lot of other wonderful interviews http://spamcast.libsyn.com/spamcast-558-story-points-leave-them-qa-focus-discussions-and-essays )

As in the discussion we talked about focusing efforts with conducting testing and how far is too far.

For me that is a pretty vague question because it is open for interpretation. Overall it is generally based on the acceptable risk of the organization. Even that can get a little fuzzy.

It is all about the culture the organization has in how it treats it’s products and clients. There was a great analogy used in Explore It!: Reduce Risk and Increase Confidence with Exploratory Testing by Elisabeth Hendrickson  . To paraphrase, testing is like a fish net, depending on how little the mesh is will determine how much you catch.

To focus to hard on an application or component to the point where the mesh is extremely small will take a lot of effort to just get through one cycle. While on the other hand you can have a big mesh and only get the big ones. Now depending on the application being testing you may have no choice to use the tight mesh. There could be potentially lives at risk if something were to sneak through.

This is where the culture comes in as well as good leadership in providing ways to move that net faster while still getting the same results. Through the use of purchasing tools to use, providing a collaborative environment where team members across all disciplines can work together to solve problems and in general be supportive.