A dojo is a miniature cosmos where we make contact with ourselves – our fears, anxieties, reactions, and habits. It is an arena of confined conflict where we confront an opponent who is not an opponent but rather a partner engaged in helping us understand ourselves more fully. It is a place where we can learn a great deal in a short time about who we are and how we react in the world. The conflicts that take place inside the dojo help us handle conflicts that take place outside. The total concentration and discipline required to study martial arts carries over to daily life. The activity in the dojo calls on us to constantly attempt new things, so it is also a source of learning – in Zen terminology, a source of self-enlightenment. — Joe Hyams, Zen in the Martial Arts
Found this quote reading The E-Myth Revisited by Michael E Gerber and struck me as he related running a small business to being in a dojo. Being an aspiring entrepreneur and martial artist, just struck me as a be
It takes years to achieve black belt status. In a proper martial arts school, even stepping between belts takes an extremely long time. You have to practice, practice, and practice punches, kicks, blocks, stances, etc…. over and over again to ensure you have the proper execution. It must be engrained into your mind through diligent work to ensure proper use when needing it in what may be a self-defense situation.
This process is closely related to managing projects. You go through the same steps in project management over and over again with different requirements and environments. It seems like constant repetition on projects to ensure things run smoothly.
Just as in defending yourself in case of an attack, projects will be attacked from circumstances beyond your control. Due to the striving for perfection from practice, you can remain calm and execute your tasks as close to perfection as you possibly can.
Along with classes, I have training DVD’s for karate. For project management, I took classes in graduate school, done online courses, and have even test for project management certification. Both take the same style of training.
So as I strive for perfection and hopefully an eventual black belt, I hope to gain the same expertise in my job in leading projects.
You got to be focused on what you are doing when you possibly could have a fist or foot coming at you. We spar and do walkthroughs with partners which improve our techniques. A co-worker does ju-jitsu which is a lot more contact than we have. You have to be focused on your task and evaluate your openings to maximize your techniques when sparring.
In business, you do the exact same thing. Focus on your project and watch for openings where you could drastically improve tasks. When we get new business in, we may be working with people who have lost the work. This puts a very high stress level on the working relationship including times when the people you are working with will be laid off due to the loss of the business.
From our side, we focus on the work and watch for any way to improve our work on our side based upon how they are willing to give us the data. We must succeed and work in a way the client needs us too due to we will have a relationship with them for years to come.
Karate is a great way to exercise. To succeed in business for any length of time, I feel you have to work on your mind, body, and spirit. Karate is an exercise that benefits your body, but it does help with the mind and spirit.
We go through a 90-minute class, and I am dripping sweat after the first 30 minutes which is just warming up. On the other 5 nights a week, I do try to take roughly 30 minutes a night to walk through the techniques and forms which I currently know.
I start regularly working by 7 in the morning. I work throughout the day with a minimal break for lunch. Most days, it is not unusual to have pretty much sat there in front of a computer for 10+ hours. Karate is a nice break after work to get the mind back in order. Good exercise to free up the mind.
To me, I am a better programmer with doing karate to keep my mind from snapping when I sit in front of a monitor all day.
I am in my third go-around with martial arts by taking karate. I am taking it with my youngest daughter now. After college, I took Tai Kwan Do. With my oldest, I took karate 10+ years ago then the youngest came along, and time was too tight to continue. This week, I thought I would write about how karate helps me in the business world.
Why do I do karate? First, I do it to bond with my youngest daughter. What a perfect opportunity to have father daughter time together. She wanted to do it, and I wanted to spend more quality time with her. So the number one reason to do it would be her.
There are many other reasons I would do it, but with time constraints of a family, you have to look at stuff that would benefit the kids first.
Isn’t this just like business? We have to set our priorities on what is important. Spending time with my daughter on something that improves her is a great way to utilize my time.
Currently, our plate is full at work on business coming in. I have to prioritize my time there. What is important? How can I carve out valuable time to get a project done? In the case of karate, I have a standing date with my daughter twice a week that is important to our relationship.