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.