Okay, maybe for some it FEELS like it is when you are standing in front of the panel. I did want to just write something from a personal perspective though about nerves and the pressure of the defense. I realize everyone handles stress differently, but as I have gotten older I guess I view stressful situations in varying degrees. Let me explain.
It’s no secret that many of us in the community were not always fond of public speaking. I even touched on this in some recent keynote presentations. It takes time to overcome a fear of speaking or any other kind of fear for that matter. However, when it comes to a VCDX Defense, I guess I view it differently. The VCDX panel is a group of peers asking you about a design you did. Yes they are VCDX holders themselves, but I’ve said this before, they are human beings like you.
So many people actually falter simply because they lock up when the first question comes out. The information is up there in their head they just can no longer ARTICULATE it to the panel. Why is that? I know fear gets the best of us sometimes, but as a VCDX you are assume and expected to have been in front of customers before. Personally I don’t view a VCDX panel of three people any less stressful than some high pressure angry customer situations I have been in. Compared to some of those, the panel is a cake walk for some people.
What you have to do is put things in perspective. Yes, getting your VCDX is a lot of work. So is many customer projects as you work on them, and I assume you’ve done hundreds of customer meetings both good and bad. You are not holding the life of someone in your hand during this process. Although it may feel like that, think about something else that’s WAY higher pressure to ease the feeling on yourself. Imaging what that doctor goes through the first time they perform surgery, or the standoff situation for a police officer and a barricaded suspect. Yes these are extremes, but my point is, lives hang in the balance.
You’re striving to get your VCDX, not pull someone from a burning building. It’s a professional certification, treat it as such, relax and have fun during the process. We put more stress on ourselves than anyone else, and if you do so you will be one of those that lock up when the first question is asked. Remember, it’s your design, you know it inside and out. Be confident but not cocky. Stand tall and take the questions, process them, and critically answer them. get out of your own head about it. Always think, “would I be this cracked up in front of a customer?”. I hope for sure the answer is no. Call it a little “tough love”, but seriously folks you are not launching the space shuttle, you are defending a design for a VCDX panel. I’ve yet to see someone’s job be dependant on getting their VCDX, but maybe that will be the case someday and my tune will change. Call it me getting older, but I guess I just view things in life in very different perspectives and sometimes you just have to realize that something is not in fact the end of the world as we know it. Now the Zombie apocalypse….that’s what I worry about so I need to stop watching The Walking Dead, but putting that into perspective there is nothing my VCDX is going to do to save my ass then!
The only thing you sometimes have control over is perspective. You don’t have control over your situation. But you have a choice about how you view it. – Chris Pine