Were my poor planning habits the reason I was up two-thirds of Thursday night reworking (re-inventing!) my speech?

No. (I swear to that.) I had in fact prepped like hell for the RLG seminar mentioned immediately above. I had a "good speech" ready to rock-and-roll ... or so I thought.

But then the "10-hours to H-hour Factor" kicked in ... with a vengeance. Fact is (for me), there is an "eleventh hour" "connection with the audience" factor that kicks in. It isn't possible earlier—for me.

That is, as the opening bell approaches, my mind & soul enter an incredible, inexplicable zone. I am transported to the speech site. The plight of the audience stirs deeply within me in excruciating detail—more or less in High-definition Technicolor and with Dolby sound.

I feel myself in the conference room. I can "see," with remarkable clarity, individual audience members. I get inside their skins and feel their issues-plight with stunning, almost breath-taking intensity.

And that's when I madly start re-doing my speech ... regardless of the time of day or (usually) night. My "disease" is hardly one-of-a-kind. I've talked to dozens of "performers" in a wide variety of professions. Almost without fail they describe a like process of "getting [deeply!] in the zone"—which often leads to dramatic last-minute course corrections (or more).

I remain amazed at what goes on inside me, and surely can't explain it. But I know I'll hang up my spikes the moment it ceases to occur.