5 Characteristics Every Leader Should Practice

leadershipTodayThe word leadership has many synonyms attributed to it. Something that can be learned early on in one’s career is that having a leader you can trust is very important. Trust is something that is earned; not given. As I reflect over the years I’ve noticed mistakes that have been made along the way; mistakes that have often been learning experiences for myself to hopefully improve areas that need improving.

Below are characteristics that, in my opinion, make up a good leader, but the list is not an exclusive set. No, in fact there are many more that won’t be listed. This post is just to get your thought process flowing and maybe spark some interest in areas that you (the data professional) might not have thought of before.

Communication

This topic in and of itself could have its own dedicated blog post. This is something that many data professionals have a hard time with – myself included at times. The art of communication is a key component in a data professionals tool belt; many only think of a tool belt that consists of technical utilities. I am of the opinion that one should add necessary skill sets such as communication in their every day repertoire for it is in this we get to interact with people on a daily basis.

  • Team based communication
  • Client based communication
  • Business unit based communication
  • Meeting based communication

Communication is all around us; it is how we interact. Are we one who people like to come to with problems? Perhaps people shy away from us because we constantly tell them how wrong they are? Whatever the case may be there are gaps in communication and this characteristic is something that will always have to be worked on daily.

Humility

Whether you lead a team or you are a sole data professional doing your thing there will be times we all need a dose of humility. I can honestly say, personally, that our team I’m on would not be where it is today without everyone included. I’m going to just say this here to get it out-of-the-way; there will always be something that someone else knows that you don’t. That’s okay; it is part of our journey we call gaining knowledge. What I’ve seen over the years that sets data professionals apart from one another are a few things:

  • Thirst for learning and gaining knowledge
  • When a mistake is made; own up to it. Learn from it and move on
  • Do not play the I’m right, you’re wrong game
  • Rest in the fact that albeit how smart one is; you can always learn

Some of my best mentors have been ones that are constantly asking “What can I do to help you” instead of  “That is wrong and here is what you have to do”. You cannot be afraid to fail; for in times of failure you can gain great knowledge. A fear of failure will cause you to not be innovative.

When my time with my group has gone there will be one thing I hope they can glean from me; do not be afraid to try new and innovative ways to accomplish resolutions.

Responsible

Responsibility is a key component to any data professional. I was brought up in life that if you give your word than you better follow through. This doesn’t mean that bumps or obstacles in the journey will not crop up. I’m here to tell you they will; it is then when that first characteristic pops up and you communicate out to the necessary parties with updates on what is going on. Transparency is key and goes hand in hand with responsibility.

As I sit back and I look at any company, heck even consultants, for that matter – the most successful ones are ones that you can rely on and people deem the “go to” people. That’s great Chris, but how to I get there? Responsibility is something you have to show day in and day out. It falls in line with communication and you have to work on it daily. Once you become responsible you will begin to garner trust. Once you have trust then you can begin bridging gaps between teams, groups, clients, and much more.

PASSion

For those that know me they know that I have a strong passion for what I do. I fall into the category of loving the work that I do on a daily basis and also have a passion for SQL Community. If you have a passion for what you do it will show and be a reflection of your work. To me I don’t have a job but a lifestyle; granted there are days that aren’t so rosy, but when we signed on to be data professionals we knew there would be late nights and sometimes exhausting issues. End of the day though do you enjoy what you do? Is it a passion?

One thing I think that has been beneficial to me is seeing the passion in team members. Being in a group, such as the one I am in now, we all drive and push each other to be a better data professional; having a passion for something doesn’t just mean having one from a technical perspective. It can be with your family, your hobbies, or your career. Whatever the case may be; find that fire from within and let it drive you to become as successful as you can be. Once you have passion you can become infectious and it takes just one to make a difference. Will you be that one?

Decisiveness

There will come a time when every leader will have to make the call. This is something that trips a lot of people up; I will tell you as I am typing this that I have made some good calls and I have made some not so good calls through the years. Any good leader will show the ability to make a decision; and once you make that decision you live with it. You don’t go and point the fingers at someone else because when we do one should look at how many point back at us.

Set up some time throughout the week and look at the decisions you made. You don’t need to be a manager over a group to do this; see what were the good ones and what were the bad ones. Learn from them; if there are gaps then look for patterns. What could you have done differently?

If you lead the team you are on then you are the responsible party. Make the decision and then own it; even if you’re not the one performing the action to get the job done – you are the coach so to speak and the buck stops with you.

Conclusion

These are just a few characteristics that make up a good leader. Believe me this is only scratching the surface and I hope to dive into more; end of the day a good leader should be able to look at the day and say they gave it their all. Leave 110% on the court and you had nothing left to give – this isn’t always easy, but then again being a leader is not always easy.

Another set of 5 characteristics I’ll touch on in another blog post will be:

  • Love your team
  • Give praise
  • Cast your vision
  • Surround yourself with a solid work force
  • Big egos can lead to demise of a team (including leaders)

Get after it and make it happen. You and you alone are the CEO of your career. Change is possible; you just have to be willing to make it happen.

Without Borders – Getting Involved

One of the things I enjoy about the SQL community is the many people that you come into contact with. Whether it is speaking, interacting, listening, or collaborating one can meet many data professionals from all walks of life. With that you get to know, invest, and follow individuals. Two people that I’ve come to know this past year via the SQL community is Argenis Fernandez (b|t) and Kirsten Benzel (b|t).

An initiative that they started last year at PASS Summit was Argenis Without Borders. When I first heard about this I was enamored and intrigued; both individuals are stellar data professionals and pillars in our SQL community so I decided to check this out and see what it was all about.

This year they are back at it with a new initiative and new goals. I encourage you to check out what this new initiative is all about, and if you decide to get involved – fantastic. If not pass the information along so we can continue to spread the word.

“People making a difference one day at a time”

Perspective

thNP3V0VT4It’s one small word, but that one word can pack an awful powerful punch. I got a severe dose of it Friday night. No, I won’t go into the great detail that provoked this word to come to light. What I will do is recognize that it has taught me some valuable lessons especially in my every day work life.

We live in a fast paced society. Work will never cease that’s a given; when is the last time you truly stopped, looked around, and appreciated where you are at in this point in time?

I used to struggle a lot with not blogging enough, not giving back to the community enough, not submitting to speak enough, arguments with other data professionals on what is the right way to do things versus the wrong way to do things, and the list could go on and on.

I look at SQL Family and what does it truly mean to me? I take great pride in my work, the people I am involved with daily, the many issues that come up that provide new solutions waiting to be found, but SQL Family is much more than that. It is shown daily by the likes of you and me. You see it in the generosity when one of our own passes away, you see it in others who rally around a good cause, you see it when a seasoned community member takes a newbie under his/her wing to guide them, and yes you see it shown when you receive heart breaking news that we all endure through the journey we call life.

There are intervals in life when you stop and asses priorities; nothing wrong with that. You start to look at if the he said she said argument was even worth it, you blast a newbie because he made a dumb mistake due to the fact that they just didn’t know, or you get on some ego trip because you believe you are entitled to something.

There will be things you can control and there will be things you can’t control; as a data professional and proud DBA I will continue to do the best I can day in and day out. I come from the school that you work hard regardless of the situation. You won’t find perfection, you won’t find a guy who knows it all; what you will find is a guy who has a passion for the SQL Community and a passion for learning and honing is craft.

To the new community member the days will not always be perfect; heck the days you will sometimes wonder what the heck you got yourself into; enjoy the ride. Don’t beat yourself up for things you think you could have done better; learn from them and move on. Realize that SQL Family IS the people, the interaction – it is what makes it thrive.

For the ones who have been around for a long time, with as much respect as I can muster, I just implore you to realize that when life does happen outside of our SQL walls; don’t let that time go by wasted. You need to cherish every minute of it; we (me included) rush around getting to the next event, next speaking engagement, next post and if we aren’t careful we will let those outside moments pass us by.

Some will take this post as me saying not to worry about the security breach that was caused by a pointless mistake, and some will read too much into it and be wondering if I’m speaking at anyone in particular. I get how it all works, these are just intended thoughts of mine that if I can take to heart myself, then it might help me in the future to become a better data professional and DBA.

Work hard, cherish the moments, and realize that taking one day at a time is okay.

Impact Player Series – Part 1

ImpactI wanted to start this series in regards to impact players that go above and beyond in the SQL Community. Coming from a sports background this resonates well with me and by the end of the year will have a 12 person roster.

I get asked a lot when I go to events, conferences, talks, groups who inspires me. Or I get asked where do I start. There are many fine folks in the SQL Community and I cannot encompass them all; believe me this 12 person team could easily become much more.

So, who the heck is the first impact player? Being that I am from Kentucky it pains me just a little to write this knowing that this person is an SEC rival (college sports) and is a true orange fan in Florida ~ Ed Watson (B|T).

Ed is a Microsoft SQL Server MVP who I have gotten to know over the past year. His tenacity alone has spoke volumes in how he approaches speaking engagements, obstacles, issues, SQL life, basically the things that make up a data professionals life. I would classify Ed as one of those exceptional data professionals that you hear about. If you not ever had the chance to hear him speak at an event I suggest that you keep your ears open and if he comes to a town near you attend ~ you would not be disappointed.

I’ve never one time have come to Ed and him tell me not today; he is always eager to assist and help and has been a strong voice in the community.

He is a frequent blogger over at the SQL Swampland and can be found on twitter; although don’t interrupt him while a University Florida football or basketball game is on. If you choose to do so then you have been warned up front.

Check out Ed’s blog or give him a shout on the twitter feed. Truly a standup guy and one worth following in the community.

While having a Fab Five intact I’m excited to build this out and see where it leads.  Check back next month for Part 2 in the series.

And Just Like That….Three Years

Time

Time is a constant. Anything and everything requires time it seems, and with that said I received a reminder today that three years have passed since I first started this adventure called blogging.

 

With this blog you will not find perfection, instead you will find a Data Professional who has grown more over the last three years of his career than he did the first ten. Is it by sheer circumstance? No, I don’t believe so. Don’t get me wrong; learning my first ten years was ongoing; I just wasn’t prepared for what the last three years had in store for me. Looking back I see phenomenal people who took a chance on me both from my career standpoint and from a community standpoint. People who pushed me never to give up when things didn’t necessarily go the way I would have liked for them to; or the countless hours of advice I would seek out from people who graciously pointed me in the right direction.

 

Attending PASS Summit 2011 was the career changer for me. Inspiration and collaboration ensued when I arrived back home and it has been an enjoyable ride. The blog has morphed from infancy (The SQL Corner) to what it is today (The SQL Professor). With steady growth over the past three years I’m pleased with the reception it has gotten and look forward to the future and what it holds.

 

I used to get discouraged at the quantity I was producing; I quickly realized that it isn’t quantity it is quality and that content is key and cannot be substituted. One of my favorite blog posts wasn’t even a technical post; no it was one of influential people that have helped me in my career and more so in the past three years. Investing time in others, writing, and continual learning will be my focus this upcoming year; focusing a lot more on the quality of content.

 

It’s an honor and privilege to blog about my SQL adventures as a Data Professional. I won’t always be perfect, but as with anything you’ll get a Data Professional who will give a 110% and try to provide solutions to everyday issues that are incurred in work life situations. I recently re-read an article by Grant Fritchey (Blog|Twitter) – Leadership Through Service; this is something that has resonated with me and is a thought that is a good basis for a strong foundation. I want to view this upcoming year as such “Leadership Through Service”

 

 I would be amiss if I didn’t thank Chris Shaw (Blog|Twitter) and John Sansom (Blog|Twitter) for investing time in me and pushing me to continue to grow and get better. I could easily throw an additional 10-12 people in there  but the two I mentioned have stood by me. They’ve seen me grow, stumble, fall, picked me up, and encouraged me along my journey. Is that not what our Community is about? If we continue to reach one person and that person reaches one person the SQL Community will continue to grow and thrive.

 

Time is a constant. Time is passing by. What will you make of your time?

PASS Summit – What Does It Mean To Me?

PASS_14_Google_240x400 (1)PASS Summitwhat does it mean to me? So listen, I’m not perfect. I will never claim to be and you will never her me utter those words. I make mistakes every day, but I try to learn from those mistakes as much as possible.

I was asked by several people yesterday via email and word of mouth conversations what PASS Summit meant to me and how are community is. During the work day I was not able to keep up with all the happenings since session selections came out, but I did catch quite a bit on my feed. Since being approached and being just one voice in this big game I thought it prudent to share with others what PASS Summit has meant to me.

For me personally, PASS Summit changed my career. I rolled into town (Seattle) back in 2011 not sure what to expect. Brand new to this scene; I didn’t know anyone from anybody. I can still remember to this day walking into the convention center thinking to myself, “What in the world did I get myself into?”

Each session I went to seemed to give me something I could take back and incorporate into my job. I was able to meet and interact with fellow colleagues in technology from all over the world. It exposed me to another part of what we call “The SQL Family” I had not known before.

I can recall purchasing the Deep Dives book and introducing myself to all the MVP contributors. Eating breakfast and lunch with 5000 people before going to learn and try to enhance my skill set. It lit a fire in me for my career that I hadn’t had before. Some of the techniques learned then are still part of my everyday work now. So, as you can see the PASS Summit has meant a great deal to me and where I am at today.

Fast forwarding to today; what spawned these questions to me by others stems from session selection discussions. I will not dive into processes or procedures as I am not privy to the background and the inner workings of selection of sessions. That’s not my goal nor do I want it to be with this post. I see many points some valid and some not in my opinion; however I do believe that is part of being a SQL Family / community. We can share our thoughts, opinions, concerns and review processes, policies, and procedures. It is the basis and foundation on how we grow and improve. At the end of the day we are all in this together.

I look forward to attending this year and learning from a great group of speakers. Heck all the volunteers, speakers, attendees take time out of their families lives, work schedules, and the like to attend. It is definitely a unique environment and one that I hope can continue to grow and overcome hurdles.  Who knows I hope in the very near future my session is selected maybe then I to can share what I’ve learned along my journey.

Looking back I can honestly say the conference in its entirety changed my career, my outlook, and my drive. I don’t have all the answers but I will continue to give it all I got day in and day out, and from a past attendee I thank all the speakers (both old and new) and the volunteers that make this happen.

What about you? What do you think about PASS Summit? What are some of your opinions on the process for selections? Can we improve; if so how?

 

Trumpet Sounds; Call To Post

ChurchillThis past weekend was the KY Derby. All eyes are on this one day of horse racing; celebrities come in to town in what seems to be a whirlwind two days. According to experts over 100 million dollars is pumped into the local economy.

I get to see all the hoopla firsthand, and throughout the week can walk down the street from the shop and see no telling who walking down the street on their way to the limos, Escalade’s, and the such.

The Race

Then comes the day of the race. The big race where people go to the track spend the day, and then in the evening for 2 minutes, which has been deemed by others as the most exciting 2 minutes in sports, the horses are loaded in and off they go. Some 160k people cheering in the stands and millions of dollars are at stake.

The horses start off in a pack going into turn 1,2, and 3. Jockey’s maneuver their way in the field to position themselves for that final stretch. Turn 4 and horses are in their stride; jockeys kick it into gear and now an all out sprint ensues. Sometimes there is a dead heat; sometimes there is a huge gap, but nonetheless it is a mad dash to the finish.

The DBA Race

As I went throughout the week leading up to the Derby my mind kept wondering to how closely it reminded me of the life of a Data Professional. Being a Data Professional means that you will be in the same space and many other fellow Data Professionals and if you pay attention closely all jockeying for that last leg to the finish line. I’ve kind of stepped back and started looking at how I was running the race.

If you go at an all out sprint in turns 1,2,3 would you really have anything left on turn 4 in the home stretch?

What if you laid back in the field and waited for the opportune time but come to find out you waited to long and the bottleneck wouldn’t give you a clear shot at the end goal?

Or you could be like the one jockey I saw get thrown from their horse during the race.

I’m finding that being a Data Professional and, to be more exact, being a DBA my journey can be at times related to a race. I remember when I first started out how excited you become; just like starting out of the gate. Then, as you go through your journey and you see some of the Data Professionals that you started out with start to fade. Whether they get burned out, choose a different career, move on, or whatever the case may be the numbers start to drop then it is another cycle where new faces come in.

The Call To Post

The trumpeter starts the call and in walk the Data Professionals, as we get ready to prepare to run our race don’t settle for the being average. What are some of the ways when you start out of the gate as a DBA you can do to prepare yourself  for the journey? I’m not sure there is any one right answer but I can share with you what has helped me along the way. It’s not rocket science and it is not something that you can snap your fingers and it be done. If this helps just one aspiring DBA then so be it; it would be worth it.

  • Community – I was late to this game and had I become more involved with the community earlier on in my career I believe it would have helped me more. I’ve already elaborated on my “Fab Five” and if you haven’t read that yet check it out. For me I looked for people in my industry who were at the top of their game and who I knew were what I considered the best of the best. Learning from others in the community is a huge positive and one can garner much knowledge from others if we would do just two things – be still and listen.
  • Initiative – how bad do you want it? If you are expecting someone to hand you success and you are a data professional then you are in the wrong business. Early on in life I was taught discipline and a hard work ethic. If you want it that’s fine; go after it and prove to yourself that you can do it.  One quote I always remember being told to me is that “Somewhere someone is practicing getting better at the skill and goals you want to achieve; how bad do you want it?”
  • The Craft – learn it; live it; breath it. If you are a DBA like myself then what are some of the things that you can do to enhance your shop? Perhaps it is implementing a maintenance strategy around index fragmentation, or is it disaster recovery? Have you restored that backup yet, do you know if you were asked for a restore from 3 days ago could you do it? How about exploring the Plan Cache and getting a feel for how your stored procedures are acting? Oh wait do you know if you have any missing indexes present in your current environment? Speaking of environment have you documented your environments yet? So much work to be done in this are that a paragraph in a blog post doesn’t do it justice.
  • Ask Questions – have you ever been in a session or speaking with a group of people and you wanted to ask a question but didn’t because you thought it would make you appear to not know what you are talking about. Guess what, we’ve all been there. The end of the day every question is valid. If you don’t know then say you don’t know; research and find the answer that is called learning. The challenge is to continually learn; go back up to my Community point. My “Fab-Five” are ones that continually learn and hone their craft and skill set.
  • Don’t be afraid to make mistakes – now don’t take this point and execute something in production that causes your company an outage and money. No that’s not what I’m saying. Think outside the box; test new alternatives and do so in a manner that meets your shops integrity and criteria with environments.  Why wait for someone else to come to a solution; everyone can bring something to the table.

The Roses

Every horse that wins the Derby is dawned with roses over their mane. Guys I don’t know when my race will end, but when that time comes I want people to realize that I gave it my all with integrity, character, honesty, and in a trustworthy manner. I want that developer to be able to come to me and not worry about me chewing his head off (yes that has happened before), or the network guy who can come talk to me about space concerns, heck why not throw in the business unit requesting some help with architect something out. No we (DBAs) aren’t perfect and days will come where we flat out fubarb and make a mess out of it, but guess what? How did you run the race?

Rest assured we’ll get to the finish line one day. Let’s have some fun along the way and realize that we won’t be perfect everyday, run a steady race, and continue to work hard day in and day out. For it is in the face of adversity when true character will shine through.

For those just starting out check out the advice in a collaboration John Sansom made happen that I was honored to be a part of. For those that have been around keep working hard. Hard work will pay off; keep fighting the good fight.

Communication – is it key?

Communication2Communication is easier now than it has ever been. Whenever we need to get in touch with somebody, we can call, e-mail, or text, regardless of where we are and where they are. Geography isn’t an issue; we can instantly send a message to somebody halfway around the world. Some people even text each other while they are in the same house – just because they don’t want to get up and go to another room. Without much effort, we are almost always “connected” if we want to be.

But have you thought about what we may be losing when we depend more on electronic contact and less on face-to-face communication? When we’re with others, we understand them much better. We can read facial expressions, pick up on emotional responses, and communicate our own feelings very clearly. The results is more interaction, more depth, and more substance.

The communication tools available to us today are wonderful. It’s great to be able to get in touch with people anywhere, anytime, and I wouldn’t want to go back to being unable to contact someone easily when I’m out of town or need a quick response on an urgent matter. I like being able to keep in touch with my family regardless of where they are. But when we start to depend on technology as a substitute for one-one-one time with each other, we are missing an important key to relationships. In forming virtual bonds, we may be forsaking the benefits of true human interaction. We need to make sure we are not so connected with everything out there that we miss the chance to connect with the people directly in front of us. Being connected means thinking of others and reaching out. Make that happen as often as you can.

Each person, and or leader, is different and has different methodologies and view points. One of the key components or attributes I have found in leadership is communication and having an open communication with other team members and business units. When was the last time you had effective communication in a meeting? When was the last time you had effective communication about an idea with a team member? Let’s take it a step further, when was the last time you had an open dialogue with your team? Building confidence and building a team takes a strong and discipline element composed of communication.

Don’t settle for the status quo; become an exceptional leader and/or an exceptional Data Professional. Be the game changer and motivator your team needs today.

Growth In The Face Of Adversity

 

StumbleAdversity as described in Webster’s Dictionary is a state, condition, or instance of serious or continued difficulty or adverse fortune.

Not really a topic most want to talk about, but nonetheless is something we experience on any given day. There are all types of adversity if you think about it. The Data Professional might face adversity on the job, one may face adversity with their health, or one may have ongoing issues with family. Whatever the case may be adversity at some point in ones life will come.

How does the Data Professional handle adversity when it rears it’s ugly head?

You look at your board and you see over 20 initiatives waiting to get completed, a process on one of your SQL Servers is executing extremely slow and you need to figure out why, log shipping decided to croak and you need to ensure that you get this back up and operational, and to top it off your core business server decided to fail over to another node all of a sudden.

All that ever hit at once? If you’ve worked in this business long enough than you realize that adversity will present itself in some form or fashion ~ it’s inevitable. If you have not had to be faced with adversity before than you will at some point.

With all that said adversity does not have to be viewed as a negative occurrence. Looking back, in my own circumstances of being a Data Professional, I see that in some of these instances it is where I have grown and built the experience that I longed to obtain.

Get your learn on

Let me ask this question; when is the last time you ventured out and really dug in and started to learn something? If you had down to learn CMS or Policy Based Management would you depend on others to facilitate that or would you install it on a local machine or spin up a VM and start tinkering around with it and how it works?

In today’s work environment we have so many tools at our disposal; so many community members who are willing to help and offer advice. One of the best phrases I ever read stated, “Failure to learn is not an option”.

The Peaks and the Valleys

Careers can be a set of peaks and a set of valleys. Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m stuck in the same old mundane rut”. How do you break that? One great thing about being a data professional is that we have so much that goes on in a given day. If you really step back and look at it you can start your morning on SSIS, follow it up with some log shipping or disaster recovery planning, review capacity planning, heck why not even throw in some learning of Always On and column store indexes.

I’ve seen the gamut from professionals who are on fire, the flame starts to dwindle, they get burned out, and then you never see them anymore as they move on to other things. Will that be you?

The Opportunities

Now here is the great part that is just lying around the bend. Opportunities abound ~ daily. When adversity strikes don’t get faint hearted or weary. I have first hand knowledge that inspiration is rampant through the SQL Community. When we fall we pick each other up, when you least expect it someone that you works with SQL from overseas will say one encouraging word that will ignite that flame that was about to go out.

Yes, I know it won’t always be a bed of roses for this is the game called life, but how do you handle adversity when it comes your way. Tackle adversity head on, it is in times when you are faced with something great that character is built and learning abounds.

Game Time

It’s fourth quarter and game is on the line. It’s now time as a Data Professional to “D” up. Tackle every day as if it were your last and when you seem to faced with adversity whether it revolves around SQL, learning in general, Cubes, Azure or whatever the case may be – stop, assess, learn, and grow from it.

Be Challenged

Don’t let that flame burn out

Keep Pressing Onward

Making A Difference

MakeADifferenceA father was awoken by his wife to check on their son who was asleep but making noises that they could hear through his room monitor. The father, half a sleep and thinking his son was dreaming, wondered into his room and called out to his son only to find that his son wouldn’t answer him. The dad stumbled over to his son’s bed to find that his eyes were rolled back in his head and he was stiff as a board. Panic set in, the worst scenario for the parents was coming true. The son, who had type 1 diabetes, had gone into a diabetic shock – his blood sugar had dipped to low while sleeping. The father feeling for a pulse; scooped the son up and rushed him down stairs to apply an emergency Glucagon shot while the wife called for an ambulance.

Why am I sharing this you may ask? Simple, the father of that boy is me and from that night on he has been my hero which leads me into this article…….

I was fortunate and blessed to attend my first PASS SUMMIT in 2011. After getting passed the complete awesomeness and the many renowned speakers I found myself wanting to ask questions and kicking myself in the tail for not asking them. Come on, let’s be honest, you’ve been there with various things in your life. You don’t want to ask questions because you don’t want to feel not as smart, or you see someone who has years’ experience and think why would they want to waste time on what I think. I know I felt that same thing and then it all kind of just clicked in my head.

I got to thinking about my boy while at that PASS Summit and the inspiration he had given me that night, then sitting in a session and looking over and seeing Brent Ozar in the class actually learning (floored me; in my eyes this guy knows everything SQL related), or Paul Randal sitting in on a session a few seats away, or asking advice from Chris Shaw on a presentation he did on Utility Databases. I found out a few things at the Summit about myself that otherwise I would have stayed in my shell.

  • The people that you look up to in the industry are 9 times out of 10 the most down to earth people you would ever meet and are willing to offer advice if you ask.
  • Step out of that comfort zone; this blog was started based on attending the PASS Summit and thinking if I can help one person along my SQL journey as a DBA then it is all worth-while.
  • Speaking – never thought I’d do it but found out I truly enjoy it and helps me interact with a lot of faces and people.
  • Learn from the SQL Community as a whole; have you been to any forums, blogs on a regular schedule?
  • Not one question is a dumb question; everyone learns so go ahead and ask that question  you are hesitant about.
  • Hard work – it does pay off. Don’t short cut anything – dig in, dive in, and give it all you got.

If you have thought about stepping out and starting your own technical blog – DO IT

If you have thought about going up to someone and asking them for advice – DO IT

If you are at a conference and you have a question but the speaker is what you call a Master Jedi in our industry – DO IT

It takes one to make a difference in someone’s career, it takes one to make a difference to someone who might not yet be comfortable in asking the question to solve the problem, it takes one to encourage the person just starting out to get the most out of their potential.

For those of us who have been in the SQL industry for years; when is the last time we put away our ego’s and  helped the one starting out? Or maybe we have a wealth of  knowledge and need to step out and be a voice in the SQL Community.

It takes one ~ will you be that one?