My first time speaking was a lightening talk. I was unprepared, and nervous; it was a huge failure. I gave it up for good.
Two years go by and I am at Pass Summit 2014. John Morehouse and I are talking about user groups and group leaders. We talked about passion for the community and what we do. John said something along the lines of “You are passionate about what you do, you should be a speaker, that passion will come across and you would be great.“ I agreed with him that I was definitely passionate about what I do and the SQL Server community. I was very leery about the speaking part. Speaking is my second biggest fear in life. I was secretly thrilled that someone thought I could do it, never mind be good at it. I knew I could not do it the same way as last time, but I was not sure how to make it happen. Here was my opportunity. Ok, I said. I will speak but only if you mentor me. Now to come up with this on the spot was not really random. I was honestly looking for a mentor at the summit. I wanted someone to guide me on where my career should go next. What challenges should I face? Speaking was definitely on the bottom of the list if I was to be truthful, but when someone believes in you, that can be very compelling. I think to the shock of both of us, he said yes!
I am excited to share with you in another post all the things I learned from my mentor. Not only did I learn what to do but was so impressed with how I was mentored that I have to say I would love to do it for someone else. It is a great gift I would love to pay-forward.
The process was a lot of back and forth with emails, and skype, culminating in the experience of a life time. In January I found out I was chosen to speak at SQL Saturday Albuquerque. How I got to that point is a story for another time. The experience of the event is this story. Yes, I will speak again, but you only ever do it for the first time once! The SQL Saturday was not my first run through; I recommend any one do it at their local user group first. However, I was still so nervous that I popped a crown off of one of my teeth 2 days before my flight left to Albuquerque, because of clenching my teeth due to stress. The morning of speaking I was so nervous I thought I would be sick. I have so much respect and gratitude for John, he kept me calm, helped me with getting set up with the equipment and watched the entire thing. Amazingly enough he was not the only one. The room had about 20 people in it. Most experienced speakers! 3 Microsoft Certified Masters, and many of my good friends. I could not have asked for a more supportive environment! This was what #SQLfamily really is all about. These people came to see me knowing they would not learn a thing, but came to support me, help me learn and give me feedback so I can improve. What other industry do you know where people support each other like that? I am still amazed. In a community where I would not have believed that, that many people knew my name never mind cared enough to support me, well…. I was overwhelmed with gratitude.
All the feedback was exceptionally helpful. There was one demo where I had quite a bit to explain about buffer counts and how to determine which would work best for your system that I knew needed work but I had no idea how to fix it. Well I got an amazingly brilliant suggest on how to fix it in my feedback. I was thrilled. It also helped me learn an important lesson. Ask my network. I know lots of smart people; I need to let them help me when I have issues with demos or other technical issues.
There are definitely things I learned and ways to improve, there always will be. But… I did it, achievement unlocked.
A huge thank you to: John Morehouse, Argenis Fernandez, Keith Tate, Jason Horner, Jason Kassey, Monica Rathburn, Mike Fal, and Jay Robinson for all their constructive useful comments
And a special thank you to Meridith Ryan for giving me the opportunity and the entire SQLSat ABQ team for all their hard work to make the event a very memorable moment in my life.