(scottish) sql bob blog

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Some thoughts of your typical data shepherd / data plumber / data dance teacher sort of person.


TSQL Tuesday Post - Impostor Syndrome
When I first saw this T-SQL Tuesday topic, I must admit that I was surprised that this had never been a topic before now.  As I write this post, there is a part of me which is struggling with Impostor Syndrome.  Which is ironic, although not surprising, at least to myself.  

Speaking for myself, impostor syndrome is something I feel when I am around others in the community.  Since I do not say it often enough the SQL family is the most talented, amazing group of people.  Comparing myself to others I do not feel as talented or amazing.  For example, when I was lucky enough to be chosen to speak at Data Relay 2019, it was one of the most interesting challenges that I had to overcome.  Seeing the people that were also chosen to speak, it was obvious there was an amazing line up. 

So what was my method for dealing with the feelings of impostor syndrome when at Data Relay 2019?  Well there was several things I did.  First I researched and then rehearsed the heck out of my session.  One of the awesome aspects of Data Relay, is you are one of the crew.  You are encouraged to be part of the set-up crew, unload equipment, speak to attendees, hand out badges, etc.  This kept me busy and my mind occupied whilst I was waiting for my turn to speak.  One other thing was to remind myself that I have a unique way of viewing things.  Often I am surprised when I share something and people see something new.  Just as many other people have shared something unique and different with me. 

As a “community-educated” (@TheStephLocke) developer I have to admit that much of my second career has had a constant background of Impostor Syndrome.  Even when I changed career and finally secured a role working as a full time( kind of) developer (long story).  Since then and even now, I feel that everyone else knows more than me.  This I know is not correct, yet it is also what drives me to keep learning more.  That way it is turned into something positive and is used to motivate me.  The other advantage is that I hope it keeps me honest and humble.  I remember only too well how it feels to struggle to understand and grasp new concepts.  The delight I get from showing people new things they have not seen before cannot be measured.  Even better when you see them using their new-found knowledge. 

Does this mean that I am some incredible amazing person who has conquered Impostor Syndrome?

via GIPHY

No I can honestly say I have not.  It is something I have struggled with over many years. There are, at least two jobs that I have done, looking back at now I recognise that impostor syndrome was an issue when I was working in those roles.  Fortunately, I have discovered coping strategies to help me deal with this.  When I compare myself to others, my automatic response is to see anyone and everyone as better or more knowledgeable than myself.  So what I have learned to do is step back and remind myself of what I have achieved to date, which successes that I have made happen.  Things I have contributed to.  Remind myself that I might not know everything, that said, I have the knack and ability to solve complex challenges.  This is something I remind myself of, sometimes on a daily basis.  Is this easy? “heck no!!!” 

Another strategy I have used is positive self-talk, what am I talking about?  This article has a nice summary of self-talk.  For me it is all too easy to listen to that part of my mind which is less than positive about something, listening to the words and accepting them.  Now I recognise that I have a choice that I can make.  My personal self-talk is a result of experiences, and what has been said to me in the past.  What I do is make a choice and tell myself what I want to be and what I know that I am more than capable of being.  There is no doubt some people who read this, will be sceptical and dismiss it out of hand.  That is their choice.  Just as I write this @LuiseFreese has just tweeted this  



The tweet says to me that , changing your self-talk can make a difference. 

More than once I have considered speaking about this and some other topics, hopefully I will submit a session with them in it to a conference one day soon….. 

When I speak in my sessions, I have one goal.  It is clear and that goal is what I focus on when preparing and then delivering my sessions.  That one person will hear what I say and that it helps just one person.  That is the goal of this post that one person will be helped even just realising it’s not just you that feels that way.  Also that you have the power to change. 



Adventures with Data Relay 2020


unsplash-logo Wojciech Then

My latest adventure was speaking at DataRelay in Leeds and Nottingham. As is the way with my submissions the session selected was not the one, that I expected to be chosen.  It was titled “How to be awesome at finding your next job”.

Speaking is very much outside of my comfort zone and something that I really enjoy.  Why do it then?  Well when I see someone in a session, that their body language says they understand what you are trying to say.  That feeling is just an absolute joy.  As I have learned from others in the community, so I want to pass my knowledge to others. That is one of my primary reasons for speaking.  Somehow, somewhere, someone, will be helped to do something.  From the few brief conversations that I had during DataRelay I might have achieved that goal.  If you came to my session, thank you for coming along, hopefully you got something from it.  As I said if you want to chat about the session or ask questions then please do.   When I do a session it’s because I am passionate about the topic and have so much to say.  I can also listen if you need someone just to talk things over.

What did I get from DataRelay?  More than I expected, not in ways I thought that I might.  It was possible for me to get to a few sessions. There was time to see how DataRelay do things as an event (very slick BTW). Get to know more about people in the community, make some new friends, meet some old friends.  At least one session I attended used Slack / Microsoft Teams in a way I never dreamed of.  Yet the possibilities are amazing and mind blowing.  Speaking to the sponsors was one of the goals I had.  Thank you to the two gentlemen from Microsoft who took time to answer my questions. The time, effort and genuine enthusiasm is much appreciated.  It’s nice to speak to a real person who is knowledgeable and passionate about their area of expertise.  Over the two days I took quite a few notes which I am excited to share with my team back in Glasgow.

It will take me a little time to recover, there is a long train journey back from DataRelay which will help.  Like some of us in the community, it takes energy to be around lots of people.  It's worth every single moment of the effort.  Especially when I see a room full of people who I can try and show just the one little nugget of information that makes the difference to something in their lives. 

This post is being written as the train travels back to Sunny Glasgow.  Tomorrow morning, I will be back in the office with my new company Eyecademy.  They have supported and encouraged me to go and speak at DataRelay.  Which I really appreciate more than anyone in Eyecademy might realise.  Thank you for the encouragement and support.

What’s next?  Next year I will be speaking at Scottish Summit on the 29th of February 2020 about Soft Skills for Success.  Speaking in your home city is both exciting and challenging.  So, I will need to put some more work into the session to tailored it to the event and audience.  There are a few other submissions to other conferences which I am waiting to hear about.  Some other conferences have caught my eye, so I need to consider where and when I would like to speak.  Hopefully once I know more, I’ll update the blog.