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Opening Doors – Part 1

As a speaker, blogger, even a DBA at work it’s hard to know when you’re having a positive impact on someone you know, and often even harder to know when you’ve successfully opened a door for someone – my phrase for when you show someone possibilities that they didn’t realize were there, or didn’t realize that they could journey through that particular door.

What got me thinking about this was a conversation from the PASS Summit. I was hosting a birds of a feather lunch about participating in the SQL community (see my post on Wed for thoughts on that) and we had a great conversation, 8 or 9 others at the table. Near the end one of the participants asked me to explain how I got there; what path did I follow that led to me hosting a table about the SQL community? A fair question, yet I was a bit reluctant, I didn’t want to end a great conversation by going into a monologue that could end up looking self congratulatory.

So…gave it a try, and tried to show that some of my success was due to luck, some of it was due to being willing to invest in myself even when the payback was uncertain. At the end, maybe 5 minutes later, as I wrapped up, the comment from the original questioner was they had a much better idea of what was possible even without the luck factor. I had entered IT in 1998, worked hard, and 11 years later was near the top of my profession (depending on how you measure it!), and what she saw was that in 3, 5, even 10 years a lot was possible. Now again, this isn’t about celebrating my success, many of you reading this are as successful and as competent (or more so) that I am.

Instead, it opened a door for me, or opened it a bit more at least. Mentoring requires a two way commitment, chemistry, luck. Coaching requires someone to know the right question to ask, or to at least know to ask for help in a certain area (being open to the feedback). But setting an example….that’s interesting. I wouldn’t call it being a role model. Maybe instead I’ll say that it’s about learning to show and share what’s possible, because people are a lot more likely to try something when they can see that someone else has done it successfully, it’s not just theory.

Tomorrow I’ll talk about a couple successes I’ve had, some ideas for doors to open, and a place where I’m stuck a little, trying to find my way forward.


I'm Andy Warren, currently a SQL Server trainer with End to End Training. Over the past few years I've been a developer, DBA, and IT Director. I was one of the original founders of SQLServerCentral.com and helped grow that community from zero to about 300k members before deciding to move on to other ventures.


Posted by Alex Rosa on 23 November 2009

"when you’re having a positive impact on someone you know, and often even harder to know when you’ve successfully opened a door for someone"

Let me tell you my recently case, I was hired by IBM some weeks ago and I started working last week.

I sent an email to Brad McGehee last week talking about that.

Why I sent the email?

Because I was one of the 5 finalists in the Exceptional DBA Awards 2009, and I believe that my participation was extremely important to show my work.

So, thank you for all the judges: Brad McGehee, Steve Jones, Gail Shaw, Rodney Landrum

Why I’m doing this?

As you said, isn’t easy to know when we really helped someone else, so it’s very important to give a feedback for who helped you.

Can I prove that my participation really helped me?

No, I can’t prove, because nobody told me with all of the words: “one of the reasons we hired you, was your participation in that awards…”

Only one coworker talked to me about that.

But the most important is: I believe that my participation helped me…and this is enough.

Alex Rosa


Posted by Andy Warren on 24 November 2009

Alex, that's great to hear and a great illustration. Hope things work out well at the new job!

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