Category Archives: Goals

2015: Let’s Do This!!

Happy New Year!  For some reason, I did not do a year in review post for 2013 or make any resolutions for 2014.  So let’s fast forward and do one this time.  This last year was an amazing year for me professionally: I moved to Atlanta, started working for an amazing company (Innovative Architects), traveled across the country speaking at different SQL Saturday events, and ultimately Microsoft named me a SQL Server MVP for 2014.  How do you top that?  I am not sure that it is possible, but I plan on trying.

So now I think I have a plan for 2015.  Are you ready?

I am planning on speaking for at least five out-of-state SQL Saturdays, helping coordinate our event here in Atlanta again, attending PASS Summit again in Seattle,  volunteering with the PASS organization again, and submitting to speak again.  As a speaker I will continue to grow, and I am doing my first pre-conference session in Nashville on January 15th with my good friend Mike Lawell (t|b).  In addition, I have been named an Ambassador for IA for 2015 and will continue to be vocal about our #WorkSomePlaceAwesome campaign, help with recruitment, and giving back to the community.

While we are on the subject, this company that I work for has a motto that ‘we work with people who do not suck.’ This mentality leads to an amazing and fun work place.  It is by far the best job that I have ever had and that is saying a lot since I once had a dream job around the turn of the millennium.  Anyway, since being named MVP by Microsoft, we now have three working at IA and I am going to try and help encourage a few others to be more active in the community and possibly grow some more MVPs.  In addition, there are a few other speakers in my Atlanta MDF user group that I believe can or should be MVPs as well.  The theme for this year professionally I believe will be to help others grow as I grow.

So let’s get to the fun resolutions while we are here.

I will double my live concert output from last year and see at least 25 this year alone (have tickets for four upcoming shows currently).  I am a season ticket holder for the Braves this year and that will double the amount of games that I went to last year.  I will also aim to do at least five other sporting events next year (Falcons, Hawks, Gwinnett Braves, the GT-UGA football game, and possibly the Gwinnett Gladiators hockey team).  Let’s also throw in a few Broadway shows and plays (I have tickets to Wicked already for February) as well as some cultural events as Atlanta has epic festivals and events such as Dragon Con.  Finally I also plan to try to finish my Atlanta bucket list (which has 50 items that every person should see or do in Atlanta…I did nine of them in 2014).

Oh I almost forgot that I am moving in a couple of weeks to the Old Fourth Ward area of downtown Atlanta which is a culturally rich area and will start a new chapter of my Atlanta journey.  I am moving into a renovated nearly hundred year old Sears & Roebuck warehouse, now called Ponce City Market which will be the epicenter of awesomeness in 2015 and has already been recognized in several publications.  If you are passing through Atlanta in 2015, come see me after the winter and the mixed use development should be completed and in full swing.  Then we can play putt putt on the roof or have a drink in an old train box car on the roof viewing the gorgeous Atlanta skyline as well as visiting some of the stellar restaurants located inside the building.

I hope you have an epic 2015!  Happy New Year!


Bucket List Finally Compiled

For years when someone has mentioned something really intriguing I would of course respond with oh yeah I am adding that to my bucket list, or things you want to do before you die.  Well a few weeks ago, I finally decided to actually compile a list just to more or less set some goals in life long-term that I would like to accomplish.  I have done many parts of these items, such as sleep in every state in the country, but I am going to reset the list and move forward from this day forth.  Enjoy!

  1.  Go to Idaho and declare it to be “My own private Idaho” to everyone I encounter, no exceptions.
  2. Spend at least one night in every single state in the Union.
  3. Visit the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, Grand Central Station, watch the ball drop in Times Square, grab the bull’s balls on Wall Street, dance on the Big keyboard at FAO Schwartz.  Sing New York, New York at a karaoke bar, laugh at people falling while they ice skate in Rockefeller plaza.  Take a cab and tell him he’s going the wrong way, and jog through Central Park.
  4. Have a beer and a dog at every Major League Baseball stadium.
  5. Watch when the Braves win the World Series from the stands.
  6. Watch when the Gators win the National Championship from the stands.
  7. Take a selfie on the top of a mountain that I hiked.
  8. Visit every port of call in the Caribbean.
  9. Have a place that when I walk in they yell “Ed” because it’s a place where everybody knows your name!
  10. Take a Mediterranean cruise.
  11. Sing “We Are the Boys of Florida” and the Alma Mater from the top of my lungs at every SEC stadium.
  12. Take an Alaskan cruise.
  13. Dress up like Gene Simmons from Kiss in full regalia  and go grocery shopping.
  14. Attend the European SQL Bits conference.
  15. Attend a SQL Saturday on four different continents.
  16. Pack our bags and drive with no destination in mind stopping in random places.
  17. Take a vacation along route 66.
  18. Parasail into some blue water source.
  19. Zipline down a mountain.
  20. Visit Oklahoma and sing “Surry with the Fringe on Top” to everyone you encounter, no exceptions.
  21. Take a selfie in front of Mt Rushmore, the Grand Canyon, Buckingham Palace, Eiffel Tower, Musee du Louvre,  Arc de Triomphe,  the Great Pyramid of Giza, Stone Henge, the Colisseum, and the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
  22. Ride the Cable Cars in San Francisco and sing the Rice A Roni song.  Visit the Golden Gate Bridge and tell everyone not to jump.
  23. Sing along with the Opera in Sydney.
  24. Go to Carnivale in Rio de Janeiro.
  25. Go cage diving in South Africa with a great white.
  26. Visit the Alamo and run across the field yelling “I remembered the Alamo!”
  27. See the northern lights.
  28. Learn to scuba dive.
  29. Tour Europe from a train.
  30. Eat chocolate in Switzerland.
  31. Ride in a sleeper car on Amtrak across the country and occasionally sing the Gambler in the dining car.
  32. Spend days getting lost in Italian and French art museums.
  33. Ride in a gondola in Venice.
  34. Find all the David statues in Florence and take a picture with his junk.
  35. Walk in Caesar’s footsteps and constantly shout out “Et tu Brute!”
  36. Take a European vacation and drive around the circle yelling “Parliament House, Big Ben”
  37. Visit a beach on five different continents.
  38. Take a polar plunge.
  39. Get over my fear of ice skating.
  40. Bungee jump and yell “she pushed me, please stop this ride”
  41. Ride in a hot air balloon.
  42. Make a difference in someone’s life.
  43. Experience a sunset and sunrise on four different oceans.
  44. Visit the volcanoes in Hawaii and calling it Hav-a-ee the whole time.
  45. Visit at least five Castles.
  46. Go to the real comic con in California.
  47. Having dinner with SQL Server friends in their neck of the woods.
  48. Steal someone’s bacon.
  49. Write a new bucket list because you cannot die if you still have items on your list.

What Motivates You?

What motivates you?  Every time I think about work and motivation, I am reminded of the quote from Office Space:

Peter Gibbons: The thing is, Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.

Bob Porter: Don’t… don’t care?

Peter Gibbons: It’s a problem of motivation, all right? Now if I work my ass off and Initech ships a few extra units, I don’t see another dime, so where’s the motivation? And here’s something else, Bob: I have eight different bosses right now.

Bob Slydell: I beg your pardon?

Peter Gibbons: Eight bosses.

Bob Slydell: Eight?

Peter Gibbons: Eight, Bob. So that means that when I make a mistake, I have eight different people coming by to tell me about it. That’s my only real motivation is not to be hassled, that and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.

I see this all the time. When I started at my current position and I worked hard on projects, everyone said: “Why bother, it’s not going to get you anywhere.” After working here for two years, I am starting to understand that logic sadly enough.  However, It goes against how I was raised.

In addition, money is the ultimate motivator, but not the only motivation.  For me it is growth, I am not out to break the bank.  But, I do want to be acknowledged with regular raises.  I personally need something to work for, a goal whether it be financial or a clear path for potential growth.  Currently I have reached a glass ceiling, there is nowhere to go and without raises, I must rely on personal motivation.  Yet, everyone around me is performing less and less due to the lack of motivation.  It is difficult not to become Peter Gibbons.  Maybe it is time to move on?  However, I must fight to remain motivated.


We had a meeting this morning where our Director talked about initiatives and people bringing forth new ideas to help streamline our department.  Therefore, soon I will be bringing forth a new initiative to eliminate Oracle altogether and replace it with SQL Server.  It will ultimately be denied because of the cost involved with the conversion but they will have to discuss it and think about it.  Take that Oracle, SQL Server Global Domination plan is gaining traction.


SQL Saturday 192, Tampa Has Come and Gone But Left Its Mark!

This past weekend was SQL Saturday 192 in Tampa.  Being my home user group event always makes this event special, however this was the first time I spoke at my home SQL Saturday and that made it an event that I will always cherish.  In addition, this year, I took in a full day pre-con training on Friday with Buck Woody (b | t) and quite frankly it changed my life.  How many times can you say that about a SQL training, let alone a $99 training?

I know what you’re thinking, believe me I do.  How can a one day training change your life?  I have spoken at two SQL Saturdays prior to this event and a couple of times at a couple of user group meetings so to say that I was a speaking novice would be an accurate term in my eyes anyway.  In addition, I have had no formal training in public speaking except for the semester speech class that I nervously tried to avoid and almost vomited every time I stood up in front of the class.

This journey began in 2011 as I resolved myself in Andy Warren’s Professional Development Plan session at the Tampa BI SQL Saturday.  I wanted to conquer this fear of public speaking and give back to the community.  It seemed pretty simple.  I had no idea how hard it would be and with my fight or flight instincts many times I wanted to just run away, but I did not want to embarrass myself in this community and that held me accountable.

After taking Buck’s class entitled “Creating Your Best Technical Presentation: A Speaker Workshop,” I now feel that I have the skills necessary to put together a decent presentation and deliver it without embarrassing myself.  The presentation this past Saturday went well considering that I did not rewrite it, I also did not want to run or vomit and those are great things in my book. Now I have to go back and rewrite my presentation with the skills that I have learned.  If you ever get the opportunity to take this class at a local SQL Saturday near you, do it!


70-457 and 70-458 Game Plan Part Uno

Being methodical and logical as I am, I have set forth a plan to achieve my Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate as noted earlier in my goals for 2013.  Having not found much in the way of preparation material as noted in this post , I decided to rent the 70-462 Training Kit from Amazon and transpose some of the objectives there to fit the 70-457 and 70-458 since I am taking the upgrade exams the materials for the regular exams should suffice in preparation.

Now I have outlined a calendar below and the hard dates to hold me accountable to the task especially since the book has to be returned in June.  Let the journey begin!

70-462 Training Kit – 70-457 Objectives
Objective Chapter Lesson Date
Install and Configure
Plan Installation 1 1 1/20/2013
Install SQL Server & related services 1 2 1/20/2013
Implement a migration strategy 4 1 1/27/2013
Configure additional SQL server components 3 1 1/27/2013
Manage SQL Server agent 11 1 2/3/2013
Maintain Instances and Databases
Manage and configure databases 3 3 2/10/2013
Configure SQL Server Instances 2 1 2/17/2013
Implement a SQL Server clustered instance 8 1 2/24/2013
Manage SQL Server instances 2 2 3/3/2013
Optimize and Troubleshoot
Identify and resolve concurrency problems 10 2 3/10/2013
Collect and analyze troubleshooting data 9 1-6 3/17/2013
Audit SQL Server instances 6 3 3/24/2013
70-462 Training Kit – 70-458 Objectives
Manage Data
Configure and maintain a backup strategy 11 2 3/31/2013
Restore databases
11 3 4/7/2013
Implement and maintain indexes
10 1 4/14/2013
Import and Export Data 4 2 4/21/2013
Implement Security
Manage logins and server roles 5 1 4/28/2013
Manage database permissions 6 1 5/5/2013
Manage users and database roles 5 2 5/12/2013
Troubleshoot security 6 2 5/19/2013
Implement High Availability
Implement AlwaysOn 8 2 5/26/2013
Implement database mirroring 7 1 6/2/2013
Implement replication 7 2 6/9/2013

Paleo Lifestyle

At the start of the new year, I began a lifestyle change (not a diet) to follow the Paleo lifestyle from recommendations from  If you are unaware the paleo lifestyle is to basically eat like the cavemen.  You essentially eat meat, nuts, fruits and vegetables that would have been available to the cavemen and remove dairy, grains and sugars from your diet.  I removed cokes (cherry pepsi to be precise) from my daily routine a couple of years ago and drink flavored water.  Before this move, I eat a good portion of this diet previously only with added grains and enough dairy and cheese to choke a Wisconsinite.

Nine days into this lifestyle change and I have never felt better in my life, however It did take a couple of days to feel better and get adjusted.  Now, I am rarely hungry in the late morning, afternoons, and late nights when I would usually run to snacks which is where my additional weight generally came from.  Late night bowls of cereal, afternoon sweets, raiding cubicle candy jars, and mid morning energy bars were all within my realm of daily consumption because I never felt full.  I was always hungry an hour or two after good size meals.  I noticed this week that those feelings are all but gone.

It is also a good idea to eat a good breakfast and a big lunch followed up with a light dinner to provide the necessary energy for the day.  I also walk daily and try to do cardio two to three times a week but those are outside of the meal plan as I have done those in the past and did not see significant and permanent weight reduction.

A typical day’s menu for me:

2 eggs scrambled with mushrooms, banana peppers, and jalapeno

Dinner (Lunch for non-Southerners)
Chicken or red meat with a hearty serving of vegetables (baked chicken breast with broccoli and cauliflower)

Half the portion of what I had for dinner.

Bowl of fruit or coconut milk ice cream (surprised that this tasted like regular ice cream)

T-SQL Tuesday #38: Speaking of Resolve

This month’s topic for T-SQL Tuesday #38 hosted by Jason Brimhall (b|t) is an aptly themed variation on the word resolution.  I personally chose the word resolve.

In 2012, I made a resolution to begin presenting at the local level.  That sounds like a normal enough resolution for most, however being an introvert standing in front of people is quite terrifying.  After attending many user group meetings and SQL Saturdays, I decided that since I have met many of these speakers and they are not much  different from me, I should be able to stand up and do that too!

In the past, when called upon to speak in public or in front of a group my fight or flight instinct would kick in and generally I would want to run with every fiber of my being.   Sometimes, I did run shamefully.  Interviews are no different in many cases therefore it is safe to assume that I do not interview well.  In the past, I have probably missed out on some good job opportunities simply because they thought I was an idiot based solely upon my presentation skills.  It is because of this that I resolved to improve upon the skill.

Sounds good, huh?  Make a resolution and then you do it, right?  Easy as pie.

Not so fast, my friend.  I still wanted to run Forrest run!  Karla Landrum (b|t), the SQL Community Evangelist for SQL PASS, realized what was going on and she gently nudged me along to speak at the Pensacola SQL Saturday last summer.  This is not unusual as historically I have been talked into doing stuff by women (and I probably should not have put that out there, so now you know).

That day in Pensacola, my fight or flight instinct kicked in again all morning long, but now I was on the hook and I did not want to disappoint Karla.  Plus many of my colleagues knew I was speaking.  Quite honestly this held me accountable for I did not want to ruin my reputation in the SQL community before I really even had one.  My resolve that day held firm and I spoke quite nervously.  But I did not run.  I climbed the proverbial mountain and planted my flag upon its peak.

Since that time I have spoken at SQL Saturday Orlando and a user group meeting.  It is getting easier with each event, but I still need to resolve myself to get better each time.  Maybe one day I can speak at the PASS Summit?  I will resolve myself to accomplish that goal and now you can hold me accountable.  Enjoy!

70-457 Course of Action

Today I thought I would set forth a course of action in order to accomplish my goal of passing the 70-457 (and eventually 70-458) in order to achieve the Microsoft Certified Solutions Architect (how hard is it not to say Systems Administrator).  I know what you are thinking, experience is the best trainer, but I like to be well prepared before I spend money to take an exam.

Sadly, Microsoft’s page for this exam has no content as far as a book, training, or even practice tests available for either exam.  I understand that I could use the limited materials for exams 70-461, 462 and 463, but those are all assuming that you do not have an MCTS.  I would like to limit my preparation to only what I need to pass the exam.  I was able to find one book on Amazon, but I am not sure of the series.  I have never used one of these books before.  I think I will rent the 70-462 book from Amazon and that will force me to finish it by June.

Now in order to accomplish this goal I need to set aside at least four hours a week in preparation with book learning and using my 2012 Developer license at home.  That will be tough, but now I have told you so I am now accountable.  Please let me know if you have any tips for studying for this exam, I would appreciate your input.  Enjoy!

Additional Goals for 2013

Yesterday I posted my personal development plan for 2013.  After reading a few other similar blogs by colleagues yesterday, one haunting thought stayed with me all night that I couldn’t quite put my finger on until this morning.  My goals were lofty, but they were no more so than last year.  That would not be stepping out of my comfort zone.  There was really no challenge in the list when compared to 2012, where there were some serious steps on the ledge for me.

How do I resolve this?  Not sure at this point, but I have some ideas so this may evolve over the next week.  The first idea I had would be to upgrade my SQL Server 2008 MCTS to the new MCSA 2012 (Microsoft Certified Solutions Associate).  This would consist of two exams, 70-457 and 70-458, both aptly titled ‘Transition Your MCTS on SQL Server 2008 to MCSA SQL Server 2012, Part 1 and 2.’ I waited for all of the dust to settle with the new certifications before I pursued moving forward in my personal growth as it does not appear that I am anywhere ready to tackle the MCM, thus I have made it a five-year goal.  This would put me on that path and force me to commit to the preparation needed to pass these exams.  Now that I have talked this out with you here I think I will add these to the list!  Enjoy!



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,840 other followers