Dealing with Disappointment and Learning from Failures

I have written posts in the past about how to deal with technical failures as a speaker: Be prepared. Have backups of your files. Take screenshots or videos of your demos. Rehearse presenting your session with and without your slide deck. I have made plenty of I-wasn’t-prepared-for-that mistakes in the past, and I learned from them.

Last weekend was different. I was supposed to do a precon and a session at SQLSaturday Nashville. I didn’t experience any technical failures. I experienced what felt very much like personal failures.

On Friday, our precon got canceled due to weather.

On Saturday, no one showed up to my session.

I had not prepared for either of those things to happen, and I definitely had not prepared for both of those things to happen on the same weekend. I went through a whole range of emotions in a short amount of time, from embarrassment to disappointment to amusement.

Since then, I have debated with myself about whether or not to write this blog post. I have written and re-written it several times. I did not want to write a blog post full of whining and complaining, but I did want to share my experience as a reminder to both myself and others that:

  • These things happen. It’s ok to feel disappointed, but don’t let it stop you from trying again.
  • There is always something positive to take away from a negative experience.
  • Life is full of ups and downs. Social media (especially my own) often focus on the ups, but life is not amazing all the time.

If you only needed a few reminders, feel free to stop reading here :) The rest of the post is quite long and a little more like a journal entry, really.

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Precon and Speaking at SQLSaturday Nashville 2018

SQLSatNashWoohoo! I’m very happy to announce that Jason Horner (@jasonhorner) and I will be presenting a precon at SQLSaturday Nashville 2018! The precon will be held on Friday, January 12th, and is focused on SSIS and Biml. We will also be at the SQLSaturday where Jason will be presenting about Dimensional Modeling and I will be presenting about Biml. This will be my first time visiting Nashville, so I’m very much looking forward to it :)

SQLSaturday Nashville 2018 Precon (Jan 12)

Jason Horner and Cathrine Wilhelmsen presents ETL Design Patterns at SQLSaturday Nashville 2018

Jason had been working on a precon idea for a while that would bring together all his experience using SSIS to deliver ETL projects. I wanted to develop a new precon focusing on Biml and SSIS. Instead of working on two separate precons, we decided to team up and combine our knowledge. We will be delivering this precon for the first time in Nashville, and we’re looking forward to helping attendees by providing guidance on how to solve challenges they might face in their projects.

You can read more about why we wanted to present this precon in our interview on the Nashville BI User Group website.

Check out the full abstract and register for our precon on A regular full-day is only $129, and for only $165 you can also attend one of the half-day precons on Thursday. What a bargain!

SQLSaturday Nashville 2018 Sessions (Jan 13)

Jason and I are also presenting a regular session each. Jason will be presenting his Dimensional Modeling Design Patterns: Beyond the Basics session, and I will be presenting my Biml for Beginners: Speed Up Your SSIS Development session.

Check out the full SQLSaturday Nashville schedule and register today to get all the news and updates. You can also follow @SQLSatNash on Twitter and use the hashtag #SQLSatNash to join the conversation. Please help spread the word to all your friends and coworkers, and make sure you sign up before the event is full.

Hope to see you in Nashville in January! :)

My Learning Goals for 2018

T-SQL Tuesday #97 - Setting Learning Goals for 2018T-SQL Tuesday #97 is hosted by Mala Mahadevan (@sqlmal), and the topic is Setting Learning Goals for 2018. Mala wants to know what we want to learn, how and when we want to learn, and how we plan to improve on what we have learned.

It’s always hard to predict what I need to learn in an upcoming year, but 2018 is particularly difficult to predict. Why? Because at the time I’m writing this, I currently don’t have a job :) I finished my previous job last week, and I’m taking the rest of December off. Then in January, a new adventure awaits. I just don’t know what yet! So in this post, I’ll focus on some wants instead. I have picked three main goals: one technical, one personal, and one professional.

I will revisit this post next December and see how things turned out. It will be interesting! :)

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Ready for PASS Summit 2017?

PASS Summit 2017

PASS Summit 2017 is coming up next week! Are you getting excited? I know I am!

Every PASS Summit is a new experience for me. I have gone from being a shy first-timer in 2013, a volunteer in 2014, a crazy costume lady in 2015, and a triple speaker in 2016. This year I’ll be working for PASS HQ, hosting meeting, helping out with the First-Timers program and Birds of a Feather luncheons, and doing a bit of speaking. And a few other things :)

Things to look forward to at PASS Summit 2017

There are SO. MANY. THINGS. to do during PASS Summit! I’m still waiting for someone to figure out how to a) clone a person, b) teleport people, and c) merge human clones. It’s going to make my life so much easier. But! Before then, we just have to try to make the most of things. Here are some of the things I’m looking forward to this year.

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From PASS Community Evangelist to Community Volunteer

From PASS Community Evangelist to Community VolunteerIn November 2016, I started working as the PASS Community Evangelist. My year at PASS has been amazing and challenging at the same time. I’m thankful I got the opportunity to grow professionally and personally, I’m so proud of all the SQLSaturday organizers I have worked with, and I have really enjoyed getting to know the community better. It has truly been a once-in-a-lifetime experience!

However, I have and always will be a geek :) I love learning new technologies, solving problems and developing solutions. Because of that, I have decided to go back to a technical role. You can read more about my decision in my PASS blog post Shifting Back From Community Evangelist to Community Volunteer.

Over the past year, I have met more talented and passionate volunteers in the community than I can count. From SQLSaturday Organizers to Regional Mentors, Local and Virtual Group Leaders, on-site volunteers, speakers, and all the way up to the PASS Board of Directors.

These volunteers are the heart and soul of PASS. Every day, at user group meetings and events, in private conversations and during work lunches, they share their knowledge and help others connect. They don’t just talk about what PASS is, they are PASS.

Because we have this amazing, growing, global community full of passionate volunteers, it made it a little easier for me to step down from my role as the PASS Community Evangelist. Instead of having just one person in this role, I hope to see community volunteers (especially Regional Mentors) getting more involved in some of the tasks I have been doing: mentoring new SQLSaturday organizers, identifying new areas where PASS can grow, working with PASS HQ and the Board of Directors on community initiatives, and representing PASS at events all over the world.

You won’t get rid of me that easily, though! I will still be involved in the community as an active volunteer :)

I’m now looking forward to going back to a technical role and getting hands-on experience developing solutions again, hopefully combined with some blogging, speaking and teaching. Where? I don’t know yet :) I will be spending the next couple of months looking for new opportunities and deciding what’s next for me. I will also take a few weeks off during Christmas to spend time with my family.

My last day with PASS will be Friday, December 8th. I’m looking forward to watching PASS grow even more in 2018 – just from the other side again :) But before then, I hope to see you all at PASS Summit 2017!

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