Skip to main content

GOAL(s)!!!! and the need for a mentor

· 5 min read

I didn't want to wait until the new year to start outlining my goals for 2023. Moreover, I did not want to wait till New Year's Day to start making progress on these goals. Going to PASS Summit I always return home inspired. Sometimes I don't even wait until I get back home to try some of the things I learned at Summit. I love being surrounded by others that share the same passion for the technology I work with. They challenge me to continue learning all that I can about the topics that I work with and that interest me. This time I left with a lot on my mind about speaking and blogging. What had I done since SQL Saturday Jacksonville 2022 to get closer to those goals?

Areas a mentor could help

  • Blogging
  • Speaking at conferences
  • Focus on a specific set of skills
  • Career Goals

Blogging more

I have started on this goal. I know it is going to take repetition to get better and the discipline to set aside time to write. I have benefitted from using the blog to start capturing notes on things I am working on. I have found myself referencing those posts multiple times while working, but those posts are in draft mode and were never published online. I am working on going through them one by one and finishing each post. The reason I think blogging is beneficial is it forces me to know the subject I am writing on. I think a mentor could help with honest feedback on my writing and things like topic selection.

Speaking at conferences

Unfortunately, I have non-refundable reservations for the last weekend of February 2023 which rules out SQL Saturday Atlanta and Austin. My sights are set on SQL Saturday Jacksonville 2023. That may change as SQL Saturday conferences get announced that are earlier in the new year. I know this entails selecting good topics, submitting a session, and putting together presentations.

Items I think a mentor would be valuable for:

  • Topic selection
  • Submitting for a session is a technique of its own. Having someone that can advise the best way to go about this could increase my chances of getting chosen. I know it could take submitting to an unknown amount of conferences until one of my sessions is picked
  • How best to go about putting together a session


I did not list becoming an MVP as a goal. A friend gave me good advice that I should blog and or speak at conferences because it is what I like to do. It should not be that I am only doing these things to become an MVP. If it is a benefit down the road then all the better, but if it doesn't happen I am still doing things I enjoy and find satisfaction in.

I don't know what I don't know

I have listed some reasons I think a mentor might help me on a path to better myself both personally and in my career. I know there are things that a mentor could help with that aren't obvious at this time. I can see myself looking back and saying that I didn't realize this certain thing was a result of having a mentor.

Specific set of skills

The goal is to focus on a set of technologies that I want to have a depth of knowledge on. This one is difficult because there is a want to be able to fill all the needs myself that a job may have. We don't have someone that can do Power Apps so I will learn that or something like Biml can help me automate SSIS package creation, or I want to help us transition to Azure Data Factory. Meanwhile, there are features in the Tabular Data Model, DAX, and Power BI that I am not focusing on. I think the goal of blogging can help with this because it encourages me to take time to learn new features and try them myself. Same with speaking at conferences - if I want to speak about this new feature of DAX I better know it backward and forwards. This one is tough because you have to decide what would be beneficial to my focus such as learning Azure Synapse Analytics so I can integrate it with Power BI.

Coach at the gym

One of the coaches asked each of us about our goals for the gym. He is helping us work towards reaching those stated goals. If the goal is to climb a rope then running a mile may be a positive step, it may help with cardio but it may not directly help reach that goal. Focusing on spending time on things that can get you closer to the goal would allow that goal to be reached more quickly. Having someone experienced show you the proper technique or ways to work more efficiently is invaluable. It wasn't until I was shown that the rope climb starts with the proper foot placement that I started to make progress. A lesson I learned was my goal may be to reach the top of the rope but first I must practice the proper form just with my feet before I go on to step 2. The two takeaways from this are that I need to focus on putting time into what will help me reach my goals and that I may need to focus on step 1 until I improve before I can move on to step 2.

All in

Having a mentor is not about doing less work or cutting corners but having someone that can advise on the best way to go about achieving your goals. To have someone pass on what they learned the hard way is what I think this SQL community is all about. People helping other people be a better you.