Can you believe it’s February already? 2012 is flying by! I’m thankful that I’m crazy busy, and the partnership with Ben is going well (knock on wood). I’m really looking forward to the training class in March and psyched to have another Training Day at SQLBits X (have you registered yet? No? Go do it!). It’s been a fun travel year already. With one trip to Seattle and California under my belt already, I’ve got quite a few trips between now and April (including across the Atlantic to SQLBits in March) with a few more pending.At this rate, I’ll hit 50,000 miles in the air by mid-year. I know, first world problems – cry your crocodile tears for me.

Quite frankly, since late August when my friend Mike passed away (see Life Is Fragile and Fitting Tribute to a Hero for more info), things have been a blur. Last week (January 25 to be exact) would have been his 40th birthday. No wonder it’s been a somewhat “meh” couple of weeks for me. Considering I just had my 40th at the end of November, it’s all still very visceral for me. Little things remind me of him and probably always will. Rest in peace, my friend.

I also blogged a little about my substandard PASS scores. And no, they were not in the 2s, but certainly poor. To be perfectly honest, since I briefly looked at them back in December, I can’t bring myself to really look at them again. I remember some of the comments. Some were spot on. Looking back at the possible reasons for failure (at least in my eyes), like I said in that blog post – any problems fall squarely on my shoulders. I can’t blame anyone else, but I could certainly use some excuses such as:

  • I used a build that was not very old and I had just gotten clearance a few days before to use – and right before the holidays so I didn’t have much time to work with it. I knew the risk, and I bit the dirt on that one.
  • In retrospect, the death of my friend really impacted me more than I could have ever imagined. Even with killer material and solid demos, I probably still would have had a sub-par PASS by any stretch of the imagination. Again, not an excuse, but looking back I can see where that really weighed on me.
  • I was a bit far ahead of the curve. Since it’s not a stretch to say that SQL Server 2012 will RTM soon now that we’re at the Release Candidate and full adoption for many customers is months, if not a year or more away, doing all SQL Server 2012 material that early was a big risk.

So I went big, took risks, and failed. That’s OK – it’s a good learning exercise and I’d probably do it again. Why? Well, I didn’t get where I am today without taking some big leaps of faith in myself (and sometimes those around me) along with some risks along the way. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose. You can learn from both. If you never experience failure or disappointment (real disappointment, not the “Mommy didn’t buy me the stuffed animal at the toy store” kind), I’m not sure you can ever understand what success looks like. At least that’s how I feel on the matter.

Despite the fact I have done this for years, my PASS scores showed I may need to brush up on presenting, so I’m actually looking to improve my presentation skills. I’ve done a few things already (including getting a few books) that I hope will show some positive results.  Last week at the SQL Bare Metal training in Redmond, I got up and did an impromptu 20 minute presentation that felt really good. No deck, just demos; and no preparation. That was a tough audience – all MCMs, MVPs, and other really smart folks who know SQL well. Easy to bomb there. I didn’t. Maybe it is working. You can let me know when you see me present at SQL Saturday in Mountain View or at SQLBits, and even the training class in March.

To be honest, even if I never score in the top 5 or 10 at a conference, I get more satisfaction from people that come up to me – be it 1 day or 2 years later – saying they took something from a talk I did and it helped them. Those are measurable results numbers won’t ever show.

The journey matters, not just the destination. A score is just a number. Having a positive impact on someone is much better than a score in the long term.