I’ve been waiting to blog about this for a while now. I posted this on Twitter a few weeks back and wanted it to serve as a personal reminder.
I’ve been an advocate of continuous self-improvement and have constantly advised professionals to read books, attend trainings, listen to podcasts and watch video tutorials. However, it’s not always easy to follow that advise because continuous self-improvement comes at a price. Last year, I have decided to attend a SQL Server training offered by SQLSkills in Bellevue, WA. But in order to do so, I will have to raise a certain amount of budget for training cost, hotel accommodation, airfare and food expenses. It took me more than a year to raise that amount and have decided to go to one of their training sessions scheduled this year.
While preparing to attend the training, I learned about SQLSentry’s contest and decided to submit an entry. Now, I’ve known about this contest from the previous years and have read the submissions from those who have attempted to join. In fact, as early as last year, I’ve already started to plan about what my submission would look like should I get the opportunity to do so. I knew that it would take a certain level of creativity and thinking outside of the box to be chosen as a winner. In my mind’s eye, I’ve started to walk myself thru the experience of submitting my entry and receiving an email from SQLSentry telling me that I was chosen as the winner of the contest. And, so when the contest was announced, I was ready. To remind myself, I posted a status update on Twitter before I started working on my entry (I did say $3,000 in my Twitter post but you get the point.) I’ve framed my mind on what I was doing, changed my perspective and decided to create a $3,500 slide deck.
It wasn’t easy. I was in New York City in a small, cramped apartment, sitting in a chair that hurt my back badly and felt like giving up. It took me a week to finish the slide deck since I was working on it after office hours. But every time I wanted to give up, I reviewed my Twitter post. I reminded myself that I was building a $3,500-worth slide deck. And, then, I would replay all of the images I’ve stored in my mind a few months back about getting an email from SQLSentry announcing me as the winner of the contest. That kept me going. I sure would not want to throw away a $3,500-worth slide deck, would you? The slide deck I was working on was so valuable to me that the thought of giving up slowly disappeared.
A week after submitting my entry, I got the email that I have been waiting for.
And it all started with having the right perspective.
Are you facing difficult challenges in your life? Maybe you need a new perspective. I told a woman I sat beside the train last year that giving up her lucrative career as a corporate lawyer to be a stay-at-home mom meant she is raising up the next generation of leaders. When I felt like giving up on a high profile project I was working on early this year, I changed my perspective and searched for a higher purpose in what I was doing. And, when I felt like giving up on the slide deck I was working on, I reminded myself to focus on my perspective. That made a whole lot of difference. I guess by now you know why this slide deck is worth $3,500.
In case you’re wondering about the winning entry, check out the slide deck I did on SlideShare.