Giving back [T-SQL Tuesday #102]

T-SQL TuesdayThis post is part of the May 2018 T-SQL Tuesday blog challenge, “Giving Back“, from Riley Major.

It’s been quite a while since I’ve participated in a T-SQL Tuesday. For that matter, before my post earlier this month, it had been quite a while since I had posted anything in my blog. I routinely speak in front of groups both small and large, I communicate with people (orally and in writing) every day as a consultant, yet there’s something about writing in my blog that gives me pause.

This is just one example of something that most of us notice when we first start thinking about giving back: Giving back scares us. Our next thought frequently goes something like, “this doesn’t make sense – I know I should do it, and I know there’s nothing to be afraid of”… and that only makes the fear worse.

The thing is, giving back requires us to put something of ourselves on display to other people. It requires us to say, “Here, I made this.” It opens us up to the judgment of our peers. And that’s a terrifying thing to many of us. We wonder if it will be good enough. We wonder if we are good enough.

Whatever you have to contribute is good enough. It may be a hard-earned insight, won through succeeding in a difficult project. It may be a lesson learned through failure in a difficult project. It may be a simple trick that saves you five minutes a day. Whatever you have to teach could be an answer to a question that someone else has, and the answer you provide can change the direction of a project they’re on, of their career, of their life. What you have to share can and will make a difference. You won’t see that right away. But it does happen.

When I first found the SQL Server community back in 2008, I was as introverted as they come. I was convinced that I had nothing that anyone else would want, that I was so far behind everyone else that no one could possibly learn from me. It took a push (OK, a lot of pushes) from those around me in the community to get me to start contributing. Now, almost ten years later, it’s a part of who I am. And in those ten years, not one person has told me that what I shared wasn’t good enough.

So my challenge to you today is this: pick something from Riley’s list, then do it. It will be good enough. And we can’t wait to see what you have to share.


Ed Leighton-Dick helps small and midsize businesses solve their most challenging database performance, resiliency, and data security issues at Kingfisher Data, the consulting firm he founded in 2014. He has taught thousands of people at over 200 events, including the world's largest Microsoft data platform conferences, and he has been a leader in the Microsoft data community since 2008. Microsoft has recognized Ed seven times as a Data Platform MVP for his expertise and service to the data community.