The purpose of this post isn’t to show off the results of my presentation at Collaborate conference, but to inspire you (and maybe myself in the future) and give you additional motivation to never give up on your dreams if you truly believe in them.
Some of you know that I had a pretty tough time after Oracle OpenWorld 2011. Looking back, I can tell you that I lived through a couple months of real depression and personal struggle. I never thought that it would happen to me. The full story about my OpenWorld experience is available here. During the last 6-7 years, I truly believed that public speaking was the next big step in my professional career. However, during the 2 months after OpenWorld, I seriously considered giving up on that dream. My way of thinking was: If after all those years of effort I fail miserably (I hated myself then), it means it isn’t my way. I should stop my public activities, hide behind my desk, and focus on my day-to-day work.
It just happened that my “10 problems with your RMAN backup scripts” presentation got accepted for the Collaborate 12 conference. Even after I got to know about it, I seriously doubted that I should deliver it. Besides my doubts about my public speaking ability, I had to sacrifice a lot of things to get to Las Vegas. I had to put a preparation plan in place, work overtime to cover my absence from service delivery, and spend my limited self-education budget (which I had thanks to a Pythian program) to get to Collaborate. The final factor in my decision to participate in Collaborate was the news from OAUG that my second presentation “Oracle 11G SCAN: Concepts and Implementation Experience Sharing” had been accepted. This is when I decided to give myself a last chance to prove that I can deliver public presentations.
I kicked off my Collaborate 12 preparation activities in January 2012. This is what I did:
- I went through the reasons of my failure again and listened to what others had to say about it (my OpenWorld 2011 blog post).
- One of the biggest components that I think had an impact on my performance was the uncomfortable environment I had to present in. My way of solving this issue was to join a local Toastmasters club. Even after being a presenter for some time, I found that it was a very good decision. There are very friendly and supportive people in our club with one common goal – become a better and more confident speaker. You would be surprised to hear that most of the club members are successful speakers already. Anyway, Toastmasters gave me a lot of practice in speaking and improved my confidence on stage.
- I started attending English pronunciation class. I know, I know. We are all busy and don’t have too much time. However, the class I took was a one day a week class. With proper time management (I am not a best example BTW :) ) and commitment, it isn’t too difficult to attend.
- Dale Carnegie’s book ” How to Stop Worrying and Start Living” helped me a lot to overcome my depression. BTW: I think that this book needs to be read at the right time in your life. I tried to read it again now and didn’t enjoy it. My suggestion is that if you feel that life is bad for you, are losing confidence, are seeing life in gray, and aren’t noticing anything else, it’s the right time to read the book.
- From now on, I’ll put in some additional effort to prepare for any single presentation I deliver. I use to think – “Hey, I have presented this presentation many times and therefore am confident that I will not have any issues.” Now, even if I presented the presentation before, I review and go through it sometime within 24 hours before presenting.
- I try to visit the room in which I will present in advance, test the equipment, and get as comfortable with the setup as possible.
- I realized that the biggest critic of my presentations and performances is myself. I was way too picky and set my expectations way too high. Today I think that the impact of possible failure is as high as your expectations for your upcoming performance. Don’t set your expectations too high. Now I cultivate the following approach: Do your best and know that you did your best. It isn’t in your power to change the rest. Even if you fail, you know that you did your best and will improve.
Connor McDonald from Perth said, “Conferences and presenting should be FUN. You and others should enjoy it and be entertained“. I respect Connor and totally agree with his view. This thought is my motto for any conference I am part of from now on.
Before I conclude and tell you about my presentation evaluation results from Collaborate 12, I would like to say thank you to all of you who supported me in this tough period of my life:
- Karina, Nik, Max – my family. Thank you folks for your patience, support, and ability somehow manage to live with such “crazy” father :)
- Pythian – a friendly and supportive team: Gwen, Alex, Vanessa, Paul, Marc, Michael, Subhajit, George, Team5, Andrey, Andre, Anton, and all Pythian people who supported and support me.
- Oracle community: Øyvind, Kellyn, Bjoern , Leighton, Fuad, Arjen, Doug, Noons, Jurgis, Janis, Juris, Raivis, Kai, Tim, Cary, …
- All others who believed/believe in me and supported/support me in this fantastic journey called LIFE.
I hope that you will remember this story next time you think life is hard on you and it is time to give up.
NEVER GIVE UP ON YOUR DREAMS !!!
The following evaluation results are as much mine as yours.
T H A N K Y O U F O L K S ! ! !
Session Number: 711 Session Title: High Availability Boot Camp: 10 Problems with Your RMAN Backup Script Number of Respondents: 41 5-Point Scale (5=extremely satisfied / 1=not at all satisfied) #1: Primary speaker’s knowledge of the material: 4.88 #2: Primary speaker’s presentation skills:4.68 #3: Did this session meet your expectations?: 4.73 #4: Can you apply what you learned to your job?: 4.78 #5: Would you like to see more sessions from the primary speaker?: 4.72 #6: Would you like to see more sessions on this topic?: 4.74 Overall Mean 4.76 Please list any comments regarding this session and/or areas within the topic you would like to see covered in more detail. Good. Interesting and FUN presentation. Excellent, best tech session so far. Very helpful and interactive! Entertaining! Excellent presentation.