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Gates of Speech in the 21st Century

Social media has transformed our communities and our communication landscape. Now more than ever, we are connected with so many individuals all over the world. Communicating instantaneously. Sharing our thoughts as soon as they arise. Sometimes our words are kind and supportive, other times, we struggle to find the right words. And, at times, our interactions can be less than nice. How many of you have been on the receiving end of hate or anger filled speech? It has happened to me on occasion.
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looking

Looking Back, Looking Forward

Each January, I’ve often found it helpful to revisit the previous year to see where I’ve been personally and professionally. Often times, I’m surprised and grateful for what the last 12 months have brought me. So this January, I thought I’d share my recap with you.

  • Experimented with “Pay What it is Worth” model: With a connection to +Tara  from +Emily, I was able to begin thinking about how this model may work or not work with Database Sherpa. While I’ve done nothing more than think about this, I am seeking a client who might be interested in experimenting with me.
  • Bringing Joy and Compassion to database development: The key aspects of Database Sherpa and the driving force of the work we’re doing!
  • Applying Yogic and Buddhist principles to consulting: Currently in practice with only a few clients, but will be expanding to all client engagements, as it has been very helpful to the clients we’ve worked with thus far. As my good friend stated to me in a letter, “there is merit to this”.
  • Bringing on another Sherpa: +Veronica has begun a Sherpa project of her own this year and it will go into next year. The transfer of the process to another person has begun.
  • Teaching clients to become independent: I’m happy to report that most of my clients are learning to expand and grow their databases on their own with no help from us!
  • Gifts of Gratitude Tour: Our first gift was to Doctor’s without Borders thanks to a consulting company that referred us to our first client outside of Michigan! We have also given to a client, Nonprofit Alliance. Our compassionate work can only spread via our clients, so thank you!
  • Breaking the rules: New clients are informing this practice all the time and I am ever so grateful for the opportunity to work with them all. Our 2012 journeys included:
    • Woman’s Co-op
    • Great Lakes Center for Youth Development
    • Nonprofit Alliance
    • East Lansing Education Foundation
    • Washington Access to Justice
    • Michigan Environmental Council
    • Women’s Resource Center of San Diego
  • Attended Buddhist Geeks: I learned that there are a lot of discussions about how Buddhism will express itself in the West, but didn’t meet many other consultants who are embedding the eightfold path into their work with clients. It was what I was really hoping for and will continue to seek out a place or perhaps create that space.
  • Met kindred spirts: “Virtually” met some amazing Salesforce consultants, two of whom were my study buddies in passing the Salesforce Administration Training (thanks +Marc & +Caroline). The others are +Meghan+Tal+Pierre & +Tim). And the one, who made it all possible is +Brad. I’ve never met any of these folks face to face, but I feel a kindred spirit with them all and have learned so much from each of them.
  • Mindfulness education+April and +Carol have opened my eyes to another tool to use in guiding organizations in a compassionate manner! I’m so grateful that I was able to take this class locally. I’m thinking that perhaps I need to go deeper into this education!
  • Hired an amazing editor: +Pam had helped me to write a better blog post 🙂
  • Finally, and most importantly, I’ve been able to blend my life and work together. Being able to spend time with my daughter and continue to work has been such a wonderful gift. I couldn’t ask for anything more and I am grateful to have this opportunity.
On reflection, we have done quite a lot. I’m very grateful to my Sherpa partner in all of this, +Veronica.  And last, but not least, my life partner, David. His steady and calm support has given me the space to keep going on this path without worry or concern. That is certainly an amazing gift.
May the light of compassion continue to brightly shine in all of us.
tech devices

Techno-mindlessness

April, my wonderful Mindfulness coach, suggested I read “Wisdom 2.0“. It’s funny, because while I was going in the marketing work with DVQ Studio, Emily, my other wisdom coach, suggested that I attend the Wisdom 2.0 conference. So, when I hear things more than once, I think that the universe is trying to tell me something.

I’m still in the midst of reading this short book (which is jam packed with great ideas and suggestions), but I wanted to share my thoughts with you on what I’ve read and learned thus far.

Fact: Technology is here to stay. For better or worse, the Internet, computers, cell phones, tablet computers, etc., are not going away. According to the author (and in my own opinion) that in itself isn’t the problem. The challenge is to be more mindful when interacting with it. (Who among us hasn’t lost track of time playing a game online, on the computer, or on a phone?)

Here are my technology-mindlessness confessions. One recent, and the other several years ago.

Remember The Sims (pre-online game)? I was a Sims junkie. I played for HOURS, getting my Sims to be happy and keeping them on track for their jobs (insert irony), etc. When I played, I was oblivious to everything else: my physical upkeep, my friends, and my family. Sims players know you can tell a Sims’ mood by the color of the gauge above their head. I began looking for color indicators above the heads of actual people! I began to fantasize that I could change my friends’ and family’s behavior with a mouse click, just like the Sims.

Somehow my brain had melded my real world and my virtual world—and that scared me. I thought of gaming tools when I had to find a real-world solution to a situation. It was remarkable—and also crazy.

Like a smoker who finally acknowledges cigarettes are an addiction, I knew I had a Sims problem. And I knew I couldn’t quit cold turkey. I had to wean myself off, so I began to play with in a very mindful way. My brain knew what it was going to do before I began to play. I would say out loud to David, “I am going to go play The Sims now. I’ll catch you for dinner in about an hour.” To which he would reply, “Ok, we’ll see!” Then, I would go play with a timer set for one hour.

Before my mindfulness, when I started to get too caught up in the game, I noticed my breath slowed down a lot … nearly stopping at times. My shoulders would hunch over and I’d almost meld with my computer.

After mindfulness, if I sensed the melding point was imminent, I’d look away from the computer and gaze at a picture or an object on my desk. Then I’d take a deep breath and resume the game.

Mindful play allowed me to hear the alarm. (Yes, it took multiple trials before I could actually hear the alarm and walk away.) Sometimes I’d leave for an hour and then come back to see what my Sims had done in my absence (there was an auto-play session), and I’d feel compelled to “fix” all the problems that came up for my Sims. But, one day, I found myself coming back less and less. Reality became more and more interesting. While I still wished people walked around with a gauge over their heads, I began to notice that it bugged me more that my Sims were so easy to manipulate. That knowing their moods from a gauge wasn’t nearly as fun as seeing the expression on a person’s face (although, when a Sim gets really upset, it shows on their face). Or hearing a sentence in English rather than Sim language (it was a strange language).

All this to say that while the game was fun; real life was really more fun and more compelling. And, I haven’t played Sims once in 2012.

My second story is much more recent. I’ve begun to take walks after I drop Zola off at school. It’s a way for me to connect with myself and, in a sense, reboot my morning.

The other day while walking, I was entirely attached to my cell phone. Sending text. Writing emails. Updating and reading Facebook. For about half my walk, I was entirely in my phone. Not aware of anything but the sidewalk underneath my phone. I noticed my pace began to get slower, my breath began to get faster, my body began to feel less and less attached to my head and my eyes felt funny (like they were attached to someone else). It’s like I wasn’t me at that moment. I stopped, looked away from the phone. I slowly placed it back into my pocket and began to mindfully walk.

I began with a slow pace, staring down at the ground that seemed to be moving. Then, I looked up to the beautiful blue sky, which also looked to be moving. You know how it feels when you’ve been on a long train or boat ride? Well, that’s how I felt—very disconnected to the world around me. Really, the same feeling I had with the Sims game, only it wasn’t about clicking people, it was about the environment that surrounded me.

After about 10 minutes, my brain adjusted and my body felt normal again. I picked up the pace and kept walking, focusing on each step, on each breath and on each moment as it happened, knowing that the messages on my phone would be waiting for me on the other side of this walk. I completed the walk with a clear and refreshed mind and when I got back to the car, I went to my phone and answered the messages waiting for me. On my terms. At my time.

Although both stories are about technology, it’s not the problem. The problem was how I interacted with the technology. Was I controlling it, or was it controlling me? We must remember, technology was developed and created to make our lives easier. We are its masters, it is the servant. When the servant becomes the master (cue the Depeche Mode song), we run into problems.

What do the Sims and my morning walk have to do with Database Sherpa and specifically, databases? Technology. Remember in the old days when we had to collect information or addresses and names in a hand written format? Technology has streamlined the process, but it can also cause stress, as we try to master the database.

At Database Sherpa, our goal is to put you in the driver’s seat. You are less stressful because you are the master; you drive the intention of the database and build it to be what it needs to be. Then walk away. No more and no less.

An effective database will not overtake your every waking moment (like the Sims or my cell phone). An effective database, just like our minds, should be fully present in this moment. And as its master, we remain separate, mindful of time spent with technology. On our terms.

mindfulness

Managing with Mindfulness

In late October I enrolled in a mindfulness program offered through the Grand Rapids Center for Mindfulness  The exact name is “Mindful Based Stress Reduction”, but I prefer to simply call it “mindfulness program” because the it offers so much more than stress reduction — it’s a guide to listening to my authentic self and being in touch with me as we are guided through several mindful practices.Just like the assignments I give to my Database Sherpa clients, my classmates and I are assigned “practices.” (I know several people call them “homework” but I prefer “practices”). We practice various mindfulness techniques in our own environments so we can hone our skills. I’m halfway through the program and my mindfulness haven has become, of all places, my car, where I practice seated meditation. During my car practices, the voice of April Hadley (my instructor) begins to talk to me, and my body responds. There has been an unintended consequence to this: I’m a better driver. I drive slower. I’m more aware of my surroundings. I am quiet. No radio, instead the sounds of traffic and the wheels on the road.

And I’m not the only one following an ancient practice in a modern environment. Zola has been in the car with me, and we have meditated together while waiting for Daddy at the dentist. The sweet sound of my daughter taking deeps breaths in the back of the car while I relax in the front is bliss. She manages the intro and the three-minute meditation (about eight minutes). Pretty darn good if you ask me.While I’ve been going through this program, I realized that I’ve been attempting to embed these mindfulness principles into the work of Database Sherpa. Being present and aware of the current state of emotions and well-being of my clients is important, yet I was not giving my clients the tools necessary to handle stress long after I have departed. Although I build confidence, stress will occur regardless.

Then, an opportunity presented itself. A client asked me when we might discuss and act on some yoga techniques that were not in our original plans. (They were pretty sure that I was going to do it — they just wondered when it was going to happen.)At the time, she and her co-worker were working on their annual appeal campaign (and those in the nonprofit sector know the stress that can bring). So, I explained a technique called Lion’s Breath to them (thanks to a wonderful suggestion from my Sherpa partner, Veronica Beck), and sent them a YouTube video of various people doing Lion’s Breath. A few weeks passed before our next trek. When we connected, I asked them, how it made them feel.Only one had done it and it had relieved her stress. On the other hand, her co-worker had not, and had been suffering from headaches so bad that she had to take time off from work. We both recommended she try it — I know it’s one of my favorite stress-relieving practices. (And we all joked about practicing Lion’s Breath at their next staff meeting. It would be a hoot to watch!)

So, while I am embedding compassion, kindness, database development skills into Database Sherpa, I also need to provide my clients with coping skills. Providing them tools and techniques that they can use on their own to deal with the changes that will come with their new database system. Yet another refinement of the Sherpa process, for which I am grateful to my mindfulness teacher, April Hadley.

compassion at the heart

Compassion is the heart of everything

I have a better understanding of what it means to have a child start school… as Zola just began pre-school this month. My life feels quite upside down while we both adjust to a new schedule. That being said, I’ll be taking a break for the rest of the month and will be back in October, full of great ideas and thoughts.

Before I leave, I thought I’d leave my faithful friends and followers a few thoughts that may fuel your compassion engine:

  • Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not. – Dr. Seuss.
  • Along with love, compassion is the face of altruism. It is a feeling from deep in the heart that you cannot bear others’ suffering without acting to relieve it. As compassion grows stronger, so does your willingness to commit yourself to the welfare of all beings, even if you have to do it alone. You will be unbiased in your service to all beings, no matter how they respond to you. – Dalai Lama’s status update on Facebook
  • Another quote from Dr. Seuss: Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.
At the heart and seat of each of these quotes is compassion. Compassion to yourself and others in the world. This is the key to everything in the life of a Sherpa.
What I have learned is that even if this path is lonely.. even if the world feels against me at times… I will stay true to myself. I will instill a deep sense of compassion every day until it is threaded in every aspect of my being.
If any of you follow this path, know that I will be right there with you… creating that thread of compassion throughout the world.
So, until October, I bow deeply to the light that shines brightly in you.
Buddha on beach

Buddhist Geeks

I had a wonderful opportunity to attend Buddhist Geeks Conference in Boulder, CO. The site explains it like this:

“It’s an opportunity to explore the leading-edge frontiers of Buddhism, technology, and global culture. This year’s gathering brings together luminaries in the fields of Buddhism, science, philosophy, education, business, politics, and more. Participants will explore how the dharma is co-evolving with modern insights and trends to change our lives—personally and globally—in extraordinary and unexpected ways.”

Although I am not a practicing Buddhist, I was drawn to this conference because I’ve been trying to blend my Eastern philosophical education with my database expertise. This conference seemed like a place where I would meet others, like myself, as well as broaden my understanding of the changing face of Buddhism in the modern world and specifically, how it is unfolding in the Western world.

Some of the speakers were riveting and really gave me food for thought, as it relates to Database Sherpa and my personal life (which are aligning more and more every day). I revisited my notes (very sparse) and found these things written:

  1. Inner and outer work align
  2. Buddhism changes
  3. Grasping

(I also wrote a couple website and book titles, but those are for another blog posting.)

So, let me break down why I choose to write only these three points in my notebook, and how they are forming my work and me.

1. Inner and outer work align

I cannot tell you who said this or when, but I do remember writing it down and thinking YES! The speaker said the inner work of meditation and yoga practice has to align with outer work in the world. My take-away: I need to do more than meditate for change. I must also go out into the world to make it happen.

My change has been so dramatic over the last few years. The birth of Zola. Saying goodbye to a special pet. Losing my job. Creating Database Sherpa. It’s been a chaotic few years, still, I find myself at peace. My inner work has been to find peace while being surrounded by chaos — so my inner work has been successful.

Now, my outer work is to help others who are surrounded by chaos. (Those who want to be helped. Not everyone desires to be rid of chaos. Some thrive in that place, which is not a bad thing, it just is). I realized that I had used my outer work with my last client. (I didn’t know it at the time, until this conference brought it to light.) I used my own tools and techniques to guide and help her though the chaos.

So, as I continue my inner work, I will focus on aligning my outer work (not just with Database Sherpa, but also with my family and friends).

2. Buddhism changes

This was a big “ah-ha!” and more of a historical one. A speaker told of how Buddhism took 100 years to solidify in Japan. Why? Because it needed to morph and change based on the culture in which it resided.

How spectacular! Changing to address the needs and desires of the culture. The same speaker discussed how this very thing is now happening in the modern or Western world as well. Buddhism will become something new here (maybe over 100 years, too). One person asked if there would be a necessity for monasteries in the Western world. No one had an answer, but it was a good question. (That’s what I love about the Eastern world; there are never answers, only more questions.) It was fun listening to the dialogue.

This got me to thinking about Database Sherpa and how change is critical to the success of the business. Not change that takes 100 years (please, that’s too long), but the fact that change will take time. I cannot expect everyone to embrace this new way of business, but I can take my time, learn my lesson, and offer what I can. Database Sherpa will mold, bend, and flex to the changing culture of our times.

3. Grasping

Although the names of the two other speakers didn’t stick with me like their lessons did, I remember this speaker. She was fantastic and stuck in my head throughout my time at the conference, as well as into the time I arrived home. Her name is Martine Batchelor and she opened my eyes to something that, frankly, we are all doing: Grasping at something.

Her talk was titled “Creativity without Grasping”. If you’d like to see her presentation, a woman at the conference was capturing visual representations of each session. It does a great job, but what you miss are her words and the impact.

Yes, she did talk about holding something in your hand so tightly that it begins to hurt. What do you do? The story is lovely, but what it means is the really beautiful part of the story. Let me explain using “rules” as an example.

Sometimes, it’s much easier to hold onto rules: “Don’t talk unless it is you turn”, “Cross the street when the light is green”. We grasp at rules, and frankly, for good reason. They provide for a civil society. It makes sense. These are the collective rules.

So, what about the rules we make up? “Children are to be seen and not heard”, “eat dinner first and then dessert”, “waffles are for breakfast not lunch”? We may see them as collective rules, but they are not. I argue that sometimes, we may not even have a good reason for them. It’s “just because.”

Rules are just one thing we grasp. (Something that’s been coming up a lot at home, lately, with a 3-1/2-year-old running around). We grasp at ideas, people, and objects; if you can name it, we grasp at it. I have even watched in a yoga class people grasping for a pose or meditation (which is Martine’s point).

Imagine a rule is fixed in your mind. Maybe it’s, “children are to be seen and not heard.” You think it’s a fine rule. But what if you let it go? Let it float around your head. Turn it upside down and backwards. What does this rule look like? Dark and grey, or light and brown? Put the rule aside and think about life without that rule. What does it feel like? Look like?

This process of imagination is the creative approach that Martine was explaining. By being creative with your thinking, you are allowing yourself to look at things with another viewpoint. I love this way of thinking and being. It allows for contemplation and consideration.

Thank you for diving into my education at the Buddhist Geek conference. It was an enjoyable experience and one that provided me much to ponder!

Process and Journey

Is it a Process or a Journey?

Once again, I’ve been thinking about Database Sherpa. (Seriously, what else is new?) As I’ve begun to work with my marketing literature, the two words that keep coming up are Journey and Process. I wonder: Is Database Sherpa about a process or is it about a journey?

Both of these words have the same purpose—arriving somewhere new from a series of steps. But, the word “journey” invokes a different feeling to me. When I look at quotes that surround that word, I see things like:

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” ~ Lao Tzu

“A journey is a person in itself; no two are alike. And all plans, safeguards, policing, and coercion are fruitless. We find that after years of struggle that we do not take a trip; a trip takes us.” ~ John Steinbeck

“Process” also invokes different feelings to me. When I look at quotes about process, they are more like this:

“The system is that there is no system. That doesn’t mean we don’t have process. Apple is a very disciplined company, and we have great processes. But that’s not what it’s about. Process makes you more efficient.” ~ Steve Jobs

“I know that two and two make four – and should be glad to prove it too if I could – though I must say if by any sort of process I could convert 2 and 2 into five it would give me much greater pleasure.” ~ Lord Byron

Journey often evokes a feeling that steps taken are as important as the end place; but process encourages me to get to the end in the most efficient way possible. If I think about these two words in terms of yoga, one is organic energy (journey) and the other is muscular energy (process). Both work in tandem, but they are very different and provide different results. It’s a fine balance between both.
So, if you have too much organic energy (journey), it might take you a L-O-N-G time to get to your destination. You might wander a bit here and there and smell the roses all day long. But, if you have too much muscular energy (process), it might not take you very long, it may be very efficient, but you will miss many things along the way, like the roses or thorn bush or tricky spots that will appear later.

So, with Database Sherpa, what feels like a journey at times, may morph into a process and a process may turn into a journey. At least, that is my goal. So, you can receive the best of both energies.

As my Papa has always said to us (in his Indian/British accent), “It’s not a question of one or the other, it’s both.”

Karma

Karma: What’s it all about?

I’ve been having a wonderful time thinking about Database Sherpa. I am grateful to have the time to develop a process that will work for all organizations. Maybe a little history would help for those new to my concept.

It started about 20 years ago when I was running my business, Hopper Business Solutions. Hopper was the embodiment of my dream to run my own business, be my own boss, and to change the way women were viewed in technology. In the beginning, Hopper provided Internet consulting to emerging businesses, but over time, turned into much more.

In addition to creating new databases, I started modifying existing databases for small businesses and nonprofits—systems created by another consultant prior to my arrival. Whenever I began a project, I always found a mixture of disgust, frustration and anger with these systems. I never enjoyed walking into a place with such negative emotions. I often heard these complaints:
  • “The consultant never listened to us and did their own thing. I don’t know why we have to capture the client’s (shoe size, favorite color, etc.). So we don’t and leave that field blank.”
  • “The reports don’t give us what we need. We fill in all the information, but the reports are missing a lot of information that is in the database. Our data is trapped.”
  • “The consultant never finished the database because we ran out of money (or worse, they stopped helping us and moved onto another project). Plus, they worked too much on what they felt was important, and not on our immediate needs.”
This litany is probably no surprise to organizations that have probably at least one such pain point with their former or current system. Let me just say this: It’s NOT just the consultant’s fault.
How can I say this? When I began working with unhappy clients, at some point they say that they had forgotten to mention something to consultant, emphasize the deadline, or take control of the project when things got out of hand. Blaming the former consultant was an easy out.
But, these are mistakes that happen. Even to the best consultant. I wondered, what could we do to make these complaints a place in the past? How can we, as consultants, pass on our knowledge and skills so that the client is now capable of doing the work needed? How can the client be put in the driver’s seat and the consultants be the guide? How can we make our clients happier—and more productive—than when we began with them?
My search for these answers lead to the birth of Database Sherpa where we have a simple value: Bring compassion and joy to our clients, all the while helping them achieve good database karma. (Thanks to DVQ Studio for that fun word combo).Yes, I said JOY. Database work can be tedious and boring. Sometimes it’s even downright frustrating. There is enough frustration in the world, and we have a strong desire to change that. So we approach every project with a positive attitude and encourage lots of laughter and fun to bring back the smile! Now, about that database karma thing, I’ll get to that in a sec….
So, what brought about this thinking about going the extra mile to bring joy into work? Well, recently I’ve been in dialogue with another consultant who has also gone down a similar path, albeit for much longer than I. She has lots of great stories and results, and she’s quite a guru who is becoming a dear friend.She feels it’s important to meet the client where they are at the time they contact her. She told me, “I want to work with clients whose missions I feel strongly about, that I want to support. It’s important that I meet the client where they are, not where I am.” She’s quite compassionate to her clients, and I am sure I can learn more from her as time goes on. And I am in complete agreement with her. We could all learn a thing or two about compassion! She makes a compelling case that makes a lot of sense to me.

We should all help those that reach out to us. Give them the guidance and tools they need so that they are more capable and empowered to drive their mission in the right direction.

But, before you run off sharing your wisdom with everyone you cross paths with, I’d like to offer a caveat. While it’s important to help organizations that to seek change, it’s also critical to make sure they align with your core values.

A key core value at Database Sherpa is to help build good database karma for organizations (I said we’d get back to that). What is this database karma and how does it work? Well, it’s not the karma from the eastern philosophies, or from the TV show, “My Name is Earl.” It’s about destiny to a small extent, but karma is more about action than anything. (And as an aside, I’d like to say there is really nothing “good” or “bad” about karma; it just is.)

Taking this concept one step further, we also believe you cannot outsource your karma. You can’t blame your karma on a long-gone consultant. Good database karma is the result of organizations investing energy to create its database and taking ownership of its long-term maintenance and evolution.

In order to bring positive database karma to organizations, it’s crucial that they be open, be willing to spend time and learn, and be capable of making their database work for them. Good database karma is not as simple as importing data from a spreadsheet. It requires being patient, practicing compassion, facing your fears and doing it “self mommy“.

So, my friend will continue to exhibit compassion for her clients, encouraging and guiding them—even after they’ve started working with her. (A workstyle I greatly admire.) Compassion can have a powerful outcome. It could change the world by making us active, rather than passive learners. (If you read my last post about compassion, you’ll see why I’m such an idealist now.) Ultimately, we desire the same outcome: To make our clients successful with their database systems and increase their knowledge.  My friend has already achieved that, achieving great success and admiration from her clients. That is a wonderful feeling and one she is very proud of.

As a Sherpa, I dream of a day when my client will outshine me and go on to do great things in the database community. I bow deeply to my new friend who has given me food for thought and opened my eyes to other possibilities.

Bold Goals for Database Sherpa

As I mentioned before, I’ve been working with a great marketing firms, DVQ Studio. The company is run by two amazing women, Emily and Gretchen. Brilliant and nice.. combinations I admire.

Anyway, the process started with a lot of questions and note taking. It forced me to think about the future of Database Sherpa. This was interesting, because I’ve been really taking it one day at a time. I don’t like to think too far ahead because I tend to get distracted by the big pictures and move to that before I’m ready.

But, I know that thinking about the future is important. It keeps the momentum moving forward. But, I need to focus on the here and now. So, while those big dreams about the future of Database Sherpa are buried in Emily and Gretchen’s notes, I wanted to share some of my current bold dreams:

  • Bringing joy and compassion to database development.
  • Blending yogic and Buddhist principles into consulting.
  • Bringing in another Sherpa.
To make these dreams happen, I need to get busy. Soon, you will be seeing my newly transformed web site and materials that outline how joy and compassion can be brought into database development.
Secondly, I’ll be documenting the practice of being a Database Sherpa. My advisor, Veronica, will be helping me along the way.
Finally, by the end of the year, one Sherpa project will be lead by Veronica to refine the process and documentation.
This is a very exciting time! There is much change in the horizon, but change that will come with compassion and love.
I can’t wait to share this with you all as things are completed. So, until that time, I wish you peace, joy and love.

Facing fear… fighting back

I have always been a very cautious and practical person. It’s not my nature to run into things full bore without having a plan in place. I always looked at this as being fearful. Fear of failure.

During yoga, I find myself coming back to that feeling. Fear of failure. So, I try that handstand, but I can’t get up. It’s not so much what others think of me, but what I think of myself. I can get into that self-loathing place quickly. That fear keeps me from trying or pushing myself forward.

Then, the question becomes: How can I ask my Sherpa clients to be fearless if I cannot do it myself? That’s a really good question. What can I do to face my fears? Another good question. One way I have faced my fears is to fully embrace the Database Sherpa model, to the point of being a little nutty about it (if you meet me, be prepared to hear about it!). Another thing I’ve done is to hire a company — DVQ Studio — to help me brand and develop the model (more will be unveiled as it is developed). Finally, my good friend, Veronica Waters, is now an advisor to this work. So, I’ve put my reputation, money and friendship on the line.Why? Because, I’m not going to hide from my fear anymore, I’m facing it head on! Is the fear gone? No! I see it from time to time, visiting me again and again. I let it sit for a bit and then blow it away. Goodbye for now, I’m sure you’ll be back!

This way of fighting back is a process, but one that will better equip me to help the Sherpa clients fight their fears. And it’s already working on changing me and how I work with my Sherpa clients. The most current Sherpa project brought me to the place of learning about resources available to use after the project ends. This particular client was given specific work to accomplish using the Google Group, to find answers to very specific questions. They were tentative and fearful at first, but I explained that I only wanted them to look and find. So, with that knowledge, they faced their fear of the unknown.

After visiting the Google Group and finding the answers, they looked around further (you know how that happens when you are searching on the Internet). What they got was so much more than mere answers to questions (which had been my hope). At one point in our conversation one of them voiced, “I could even answer some questions.” My immediate response was, “go ahead and respond next time; see what happens.” She giggled with delight at that suggestion and said, “oh, now I get it – I can get involved and help too. They need me and my time as well.” Now, she faced her fear, saw what she could do and now feels empowered to do something about it. WOW, that was pretty awesome.

With the support of my good friends at DVQ Studio and my special advisor, Veronica Waters, my confidence level has been given a boost and I feel like a better Sherpa.

Who knows what will come next?!