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Andrew Kelly

My Greatest Weakness


I was just called out (see here) to blog about this topic by a good friend Mike Walsh who’s twitter name is @mike_walsh and it has been a long time since I blogged so here goes. First off lets be realistic and recognize that we as humans all have flaws and weaknesses and each of us places them into higher of lower categories if you will based on our own priorities in life. Since this is essentially a technical blog I will stick to that category and spare all of you the other boring details:). 

Technically I think my greatest weakness is part of what I am doing at this moment and that is documentation in some fashion or another whether that is a blog entry or a formal report for a client. It’s the act of transferring my thoughts to paper (or digital form) that gives me the most trouble. Now don’t get me wrong, it is not that I don’t want to do this or even that i don’t know what to say. In reality I think that is part of the problem. I have all these thoughts and ideas in my head but when I attempt to put them in writing they don’t always come out like I envision in my head. I feel there are two parts to why this is. One is that I always seem to be thinking too steps ahead of where I am in the writing process and it is hard for me to stay on track. The other is that I am a bit of a perfectionist and it seldom seems good enough for me. 

OK I know this will sound a bit egotistical but the fact is I know I am good at what I do and that I have a lot of knowledge locked up inside my head. I just can’t seem to transfer it the way I would like in writing all the time. If I could simply have the luxury of speaking what is on my mind direct to the recipients I would be all set. And as a close friend of mine says that a Vulcan Mind Meld would go a long way:).  I don’t think most people can comprehend how excruciating of a process this is and even limiting in some ways for me. For instance this very fact is what has kept me from writing my own book or even chapters in others. Many of you probably have seen my somewhat regular articles in SQL Server Magazine over the last few years and say well there is proof this isn’t the case. Well let me tell you, each article is a slow and painful process for me. But I have used them as a stepping stone towards working out this weakness in my life. Maybe this isn’t a weakness that I should be pointing out as a consultant but I always strive to be honest and straight forward when I write my reports to the clients so why stop here. I want to thank Mike and all the fellow Tweeters that have recently encouraged me to open up on this and to let them know that they will all get theirs in due time :).

Published Tuesday, December 15, 2009 3:58 PM by Andrew Kelly
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Mike Walsh said:

Andy - Great points here. I can tell you this, when you do write something (a blog post on a technical issue or a SQL Mag article.. even a write up for a client having been a client a few years back) it is great. Worth the effort.

You should try podcasts/videos (well maybe podcasts would be better..), you do have a lot to say and it is all helpful. Those first couple/few weeks of training you gave when I was a new hire and you weren't yet an MVP really made the difference for me and my career. I have also seen you answer myths and questions at the place I was at that hired you as a consultant. It comes easy for you in thoughts and words and it is all stuff worth sharing.

December 15, 2009 3:16 PM

David Stein said:

Thanks for being part of the Tag chain. Documentation is a pain for me too. :)

December 15, 2009 8:51 PM

Uri Dimant said:

Hi Andrew

Hmm , I  have been reading lots of your posts at newsgroups and blogs as well and did not make an impression about what you describe here.... Keep blogging and do not lock the knowledge in your head share  to others :-))

December 16, 2009 3:36 AM

andyleonard said:

Hi Andy,

  I appreciate you sharing your frustration with articulating your thoughts, and I can relate. For some folks, writing flows out of them and their thoughts seem to just tumble from mind to paper with little effort. It ain't that way for me, and it sounds like you also battle with this.

  If I find the cure I will let you know. If you find the cure, please let me know.

  In the meantime, please keep sharing! As so many others can attest, you do awesome work!

:{> Andy

December 16, 2009 8:49 AM

Andrew Kelly said:

Thanks Guys for the encouragement.


December 16, 2009 9:13 AM

KKline said:

Keep up the good work, Andy!  There aren't too many people whose writing always gets my attention, but your articles are definitely on that list.

I remember seeing a report on athletic coaching strategies.  The academic study very clearly proved that teams that focus on their strengths outperform teams that attempt to shore up their weaknesses.  And they outperform not just by a small margin, but by something like 80%.

So keep on doing what you're good at without reservation or guilt.  And try to build out a quarterback culture as much as you can.  In these work cultures, we leverage others to keep us doing what we're good at for the largest possible portion of our time.  Surgeons do this routinely - when's the last time you saw a surgeon prep the patient?  They don't.  

And stick it out with the other things that don't come so easy.  We don't want to do them, but it's all part of the job.

December 16, 2009 5:59 PM

Vipin Das said:

This is really inspiring... Thanks Andrew

January 2, 2010 4:18 AM

MarkTab said:

Hey Andy -- thanks for the transparency.  As you may know, I have to evaluate writing all the time with my work teaching at the University of Phoenix.  And yet, I have not been doing a lot of public writing.  I continue to study the topic more and it's my desire to make science topics I love interesting to people who read about it.

February 28, 2010 11:22 PM

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