Life is like a huge role-playing game: you have choices to make every single day, and any choice can lead to fun outcomes. The sum of your experiences, no matter which choice you make, can lead to you leveling up – being a better person. Last year, Steve Kamb’s Epic Quest at NerdFitness.com inspired me to create my own Epic Life Quest, and I just leveled up. Like Steve, I’ve set up my list of future achievements. Whenever I knock out five of them, I hit the next level.
Here’s the tasks I just polished off for Level 2:
- Hire our first employee at Brent Ozar Unlimited – Completed 2012 – I’m paranoid. I didn’t want to hire anyone until I could be absolutely, positively sure we wouldn’t have to lay them off for the next several years. I want our employees to be as comfortable with our company’s success as they are with technology. This took a huge gut check, but we knew it had to happen if we wanted to have a secure financial future.
- See the red light district and the Anne Frank house in Amsterdam – Completed 2012 – I spoke at Microsoft TechEd Europe in Amsterdam in June and took plenty of time to walk around the city. Yes, there’s more to Amsterdam than Anne Frank and hookers, and I saw much more, but those were two things I’d always wanted see.
- Rated in the Top 10 at several conferences in a row – Completed 2012 – at the PASS Summit 2011, SQL Connections Spring 2012, Microsoft TechEd 2012 North America, Microsoft TechEd 2012 Europe, and again at the PASS Summit 2012, attendees rated my presentations among the best. I was dumbstruck to make the top 10 at both TechEds because these are huge (5,000-10,000 attendee) conferences with the best presenters Microsoft has to offer. This made me wonder – what’s my next step for presenting?
- Run my second half-marathon – Completed 2012 – when I finished the first one, I said out loud, “No way am I ever doing this again.” A few friends of mine talked me into running the Disneyland Half Marathon in 2012, though.
- Met Erika’s Dad in El Salvador – Completed 2012 – Erika and I have been together for over a decade, but I hadn’t met her dad, who still lives in El Salvador. Erika didn’t want to fly down with a gringo because the crime and kidnapping was pretty bad for a while. We ended up flying into San Salvador and spending a few days in a gated all-inclusive resort. We took a couple of side trips including seeing the house where she grew up.
Next up, Level 3! Here’s what I’m working on now in roughly the order I’ll pull them off:
- Publish 4 new training courses – I’ve done a lot of in-person and online presentations, but for 2013, our company’s setting up a new way of doing it. It’s going to take me a lot of work, but I think the results will be spectacular.
- Weigh 190 pounds or less for six months – I’ve been bouncing between 195 and 210 for years. I just gotta be disciplined.
- Learn Ikebana – the Japanese art of arranging flowers. Something about this just really calls to me ever since I saw Anthony Bourdain show it in his Tokyo show.
- Find ten shirts and five pairs of jeans that make me look good – I speak at a lot of conferences, and I’ve ended up with a closet full of polyester shirts and vendor t-shirts. They don’t flatter anybody. Obviously I wanna wait until I’ve got the 195 pound thing down.
- (Open) – haven’t picked my fifth one just yet.