It's a Harsh Reality - I Ain't Afraid Of No Ghost

Nick Harshbarger

Published On: May 19, 2015

Categories: Career 0

Last night I heard my neighbors kids talking about things that scare them. A few of the things mentioned were funny and pretty typical for the 7 - 11 year old age group, but others made me recall things that I was once scared of too. Many children are afraid of the dark, ghosts, thunderstorms, being separated from parents, or some classroom situations. In many cases these fears seem irrational to us now but were very real and terrifying at one time in our lives. Over coming fear and things that scare us is part of maturing and growing as a person.

Who you gonna call?

Now that we are adults and have dispatched many of the "easy" fears to overcome, we are left with the harder fears to tackle. Sometimes things that scare us can hold us back from making progress in our profession of choice. The fear of public speaking, failure, and sometimes even success, are very common in the workplace. In doing a little research for this post, the most prevalent piece of advice for overcoming fear was educating yourself on the topic and being prepared to handle it.

“Do one thing every day that scares you.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt

I regularly try to push myself and challenge myself to do something I do not like or have a fear of doing, in an effort to continue to grow either professionally or personally. One of the biggest challenges in my life was when I was 24 years old and decided to take a job in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia. What did I know about living as an Ex-Pat when the only "foreign" country I had ever visited to this point in my life was Canada?

I did my research, took language courses, and studied the cultural and religious aspects of the country and people that I was going to be living with for the next few years. Through educating myself on the topic, I was hopefully prepared to succeed. Was I scared? You bet I was! In spite of the preparation, I still encountered something new almost daily that I was not prepared for. But what I learned about myself and what I was capable of achieving continues to give me the confidence and life experience to take on new challenges that are just as scary.

Having been a part of the SQL Server community for 10 years, the wealth of resources and people willing to help others learn and grow absolutely amazes me.

There are free resources to learn technical aspects of being a data professional through sites like,, Database Administrators, Stack Overflow,, SimpleTalk,, and events like SQL Saturday, SQLBits, and 24 Hours of PASS. A quick response to questions posted via Twitter's #sqlhelp hash tag or to LinkedIn's SQLDBA group is never more than a click away. Paid training like PASS Community Summit, SQLintersection, SQL Cruise, SQLskills Immersion events, or Pluralsight courses can all be career-altering investments made to the advancement of your profession.

So what scares you? Being asked to lead a project? Presenting at a SQL Saturday? Writing T-SQL code? Bees? Take control of your fear and learn something new.

Until next time… Live your own Harsh Reality, and I'll live mine.

Nick (@nicharsh) is the Senior Vice President of Cloud Alliances for SentryOne and is responsible for leading the SentryOne relationships with Microsoft, Amazon Web Services, and other cloud providers. Prior to joining SentryOne, Nick was Vice President of National & Strategic Accounts for Dictaphone - Healthcare Division. Previous experience includes sales management positions with Computer Associates, NEC Computer USA, Tegra Varityper, and Heath/Zenith Computer Systems. Nick holds a BA degree in Economics from University of Dayton in Dayton, OH.