In the beginning ...
If I’m totally honest, becoming an MVP hadn’t ever really entered my consciousness. So far as I was concerned, the MVP community was full of genius technical gurus, of whom I was totally in awe. And that is still the case! I have many friends who are MVP and their technical ability still astounds me to this day.
So … how did it happen, how did I join the ranks of my heroes?!
The journey really began as soon as I started learning about Dynamics and the Power Platform. Being a single mum, and quite strapped for cash, I couldn’t afford formal training. I set myself a whole bunch of goals and used resources provided by the Power Platform community to achieve them. From that day forward, I had made a promise that I would endeavour to help other people the way I’d been helped. Read on to discover how I made that promise a reality …
Turning dreams into goals ...
One of the first things I did to keep that promise to myself, was to get involved in the Power Platform Community. I joined a study group, and went to a conference. Sounds so easy when I say it like that, but remember, I was new to the Power Platform and didn’t really know anyone. Luckily the study group I joined was run by none other than Julian Sharp, a force in the community. On that group I met Iain Connelly, and he persuaded me to go to the very first Scottish Summit in Glasgow. From there everything became so much easier … I met so many lovely people in Glasgow.
Among those people was Mark Smith (aka NZ365guy). At the time I didn’t realise the awesomeness of Mark. That dawned on me during the next few months as I saw his incredible sessions at various events. So when Mark invited applications for his 90 Day Mentoring Challenge, I decided to get involved in that as well.
Making goals a reality ...
The 90 Day Mentoring Challenge was a huge turning point for me. Mark is an amazing mentor. Thoroughly unselfish in his approach to sharing everything he has learned during his career to give others a helping hand. He encourages everyone to participate to their fullest. Setting challenges each week, he helps to build confidence and expertise and instils great habits around learning and growth. I would recommend participation in the Challenge to anyone, regardless of where you might be in your career.
The key for me was learning to be intentional about what I do. With Marks encouragement, I created a 3 year plan and stuck to it. Mark makes sure he sets a date to check in with you on progress, to prevent any slippage, and this worked really well for me. It helped me to prioritise making my goals a reality, no matter what life threw at me!
I actually completed years 1 and 2 of my plan within the first year, and it was this that fast tracked my community contributions.
What happened next
The 90 Day Mentoring Challenge wasn’t just a great experience in terms of learning. I also met some wonderful people. There were several MVPs on the challenge, and a lot of people who went on to become MVPs. I think because Mark encouraged us to show up as our authentic selves, we made really good friends.
One of my particularly good friends was Michelle Wong. Michelle and I met up at the Scottish Summit. And we participated in other community groups outside of the 90 Day Mentoring Challenge. I was blown sideways when Michelle called me one day and said that she’d like to nominate me for the MVP award. Of course I was massively flattered, and I really appreciated Michelle’s faith in me, but MVP? Me?
Lost for words ...
Encouraged by Michelle, I accepted the nomination and added my contributions into the Award application. I had a meeting with the Award Program lead in the UK, who was lovely. But she did explain to me that not everyone was successful, and I might not necessarily hear back. Several months went by, and I assumed I had not been successful. That was ok, I was still happily doing my thing, paying back to the community where I could.
Imagine my surprise, when I received the following email …
That was just the start!
To be honest, I sat and looked at the email for ages before it sank in. I literally could not believe it! It definitely felt quite surreal.
Once it had sunk in, I realised that this was just the beginning. Now my efforts to encourage and support other people could really take off. Since receiving the award, I have been working with Microsoft to reach many more people.
I’m not sure where this path is going to lead me, but I can truthfully say that I am loving the journey. If you are interested in the MVP program, or have any questions about community involvement, please get in touch. I really am here to help.