Anthony’s IT Certification Tips – 1 of 10 – Find Your Purpose

A dear friend and life coach let me listen to a couple of his Tony Robbin’s CDs regarding Time Management. Tony’s system is called RPM. I quickly returned them and invested in the entire package – including the classically bound planning worksheets. Yes, imagine me planning my days and weeks and projects in a written workbook! What I discovered was that the Tony Robbin’s course made an immediate and profound impact on my life, and not just my work life, but all aspects of my life – family, fitness, fun. I suppose it only fitting that I found such inspiration in the work of Tony Robbins since I have more than once been labeled the Tony Robbins of Technical Training!

What does RPM have to do with my first tip on your IT Certification pursuits? What an excellent question, please let me explain. At the heart of the RPM system you ask yourself three main questions. What do I really want? Why do I really want it, what is my purpose in achieving it? What is my massive action plan to get there? It is amazing how we can decide we want something in life and then start down a path to achieve it without really thinking about why in the world we want that particular thing to begin with.


For your first tip, I want you to always take a moment, hell, maybe even take 60 moments in a row, and think about why you are about to go through the hard work of succeeding in a particular IT Certification goal. Not doing this can really lead to frustration and disaster, and perhaps even an abandonment of the goal after much wasted time, money, and effort (brain power).

Think about it. To really succeed at something and enjoy that journey to success, you need to be excited and passionate about the goal and the journey. How possibly can you be excited and passionate when you have no real concrete ideas on why you want to achieve the goal in the first place.

Here is my own very personal example. In early 2013 I decided that I would achieve my second CCIE designation from Cisco Systems in the area of Security. What a great way to compliment my existing CCIE designation in the area of Routing and Switching I thought. After all, you cannot throw a dart at a newsstand and not hit an article pointing out the great importance of IT security.

So with great excitement, I launched into the pursuit headlong. Watching videos so painfully boring it almost seemed comical, spending hour upon hour staring at rental rack equipment, and reading, reading, and reading some more.

I flew off to RTP in North Carolina USA and failed at an attempt at a lab version. Studied up on the “new stuff” and drove over to Cisco Live Orlando to fail at a newer version of the lab. What in the world was happening? Why was all of this so suddenly hard? Why was I not enjoying much at all of any of the study sessions?

As you might guess at this point, it was mainly due to a lack of purpose. I had never clearly defined my purpose in this goal. In fact, an employer at one point had asked me why I was engaging in such a lofty pursuit and I sat there dumbfounded, my weak response a muttering of something that had to do with industry respect. How lame. Fortunately I had already attained industry respect in my field as both an author and trainer. It was just all I could possibly come up with at the time.

I strongly encourage you, before you launch into that next (or first) IT Certification pursuit, sit down and physically write out all of the wonderful reasons that you have for attaining it. Is it to finally master certain technologies? Is it to boost your resume and acquire that position you keep seeing posted? Is it a way in which to quantify your love of a certain field of IT? We all might have different motivations and that is fine – as long as the motivations are really there and will help drive us. When we focus on the P in our RPM plan, we can literally gain speed and enjoyment of the process.

Did I postpone indefinitely my pursuit of CCIE Security you might ask? You bet I did, and with the added time and resources was able to specialize in mastering another incredibly hot IT area of Data Center for CBT Nuggets. Might I revisit the CCIE Security pursuit? Well of course, and that would be when I can very easily and clearly articulate why I MUST achieve it in the first place! This step may or may not seem obvious, but whatever you do, please do not skip it.

12 thoughts on “Anthony’s IT Certification Tips – 1 of 10 – Find Your Purpose

  1. Hi Anthony, Great article and well worth the read, I often have people ask me why I am going for my CCIE R&S and I can give them 3-4 Reasons for this. Some people might think the reasons are a bit lame (and give me lots of stories why certs are a waste of time, etc but I have the thought that normally I am only told that by people that don’t have the cert or any certs in the first place :-p) – but the reasons I go for my certs are that they mean something to me. I have a goal and I want to stick to it! It is scary sometimes with what is needed to get a cert, however looking back when I started studying for my CCNA I thought the same. (WOW how will I ever learn VLSM 🙂 but now I am a CCNP and I am going after the magic CCIE number. I do hope everyone who does try and goes for there goals gets it 🙂 but as it says make sure you have a goal as I believe it does help!

    I hope this makes sense

    Many thanks


    1. Hi John!

      It sure does make sense. A LOT of sense.

      I love how you bring up people trying to undermine your goals and purpose. In the specific area of CCIE R&S you will hear all the time about how in some countries the exam is cheated all the time and that this has devalued it globally. This is almost ALWAYS from those that tried to achieve it and gave up, or that never even had the courage to start.

      No one in their right mind wants to cheat a cert like this because you would look incredibly foolish following that in your career. If someone has cheated it – it is just too bad for them. They will suffer – not you. The CCIE R&S opens really big doors for those that do it right. There is simply no denying it. Just like the CCNA R&S is an incredible first step in the journey.

      Thank you so much for reading my post and taking the time to comment. Keep up the amazingly awesome work toward your number!

  2. Hi Anthony,

    As an annual subscriber, I must say that you and Keith Barker have helped a lot in my CCNA studies. I was thinking you guys should also create videos just doing labs (covering all the CCNA topics – Similar to Jeremy’s Cisco for the Real World). Just a thought! 🙂

    Now back to this topic. You are very right in that we have to be passionate about what we want to achieve, and writing our goals is the best way to do it. I am a listener to Tony Robbins audio CDs, first introduce to me by your friend Kevin Wallace in his eBook “Your Route to Cisco Career Success” and I thank God very much for this because Tony’s audio CDs have changed my life 360.

    Thank You Anthony for your teachings, and the great book that I am currently reading “ICND1 foundation guide”. Keep up the good work!!!

    1. Hi Franklin!

      Thank you so much for reading and sharing here at my blog. Also – thank you for the EXCELLENT idea about upcoming content at CBT Nuggets.

  3. Hi Anthony,

    first off I’d like to say thanks for the great attitude that you impart. I have seen some of your INE, Youtube and CBT vids and am always amazed at how simple you make the technologies. I passed the CCIE theory last year but don’t yet feel ready for the lab. In fact, since Cisco announced the new blueprint I have decided to wait until Autumn. I can relate to your post. In some way I don’t really have the push (or need) to do the lab but on the other hand see the whole thing as a journey. One day I’ll take the lab and probably fail. The thing is though, since I began this path I have learned SO much and realise just how much I still don’t know. I just don’t want to quit learning, even if I never actually manage to succeed in the lab. Very cool stuff. Thanks for your effort!!

    1. Rob thank you so much for your feedback!

      Perhaps the desire to learn is a purpose that is drive enough. Be sure to consider that. That is certainly one of the reasons that I keep my pilot’s license up to date. Every time I go out – I try and learn something new and really enjoy it.

  4. When will the rest of the articles be published? This is amongst the interesting articles, I have read as I attempt to refocus again on my CCNA R/S and my IT career.

    1. Thank you so much! I will be sure to get them all done quickly – I would suspect close to 1 per day now – thank you again for reading and commenting.

  5. Hi Anthony,
    I’m looking forward to the rest of the articles from this series. I got CCNA R&S certified a couple months ago. I want to thank you and Keith for the ICND exam walkthrough series. I just started preparing for CCNP R&S. I want to get that certification in order to update my skills, continue to learn and get a job in networking. People like you, Keith and Jeremy inspire and help me in the pursuit of my goals. Thank You.

  6. Thank you very much Anthony i needed that lift. I’ve being in the computer repair business for over 6 years now I’ve always had an interest in cisco system I failed the ccna in 2011 I watch both you Jeremy and Keith and I have not being able to focus and Master the material to pass the ccna this article will definitely help me

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