The 3 Things I Do To Start My Day

career success Dec 07, 2015

The way you start your day can have a huge impact on your productivity. Over the past few months, I’ve been experimenting with creating a “morning ritual,” which is a collection of energizing and motivational procedures to get me ready for the day.

I’ve tried several combinations of activities, and although I haven’t formulated the magic elixir  just yet, I wanted to share some of the procedures that I’ve found most impactful.

Activity #1: Stay Away from e-Mail

This first activity is almost a non-activity, meaning that it’s something that I don’t do. What I’m striving not to do (although I’m not perfect at this yet) is checking my e-mail for the first three hours of the day. Then, after focusing on my top priorities for the first three hours of the day, I’ll check my e-mail at about 11:00 AM. Then, I close my e-mail application and don’t check it again until around 4:00 PM. Of course, if your job is...

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Your Route to Cisco Career Success – Part 3: The Curiosity Key

career success Nov 18, 2015

Walt Disney is one of my personal heroes, and the following quote from him beautifully sets the stage for this blog post’s topic, curiosity:

We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious, and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths. 

– Walt Disney

Curiosity about how something works spurs on mastery of that topic. It motivates us to want to learn more. This blog post examines some of the benefits of having a healthy curiosity, steps to further develop your curiosity, and another tale from the trenches that illustrates how curiosity led to the development of one of my most popular Cisco training videos.

The Benefits of Curiosity

Albert Einstein said, “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” Are you curious how curiosity can help us in our Cisco careers? Let’s consider just a few benefits of curiosity.

  • Motivation: Becoming...
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Your Route to Cisco Career Success – Part 2: When Life Gets In The Way

career success Oct 09, 2015

In a previous blog post we considered how to effectively set our goals to reach our “destination address.” However, no matter how well we plan, it seems that occasionally, life gets in the way. That’s the focus of this blog post, how to keep moving forward against the current of life.

When Life Gets in the Way

Your goals are set, and you’re cruising down that metaphorical road to success when all of a sudden you notice a detour sign, because the road ahead is closed. That’s what seems to happen all too often in our careers. Things are going well, and then some life event happens forcing us to take a detour from our intended path.

Staying with our metaphor of driving down the road of success, let’s imagine that your car has a navigation system. When you veer off your planned route, the navigation system dutifully recomputes your route and tells you how you can still get to your destination, even from the back road you now find yourself on. (As a...

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Lessons I Learned from Disney – Part 5: Dreams Come True

career success Sep 29, 2015

When you see an advertisement for Disney Parks, and they show their tag line, The Place Where Dreams Come True, you might conjure up images of children meeting their favorite pirate or princess (by the way, my favorite is Belle). In fact, the title of this blog post, Dreams Come True, might sound a bit trite at this point. However, I invite you to explore with me how we can truly make our dreams come true. That dream might be earning your CCNA R/S certification, or perhaps your CCIE in Collaboration. Maybe it’s getting that dream job, or starting your own IT consulting business. Well, princesses and pirates aside, I’ve learned much about realizing my dreams from Disney.

Walt’s Dream

In a previous blog posting in the “Lessons I’ve Learned from Disney” series, we learned about how Walt Disney overcame the adversity of losing Oswald the Lucky Rabbit and came up with the idea for Mickey Mouse. But let’s fast...

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Your Route to Cisco Career Success – Part 1 Goals: Your Destination Address

career success Aug 25, 2015

About three years ago, I wrote a little e-book entitled Your Route to Cisco Career Success. Although it’s available in Kindle format from Amazon, you can download a free PDF of the bookHERE. Since the feedback from this book has been so positive, I thought it would be a good idea to share the main lessons from the book in a series of blog posts, along with some updated content.

In this blog post, let’s consider the first lesson the book teaches. It’s all about goal setting.


Goals, Your Destination Address

If you get into your car and drive for a couple of hours, making the occasional turn, and taking the occasional detour, you will end up somewhere. However, the destination at which you find yourself might not be where you want to be.

What if, instead, you predetermined your destination, planned your route, and maybe even entered your desired destination into your car’s navigation system? At the end of two hours, you would either have already...

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3 Lessons I’ve Learned from John Chambers

career success Jul 15, 2015

John Chambers has been the CEO of Cisco since January of 1995, but on July 26, 2015 he is stepping down and going into semi-retirement. Replacing him at the helm of Cisco is Chuck Robbins.

To honor John for his leadership of Cisco, in this blog posting I want to point out three specific life lessons I’ve learned from him.

Lesson #1: Have An Overcoming Attitude

Several years ago while attending Cisco Networkers (the predecessor to Cisco Live), I was sitting in the audience waiting for John Chambers to deliver the keynote address. Interestingly, prior to the presentation, he was walking around talking with various audience members. After the keynote, I had a few moments to chat with him. At that time, I did a lot of public speaking; specifically, I led lots of live classes for a Cisco Learning Partner. So, getting some insight into his public speaking skills would be super valuable. I asked him about his preparation for the keynote. I was surprised that he was walking around,...

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Three Memorable Quotes from Cisco Live 2015

career success Jun 24, 2015

Just a few days ago, I returned from Cisco Live 2015, which was held in San Diego, California. As always, is was an educational, exhausting, and exciting week.

Enjoying Cisco Live 2015 With My Wife, Vivian
While learning lots of cool technical stuff, there were a few statements in various presentations that really resonated with me. Personally, I like to collect insightful and inspirational quotes and thought you might enjoy these three:

(1) The moment it’s not hard to do, others do. -John Chambers

One of the big buzz words (or acronyms) at Cisco Live this year was ACI, which refers to Cisco Application-Centric Infrastructure. ACI is a technology that can use Software Defined Networking (SDN) to dramatically reduce IT administration tasks and speed up large deployments (e.g. in data centers). The concern expressed by some CCIEs was that since ACI could do many of the jobs they regularly do, their value might be reduced.

During a Q&A period at the CCIE NetVet...

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Lessons I Learned from Disney – Part 4 (The Advantage of Adversity)

career success Jun 04, 2015

In the first three parts of the Lessons I Learned from Disney series, we’ve talked about lessons learned when I was working at Walt Disney World. However, in this installment, let’s discuss a lesson learned from studying the history of Walt Disney. That lesson is about adversity, and how we can deal with adversity.

In our networking careers, we are going to have adversity. We are going to have troubleshooting issues. We are going to have failures on certification exams. We might lose a contract. We might lose a job. Adversity is going to happen.

Let’s begin with a quote from Walt who said:

All the adversity I’ve had in my life, all my troubles and obstacles have strengthened me. You may not realize it when it happens, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.

Way back in 1928, Walt Disney and his brother Roy, at the Disney Studios in California, had a successful animation business. They had a character named Oswald the...

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3 Tips to Ace the Technical Interview

career success May 27, 2015

At some point in your networking career, you are almost certainly going to face the dreaded technical interview. In this blog posting, let’s answer the question, “How do you go in and come across as the candidate that the company wants to hire?”
Certainly, there are lots of books, and there is lots of advice on how to answer different interviewing questions, but in this blog posting I want to give you three specific tips that have worked for me in different interviews.

Tip #1

Tip #1 is to establish rapport. I remember many years ago, I was interviewing with one of the big ten accounting firms for an IT  position. On my drive to the office to be interviewed, I was listening to one of my many Anthony Robbins tapes – that shows you how long ago it was. I was actually listening to a tape, not a CD or not an mp3.
On that tape, Anthony Robbins tapes was talking about the importance of rapport. He was making a statement that, “We tend to like people...

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Lessons I Learned from Disney – Part 3 (Balancing Urgency with Impact)

career success Apr 09, 2015

Mid afternoon, around 3:00 pm, is a prime time for checking into hotels, and the same holds true for Disney’s many resorts. These days, when you check into a Disney resort, you’re given a Magic Band, but when I was working there in the year 2000, guests were given a Key to the World card. Guests used their card to open the door to their room, purchase food, buy merchandise, and get access to the Disney World parks. As a result, getting a call one afternoon around 3:00 pm that a couple of Disney’s resorts (specifically, Disney’s Yacht  and Beach Club Resorts) could not create Key to the World cards was a big deal.

Several of us piled into a company van and headed over to Epcot. We took an elevator down three floors below Future World and went into an equipment room containing the Cisco Catalyst switches servicing nearby resorts. The LED load indicator on the Cisco Catalyst’s supervisor engine indicated the switch was under a significant processor...

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