Remember, You Make a Difference

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So, why do we desire certifications? For some of us, it’s the challenge of setting a goal and working toward that goal. For others, it’s the knowledge attained in the process; and the validation the certification provides that one has attained that level of knowledge. And for still others, it may be for career reasons: a job, a promotion, or a special project. Some even love to collect the certification logos at the bottom of their email signatures and business cards. The logos do carry with them a certain savoir-faire.

But let’s look a bit deeper. Why is it that we desire that which we desire? Why are we shooting for the knowledge that will improve our abilities at work or get us that better job? The higher prestige, or the pay raise to help you buy that new car? Is it to make your parents proud and to thank them for all they have done for you? To provide a better life for your children? To change the world in some way, shape, or form, if only to some tiny degree?

In my past 10 years around certifications, I have heard some amazing stories about how a certification has changed lives. From pulling people out of situations of poverty to providing opportunities and opening doors that simply were not available without a certification program. In 2012, I even managed to get Cisco Certifications recognized as part of the Australian Immigration Skills Assessment. This has allowed immigrants and asylum seekers the chance to move not only themselves, but their entire families, from situations of hardship and, in some cases, danger to opportunity and hope.

While day-to-day stresses and your things-to-do list can threaten to cloud up what you have achieved, or what are on the path to achieving, every now and again you need to put it all back into perspective. The Cisco Certifications program is recognized and respected globally. It is a language that transcends national, socio-economic, and religious borders. Whether you are a course creator, a classroom student, a certification holder, or someone who has just booked your first exam, you are part of the unique fabric that is Cisco Certifications.

So, here we are, at my final challenge for 2014.

If you have made it this far, you have accomplished the following:

•     Studied in groups

And now, for my final challenge, I want you to make a difference!
It sounds daunting, but it’s not.

Mainly because, you have already done it. If you are reading this blog as a member of the certification community at the Cisco Learning Network—whether you have a certification or have simply talked to people about it—you have made a difference.

If you bought a textbook for your child that you could otherwise not have been able to afford, if not for the hours you put into bettering yourself and your career, you have already done so.

If you were part of installing an emergency IP telephony network in an area devastated by natural disaster or war, you have already done so.

If you support a local network that carries the information of a handful of businesses, or the network of a small business like the photography studio pictured above, you are making a difference.

Whether big or small (and that is always a matter of perception), such actions are ultimately all making a difference to this wonderful world around us. On the days when it’s hard to get out of bed, my final challenge is for you to remember that.

It is not important to be everything to everyone, but if you can be an important something to somebody, that is an achievement.

And so, I turn the last in this series over to you. Let us know in the comments below: What do you do (or have you done) to make the world a better place with your certifications?