Passed my ITIL Foundations Exam

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I have just passed my ITIL Foundations exam...and boy was it close!

65% is what is required for the 40 question multiple choice exam.

68% is what I walked away with.

Although as Joe, my online proctor said after, "Passing is passing."

How I Passed

I signed up quite a few months ago to an online self-directed ITIL course from ThoughtRock. Some of my colleagues at work have used other ITIL training from vendors such as EMC2, or taken overpriced in-class courses.

(Disclaimer: From personal observation I noticed more colleagues that used self-directed courses seem to have a lower passing grade than expensive in-class courses. Yes, myself included.)

ThoughtRock is great because it includes the exam you can do online. This is done through Loyalist which you can schedule and reschedule when you want to take the exam. The proctor will take over your computer and after photo ID verification and using the webcam to show your test area is clear of notes you begin the teat and the clock counts down.

Since they see what your screen is showing, monitor your webcam and mic, and whether your eyes are on screen the whole time...its a little intense. During the test I was asked not to read the questions out loud to myself. ūüėõ

How I Studied

I kept putting off studying always to the end of working days, which I would always be mentally exhausted to attempt. Finally I received notification that my ThoughtRock training account was going to expire and I would have to pony up more funds just keep it open for addition time (I honestly cannot remember is it was a 30 or 60 day extension).

I bought the extension, requested from my boss some study time at home, and finally buckled down. CBTs (Computer Based Training) can be brutal!

Overall the pace of ThoughtRock was within my tolerance. Near the end I was able to mute the movie trailer narrator's voice and read faster to cover the material in the time I allotted. I give credit to Scott H. Young's MIT Challenge for speeding up the pace.

As I chewed through the training I busted out the Crayons and all different types of colourful pens and highlighters to make rememberable illustrations within my notes.

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This might seem juvenial but this helped me remember abstract list of things. Credit to Joshua Foer's TED talk for making feats of memory a piece of cake.

Can't really say the material I illustrated was covered extensively on the test, but I'll always remember that information and it was certainly fun!

Here's some very odd and ridiculous illustrations in my notes that burned information into my memory. The more raunchier and more ridiculous the better! (Sloppyright paulywill.com)

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As always it helped to have a little coffee and encouragement from Kristen!

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Profitable Brand-Building & Marketing Made Easy

Eben Pagan has just released a new free report that shares 4 powerful steps to build your brand and market your products and services.

  1. The two types of branding - and why most companies use the WRONG one when they spend money to market themselves
  2. What branding actually is, and how it works on a psychological and emotional level
  3. How to combine your direct marketing and branding together - to make both a lot more powerful
  4. How to use these strategies to get a lot more customers, grow your business, and also grow your profit and income

The report also comes with a couple of PDF exercise downloads, and a video from Eben¬†walking you through the steps to identifying¬†your own brand ‚Äúhot buttons‚ÄĚ and using the¬†strategies to build your brand and your sales.

You can get it all here by just opting-in:

Free report

Go download and read the report now, and learn how to profitably brand and market your products and services.

 

:p

‚ÄúThe Art Of Entrepreneurial Productivity‚ÄĚ

Eben Pagan has just released a new report and video teaching the 5 steps to increase your productivity as an entrepreneur.

Always amazing free content, I highly recommend that you read it and watch the video if you want to learn how to increase the results and profit in your business.

You can download the report and watch the video for free by opting-in here:

5 Steps To Increase Business Productivity & Profit

Productivity for us entrepreneurs is about doing the things that increase the growth and profit of our businesses, so we can increase our income.

Eben walks through five powerful steps:

  1. See the hidden obstacles that get in the way of
    business productivity and profit (many of these are
    actually emotional, so we don’t even notice them)
  2. Identify the specific actions inside of your own
    business that result in growth and profit
  3. Create an environment that puts you into the ‚Äúflow‚ÄĚ
    state and almost forces you to do the things that
    result in making higher income
  4. Inspire and motivate yourself emotionally, to focus
    all of your energy on doing those things that grow
    your business and the money you get from it
  5. Productivity is a bigger and bigger challenge -
    especially for entrepreneurs who work in a connected
    world.

This report and video lesson will show you how to really increase your business productivity, your growth, and your profit.

Again, you can get the report and video for free by just opting-in here:

 5 Steps To Increase Business Productivity & Profit

A quick tip: Read the report and then print out the two exercises that go along with it before you watch the video - because the video walks you through the steps in the exercises, and it will save you some time if you already have them printed out.

:p

I <3 Marketing!

ILM-BANNER-2

About a year or so ago I started to get into learning about Internet Marketing and Direct Response Marketing. What I assume would be a passing interest has only intensified the more I learn about it.

Some great ideas worth STEALING come directly from the I Love Marketing podcast with Joe Polish and Dean Jackson. Both have interesting stories of going from rags to riches using direct response marketing to drive their average businesses through the roof.

Direct response is different from what people typically think about when it comes to marketing. I've recently been paying attention to how small business owners will talk about how cool they are, and what they have to offer... and yet (and not their fault) give little or no consideration as to what their customer's real needs are.

e.g. A typical marketing campaign will be the theme of :

"Come see us now for low prices and crap you don't need!"

e.g. A direct response marketing campaign ask the customer to "raise their hand" and follow-up in perhaps stages or with educational marketing:

"Did you know your losing [something] because you don't even know the rules?   Place your email below to join our newsletter and receive our free report of the deadlest mistakes to avoid when doing X with Y and receive a direct link to our free online course on 'The 10 ways to increase A and B by 150%' "

The first example is just white noise to most people. The second example is a list generator, but offers free massive VALUE to customers. What marketing and information product guru Eben Pagan
coined as "Moving the Freeline".

Recently I've experimented with applying direct response marketing to my hiring process for the Parachute Packing Team I help run at Skydive Toronto. I quickly setup a webpage I'd been sitting on for awhile now (Paratechies.com) in about an hour or so with GoDaddy and WordPress.

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I flopped around once again creating this new website spending way too much time on the header and finally resolved something as simple and clean as possible. Using long copy I've described my story applying the same job I'm posting back in 2008, I also created a Gallery of very specific photos I thought would create a particular feeling.

My mission was simply to captivate the excitement of possible canidates with particular qualities I usually look for and create a list for a follow up email and training process. I placed an ad on Kijiji.com with the URL link (cost $5.00) and now I have a slow growing list of applicants I can pick through.

So far it's been a fun little experiment as my first try at direct response marketing.

I'll have to post an update as the team is finally assembled.

:p

Zombsession

Zombie Walk 2012 - SP

K-10 decided to treat her man (mailman not available so she took me) to the movies Friday night to see Warm Bodies.   Opening night and the cinema was packed!  I thought it was great movie in part because it took the perspective a zombie this time, rather than a survivor.  Also very comical.

The Walking Dead, flash mobs, now romantic comedies?!  Yes, I'm part of the craze. 

There was an interesting discussion this morning with some of my colleagues regarding the obsession...or Zombsession that's gripping fans like crazy!

Why are people so hung up and hooked on zombies?

Theory #1: The Chasing Nightmare

We've all had that dream where we're being chased.  They're faceless, or without soul, and yet in our minds they seem to know all the hiding spots and we're barely getting away.  There's something about the constant running to survive that's horrific, yet very relatable.  We want to see them escape, yet watch knowing there’s no where to run.  

Theory #2: The Ultimate Playground

There's always a scene of the "survivors" doing guilt-free looting and purging stores, hospitals, and anywhere in between in order to survive.  It’s impossible not to think what we’d grab, what we’d carry, and how we’d survive.  Probably the best zombie movie to exploit this throughout the entire movie was Zombieland.  The entire movie was a group trying to stay amused and in search of Twinkies.  Absolutely brilliant!

Theory #3: The Killer Within

Always armed to the teeth, clearing rooms, and always organizing into a misfit size army with delusions of invincibility blowing heads off.  There’s something about that which, as a guy, justifies a gory delight wishing to killing something that deserve to be killed.  The hunter-gatherer inside me is just gathering…and usually crap from Walmart I don’t need.  Give me a monster without a soul coming at me on the screen in a kill or be killed scenario and all of sudden it’s pushing buttons inside me I didn’t know where there.

 

Final Thought

The zombie genre keeps¬†evolving as well, always one rebooting the¬†monster¬†with a different spin.¬† I must say Zombie Strippers!¬†while barely thought provoking, was a testament that¬†anything could be zombified.¬†¬† I say keep it going until we‚Äôve reached a ‚ÄúTwilight point‚ÄĚ we did with vampires and then simmer down.

 
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The Plan-Do-Check-Act Model and Melting Ass Fat

PDCA-Cycle
image credit: Karn-b - Karn G. Bulsuk

It's been awhile since I've dove (white bird?)  into the joy of creating insightful content to be ignored by the masses.

I had originally created a blog in college, before they were called blogs, and loved re-posting random dark and tasteless humour I'd stumble across on the web.  It ran in the domain called Barks.ca (just a lovely bot site now).

As like most website owners I spent more time dedicated to making a niffy banner (oh that impressive Flash class put to good use) and rarely did anything result from my efforts on the content front.

The difference with this blog?

I will be playing with Dr W. Edwards Deming's Plan, Do, Check, Act. (Hat tip to Tony Robbins for bringing this academic and management concept to the masses.)  The model is something we do unconsciously already in a half ass clumsy manner.

Plan:

Make a plan.  My evil plan here is to share my unusual learning adventures of enhancing my life with others.

Do:

Ahh shit...the tough part.  Actually doing that plan you just made.  I am more better at the planning of things and making delightful flow charts.  Do you find this to be the same with you?  I have a whole checklist and "open loops" and ambitious goals.  Well this is where I start putting accountability and testify and use all that neat social leverage and messed up approval seeking.

Check:

Check your results and analyze.  Hmmm...I guess I check the audience I'm attracting here or the results. This is important step here people. If you declare to lose 30 lbs and 30 years later you're on new medication...you might've missed this step or just plain distracted yourself with entertainment and comfort food.  Frequent checking and creating useful dashboards is the daily ritual.

Re-focus...checking is important.

Act:

Adjust things in accordance to that checking step. Then back to Plan.

 

This model is applicable to anything in life:

  1. Make a new PLAN
  2. Start DOing it
  3. CHECK results
  4. ACT (or STUDY) in accordance and make adjustments
  5. Repeat the cycle

 

Case Study

Plan:

In the last few months I was aiming to lose the infamous "last 10 lbs".

Do:

I exercised 2-3 times a week and followed The SCD (ref: Tim Ferris). I would weight myself in the morning in just my undies and put the the result in a simple Google Drive spreadsheet.

Check:

Despite my efforts doing poop loads of cardio and a careful diet (or so I thought) my last bit of weight was not coming off!

Act

Then walking through the local bookstore I came across The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet
(*disclaimer that's an evil affiliate link *). I read it in a few sittings and it was making a lot of sense. I'm slightly biased as I'm big into evolutionary psychology.

I remembered the post on the 4HWW that introduced Robb Wolf and his book but it wasn't until recently that I bought the book.  I was doing all sorts of evil things to my own body and not even realizing it.  In fact I was giving myself inflammation and my body was responding with ass fat.

I made a new PLAN to follow the basic principles and WITHIN A WEEK (DO) I had people concerned because I was melting the weight off (CHECK). Not quite what I was aiming for, but the results were that drastic! I am maintaining the weight I'm at now (ACT) and will be adding some more strength training (PLAN).

(The short version of The Paleo Diet: stop getting crap like all grains, wheat, and things with gluten; no dairy; no sugar; lots of meat and fat; act like a cave person since your body was designed for that era not trans-fat couch surfing HDTV era; laugh at vegans and vegetarians.)

Boom skies,
:p