Career hurdles can be stressful. It’s easy to think that everyone else has everything figured out and you’re the only one struggling. That sentiment couldn’t be further from the truth. The vast majority of six sigma exam candidates that I talk to have the burden of getting certified on top of many other responsibilities. If that sounds like you, perhaps you’d be interested in my story.
What I Was Worried About Before my Six Sigma Exam
I had taken a new position at my company where we were expected to study and obtain the Six Sigma Black Belt certification quickly. I was assigned a Master Black Belt as a mentor and began studying Six Sigma as soon as I joined.
My days were busy as I was working full-time and taking on-line training at night. Over lunch I would review concepts with my mentor. My new position required a lot of travel so I would try to complete assignments in the airport lounge or in transit.
I was very motivated to be a good student because I had seen very talented coworkers of mine study for and fail their six sigma exams. They were miserable.
Two months after I had begun this position, my wife and I welcomed our first child, a baby girl! Unsurprisingly, my days did not become any less busy!
Worried About my Career
What did happen is that my boss (who had never taken any six sigma courses let alone sat for an exam!) reminded me every day that she expected me to take the exam as soon as possible – while of course taking on a full workload of projects.
Just 3 months into my position she conducted my year end review. Let’s just say that … it wasn’t what I had expected. I began to worry about my career. What would happen next if I didn’t pass this exam?
Worried About Letting People Down
Not only was I worried about my career, I was worried about letting people down.
The first person I felt I would let down would be my wife – a new mother – who was holding down the fort alone for days at a time when I traveled.
The next person I worried about was my newborn daughter. She had just arrived – this perfect little stranger- and here I am traveling for work and then taking classes or studying when I was in the house. I always felt like I was stealing time from her in order to prepare for certification.
And it wasn’t only personal relationships I worried about. My previous boss and other mentors inside the company had vouched for me to get this position I was now in. They stood up for me to get this assignment. I didn’t want their credibility to suffer if I couldn’t make it.
Compounding to the pressure I was under is the fact that I am based out of a satellite campus hundreds of miles away from our main office. No one from our site was ever allowed into that program before. When I was admitted to the program my new department head kept calling me an experiment. If I messed up, that would certainly slam the door shut on anyone else from my location being offered similar opportunities. Would I then be known as the person who let the entire site down?
And as much as I worried about letting others down, I worried about letting myself down. For my entire life I’ve been a type-A, competitive personality. Although having children has mellowed me out a bit now, back then I was certainly in full competitive mode!
While some numbers coming out of ASQ and other certifying bodies indicate that very few people pass the first time, that meant that some people did pass. And there were some people in my cadre who had passed whom I was sure I was smarter than. But if they passed, and I didn’t, what would that mean?
It Turns Out My Story Is Not Unique
Anyway, that’s my story. I’ve never laid it out like that before. But after hearing from so many people taking these exams, that’s the unnamed, hardest part – dealing with the emotions.
- Some people are where I was; trying to justify a position or a promotion and thinking everyday ‘What if I don’t pass?’
- Others are employed in dead-end, soul-sucking career, or maybe just the wrong jobs for them. And this certification could be the way out.
- And many are currently unemployed and are looking to leverage a certification to resume or start a new career. They are thinking ‘What if I passed? What doors would that open for me?’
Whatever your story, the point is that the emotional undercurrents of your situation put greater pressure on you than any timed exam ever will.
How to Cope
First, take a deep breath and let it out. Tens of thousands of people have been in your shoes before and found success. Thousands of people are in you exact same position now – and many of them will find success.
Despite all this noise, you can achieve what you want to achieve, just like I and thousands of other exam candidates have done.
A Better Way to Study
I found the best way to quiet my emotions was to have a rock solid plan and system for mastering the questions on the exam. I devised a way to prioritize my studying by focusing my attention on my weakest points. That allowed me to save time by working the topics that offered me the biggest return on the investment of my time.
A few years after passing my exams I built a system that automates this process for you. Today this system is open for purchase. It is the system that I wish was available when I was preparing for my exam!
After that I’ll close the doors for a few months to focus on helping the people who signed up get into the best possible position to pass their exams. If you’d like to get access, please go here.
What is the Six Sigma Green Belt Study Guide and Practice Questions?
Well, it’s a lot of things. Check this out:
- Assessment Exams to determine your baseline understanding of key Six Sigma topics listed in the ASQ and IASSC Bodies of Knowledge.
- Hundreds and Hundreds of questions with detailed answers and links to how to learn more about the topic. (Very helpful when you want to focus deeply on one area.)
- 9 Modules of grouped Six Sigma topics.
- Six Sigma and the Organization
- Team Dynamics and Performance
- Define Phase of DMAIC
- Measure Phase of DMAIC
- Analyze Phase of DMAIC
- Improve Phase of DMAIC
- Control Phase of DMAIC
- Lean Principles
- Design for Six Sigma
- Each Module is decomposed to several discrete Units allowing you to focus deeply on specific topics.
- Each Unit contains a batch of multiple questions designed to:
- Test your understanding of the material.
- Teach you why your answer was right or wrong.
- Show you where to go to learn more about topics you need to strengthen.
- Each module has a comprehensive exam covering all of the topics in each unit to ensure you have achieved mastery.
- After each module there is a comprehensive mini-exam to ensure that you didn’t forget any of the material that came earlier.
- (10) Full-length, timed comprehensive practice exams that mimic what you will see on exam day.
- And by the way, the whole system is a-la-carte. You can access any module or unit at any time and go at your own pace. No drip content to force you to be a paying member longer than you need or want to be.
Most of the time that I devote to this site will be spent improving the system based off of user feedback. The system has already been battle-tested and improved off of feedback from both a beta group and a soft launch. Improvements are continuously made, but each time that the course reaches a new level, the price does go up correspondingly. (Active participants are always grandfathered in. Memberships are available for one year, and you get all of the improvements that I make at no additional cost – cheat sheets, additional calculators, tools, questions, practice exams, etc.)
Of course there are still hundreds of articles to help you in your Six Sigma career for free on this website. And I will try to continue answering as many questions as I can, but my priority will be the people who purchase the Six Sigma Green Belt Study Guide and Exam Questions.
I’ve really enjoyed being part of this community and helping thousands of people on their journey. I’m very excited about this next evolution that should help many more achieve their certification goals. Thanks for making this possible.