You have no idea how long I’ve waited to see this little snippet in my email:
Three years. Seven lab attempts. Several close calls. Lots of studying. Lots of second guessing. Lots of anger. But in the end, the elation of those four letters makes it all worthwhile.
There are a lot of people to thank. I’m going to call out three people in particular who are head and shoulders above the rest though.
First, my family and my beautiful wife Kristin especially. Thank you for putting up with my odd schedule and my even odder behavior for the last three years. Thank you for not letting give up and making me keep my nose to the grindstone for this achievement. I promise from this point forward that Daddy won’t have his nose buried in a configuration guide. At least not too often.
Secondly, to my amazing boss, Mr. Mike Hibbs. The man that never gave up on me. Every time I flew back home with my head hung low with shame burning on my forehead, he told me to pick myself up off the ground and try again. He footed the bill for me even when I didn’t think I could do it any more. I owe you more than I can ever hope to repay in a lifetime.
And lastly (but certainly not least), to my mentor and friend Wes Williams. Four years ago, Wes and I were having lunch and I told him that I was going to take the CCIE exam. He paused and told me in his slow drawl, “Well, if you keep your head on straight and study hard, I think you’ll do it with no problem.” Wes, you left us far too soon. You saw the potential in me from the very start and never let me settle for second best. I always said that if I passed the lab that I would owe my success to you. I just wish you could have been here to see it. This one’s for you, Wes. I hope I made you proud.
There’s a lot more story for me to tell than I can hope to stuff into this blog post right now. I plan on laying out some more of it after I’ve had time to come down off this emotional high. I want to thank everyone for their encouragement and support for the last three years. I knew that the only time I would have truly failed the CCIE is the day I decided the quite trying. And now I never have to worry about that day.
From now on, CCIE #29213 belongs to me.