If at first you don\u2019t succeed, blah, blah, blah. \u00a0Nice concept, but personally I\u2019d have waived the white flag after flunking the Cisco Certified Interworking Expert lab exam, oh, let\u2019s say a half-dozen times, tops. Gone to chef\u2019s school or something.Not so one intrepid CCIE wannabee: According to Cisco, a CCIE candidate has failed the lab exam 19 times \u2026 and still hasn\u2019t landed the most prized professional certification in the network industry.Headlined \u201cCCIE: Talk about a stress test,\u201d a package of stories in this week\u2019s\u00a0Network World by my colleague Carolyn Marsan tells a fascinating tale of perseverance.From the story: \u201cFor most, passing the CCIE lab exam requires studying as many as 1,000 hours and maintaining a laser-like focus that leaves spouses, children and hobbies by the wayside. The lab exam also costs big bucks, with the purchase of workbooks, preparatory courses, racks of Cisco equipment, exam fees and travel reaching as high as $20,000. The lab exam is so difficult that it has taken on mythic proportions in the network industry. CCIEs talk about how physically taxing the process is and list it among their greatest accomplishments. \u201cWhat makes this story particularly compelling is that it doesn\u2019t really matter that we\u2019re talking about routers and switches, or even Cisco and technology. It\u2019s a story about people digging deep to find what\u2019s necessary to get ahead in their chosen field. And there\u2019s nothing blah, blah, blah about it.Have a CCIE-related story of your own to tell? You can share it in this Network World forum.