I work alongside so many different people, all from different backgrounds, all walking different paths, pursuing unique goals, and all holding unusual dreams. The one thing they tend to have in common is their pursuit of education; the vast majority of them are students. But as far as who they are as people, this is something I rarely ever uncover. In some ways, it is completely irrelevant to my work.

Today, however, this was far from irrelevant. Today I came to know a client I have worked alongside for years at a far deeper level. In the time I have known her (I use this expression loosely!), she has sent through numerous contracts—reports, assignments, papers, articles; all academic in nature—and yet I have never known anything about her beyond her field of study (computing). But regardless of the countless emails sent between us over the duration of our business relationship, regardless of the usual, everyday tone with which we communicate and discuss her editing requirements, something was different and it altered the entire course of my day.

Dr X (for the sake of anonymity) asked me last week if I could help her to put together a document explaining why she is not only eligible but a deserving and worthy candidate for a number of upcoming awards. The awards are centred on Leading Females in Saudi Arabia—predominantly in educational and technical fields. The task was simple: I would analyse her CV and put together a proposal. But this first stage completely changed everything; my desire to complete the contract and begin the next, my focus on the end of the day when I could snuggle deep beneath the blankets, my want for my working day to be over. Analysing her CV gave me something I have allowed to escape me for the longest time: inspiration.

I write with complete sincerity that it would be a complete travesty if Dr X was not recognised for not only one of the awards but several; she is that driven and she has achieved so much, at just 30 years of age, that, without even realising, she has become a shining example of what we should all aspire to be.

She has prioritised self-development and self-education to a level of which I am so in awe that it simply can’t be well articulated. She completed three degree consecutively and without break (a Master, a Bachelor and a PhD), founded a society providing technical females with courses, enrolled on a number of different training initiatives in mind of continuous development, devised a world-changing technology, and accordingly has been awarded for her efforts—countless awards, even from the likes of Microsoft and royalty in the KSA. Reading through her CV and writing the proposal were simple tasks; recovering from the awe, wiping myself free from jealousy and enjoy, and instead designing in my mind a new, more focused and determined path, however, was so much harder.

Reading through her 8-page CV was a wake-up call. It made me want to take a look at my professional career, at my day-to-day businesses and practices, and to polish and refine and make them the very best they could be. It’s made me want to be the very best I can be.

She has allowed me to see: anything and everything is possible. We should reach for the stars. If you reach only for a mountain’s peak that’s all you’ll ever achieve at best, but to reach for the stars could lead you so far above and beyond that mountain top.

I have never been one to lack motivation; I have always set high goals—to work from home, to run a business, to open a publishing house, to become an author. Everything I have ever desired I have worked to achieve, and so nothing will deter me from my aims. But ultimately, I’ve allowed my goals and what I’ve wanted to achieve to be so much smaller and that much closer than they needed to be. Why can’t I do far more than I had planned? Perhaps I have been too afraid to pursue things out of my comfort zone. Maybe I’ve been worried that, if I reach too high, I could experience my first taste of failure, but, really, what would that matter in the grand scheme of my career and my life? Failures come with lessons so surely they’re never an entirely bad thing.

With the inspiration Dr X’s CV induced in me, I spent the rest of the day mulling over the goals I have outlined for this year—another three books written and published, the launch of another two publishing houses and another editing business, and the establishing of my editing academy. As much as all of my hopes for the year are exciting and held close to my heart, and although I recognise that I don’t want to let any of them go, I still found myself wondering: Are they too safe? If I was to achieve them, what would separate this year from any other year in real terms? And so: Could I expand on them and push myself that much more? Could I turn any one of them into a bigger success?

Whilst wondering and contemplating, considering and reconsidering, designing and making notes, I then decided I would start as I mean to go on. I searched online for a course relevant to my English career, and I enrolled with the desire to improve myself on a professional basis, whilst making the promise to myself that I would continue on with courses and trainings—anything to help in further polishing my craft. I then turned back to my work. And that’s when I came to paraphrase one of Dr X’s reports and, like the universe had sent me a signal, I stumbled across the something I had been hoping for earlier in the day: the answer as to how I could do something a little different and chase bigger success…

But in itself, that warrants an entirely new post!



  1. Hey, thanks for sharing! All the best!

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