This guest blog is one which I am very keen to publish and truly excited about. Alya Naseer, from Canada, is an incredibly focussed and inspiring individual, who has written a book at the age of 14. This guest blog shares with us all, her incredible journey in publishing her first book and reflections on skills, from the perspective of millennial generation. I highly commend this read, as it shares with us important leadership reflections and the importance of self development. The importance of skills development for youth, including their talent and aspirations. I hope you enjoy reading this guest post, as much as I did. I welcome feedback that would support Alya and many others in their personal development and journey.
I am sure you will agree Alya is an incredible young lady, who aspires and inspires many as a #SkillsLeader – not just youth. I am also encouraging #WorldSkillsLeaders to join me in thanking Alya for sharing such superb insights.
Finally, I would like to thank an equally inspiring, dedicated and firmly committed #WorldSkillsLeader, Tanveer Naseer, for giving me the opportunity to share Alya’s inspiring skills journey and thoughts, for KaurSkills.
Reflections by Alya Naseer
Life, as we know it, is full of challenges. Finding the right job, making enough money to pay the bills, building and maintaining relationships, and accomplishing our goals is not always easy, and yet they make our lives feel successful and happy.
For me, one of the many challenges I faced was publishing my own book, “Don’t Change: A Mother’s Letter Of Love For Her Daughter”, without the help of a publisher. Many times I had to contact Amazon to get the information I needed to publish my book – the image size requirements, available print sizes, how the royalty payments worked, and many other details. Other times, I had to research online to figure out how to create my book.
When publishing my book, I not only needed many different computer and artistic skills, but I also needed self-confidence, determination and perseverance, patience, curiosity, and the encouragement and support of those around me. Some of these skills I already possessed, others I needed to develop to complete my book.
Here are four lessons, I want to share that helped me to develop the skills I needed, to accomplish my goal – Steps you can take to help you achieve yours.
1. When faced with a challenge, you have to be determined, persistent, and curious
When I was designing my book, I kept getting errors like the images not appearing, or they were too big or small on the page. Sometimes the images were also a little blurry. Times like these made me feel like giving up because it was so frustrating as I didn’t know how to fix it. But then I thought of how proud I would be when I published my book; of holding my work in my hands and sharing it with my family, friends and teachers.
Thinking of that end goal kept me going despite all the frustrations, and made me curious and driven to seek the answers to these problems.
To accomplish any goal, you obviously need to work hard to get the final result. The problem, though, is if you’re not determined, what’s going to stop you from giving up? There will be challenges and it won’t always be easy but you can’t give up; you need to keep going.
It is important to know you can do anything you want in life if you’re willing to put time and effort into it. When you set a goal, you have to be ready to do everything you can to reach that goal – like what I did by asking for help or doing research to find the answers. You also need to be curious to try new things that might be out of your comfort zone, even if you make mistakes.
To develop these skills, imagine what it is you want to accomplish. Picture how happy and proud you’ll be, and how proud those around you will be. This will be a source of motivation to stop you from giving up and to persevere despite the problems and frustrations you might encounter.
2. You need to be self-confident; you need to believe in yourself
Self-confidence is very important when you want to accomplish a goal. You need to believe in yourself no matter what, which is the message I share in my book, “Don’t Change”.
In my case, I hardly ever second-guessed myself, I kept thinking ‘Why not?’. I guess I never really worried about what people thought of me or what they think I can do. After all, it’s easy for people to think that a fourteen-year old girl can’t publish her own book. But, I never let those kinds of thoughts or comments get in my way.
For example, when I uploaded the eBook version of my book for sale on Amazon, although on my tablet it looked right, the preview on Amazon showed that the images were missing. To make things worse, my dad had already started telling people that they could buy the eBook version of my book not knowing that there was this problem. However, I wasn’t worried because I knew I could fix it, and sure enough, I was able to correct the mistake before anyone noticed or bought a copy of the eBook.
Some people always question their every move while others think ‘why not?’. Don’t be afraid to try new things or doubt your ability to do it. You might feel uneasy when trying new things but it’s important to believe in yourself and be willing to try.
Another important thing to remember is that you must not second-guess yourself, because this will lead to disappointment, it can stress you out, and it can prevent you from achieving your goal.
Self-confidence is a skill you can develop, just believe in what you do and that you’re doing something that matters to you. And don’t let others tell you what you can or cannot do. This is necessary in life; not only to accomplish a goal, but to live a happy life.
3. Patience and practice always makes it easier
Life is not always easy, there will be difficult times or moments when you must do something complicated that you might not have done before. When you set a goal, it will take some time to do, so you need to be patient and not rush things.
When I was working on illustrating and designing the book, I sometimes got impatient because it took a lot of time and effort. Sometimes when I drew, my hand got sore, because I was drawing for so long. I wanted everything to look amazing so I knew in advance I had to put a lot of time and effort in my work. Another thing I knew was that I had to practice sketching to figure out how to create the right shading and perspectives to make my drawings memorable and emotional.
When it comes to achieving your goal, you probably won’t get everything right the first time and this can bring you down. So you should practice the techniques needed to accomplish your goal because practice might not make perfect, but it will improve your skills.
It’s hard to develop patience but it’s not impossible. One thing that can help, is to do the procedure block by block, little by little. Also, try to plan in advance how much time you think a block will take. This way, you will not mind how long it takes for you to do it.
4. The encouragement of the people around you is also important
Whenever you face a challenge, the encouragement of others will help you to get through the difficult times; the times when you want to give up because of an obstacle that’s standing in your way. Encouragement from others motivates you to keep going and it will make you even prouder when you are done because those around you understand what it took to accomplish it.
My family and friends supported me throughout the whole process of publishing my book. My dad sometimes helped me with my book, especially when I had to fix the book images or modify the computer coding for the eBook. My friends asked from time to time how the book was going and kept telling me how eager they were to see what the illustrated book would look like. That support and encouragement really helped me to keep going and even motivated me a bit to finish faster than I expected.
When setting out to achieve a goal, try to find people who will encourage you and support you, especially when you feel like giving up or if you face challenges that you think you can’t handle. Having people around you that believe in you will make it easier to keep at it.
Life is full of challenges, but we can all get through them if we develop these skills – determination and curiosity, confidence and belief in ourselves, patience and practice, and knowing who we can count on for encouragement and support.
‘Believe in yourself because you can do anything. I know you can.’
Alya Naseer is a 14 year old who enjoys learning new things in high school and always loves a challenge. Alya is a Academic Distinction award-winning student at Heritage Regional High School in the International Baccalaureate program. She is also the author of “Don’t Change: A Mother’s Letter Of Love For Her Daughter”, a heart-warming, illustrated poem that encourages people to be themselves, no matter what those around you think or say.