Unfortunately we haven't met.
Its very inspirational for me to observe others in the dojo progress and be recognised for their achievements. Case in point - I was a 2nd or 1st Kyu when two beginners started at our dojo with no aikido (let alone martial arts experience). They were recently awarded their shodans. Its very satisfying for me that I had the pleasure of training with them during all this time and to see them progress.
They saw the grading process and ranks as a way to judge their progress but not as a comparison with others in the dojo. It showed them what they needed to work on and gave them some goals to work through.
Personally, I'm not fussed with doing further gradings and have little interest in ranks or collecting higher ranks. What's important to me is training and improving. Others will have different opinions and goals.
All the best for your training