Destroy any idea that you need a belt to determine your self worth.
To me this was one of the best things said here. I come from a TKD background which did not promote solely based on technical expertise. While I think it is admirable to try for a belt when you may have difficulties reaching it, to just give the belt through time in grade diminishes the very thing you are trying to reach for.
I really like the fact that my current Dojo is tougher in its grading requirements, and that I see a refusal to promote before the technical ability is there (for reference we are all pre-shodan, I can see that technical ability after shodan might be a bit harder to judge, at least from my perspective).