My business won a local business excellence award this week, in the category of Home-based Business. I’ve observed my reaction all week since it happened and wondered what on earth it’s all been about. My reaction, or more truly, my “under-reaction”.
A few things went through my brain.
I was sitting with the other finalist in the category and we are friends and have worked with each other, and I knew it would mean so much for her to win. Not that it didn’t mean anything to me, just that I knew it would mean so much to her. She has been nothing but gracious and we’ve both supported each other, but initially I wondered if I played it down because I didn’t want to be too big about it out of respect to all the other people I know work really hard.
I wondered if I still care if other people think I’m a show-off. I didn’t even get a cool picture of me with my award on the night. The response on social media to a post by my husband and brother and the other finalist was full of love, kudos and support for me – and that was gratifying and humbling (as was winning the award). I don’t think I care anymore what other people think of me, and I certainly feel pretty solid about what I do well.
I wondered if things mean less once you’ve achieved them before. Many moons ago we won a series of awards for our farm tourism business – from local tourism, to State Environmental to a National Environmental award for a small business. It was really cool, but I know back then I really was trying to prove something. The recognition spurred me on and kept me going, even when personally everything was struggle street.
I wondered if now I really know that my success is a team thing – and even if my business is “about me” because it’s in my name – the stuff I feel proud about achieving is only possible because of the clients I work with and the places they are prepared to explore and things they are open to doing for themselves (even when they don’t like them initially or are scared or unsure). I could not stand and bask in that without wanting to thank my husband for his support, or my kids and step kids for being the greatest motivators for growth (not because I’m determined to be a better mother, but because if I don’t grow I will likely sink) or my PA and my brother for his marketing finesse or all the other people who bless me with time and wisdom or for my clients who are just epic. Mostly my clients wouldn’t get how epic they are to me, but I not only love what I do but the people I do it with – and my declarations of love during Q&As might make me crazy but they are genuine.
I wondered if, in the end, my competitive streak had suddenly been transcended. Connected of course to the proving thing above. That, as humbling as it was to be recognised, I now no longer want to be “better” than anyone else. The only reason I would want to win an award or be recognised would be to reach more people and have a bigger impact. I want to change the world. Which may the result of this. But mostly I think I can be known in other ways. For telling the real stories of life, love and purpose.
Like how yesterday we had a massive fight in front of the kids, and I had to call my coach (because when it’s me, he’s the relationship expert – and all the skills and talent and wisdom I have for my crew all week flies out the window in one fell swoop) and he told ME to be vulnerable (my clients will love this, they will be lol-ing all over the shop gleefully that I have to get a talking to about vulnerability). And I’m like – I AM VULNERABLE (yelling, in my masculine way), and he said, “you’ll have to tell him you’re not coping” and I CHOKED. And said, “But I am coping. I’m totally coping. I’m nailing it with the kids and house the routine and blah, blah blah…” (all the stuff I’m winning at right!!). And he said, “But you’re not coping because you’re not happy and you want to do it together. All women do.” Fuck it. Still tastes a bit sour to have to say that. I haven’t actually said it yet (except here via blog which he might read). But I did drop out of righteousness, and competitiveness and the position of being #thewinner. And then he sorted himself out (he’s great at that) and we made up and today we pashed in front of the kids and they were more freaked out by that than the fight. And all week I’ve had to tell my clients to drop into vulnerability. Even furtherer than they thought. And say things like “I can’t cope”.
And my favourite thing about winning the award (the event and the people and congratulations was very gratifying and humbling and now I know how that is, I don’t need to do it anymore, even though I want it for others) was that on the same day my sisters’ won awards for the fitness challenge they’ve been doing. And my youngest sister cried for winning her first ever sports award at 40, and our older sister came runner up. And my nephew’s team won the comedy improv show. We had news at family lunch, which involved the “passing of the trophy” (the gold one my sister won for sport) and we all got to tell news about wins or other things, and we laughed and laughed and laughed (especially as our Dad hadn’t been able to get a word in until he held the trophy, and then he tried to interrupt our Mum when it was her turn).
What does it mean to be a winner to you?
PS My heartfelt thanks to the Midwest Chamber of Commerce and Industry for all their support of the truly excellent local businesses in the Midwest.