Bath In The Glory; Owning Your Achievements and Entering Awards
Standing in the spotlight doesn't come easily to most women. Many are content to plod away in the background, doing what they do well, and not expecting accolades or recognition. It's just part of what they do.
Self-promotion is not encouraged. After all, you’re just showing off if you brag about your achievements. Besides, if you do pop your head up, you risk being trolled by some nasty person who is envious of your accomplishments.
In this age of entrepreneurship, we find ourselves in, especially the bootstrap kind, self-promotion is often the only cost-effective tool available to shine the light on your achievements. Who else is going to let the world know about what you do?
The key to doing this without being a jerk or a show-off is to enter awards. Nothing screams credibility than being nominated, making the finals, or winning a credible and well-respected award. We live in a world dominated by perceptions; what other people think of us even before opening our mouths.
You can control that narrative by being in control of what you are putting out into the world.
People make decisions based on emotion. They want to know, like, and trust the person they are doing business with …and to do that; you need to own your space and be prepared to put yourself out there. After all, who wants to be the best-kept secret?
Entering an award doesn’t have to be a big, scary decision. It is just a decision, and it can have ongoing benefits to you and your business.
Christine Stowe, a grants expert, entered her first award last year. It was a last-minute decision, and it was a race to the deadline. She saw it as a way to build her credibility. “It made such a difference in the way people approach me. Now they say … ‘hey! I need to talk to you’ or ‘hey…. that stuff you do must be real… it must be legitimate since you got that award”,” she said.
For Christine, it opened doors. In 2019, she stood in the federal election against the opposition leader, Bill Shorten. While she didn’t win, she says being an award winner boosted her credibility.
Anita Bentata, a therapist who works with women, awards were about getting impartial validation. “I was moving away from the work I had been doing for 24 years. I needed to become visible and credible to thousands of people quickly. My vision is to end the overwhelm and confusion about domestic violence,” she said.
“As someone with significant lived experience from childhood into early adulthood, I needed the power of global recognition – because though my clients know my approach is life-changing and powerful – I need other people to realize what makes solutions achievable and powerful so that we can end the cycle for my grandchildren’s generation.
Lawyer, Chrissy Leontios, is driven by her desire to help women, especially women in regional areas, navigate the legal system. She entered the Stevie Women in Business Awards last year to showcase the exceptional work she does in the legal system on an international platform. “I wanted to take the work we do internationally,” she said.
“I’ve never considered myself limited by being in Australia or by being in a regional town, so therefore wanted exposure on a larger platform. Greatness and success are certainly achievable if you commit to the cause and the purpose.”
Entering awards is so much more than the trophy or certificate you for winning. Of course, winning is the outcome, but what about the serendipities, the little things you don’t count on or expect? Like media attention and a big fat boost to your confidence?
Anita, who won Gold at Stevie Women in Business 2018, said the feedback from the judges ignited a greater inner conviction, confidence, and strength. “It reinforced that my work is ‘real.’ The process helped me realise my focus has transformed into a comprehensive business enterprise worthy of global involvement and support. This difference helps me keep stepping out into the world and believe in myself as I continue to step out of my comfort zone,” she said.
Christine found the clarity she got from the process priceless. “The process helped me get clear on what I can offer and what the offer is. When you put form and function around what you do, it forces you to get clear. The award writing process helped me verbalise what I do; to break it down, so other people understand it. I have been able to use this clarity to gain momentum in my business,” she said.
The media attention is not a bad side effect. Multiple media covered Chrissy’s win. “The local media attention was helpful in providing credibility to work. It has also enhanced my coaching business – CLEON Empower, where I coach other lawyers in terms of setting up their law firm and giving them the confidence to follow their dreams, their heart and their passion in setting up a law firm which aligns with their values. While it hasn’t directly benefited CLEON Legal as such, it has benefited the sister business,” she said.
For all three women, the ultimate benefit of entering awards was the boost in confidence – for themselves and the women around them.
“I believe that winning an international award has given other women the confidence to follow their dreams, believe in themselves, and know that anything is possible. Winning a gold Stevie has given me extra confidence to continue with what I’m doing and has reminded me that the hard work is worth it and is being recognised at the international level,” Chrissy said.
Anita said, “I learned there are many people who value what I have to say, who want to get involved and be part of the solution. They appreciate how I model ’emotional muscle’ and how to’ transform uncomfortable conversations’ and step into action,” she said.
“The Stevie Awards highlighted to me what I need to ask for; for myself. The more I ask for what I want, the more the world of women and men benefit. This process has unfolded into a series of celebration and challenges, bringing clarity and depth to how to reach more women and build the community that we all want: one of connection, freedom, and wellbeing.”