The past few weeks have been pretty tough and finally my body has simply given out.  It’s taken away the most useful attribute I have – my voice!  And this on the eve of an awards ceremony at CEBIT, Hanover, where I was lined up to give a motivational speech to this year’s winners of the European Seals of e-Excellence.

This unfortunate happenstance that leaves me at home alone has got me thinking… What is it about humans and their apparent need for award ceremonies?  The cynical ones among us denounce them as self indulgent ego parades, while the rest (mostly past winners) say that they are a very useful and motivational exercise for personal development.  Whether it is the Oscars or the European Seals of e-Excellence awards, what is for certain is that the winners, more often than not, see them as milestones in their careers; points in time that separate phases of achievement and change.

I have not won many awards and those few I have won have never been presented to me in front of large audiences and parades of cameras.  The strange thing however is that awards often have a bigger impact on the teams that surround the winners, than on the winners themselves.  So while I was thinking about what to say to my audience of winners, my body had its own natural way of saying don’t bother! 

Sadly though, instead of a holiday and time off to rest, I was asked to send my speech to my stand-in. And here lies the problem: While all the Oscar winners claim to act surprised and apparently struggle to find appropriate words to say through lack of preparation, I, on the other hand, have been given plenty of time to prepare and still I am lost for words!

The most important element I can think of, apart from acknowledging the organizers, is the unique opportunity that the winners have of mixing with other winners and the chance to establish a new circle of friends with an acknowledged extraordinary level of talent.   But in order to do this, the winners will have to temporarily park their own egos in order to concentrate on the wisdom they can receive for free from their fellows.  But this is a lot easier said than done.

Question: When was the last time you had to stand up in public to receive an award?  What did you do with the trophy?  Is it on your desk or in the bin?  Either way, perhaps it’s a good idea to acknowledge the talent that surrounds you every day and to find a fun way of celebrating it, possibly by setting up your own award ceremony?

Have a good week,