Sometimes what can seem ordinary to oneself, is actually phenomenal to others. Things that we do and take for granted are extraordinary to others. And as I learnt this week, sometimes it’s good to take a step back, reflect and pat ourselves on the back for what’s been achieved so far. And if there’s an award being given, embrace the spirit and accept graciously.
On Saturday 16th May 2015, I, along with some 250 others, attended the Extraordinary Lady Speaks Conference. It was a story-telling event of amazing and courageous women who each told their story. Some were harrowing and horrendous involving abuse or misfortune in their childhood and how they managed to turn their lives around. It was very humbling and moving, yet inspiring to hear their courage, drive and determination to change for the better and how they’ve since gone back to try and improve the communities they came from so others don’t have to suffer like they did, be it abuse, poverty, lack of education.
I was one of 62 other ladies nominated to receive a Star Award. There were 102 nominations in all. Star Awards are not awards you can apply for yourself. A nominee has no input whatsoever to the final outcome.
Anyone can nominate and any woman can be nominated. The reason you might nominate someone is that they touched your life. Star Awards are awarded to those individuals that have made a real difference by helping others become great. They have left an environment and those within it noticeably better than how they met it. The award is given as a thank you for shinning the light for others to follow and not stumble.
So when I first learned I was to receive a Star Award, I didn’t understand. I didn’t feel I had done any of these things! I was just doing what I need to do and doing my best. It didn’t seem anything special and it didn’t feel extraordinary to me.
I actually complained to the organiser that I felt extremely uncomfortable accepting such an award, but she insisted that there were very good reasons why I had been nominated.
It wasn’t until my 21yo daughter pointed out to me that she thought the award was very apt. She reminded me that I had told her that I was extremely shy at her age, yet learned to sing and performed leading roles in musicals and plays; She reminded me of the stories of my old boss – the boss from hell who I turned into a nice cake-buying boss. She reminded me of the awful night that changed our lives when I called the police and their dad was arrested for assaulting me. She reminded me that after I got made redundant, 10 years ago, I started my business so that I could be there for her and her sister to take them to and from school and be there in the audience for their school assemblies. And she pointed out how lucky the kids of the mums who now work for me must feel that their mums too can be there for them. And then she said I must be doing something good because every week I tell them of this, that or the other client who’s come back wanting more work done.
“And mum,” she finally said, “just look at the name of the event – Extraordinary Lady’ – boom! That’s you all over!! I’m so proud of you”
So then the penny dropped for me.
I have indeed made a difference to the environment I came from. I’ve brought up two amazing daughters who both have a strong sense of self-worth and confidence; who know right from wrong and aren’t afraid to speak out; who have charisma and charm and attract similar people into their lives; totally the opposite to the person their mother was when she was catapulted into the adult world.
So instead of trying to justify it, I decided to embrace it.
So, whether you have an award to receive or not, it’s ok to step back, reflect and pat yourself on your back and say, ‘You know what? You’re doing great. Congratulations!’