Nominations are now underway for the 2014 Telstra Business Womens Awards, with entries opening on Monday May 26th. If you’ve been notified that you have been nominated, you have probably visited the award’s website, read the entry information and possibly felt a little daunted about what you have to do to complete the entry, combined with niggling doubts as to whether or not you are ‘worthy’ of being nominated in the first place.
That was certainly my experience back in 2011, and its also exactly why I believe going forward and completing the entry is the best thing you could ever do, regardless of whether you proceed to being a finalist or winner in any of the categories.
As a business person, we are usually focused on the road ahead, what challenges are looming, what new opportunities exist and what the future may bring. It is rare to stop, reflect on what you have accomplished in your career to date, and even more so to have to sing loud and proud about your achievements. But having to do this was truly life changing for me, and has been my ultimate reward for participating in the program.
It changed the way I viewed myself, gave me a far greater sense of self-belief and confidence, and that all occurred before the judging process even started, as a direct consequence of completing that initially daunting entry form.
The second reward that participating in the program gave me was access to a whole new group of amazing business women from all kinds of backgrounds who were running businesses of widely varying types and sizes, across a wide range of industries. Prior to entering the Telstra awards, most of my business contacts and network were in fields closely related to mine, with my exposure into broader business womens’ networks really limited to attending the regular Business Chicks breakfasts in Brisbane. Not to say that I didn’t enjoy them immensely, but it was fair to say I wasn’t capitalising on the opportunities they provided. I just went along with a few friends, enjoyed listening to the speaker, oohed over the amazing goody bags and went off to work, often never having spoken to a single person in the room other than the ones I came with.
Spending more time with women from a variety of different business backgrounds opened my eyes enormously to the power that womens business networks can deliver. The women were supportive, and amazingly generous with sharing their knowledge, experience and contacts. I heard many stories which mirrored my own experience of nervous chats with the other finalists while waiting for your turn in front of the judges turning into ongoing friendships and business relationships.
Between the Telstra Alumni, Business Chicks and the Commonwealth Bank Women in Focus communities my life is now enriched with the presence of an amazing array of super talented like-minded women, who love what they do and are proud to acknowledge and celebrate their own and each others successes. And if any of us are ever a bit slow to do so, you can guarantee someone else will drag that person forward and shout it out on their behalf!
So if you’ve received your nomination, firstly be enormously proud that someone thinks your achievements should be celebrated, and then get cracking on filling in that entry form.
Even if your journey stops at that point, there’s a great chance you’ve still won the biggest prize of all – changing the way you view yourself.
Celebrating with my beautiful family in November 2011.