I recently went through the difficult process of applying for an award within my industry
I submitted the application for the award- Excellence in Social Media, presented by the National Professional Insurance Agents Association.
I knew I had the track record and clout to apply for this award. That’s honestly how I’ve made most of the connections I’ve made in insurance. That’s how people know me- my writing, along with my very active social media presence.
I completed the application and submitted some 30+ pages of supporting evidence, if you will. Testimonials from other colleagues, screenshots of social media accounts and posts, links to the agency blog and our accounts, everything I could think of that firmly cemented my space in the social media world. Took most of a weekend to compile it all into a nice looking document.
You would have thought I was applying for a Nobel Prize 😉
I couldn’t imagine a better submission from anyone. I was convinced I had it in the bag. But I was wrong.
I received an email that regretfully informed me I had not won the award.
To say I was crushed is like saying the Titanic was a minor accident.
Of course, I went through the whole litany of emotions. First- anger, “How could they? Don’t they know I’m the Insurance Goddess? Did they even read my submission?”
Then I moved on to disbelief- “If my PhD worthy submission didn’t cut it, what in the hell would?”
After finally calming down, I came to a reluctant acceptance. Whatever the final criteria was used to judge, I didn’t cut it. There was someone else who did meet the criteria. Plain and simple.
The biggest lessons I learned?
- There is ALWAYS someone who knows more , does more and is more ahead of the game than you are. You’re not perfect and you DON’T know everything.
- You can always learn from the above people. In fact, you should. Hang around people who are more successful than you. Watch what they do and how they do it. Soak it up like a sponge.
- Check your ego at the door. Mine really came through when I sniffed “Don’t they know I’m the Insurance Goddess?” It’s laughable now that I even said it. That may be the brand I’ve developed (and I’m enormously proud of it), but that and $5 will get you a cafe mocha. Of course until Starbucks starts paying me to appear in their commercials- then I can truthfully say I’m all that 😉
- Awards are an amazing recognition, but honestly, now that I’ve thought about it, the testimonials from my friends in the industry are way more meaningful. I asked my closest friends in the industry (mind you- most I’ve never met in real life) to submit a testimonial and they graciously did so, and quickly.
The words they wrote came from the heart and were amazingly touching. I sat and cried with joy & happiness for quite a while. To know I’ve earned that level of respect and admiration among colleagues I GREATLY respect is beyond description. When it’s all said and done, THAT’S my award. That’s what we all should strive for.
That doesn’t mean my big, fat ego wouldn’t have loved to accept that award. It does mean I’ve realized what’s truly important in the long range mission of carving out your space in your industry.
I want to publicly thank those colleagues who provided testimonials (and several have been with me since the beginning of my online journey)- Ryan Hanley, Brent Kelly, Jason Cass, Laird Rixford, Jim Schubert, Tracy Cotton, Carolyn Johnson, Christopher Paradiso and Tom Larsen. If I missed someone, please know it was not intentional and I am so thankful of everyone who supports me.
Please know your words were NOT wasted. I kept every single testimonial and have them nearby on days I need some encouragement.
Let’s keep doing good things for each other and for the industry we love, OK?
I’m not going anywhere. And you can rest assured The Insurance Goddess is alive and well (and ready to kick some ass) 😉