While this is not a pitch for 12th place ribbons, nor is it a suggestion that participation is the same as an endeavor that ends with a victory, this is an article regarding perspective. Rarely do I share personal stories, specifically in these newsletter updates, for, out of respect for you, the reader looking for tips and tools, the goal is to provide those while being mindful of your time. The plan is to do both of those things AND share a personal account, as that is what inspired this topic.
As a finalist for the business services category of the Tampa Bay Business Journal's BusinessWoman of the Year, it was such fun to get to be a part of the impressive group of recognized leaders. With over 350 nominations in all, there were 5 finalists in the Business Services Category, and it was an honor to be nominated, and a thrill to be a finalist...until I was not announced as the category "winner", and people started messaging me and coming up at the beautiful gala saying "Too bad you lost". I wasn't a loser, did not feel like a loser, and found it interesting to hear so many people throughout the weekend perceive that terrific experience as a loss. It told me a lot about them, and a lot about me. I still felt, and still do feel like I won, as the experience was outstanding. I hope to be nominated again. I hope to be a finalist again. And, believe me, I appreciate that people likely meant to be supportive, and yet their words, their approach, did not convey that well. Words matter, as they create a perspective, an energy, and a dynamic.
And then it was wonderful again, as what was also telling was how many people that night, and still now, are texting and calling and messaging me with a note of "Congratulations for being a finalist". They got it. Even with the well-deserved category and overall BusinessWoman of the Year recipients announced, people chose happy, positive words to show their acknowledgement and support.
The purpose for sharing this? I am grateful for all encouragement and well-wishes, and even though those awkward moments about my "losing" made me shift in my shoes, smile and attempt to direct the conversation in a positive way, this is not a criticism or condemning of those attempts to engage, rather, a hopeful account from a perspective to encourage each of us to think about where we are and how others may perceive our words. If we congratulate those for how far they got, rather than solely looking at a win or a loss, perhaps we'd celebrate progress...not just perceived "perfection"!