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Tips for gaining the recognition you’ve earned 📈

Have you ever stepped back when you really deserved to step forward? It’s more common than you might think. 

I remember talking to a director from a prestigious business school who was puzzled why she couldn’t get more female students to apply for the annual business plan competition. Despite her efforts to encourage them, she just couldn’t get them to enter.

This got me thinking about a broader issue: the hesitation many of us feel about stepping into the spotlight and nominating ourselves for big opportunities or recognition.

Can you relate? Maybe you think you're not the right fit, or you grew up in an environment where talking up your achievements was frowned upon. The truth is, avoiding self-nomination can have significant drawbacks, particularly if you're a woman or nonbinary.

Take women scientists as an example: Those who win NIH grants receive only 63% of the funding men get, and a mere 13% of the most lucrative grants go to women. Plus, women file far fewer patents than men. 

This trend isn't just in science; it extends to the business world, where women entrepreneurs start with only 64% of the capital compared to male-owned firms, and are less likely to pitch for financing over the lifetime of their business.

Let’s face it, recognition and awards are more than just shiny objects—they're valuable assets. They can help you command higher fees or salaries and give you solid proof of your expertise. They provide external validation of how you measure up against your peers.

Consider this question: How much bigger of an impact could you make as a recognized expert? Imagine the possibilities as you consider these strategies to elevate your expertise!

Quick Confidence Tips to Position Yourself as a Recognized Leader:

  1. Embodied: Proactively search and apply. Rarely will an appealing award opportunity find you and land right in your inbox. You’ll have to source these opportunities on your own, dedicating some time to researching the individual awards and their awarding bodies. Consider 4-5 industry-, function- or skill-specific awards and create a timeline of when each award nomination is due, what is required in terms of supporting materials and references, and how you’ll position yourself. Look at who’s won in the past and what they had going for them, but don’t see past winners as templates you must exactly look like or mimic! As Christina Leung writes about her own journey self-nominating for awards, “You know yourself and your accomplishments better than anyone else!”

  2. Interpersonal: Maximize the accolades. Once you receive an award (assuming it relates to your work and profession), you have one of the most lush conditions to negotiate for more responsibility or better pay. Leverage this opportunity! Show the organization how your newfound value can enhance their brand internally and externally. In addition, don’t simply list awards or recognition on your resume or LinkedIn profile, lead with them. The summary statement on your resume might begin with “Award-winning environmental science professional with X years of experience in….” At a minimum, dedicate a section of your resume to “Awards and Honors” where you list each one, the year, and the issuing body.

  3. Mindset: If at first you don’t succeed… try, and try again. This tip comes from Madeline Y. Bee. She’s a STEM professional who shares how she applied for the same scholarship for three years in a row until she received it. As Madeline puts it, “There’s something to be said for being persistent. Persistence shows commitment, passion, and an ability to get things done…[it’s] also an exercise in practicing.” Inspiring, right? If you attempt to win an accolade, and you don’t make it, how could you use that “practice run” to set you up differently the next time?

Chasing awards isn't just about the recognition it brings—it can also boost your confidence, credibility and, potentially, your income. 😊

I’ve applied to many awards in my life. I’ve won some, including my book "Quick Confidence" being named a Book Excellence Award Honoree recently! I’ve also lost some—and there’s even been a few ties. Despite my mixed results I see every attempt as valuable because it reinforces an important skill: how to identify and speak about your value and how to bet on yourself.

What's your take on self-promotion and applying for awards? Have you ever hesitated to put your name forward? Let me know in the comments I'd love to hear your stories!

My book, the Wall Street Journal bestseller "Quick Confidence: Be Authentic, Boost Connections, and Make Bold Bets on Yourself" is turning ONE this week! 🎉 Do you have your copy?


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