As a woman entrepreneur, I have often felt like I’ve had to work much harder for success. Something I have often heard from peers is that in order to be taken seriously and to achieve the respect of our male counterparts, we need to prove ourselves worthy and beyond capable.
What I haven’t heard? “I’m so proud of myself because…” or “I just won…”. Why? Because as hard as we have to work, we’ve also learned that we should be humble, nearly silent, about winning. However, I’d argue that it isn’t boastful or egotistical to talk about our successes, but in fact, essential.
As the first Canadian woman to receive the WPO Mary Lehman MacLachlan Empowerment Award, I strive to mentor and inspire other women business owners. My success is due, in part, to a wonderful support network of women who helped guide me along the way. I’ve seen their awards and recognition as proof that I could also be a great leader with a thriving business. I hope my achievements will do the same for the next generation of women.
Empowering female entrepreneurs is essential. I have a daughter, so paving the way for her success and showing her how it is possible has always been important to me. If you’re a parent of a daughter or a business leader with young female staff members, I’m sure you can relate. Our success, our awards, our recognition all stand as testaments to younger generations that it’s possible for them to do the same.
It would be disingenuous of me to say that inspiring others is the only reason we should flaunt our successes. Statistically, buyers feel safer when they engage with known brands. Winning awards build business awareness that can set you apart from competitors.
Notice that I didn’t say above. Awards don’t put you above your competition. It’s well-known that in today’s business climate, we can get further when we collaborate than compete, so I am all for collaboration. While there are many businesses out there that are doing things better, I strongly believe we can all learn from each other.
However, the visibility and positive attention that winning an award can bring to your business and your mission can’t be bought. There’s no doubt that it does give you a competitive edge.
Awards, Not Bragging, Are Important
Now that I’ve stated that success needs to be celebrated and acknowledged, let me take a minute to do just that.
A few weeks ago, WBE Canada awarded me a WBE Leadership Award. It celebrates those who significantly contribute to the growth and support of other women-owned businesses. Winning this award adds to my mission to empower other women business owners – and I’m proud of my achievement.
The award itself, not the bragging rights, is what excites me. I’m particularly proud because this award aligns with my personal and professional values tremendously and it means my brand is further exposed to partners, potential clients, and collaborators who share my vision.
I am also able to share this experience with my support network that helped me to achieve the award. I could not have won it without the support I had – and continue to have – and while the award may sit in my office, it’s shared with so many others.
Share Your Support
Entering or being nominated for business awards shouldn’t be something we’re quiet about. You are showing your support for your business community and you’re showcasing your success to inspire other women.
I encourage you to look for awards or recognitions for yourself or for women in your network. Sharing our stories expands our businesses and builds a bridge for future generations of women business owners to share in our success.
If you or your business could win an award, what would it be and what would you do if you won? Remember, there is such a thing as being TOO humble.
Michele Bailey is president and CEO of Blazing Agency and My Big Idea®. These two lines of business work congruently to support her clients’ success.