What does Bill Murray know about recognition? Well it turns out, quite a bit...
by Toby Barazzuol on Friday Jan 17, 2014

The other day I was reading a great post by my friend Lauren Bacon entitled “Pushing Out Into the Deep Water”, and it referenced an award presentation speech by the charming and quirky Bill Murray. I thought, what could the lovable actor know about recognition? Well, it turns out, quite a bit.

It’s human nature, we all love to see other recognized and celebrated - the Academy Awards, The Golden Globes, The Independent Spirit Awards, the SAG Awards and the list goes on. These popular events are watched by millions and are filled with speeches of recognition and appreciation, though rarely do speeches delve into the nature of recognition and why we award people. But Bill Murray’s did, and that’s what makes it stand out. If you haven’t read the whole speech, here are a some of the key parts:


“So why do you give this person an award? You give them an award because they need to be encouraged. […] Because now she’s had this success, she’s had this work, she has this life, she has this family, she has this thing going, and now is when people like you have chosen well to say, ‘Let’s give this person another boost, let’s give this person another boost to say keep going, because now life will come to you hard, like it’s come to everyone that’s lived long enough.
[…] So we’ll give her a boost to say, go on, you’ve made it this far, push her out into the deep water, push her out into bigger and deeper films, more and more films. She has a beautiful eye. She has great taste in the people she chooses to work with. She’s a kind and thoughtful director and editor and producer. She’s all the things that we hoped we could be when we were like this. She’s been lucky so far, and she’s been strong so far. Let’s keep her going.

And this is where he captures the essence of recognition. Recognition is indeed boost from your community. It’s your community saying you’re on the right track and we appreciate what you’re doing, please keep it up. It doesn’t matter if that community is the Academy of Motion Picture Arts, your company, your team, your family, or any of the numerous communities we all belong to. The important thing is, we all need these boosts to reassure us, to strengthen us, and to let us know that we’re headed in the right direction. Recognition does help push us “out into the deep water” and it gives us the confidence to swim there. As we all aspire to better ourselves, recognition transforms us and gives us the courage to evolve and grow.

For something so powerful, recognition is underused and often misunderstood. An award is simply the physical symbol of recognition - something to remind us forever of the time we were celebrated and appreciated by our community. Don’t get me wrong, an award can amplify or undermine the effectiveness of recognition, however the important takeaway is that recognition is fundamental - find the good and then celebrate it. Nurture it. Cultivate it. Imagine how your communities could grow and benefit by recognizing the people that make it special. Now once you’ve done that, take a minute to nominate them for an Awesome Award… go on, Bill Murray will be proud of you!




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