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The Power of Award Nominations and Applications

Oct 10, 2013 | All Blog Posts

Usually when people think about awards, they think about the actual awards or the public recognition that’s often associated with them. Rarely do we think about the award nomination or the application process that’s often required to win an award. Many awards are determined based on merit, so they require an initial nomination, usually from a 3rd party. In most cases nominees will first have to accept the nomination, and then complete an application process which provides relevant details and stories. In some cases, the applications can be fairly simple, while in others they can be extensive.

Eclipse Awards | Recycled Emerald Glass Rectangle Award | Vancouver, British Columbia

Having recently completed a comprehensive application for the Margolese National Design for Living Prize, I found myself thinking about the whole process of nominations and what we can learn from them.  Here are four things that came to mind:

A nomination is itself a form of recognition
The fact that someone has taken the time to nominate you for an award implies an intention or desire to see you recognized. This in itself is important, so if you’re ever been nominated for an award, congratulations, you’re already appreciated by someone in your community! If you’re thinking of nominating someone for an award but are concerned about the effort required, look at it this way: the energy that you put into their nomination will be converted into feelings of happiness, gratitude, pride and reciprocity. Take the time to nominate people you admire and respect - it’s a simple way to show them that they are appreciated. Why not nominate someone for an Awesome Award?

Applying for an award creates time for reflection
It is rare that we take the time to look back at our accomplishments in a thoughtful way.  Too often we get swept up in our day to day activities and never take the time to celebrate or interpret the good work that we’ve done. When you’re nominated for an award, the application process forces you to take time to reflect upon your work and either assign meaning to it, or derive meaning from it. This process of reflection is powerful and in many cases transformative because we are considering the impact and scope of our work. When is the last time you truly stopped and spent focused time reflecting on your work?  Applying for an award obliges you to reflect and consider, an important process regardless of the outcome.

Award applications encourage focus
Reflecting on past work and accomplishments can help you focus your future efforts. Do you want to accomplish more of the same, or do you want to make an impact elsewhere? The process of applying for an award can reinforce that you’re on the right path, or it might nudge you to explore a different path and focus your energies elsewhere.

Award applications generate content
Sure, it might be a bi-product of your efforts, but much of your work in consolidating information and writing down your thoughts can be used in other ways beyond your application. Some of it might be used for company promotional materials or shared through social media. Get creative and find ways to leverage your investment in the application.


Challenge yourself to reflect on your work and focus your energies going forward. Regardless of the outcome of the award, you’ll be stronger for having gone through the application process.