Devon Women in Business award Winner Eleanor Carr Sole Trader / Freelancer of the Year 2023

Awards – is it vanity to nominate yourself for an award?

You are putting your self forward for recognition, highlighting successes and celebrating your achievements. You create an application that consolidates your work and lays out a plan going forward. 

Heck – that’s not vanity. That’s what the employed might call an annual appraisal. And winning that award might just be your annual bonus. 

Last autumn I was delighted to be shortlisted for the Devon Women in Business Sole Trader of the Year Award, and bowled over to receive Winner at the awards ceremony in November. It was a little prompt to friends, colleagues and customers for an outpouring of commendation that has been truly humbling. And with the start of 2024 I have revisited my DWIB application to remind myself what goals I laid out for this year – a useful little nudge. 

When you’re self employed there’s no boss to give you the pat on the back for a job well done. You don’t get the annual appraisal to discuss what went well in your performance and reflect on professional development. Instead perhaps that one hiccup that happened takes centre stage. Like many people that pesky thing called Imposter Syndrome has a habit of creeping up to tap you on the shoulder at 3am. According to a wise friend of mine our brains are hard wired to focus on problem solving – a form of survival, so its common behaviour to default to the fault. To behave then against this wiring and to instead turn our attention to the stories of success can feel like a guilty pleasure. 

Nope. I’m not falling into that trap anymore. Just like a delicious chocolate or a drink during dry January, I’m going fully enjoy the glow of achievement, relish the experience of writing the award application and use that document as a promise to myself and a road map for the next steps in my business. Is that vanity? Not in my book. 

Hitting the submit button is a little daunting I will confess, but once its done you’ve put out into the world an affirmation that what you do day to day has value. Folks will only understand the full extent of your value if there’s someone to tell the whole story. And the person best placed to tell that story is the one who’s right in the middle of it. 

Louise Jenner The Dream Coach present the award
copyright Poppy Jakes Photography
Devon Women in Business Award
Fellow winners at the Devon Women in Business awards 2023
Fellow winners photo credit Ed Hunt