Self Nomination For Awards Is Not Wrong; Believe In Yourself, Ladies, You Deserve It!

Self-love is important. Self-criticism is equally important. But not to the extent of demoralising oneself. These awards needing self nomination and are then screened by a jury serve a purpose.

It was in 2019 that I learned about Orange Flower Awards hosted by Women’s Web.  The notifications on Facebook were filled with call outs for self nominations, and then the list of nominations followed by shortlisted entries, and then the names of winners. The list of judges was impressive; the categories were broad and the names that made it to the finals were definitely the best.

I decided to focus on it the next year.

In 2020, when the Orange Flowers Awards for 2021 was announced, I knew I had to give it a shot. As I scrolled through the page, I was taken aback to see that the process was only through self-nomination.

This was a new concept for me. I have always known that awards are decided by someone who is superior by virtue of their power or position. They decide upon the deserving candidate and award them with a medal, a certificate or a trophy.

But self-nomination?

This was totally alien to me.

Here, one could either nominate someone for her accomplishments or nominate themselves. The nominations are then thoroughly screened by a jury. The jury is not someone randomly picked up. But they are men and women of stature.

I was apprehensive about nominating the articles which I had written for Women’s Web. It was uncomfortable as well, for I believe that my work should speak for itself, and it should have the capability to make people nominate me. To me, self-nomination is equivalent to self-promotion. However, shedding all inhibitions, I went ahead and nominated some of the articles I had written.

For two consecutive years, the award for the best blog on parenting was mine. That made me realize that there are many factors outside of putting yourself ahead, which play a decisive role in the selection of an article. Its relevance. Its connect and engagement with the readers.

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Self nomination is not new, but not everyone has heard of it

I came to know that it’s not just Women’s Web that follows this process. A similar process is followed by Literoma, a creative community comprising people from diverse fields. Its awardees feature well-known writers. This year they announced their awards for Nari Samman.

Gathering confidence, I sent in mine. No harm in trying, I told myself. Clicking on the link, I was led to an application form where I had to justify my case for nomination. A long essay which took me almost a week to write. Soon they published a banner declaring my name as one of the winners. Elated, I shared it on WhatsApp as a status update.

Soon a message came in. It was from a senior friend of mine. I don’t remember the exact lines. But it read something like this. “So anyone and anybody can nominate themselves and get this award? You send a mail and get nominated. Nice.”

This is roughly the message and there was more to it that I have conveniently chosen to forget.

Well, I did not realise that my son sitting next to me was also reading the message.  He took away my phone and read the message multiple times. His ears grew red (a typical trait he has inherited from me), his cheeks turned a shade darker, and by then I knew he was angry.

“He is trying to demean you… He is trying to say that anyone can pick up the awards that you have won?”

I quieted him down and explained how a human mind works. And then we talked about self-nomination. Self-nomination comes as a surprise to many and I am no exception. But then that is where the challenge lies.

So do we assess ourselves correctly?

Let me take you back to the year 2007. I was working with a consumer solutions firm, and was deputed to Bangalore for a workshop on an evaluation exercise based on the Belbin model.

Dr Meredith Belbin believed that the most successful teams are made up of diverse behaviours. To build such a team – a high-performing one, nine roles need to be represented. Resource Investigator, Team worker and Co-ordinator (Social roles), Plant, Monitor Evaluator and Specialist (the Thinking roles), and Shaper, Implementer and Completer Finisher (the Action or Task roles).

For this, we were handed out forms which required us to assess ourselves, our strengths and weaknesses. It was a detailed and elaborate form. I took the time to fill it up. The outcome? In my eyes, I was an EXPERT.

Similar forms were also filled up by the person I reported to. These were the Observer assessment forms. Their results were completely different from mine. While I thought, I am an expert, they considered me an efficient team worker. I remember that I was taken aback. For I thought too highly of myself. The workshop explored each and every aspect of our skills and personality and I came back, better oriented and aligned with my inner self. That was a learning experience. A lesson that I should neither be overconfident nor over-critical.

There needs to be a balance between self love and criticism – and awards help

Self-love is important. Self-criticism is equally important. But not to the extent of demoralising oneself. These awards which are self-nominated and then screened by a jury serve a purpose.

Recognition, approval and gratitude for a person’s contribution are important. The whole process of self-nomination enables an individual to reflect on her skills. For me, it was a revelation. I became aware of my achievements, highlighted them and became more competitive. The idea of winning an award through this process, helped me to augment my visibility. And when I competed, I was well aware of my lacunas. I even received feedback from my seniors and gained an understanding of how people viewed my work.

In spite of all this, rejections do happen. Remember, they help us grow. My efforts were worthwhile for they helped me in self-assessment and reflection and generated awareness about myself. Every time I failed, I looked back at my work, studied the profiles of the winners and tried to ascertain the reasons behind my failure. Rather than being disheartened, I emerged stronger and planned better.

So, all those out there, keep writing. And don’t fail to nominate yourself for the Orange Flower Awards 2023 which will be declared in December 2022.

Image source: Facebook

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About the Author

S Sen

Sreemati Sen, a Masters in Social Work (MSW) From Visva Bharati, Shantiniketan. She is a Development Professional, specialised in Psychiatric care of Differently Abled Children. That hasn’t stopped her from exploring other fields. Years read more...

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