Every no is a yes to something else

I'm saying no to the awards because sometimes the recognition is enough of an award in itself

And the winner is …..

It was 2015 and the moment was surreal. I waited with the other finalists; heart beating rapidly. There I was, surrounded by friends, family and colleagues while the glitz and glamour of the Telstra Business Women’s Awards buzzed around me. It felt surreal.

I knew what winning this award would mean to me. It would be validation for all I had achieved. A cherry on the top of a hard-earned career. Yet it would also mean time away from my family.

It was drummed into us during the pre-award festivities: the commitment needed from finalists. The interviews, luncheons, breakfasts, the opening of shopping malls… (just kidding, there were no opening of shopping malls promised. But how great would it be to cut through a ceremonial ribbon with those over-sized scissors?)

While I was excited to be a finalist in the entrepreneur category, I was silently grateful when I didn’t take out the final prize.

Deep down I didn’t want the extra responsibilities winning would bring.  I feared the change in dynamics it would bring to our very chilled out and balanced family life (something I have always treasured).

I was quite happy to go home that night with my Finalist Certificate in hand and get on with simply being “Tammy”. If I’m being incredibly honest, I also didn’t feel like I truly fitted within such an incredibly high caliber of women.

Tammy is nominated again

Four years on, I’ve been nominated again. This time for both the Telstra Business Women’s Awards and the SA Woman Awards.

When I saw the nominations in my inbox, I couldn’t help but notice my initial reaction. My stomach sunk.  Shouldn’t this be a moment when your heart skips a beat and you feel a sensation of goosebumps all over your body? I decided to sit with this for a couple of weeks to try and work out why I felt this way.

It all came down to ‘time’

A good award entry takes time and I will never forget how many hours it took to prepare my entry for the Telstra Business Women’s Awards. The hours set aside to attend the numerous interviews and events leading up to the awards was insurmountable.

There are vital mistakes you can make if you don’t plan your entry process with care. I recall how specific I needed to be to help the judges understand the work I had done. I was madly collecting references and had to pay extreme attention to detail, right down to including evidence to support the information I was providing.

While the application process was an opportunity to reflect on my achievements, it is not somewhere I am ready to place my time again right now.  I am listening to my body’s initial reaction. I have decided that I am not going to enter either of the Awards this time.

The year is my “gap year”

I have spent a lot of time in the past year strategising and restructuring Tuckfield Conveyancing so I could step down as CEO and take on a role with less responsibilities. Now that I have achieved this, I plan on spending the next year focusing on trying new things. I will enjoy time with my family and help more people create better businesses with my consulting. I will volunteer my time to the charities I support and I will be present at all of my daughter’s events without my mind being elsewhere.

The time I have set aside is not for preparing and submitting awards entries.  It is not for creating more obligation, responsibilities and exposure.

I have always been a high achiever and when I decide to do something, I give it my all.  I know in my heart of hearts that I would not be giving it my all if I enter these awards, because it’s not the right time for me.  I will only be creating more work for myself which goes against everything this gap year is about.

There are never enough hours in the day as a small business owner, so it is incredibly important to make sure you are saying yes to the right things, for the right reasons. Don’t put extra pressure on yourself just because you feel obliged, or because you feel the weight of others’ expectations.

So this is me saying ‘no’ to the awards and saying ‘yes’ to time to enjoy the simple things in life and just ‘be’.

Thank you to those who have nominated me. Your recognition is the best award I could ask for.

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