The Value of Recognition

Here’s something that not many people know about me. When I was about 7 or 8, I won a silver medal for sprinting in the Community Games. I had always thought of myself as a fast, little chap, but I have to admit that even with my inflated sense of myself, this medal came as a bit of a surprise. Primarily because I hadn’t entered the Community Games. In fact, I hadn’t even been aware that they were on. At the same time, my brother won a medal for football (which he never played) and my sisters won medals of different colours for various other seemingly random sporting achievements.

It subsequently became apparent that the background was as follows – we lived on a street with lots of other kids. One of the parents had the job of organising the local Community Games but for some reason they never happened that year. However, nobody told Ireland’s then President Cearbhall O’Dálaigh, who was due to lead the medal award ceremony. Cue panic, as people realised that we were to have a visit from Ireland’s President but we had no prizes to present. Within the space of a morning, all of us neighbourhood kids became champions and by the end of that week our names were being announced with pomp and ceremony as we walked up to receive our prizes from the President.

It is great to win things (at least when they are real). Awards are fantastic recognition for the work and effort that all meaningful achievement requires. Olympic medals, music competitions, business awards – they are all great evidence of personal and team sacrifice and effort. I think however that the greatest award that any of us could ever possibly win is one that is given to us by our peers. Awards that we don’t seek, but are nominated for because someone else believes that we represent something really important and inspiring. It must be an incredible honour to be put forward by friends or colleagues because of something that we have done or because of the way that we have acted in the face of challenge. That is an award that I would be proud to win.

Two things nag at me since that day when our 5th President smiled at me and presented me with a little silver medal in a beautiful wooden box – firstly, that my biggest medal-winning achievement was based on a race that I hadn’t even entered; and secondly, that even in an imaginary race, I had only managed to win silver!


Now is your chance to recognise those who have embodied the LIFT values. Who has shown remarkable Determination? Whose Positive Attitude has inspired you? We have awards for each LIFT values and you can nominate using the button below. We can’t wait to celebrate the great leaders in our lives.

LIFT Awards