I Won A Trip To Italy!

View from the Palazzo Sasso Hotel in Ravello, Amalfi Coast, ItalyOK…I’m still freaking out.

I don’t have much time because I’m gearing up for the big move to Colorado tomorrow, but I had to take a moment to share with you the most bizarre, yet wonderful thing that happened to me on Tuesday night.

In addition to the beautifully inscribed crystal award, I won an all expenses paid trip for two to the five star resort Palazzo Sasso in Ravello on the Amalfi Coast of Italy this May.

Dow Jones/Factiva recently began the tradition of handing out these wonderful things called the Pinnacle Award at the annual conference during the Awards Ceremony Dinner. Apparently less than 1% of employees receive this award each year (only a handful were handed out this year, out of over 550 attendees). Well, shockingly, I won one.

Are you dying? I am. I still can’t believe it.

Yes, I had an overall excellent year last year, based on sales, but I never, ever, ever in a million years thought I’d win this award. Actually, I didn’t even know it existed until I arrived at the conference.

Having my name announced after a very kind introduction was absolutely surreal. It’s what you’d imagine the Oscars to be like (except on a more corporate level, of course) — music, spotlight, stage, several dozen tables of diners, etc.

I can’t wait to see the video. I sure hope I had on lipstick. Thank God I didn’t trip.

Funny thing is, I was so exhausted from work work work, I actually considered skipping the award dinner that night. I’m glad I practice the lesson that it’s best to follow the rules in life instead of bucking them (at least most of the time), because pulling a no-show would definitely not have been a good thing.

Anyway, I’ll keep you posted once I learn more about the trip in the next few days, but I depart on May 14th, all expenses are paid for by the company, and I hear I get $1000 in spending money, etc. Prior award winners told me it was first class all the way! Yippee.

On a more serious note, I have to reveal that this award sure did humble me, which was surprising (you’d think just the opposite would happen and you’d get a big head.)

Before I spoke and “gave my speech” if you call it that, I looked around the room, and I was truly inspired by all the talent that was present. The newly formed CTS (Content Technology Solutions) division of the Enterprise Media Group (one of the three divisions at Dow Jones) is quite impressive, to say the least, especially considering the tough year last year in my prior Licensing division. To not only be part of such a professional and incredibly smart team, but then to be recognized for my hard work in 2006, was overwhelming and humbling at the same time. All I could think about was how so many others from my team were just as deserving of this award (ie. Margo Collins, Terrie Prescott and my former partner in crime, Jeff Misenti). I know that sounds corny, but that really is what you think when you’re up on stage.

So, the question is: How do I pay it forward? I’m not sure, but that was what kept playing through my head all day. Although I have been tipping heavily because I’m still reeling from the win, I need to really sit down and figure out a gameplan for paying it forward in a much more impactful way.

I feel so blessed and fortunate for all the wonderful things happening in my life now, so nothing could bring me more joy than to see others who are less fortunate, yet certainly more deserving, experience this feeling of recognition. Although I have won a few $50 gift certificates in my day, my contribution has never been recognized on such a large scale before. For the first time in my life, I truly feel validated by my peers.

I can honestly say that when you walk away from that experience, the last thing you want to do is rest on your laurels.

What I know now is that I want to work harder and be a better colleague. I want to achieve more so I can give more. I want to be kinder even when that’s the last thing you feel like being after a long day of work.

I intend to pay it forward and take more time to “recognize” others because appreciation inspires.

Perhaps the “winning prize” isn’t the $10,000 trip itself or the beautiful crystal award or the kind words you hear from your colleagues. Don’t get me wrong…that’s really nice. But, ultimately, for me at least, the true award is the insight and amazing feelings of gratitude that come via the recognition.

About Constance Hammond

A fun-loving, hard-working bootstrapper...with guts.
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