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It's the taking part that counts

I’m currently preparing for the final round of the Kingston Business Exellence Awards. I’m a finalist in the Best SME category. I won’t lie, I was thrilled to find out I’d been selected.

Winning would be wonderful. It would be good for business and a real coup for me.

But here’s the thing I’ve learned, it’s the taking part that counts. No. Really.

That phrase, ‘the taking part that counts’ is one we bandy about to reassure children that they haven’t missed out by not getting the first prize. But do we really believe it? I don’t think I ever have and I’ve been a runner up a lot.

Best SME Business Award

I’m still furious I didn’t win the skipping race at Sports Day when I was eight. I was the fastest skipper – heady days - and had been asked to show a boy called Adrian how to improve. Proud of my skill and chuffed I’d been asked to help I duly taught him how to skip… faster than me. Taking part definitely did not count that day. Not that I still bear a grudge decades later.

But entering these awards has been truly valuable to me. I’ve had to answer questions I’ve not been asked before. I’ve had to consider the problems my business faces from a new perspective. And I’ve seen things I haven’t seen before. I’ve seen opportunities and I’ve seen problems. The opportunities are ones I can now grab with both hands. The problems I’m handling.

Of course, every answer to every question was generated by me. I wasn’t telling myself anything I didn’t know before. But I was listening to myself differently. The taking part counted.

So whether I win Best SME or not, I will definitely win Better SME – which is an award I’ll give myself. There will be champagne.

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