Unexpected Recognition

This month, I received some unexpected news – twice – in the form of book awards. First, Book Authority named my memoir one of the 25 Best Books on the Constitution of All Time* (a pretty audacious claim in my opinion!). Then, I learned that I also received the silver medal from the Independent Publisher Book Awards** for Autobiography/Memoir category. There was supposed to be a big fancy ceremony in New York (complete with medals and all) but now it’ll just be a Zoom call instead. Either way, I’ll take happily accept the pomp and circumstance…I might even get dressed up for it.

Over the years, I have been humbled to receive honors and rewards for my work. I’ve found that these kinds of things generally fall into two categories: a competition (in which you apply for an award) or something that is completely unexpected. With the latter, it means that someone else thought of you. They nominated you, whether you even heard of the award or not. In some cases, the people nominating remain undisclosed to the recipient.

While there is nothing wrong with nominating yourself in getting recognition for deserved work, there is no doubt that the latter is much, much better. It means being seen rather than asked to be seen.

We all know people that are deserving of awards, to be seen, to be appreciated. Knowing this, we don’t have to wait until there is a big call for nominations to demonstrate thoughtfulness. You can write a heartfelt thank you note. You can send flowers or a pizza. If they are an artist or business owner, you can write a review for their work. Those unexpected notes of appreciation are often what keep many of us going. It doesn’t take much effort to give but the effect it provides can be tremendous.

It’s Asian Pacific American Heritage Month so now it is a great time to be generous and show recognition to those in the field. If you’d like to show some love to this community, here are some opportunities to share some unexpected recognition:

There are many more, especially in respective communities, organizations, and regions. Just know that the few minutes it takes to fill out a form or to send an encouraging letter can really impact someone for years to come.

* The number one book on the Constitution that they named was for the printed version of the United States Constitution.
** Intellectual Property law fans take note that the medal itself bears a giant “IP.” A strange coincidence, considering my case big IP one.

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