JSC Words of Wisdom #7: On Awards and Being Ready for Success


PHILADELPHIA (JSC) — Good Friday morning, Everyone! It’s time, once again, for the JSC Words of Wisdom, a.k.a. #JSCWOW. As always, this will drop every Friday morning, more often than not, at 6:00 am Eastern Time. Feel free to share this on your favorite social media outlet with the hashtag — #JSCWOW.

For this week’s Edition: The last couple of weeks have been very good to your boy. In my industry, award season has come and gone and — for the first time — I managed to take home a pair of awards (literally, I took them back home with me to Detroit) and it got me to thinking about how as much as I talk about success and all things surrounding it, this was one of the first tangible monuments to it that I’ve received in years. It got me to thinking about how I — and you — and Get Ready for Success. So wake up. Smell the #covfefe, and get these words of wisdom!

I honestly cannot tell you the last time I won an actual, physical award for my work. There was a point in 2006 when Saturday Night Live on Power 96.5 got recognized on a couple of industry websites. When I graduated from the Specs Howard School of Broadcast (now Media) Arts in 2004, I got an award for Best News Anchor. But aside from that, nothing. Often, I haven’t as much as even been considered for anything, despite my hard work. It was honestly something I just got used to over time. I would often say to myself “who needs those awards anyway? Most of it is just politics, bullshit, and favoritism.” That line of thinking is toxic. It creates a culture of excuses and it’s detrimental to growth and success. 

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I was looking rough this particular morning but I was feeling great when the plaque arrived at my desk

And, No. I’m not just saying that shit now after I just won a pair of awards from the Pennsylvania Associated Press Media Editors. I’ve felt that way for a while.

Here’s the thing about winning awards: Whether it’s a plaque, a certificate, a trophy, or a check, we all like to be recognized for what we do. It’s cliché to say it, but it often is great just to be nominated. So to understand how stunned I was on the rainy afternoon of April 6 — a mere 2 years removed from being fired from a second-tier newspaper and getting called a “failure” on the way out — that I started receiving text messages saying “congratulations” as I was returning from Princeton University where I was working on a story on an exceptional young man. I was stuck in traffic on I-95 and not going anywhere so I was able to check the messages and found out that I had won both Best Sports Feature and Best Newscast. I was flabbergasted. I was gobsmacked. I was SHOCKED. 

I wasn’t fully expecting to even be cast into nomination, let alone WIN the damn thing. It was a humbling experience. It became official on May 19 and the outpouring of love and congratulations has been mind-blowing. It still doesn’t feel totally real. But that’s what happens when hard work meets opportunity with a sprinkle of good fortune. What also helps is having the right attitude. As the quote says at the top, “sometimes we see greatness. Sometimes, it comes to see us.” In my case, it came to see my ass on I-95 during a torrential downpour.

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I may or may not have held the plaque up like this. Just saying…

So what did I do to change my attitude? I stopped looking at things like awards as a referendum on my ability. So many of you who read this are just as successful — if not more so — than I am.  I’m fortunate enough to know people who have won an Emmy, multiple AP awards, and high honors in their profession. The thing they all have in common is that they see awards a simple validation, but not as their only reason for pushing forward. I know I’m a damn good broadcaster and writer. I knew that on April 5, and all April 6 did was validate 21 years of work. As I said on the #JSCWOW from 2 weeks ago,  when you’re great at something, others will let you know. Winning this award now, as opposed to five years ago, was what was meant to happen. I don’t think I’d have been ready then. That’s the prevailing point I love making when I say #SuccessIsCertain. It will come in due time. Just not exactly when you want it.

In closing, winning awards is dope. Nothing strokes an ego better than getting a plaque with your name on it with the word “Best” over the top. But remember, that winning awards does not define your life and your work. It simply acknowledges and validates your hard work. Regardless of how you’re recognized, keep pushing, keep fighting, and continue to grow. And, remember to treat people right. It comes in handy when it comes time to nominate you for an award, and it shows in who is there to congratulate you when you inevitably win.

Once again, to all of you who have reached out to me to congratulate me on this win, Thank You. Dammit. Thank You. It is sincerely appreciated.

Until Next Time, That’s The Way It Is. Friday, June 2, 2017.

Take Care, God Bless, Always Dare to Be Different, and G.O.M.A.B. Σ

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One Comment on “JSC Words of Wisdom #7: On Awards and Being Ready for Success

  1. Pingback: JSC Words of Wisdom #8: Who Hurt You? – Jay Scott Smith.com

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