Every February and March, I get to attend many different awards banquets. Most of the time I’m a guest. For one of these banquets, I get to host and be the one handing out awards.

Awards in general bring on a myriad of emotions and opinions. There is no question that many of us are motivated by recognition. The opportunity to be on stage and enjoy the back slaps and high fives from our peers and leaders feels great. Not everybody gets to be the winner, though. In fact, most people won’t win, that’s just the math of the situation. After every awards dinner, there are people who are elated and others who are disappointed, or even envious.

So, how can you make awards a positive thing for you, knowing that you might not win? Here’s a few ideas that might help.

Set Your Goals

Most awards and other forms of official recognition have clearly defined criteria. You know what you have to do if you want to win. This, my friends, translates into goals. Goals are good! Get excited about the goal. Map out exactly what you need to do to achieve your goal, and then get out there and make it happen! Whether you actually win the award or not, the extra motivation and extra structure will help you improve.

Embrace the Disappointments

There are those awards, such as MVP or Associate of the Year, that only one person or team can get. Maybe you were runner up and the person who edged you out got lucky on a big client that year, or maybe your own efforts fell just short down the stretch. I’ve been there before and the feelings about what might have been are deep. Embrace these feelings! They can be a tremendous source of inspiration, if you allow them to be. My favorite example of this was the press conference that Tim Tebow gave after a loss to Ole Miss and the incredible events that followed the rest of the season. 



Have an Attitude of Gratitude

Sometimes you win the award. Sometimes you end up sitting at the back of the banquet hall. Either way, take a moment—take every moment—to remember just how fortunate you are. We live in a time of opportunity. There have never been more resources or more possibilities available to those willing to put in the effort than there is right now.

The future is at your fingertips. Your decisions today will determine your destiny tomorrow. Make each moment count and don’t hesitate to stretch yourself when setting your sights on a particular goal or achievement.