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Have you ever won an award? Not like your House Orderly badge in the Cub Scouts or the Geography Prize at school – both in my collection by the way – but an award for your work in business. I (in the guise of DOCIAsport) have in fact won four to be honest. ‘Ridiculous!’ I hear you cry – and you’re right it is. So, I’ve been thinking about their purpose and then my purpose in life. Strap yourself in.

In 2019 prior to lockdown I received a random email telling me that the authors had been doing some research – visited my website etc – and wanted a chat because they thought I was not only eligible for one of their award categories I had a very good chance of winning it! Who me??? Tell me more! The gig was that if I could get a proposer and a seconder and pay the organisers £100, I would definitely be in with a shout. I noticed that for the £100 you got two tickets for the awards ceremony which meant that Diane, my wife, and I could attend – and she would have an ‘excuse’ for a new outfit (adding to my ‘on costs’ of course.)

‘Application received Mr Braid’ (Oct ’19)…’Congratulations Mr Braid you’ve made the shortlist’ (Feb ’20) Diane and couture retailers various placed on ‘amber alert’ …… and then COVID hit (March 20) and the awards lunch was postponed … again… and again…..’Mr Braid we are moving the awards ceremony online and we are asking all 5 shortlisted in your category to pre-record an acceptance speech in case you are the winner which will be played at the virtual ceremony’. Mrs Braid (AND the retailers) VERY disappointed at this stage let me tell you. So I recorded this message which said something like “Well, I’m honoured…I don’t know what to say.” Both plausible and true as I didn’t know what to say!

October 20, still in lockdown of course, and I go online at Chateau Braid to virtually attend the awards ceremony. Diane is behind me eating her lunch. Fred, the dog, is studiously watching Diane eating her lunch and our daughter Jessica, who has joined us for the duration of the pandemic is also online working. “And now” says our minor celebrity host we come to the XXX Category. I, at least, perk up.

“And the winner is” says mine host “……DOCIAsport!” So the next minute I’m sat watching me in a pre-recorded video sat in the same seat saying “Well, I’m honoured…. etc’ Bizarre. The judges were of course very complimentary, and I was stunned. This was a first for me. In a pre-COVID world the celebration would have been me trying to fit into my tux and then walking on stage to the applause of my peers and Diane (in her new outfit). How did I celebrate in the circumstances? No party obviously as I’m not in the political class, but I went out on my cycle for an allotted hour and joyfully opened the envelope that contained my award a few days later. Joy unbound!

I got ‘seduced’ a second time last year with the same rigmarole for another award. Dangled with the carrots appealing to my vanity as per what I now understand is the process. This company didn’t have awards ceremonies though as they didn’t approve of their sustainable impact. And we get to “Congratulations Mr Braid you have only gone and won our prestigious award. Now, for the bargain price of £2,000 we have a bundle of marketing collateral that will enable you to pamper your ego in perpetuity.” Or words to that effect. Having got to the small print at the back of the glossy e-brochure I discovered you could unbundle said package and purchase individual items. Reader, I succumbed and after a bit of jiggery pokery with the marketing department I purchased a ‘bespoke logo’.  My thinking here was it could help me differentiate DOCIAsport from other businesses and I’d hope to recoup the cost with other work. It has.

So, this year I’ve had the ‘Congratulations’ email from another awards owner and I have tried to unbundle their package but to no avail. Sadly, despite me suggesting it would be great marketing collateral for raising awareness of their brand (“Congratulations XYZ Ltd. DOCIAsport would like to offer you a bundle of marketing collateral for a ridiculous price of……’) my proposal has fallen on stony ground. Hey ho.

The conclusion I come to then is that awards serve two purposes. Rightly they acknowledge the work of individuals and companies in business for the work they have done. (Please forgive my ‘modesty’ here). But the main purpose of awards is for the rights owners to generate income and hopefully profit by, for example, selling tables of 10 to the shortlisted candidates in each category. Cynical, me? I think both apply and that’s ok because it’s an ‘industry.’

‘What’s this new award then?’ I hear you say. Well, DOCIAsport Ltd is 6 years old this month and I think that needs celebrating, right? When I set the company up in 2017, I was still in recovery from a severe bout of clinical depression. Having resigned my previous position I thought I’d lost my sense of purpose and creating DOCIAsport was the answer to the question ‘Who’s looking after the people looking after the people?’ (A phrase I should have copyrighted by the way). I thought I had re-found my purpose. And I’ve stuck to it like a limpet – with some unforeseen and unfortunate circumstances sadly.

Two questions I often get asked as ‘a man of a certain age’ in business. One, ‘When are you going to retire (please!)?’ and two, ‘What is your legacy?’. To answer the second one first my legacy is my family. I never intended to ‘grow’ DOCIAsport to sell it and go and sit on a private island. There are different definitions of (business) success. But it has enabled me to make a difference in areas that matter to me and for people that matter to me in a sector that has given me a lot. I have felt then that I could give something back. But this modus operandum isn’t sustainable and without cuing the violins it can make me tired, particularly with ill-discipline in not taking breaks and holidays. Because I care.

So, enter stage left a brilliant guy called Richard Husseiny Guiding the Men Behind Sport who has signed up as my Life Coach. He has helped me already in helping me understand my sense of purpose. I know now that DOCIAsport Ltd, is not my sense of purpose it is a vehicle for me to gather wisdom. And, get this, my sense of purpose is to make best use of the wisdom that I have gathered on my journey. LIB-ER-AT-ING! Let me tell you. Now, Friday October 13th is my birthday (no cards or gifts required thanks) So, that is the day when I have given myself an award for length of service and from that day and henceforth, I will be going to a four-day week. No Fridays! A. Three. Day. Weekend!. Yes DOCIAsport is open for business (Mon-Thurs) But Friday is going to be freed up not only to help me explore more how I can develop and share my purpose but also to help consolidate and grow my contribution to my legacy. Absolutely the best award I’ve ever achieved.  Cue applause.
Thank you kindly.