When I was in my twenties I had a Jack Russell Terrier that was the love and (sometimes) loathing of my life. He was rambunctiously filled with energy and vigor, wreaking havoc most of the way. Despite being rather small in stature, his presence was as big as a house. Besides digging holes, killing varmints and crashing through the woods after coyotes, the little hellion used to win awards. I would travel hundreds of miles, along with other humans similarly taxed with over exuberant Russells, to race our little beasts against each other. His name was Dylan Ferguson and not only was he fast but also competitive and would come home with multiple ribbons, cups and other kitschy items I cherished at the time. Looking back I realize it wasn’t about the ribbons or the awards but seeing the amazing way that dog was in his zone, doing his very best and outperforming. He was realizing his true doggy essence. That was his true reward.
That is why when I received the email notifying me that I had won the Frank Pace 2013 award for my volunteer work in Tunisia it made me reflect on the true meaning of earning an award.
The email read, “We are pleased to announce you were selected as one of two volunteers to receive the Frank Pace Award for 2013. The Frank Pace Award was established in 1989 to honor IESC’s first President, Frank Pace, Jr. The award is given to volunteers who, in the judgment of the selection committee, performed the most outstanding project during the year. You were selected for your work supporting the IESC Tunisia SME Project, for which you facilitated an organics buyers’ mission to Tunisia. You were noted to have gone above and beyond…”
The Frank Pace Award was established in 1989 to honor the first International Executive Service Corps (IESC) President, who envisioned a partnership that would provide expert business advice to companies in developing countries. The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) recognized organic agriculture as one of the pillars in enhancing food security, rural development and sustainable livelihoods. I believe the international market for organic food exports is an example of an industry that can provide a unique opportunity. My work bringing knowledge and awareness to the organic businesses in Tunisia resulted in real economic benefits and was an excellent project within the IESC mission.
Not only was the work supporting the IESC Tunisia SME Project enjoyable, but I reaped many personal benefits facilitating the mission. This mission brought the wealth of history, culture and the flavor of Tunisia to me and to the prospect buyers from North America. I was so impacted by the rich culture and warm people that I was moved to pen several blogs entitled “Tunisian Diaries”.
Being able to share my business acumen with organic producers gave me a sense of purpose and helped me to realize I have something special to offer. In fact this volunteer mission allowed me to be my best self as a professional and as a human being. Even though I was not able to attend the award ceremony in Washington DC on May 14th 2014, I received the greatest gift of all.
Just as Dylan Fergusons’ award was being his true self, my true award is not material. Instead it is a gold nugget in my heart that says you are human, give so that others may thrive and in doing so you thrive as well.
Won’t you share your special gift, whatever it is because someone needs your expertise? Go for that award!