Today is April 1, one of the four days each year that Microsoft recognizes members of the community with Most Valuable Professional (MVP) awards. It is fitting that I write an article about the experience that will take place for many new and renewed MVPs. As someone recognized with the MVP award (SharePoint Server) in 2013, I have had the pleasure of going through one acceptance and one renewal cycle. I can tell you without hesitation that both were equally exhilarating and they have opened many doors for me.
Four times a year, on January, April, July and October 1, the announcement of Microsoft MVP Award recipients takes place with a straightforward email lacking fanfare or public recognition, save for some quiet references on the http://microsoft.com/mvp website. For many, opening that email changes things dramatically in their professional careers. According to the website, the Microsoft MVP Award recognizes “exceptional, independent community leaders who share their passion, technical expertise, and real-world knowledge of Microsoft products with others.” This is done through many mediums, including writing (books, whitepapers), blogging, speaking, user group participation and others.
My experience receiving my MVP award was one of the most anxious and exciting times of my career. As July 1, 2013 (a public holiday in Canada) came into focus, I was flush with anticipation. I woke up late that day and my inbox was particularly light considering the holiday, but no email from Microsoft. With hesitation, I pulled Twitter up on my laptop and checked around to see if anyone had mentioned receiving their new or renewed award. It is widely known that if you are to receive an email from the program, it will arrive before noon. I remember looking for something to occupy my time. I glanced through the newspaper and pondered a workout, then made a quick breakfast and “bing” (pun intended) my email alert went off.
The rest, is history. I opened the MVP announcement with a grin on my face and was thrilled with its contents. I distinctly recall sitting in my home office that day, thinking about the journey I had been on prior to opening that email. I recalled a book I’d read years ago called What Got You Here Won‘t Get You There, by Marshall Goldsmith. One message of the book is that in our business lives, we must take our experiences and use them to propel us forward, not rest on our laurels with what we have accomplished. For the first time I truly understood that message. Shortly thereafter, I received the award via mail and have since added the 2014 disc to it.
If you read the definition of the Microsoft MVP Award above, you will see the word passion early on in the description. For me, it is the passion and strength of the MVP community that motivates its members to continue to be a part of it. Without question, being a part of this community can be an energy-draining battle that will have you questioning your work/life balance, or any semblance of balance at all.
Congratulations to the new and renewed Microsoft MVPs today. You’ve earned it!
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