What is recognition? At the Samuel McLeod awards...

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Is recognition of achievements more important than recognition of character? Are the two intertwined so deeply that an outsider couldn't discern between them?

I attended a lovely event tonight that officially recognized people for their achievements through their businesses and services that they offer to the community of Prince Albert. Some were familiar, some were new. I could write many lines congratulating the winners, but a very talented journalist is writing that story.

My story is not a story, more of a collection of observations of achievements, recognition and community.

I love people-watching, and this event proved a gold mine. I love watching the dance of tact and etiquette in the handshakes and pats on the back, the formal introductions and secret references, the clusters forming and separating, mingling and dissolving. It's absolutely fascinating to me. But underneath all that layer of behaviour is this beautiful tight knit community of entrepreneurs, risk takers and big-idea people. They respect each other's effort with their businesses, cheer on their accomplishments and provide mentoring to each other to create a one of a kind business community. It is unfortunate that not all businesses don't have this peer to peer respect. But never mind that.

So these achievements, accomplishments don't just happen. The hard work and dedication behind each step of success sometimes comes at great cost, and there is no measurable definition of cost of success. The behind-the-scenes actions taken every day can affect family and personal relationships deeply. The absence of a loved one while they labour at the office or warehouse, to create a true life dream for the love of their life... Several tonight shared their success with their spouse, granting them heartfelt thanks for the time and effort and belief. It is heartwarming to see spouses support those oh-so-faraway dreams, and help them solidify into successful businesses. And the creation of family legacies that carry on for many generations creates a living that becomes a life, a style and an inspiration. Too many businesses start, succeed and then are sold. The effort in that upward slope comes at great cost, and to strike it down - seems like such a shame. My deepest respects to the families deeply ingrained and invested in their businesses.

What is the measure of recognition? Is it the solid handshake and distinct wood and glass trophy of a physical award? Is it the opportunity at a podium with many eager eyes and ears waiting? Is it the creation of a plaque on the wall or the votes of the public?

I don't see it that way. I see it as the measure of interest in another human, with only that person in your focus. Many eyes tonight glazed over at one point tonight, during a biographical recap of a very well respected community member. But not all. His wife glowed. His own eyes welled up with tears. I did not watch the speaker, I watched the recognized. He had many accomplishments under his belt, but more than any award, hearing his name and being the focus of attention seemed to mean a great deal at that particular moment. Is that achievement? Hearing about yourself from another?

I wasn't too terribly interested in the winners, and some may become upset at that. I was interested in the relationships between the nominees, the community builders and political supports, the struggling and surviving, the creation of dreams and the recognition of humans who have solidified their dreams. And the food didn't hurt either.




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