I read a fabulous article in New Spirit Journal about Pulizer Prize Winning Photographer Jerry Gay that should provide timely inspiration to get recognized for the great work you do in the world because you never know what wonderful doors may open next.

Gay was a 28-year-old young buck working for The Seattle Times who was inspired to enter a photo he took of firemen on a break at an early morning house fire in Burien, Washington.  He asked the secretary at the paper how to enter the photo in contention for a Pulitzer prize.  He entered, and he won.

“This reaffirmed for me that if you listen to your inner voice, believe in who you are, go forward and do what you're meant to do, things happen.”  He says that he felt the Pulitzer was meant to open doors for him.  “Even years later, I would call someone to do a story and I would say, ‘By the way, I won a Pulitzer prize,' and they would say ‘Oh, we'll talk to you.'”

As you look to 2011, what award contests can you enter that could shine a light on the brilliance you bring to the marketplace?  Are you among the 40 Under 40 in your community who are making a difference and building a thriving business?  Are you writing copy that is worthy of celebration?  Are you — like Veronica Mayo of Veymaca — among the leading moms in business according to the voters at StartUpNation?

Being seen, heard, and celebrated for your winning ways gives  you bragging rights that can lend credibility and curiosity to what you offer, and that can often lead to a new stream of sales and other revenue generating opportunities.

How do you want to get seen, heard, and celebrated in 2011?   Think big, and start preparing your story so when your moment comes to put your hat in the ring, you are ready.   If you'd like to read one of my articles about getting ready for award contests,  here is a link to make that easy.