What does it take to be awarded an MBE?

Hearing the news that my eldest brother has been awarded an MBE (Member of the British Empire) as part of the Queen’s Birthday Honours List, caused me to reflect on how this could be. He is the eldest of six children brought up in Castlemilk, Glasgow with poorly educated, working class parents. He didn’t go to a top school, or leave with the best grades. He didn’t inherit money or have heaps of guidance.

What sets someone on this list apart from those who are not? What is it about these individuals that makes people want to nominate them, recognize them and reward them? Having watched my brother build his career over the years I have attempted to answer these questions for myself and anyone else who may be interested.

I have created a list of traits that we are all capable of employing:

Internal drive :
Understand what drives you. Is it Recognition, Status, Praise or Inner peace? What does it take for you to feel driven to do something? Where in your body do you feel this push? Do you listen to these physical signs or just ignore them? Do you rely on External forces to drive you? If so, your results will be dependent on the opinions of others and you will bounce from pillar to post with slow, confused growth.

Values :
Our values are why we do what we do. Understand and stay true to your values.

Passion :
Find something that you are passionate about and nothing will stand in your way. Making a difference, creating something new, sharing an idea, all these things spur us on to find satisfaction and meaning in life. Many people are unhappy with their career because they are working to help someone else fulfill their dream.

Action :
I have watched my brother work tirelessly each day to achieve what needed to be done. This daily consistent action propels you towards your goal and beats procrastination. Do the things you don’t want to do. Soon they will be part of your routine and not seem so difficult. Meet unreasonable deadlines and deliver results that exceed expectation.

Perseverance :
I know my brother’s journey has not been a straight or easy path. He has had health issues to overcome. He has had his fair share of failures and trials and he has just tried again and again. There will always be obstacles to overcome, some put there by others, and many put there by us as a result of our own fear and doubt. It is easy to give in but not satisfying.

Emotion :
Be aware of your emotions and what triggers different responses. Our greatest enemy is often our own mind. Our self-sabotaging thoughts, lead to negative emotions, overwhelm and zero action. So, Don’t over think things.
Choose willpower over won’t power. Trust your gut, even when everyone else says you are crazy. The body and mind are highly connected, do what feels right.

Focus :
Pay attention to the detail – even if you are a big picture person and especially when you are tired. Be accountable. Don’t play the blame game. Excuses are not an option. Always keep your eye on the end result. Strive for a win/win for everyone involved.

Give :
Be a Go-Giver not just a Go-Getter.
Be kind to people even if you don’t like them.
Understand and accept the benefit of delayed gratification.

Lead :
Lead when no one else will. You become a leader when people choose to follow you. People choose to follow you because they believe in you and your cause, not because you told them you are a leader.
Let go of your ego and image.

Time :
Everything takes time. My brother is 66 years old.


And remember, the only way you will fail is if you give up.
All of this can be summarised in one word : mettle!
I am now going to introduce my children to this word.


Posted in Purpose, volunteering and tagged , , , , .

Anne McKeown