I won. Why am I disappointed?

I won a national award. I beat out 1700 other college radio stations for the title of best political coverage.

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And it’s cool, but still I’m frustrated. And somehow I’m still disappointed.

Last week I was in New York City for a conference called the IBS Conference, otherwise known as the Intercollegiate Broadcast System. And I was there because I was nominated for three national radio awards: best talk radio show, best news interview, and best political coverage.

And as you know now, I won for best political coverage. And that’s fantastic, and I’m incredibly proud of it. I had to pull together an interview with Governor Jay Inslee and his opponent Bill Bryant and all of these state reps to make a great election night special that helped put CWU and The ‘Burg on the map for best political coverage.

But I didn’t win best talk radio show. I was second. Out of 1700 schools I was second. And I lost best news interview, placing in the top four. And for whatever reason those losses to me weren’t made up for by my other victory.

And it made me realize a few things about myself as I took the six hour plane ride back. First of all, I’m a perfectionist and I put an immense amount of pressure on myself to be successful. I don’t put that on anyone else, only myself. Because I want what I do to be the best that it can be. And every week I slave over my work in radio because I want to be at the forefront of what I do.

And even when I arrived home and people applauded me and congratulated me, I was still disappointed in my defeat.

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But in those moments I learned something vital about me and life in general. You can’t get better, and you can’t grow in who you aren’t if you don’t have those moments of frustration. If you don’t have times when you’re disappointed in yourself, if you don’t have times where you want better how will you ever grow? And in a lot of ways that loss has energized me and pushed me towards working harder. I don’t want to be complacent in my life ever, I want to be always going upward and improving upon who I am. If everything was easy, and every little moment was a victory how could you possibly imagine that you’d be learning and growing?

Think about a time you tried your hardest but still got a B on the big project, or you went all out in a sporting event but came up short. You had to learn about yourself and your weak points when that happened. You had to find ways to improve.

I think sometimes we need to lose, we need to acknowledge the areas we have failed. And while I think it’s important to highlight victories, and know where you succeeded you can’t improve without knowing where you’ve made those mistakes.

I’m proud of winning best political coverage, it was an immense amount of work and I can add a national title to my list of accolades. And I’ll always remember that. But I also learned an important lesson in growing and continuing to push myself so that failure and losing is never an option again.

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