31 December 2014
After weeks of it being on the tip of my tongue, desperately wanting to tell my nearest and dearest, the secret is finally out! Recently, I received a letter from the Cabinet Office, from the Prime Minister, nominating me for an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list for services to the digital economy. That list was, of course, made public today so at last I can share the news.
It was a big shock for me to get something like this and, if I’m honest, I was a bit speechless (there are not many times you’ll find me speechless). Today, now that it’s no longer a secret, I am sitting here still feeling overwhelmed. It’s an incredible honour.
As a business person, it’s so easy to become tunnel visioned when you’re working towards the next step. All you’re thinking is, “I’ve got to keep focussed; I’ve got to keep building this business.”
It’s tough at times, and it can be quite a lonely position to be in, but when you get a moment like this and you can raise your head above the ground and just enjoy that – well, this is one of those great moments that I’ll treasure for the rest of my life!
I think the bit that has probably been hardest is not telling my mother; otherwise the whole country would have known within the space of 24 hours! Having said that, I’ve still been surprised at quite how much this news has meant to my family.
I suppose it’s a reminder of what a journey this has been. I was always the black sheep of the family, and looking back I can see why they might have worried about me. I always wanted to do things on my own and left home at sixteen. I didn’t want help from people, but actually I soon learnt that that’s not the way to run a business or – more to the point – to live your life.
It wasn’t until I started receiving help and being able to help others in return that I realised how important collaboration was.
So, as nice as it is being recognised like this, you don’t get an award like this because of one person. I am the extension of an amazing organisation, so this is an award for everybody in UKFast. That’s how I see it.
And if anyone thought there was any rest coming for me now, think again, because this has just re-motivated me, and it’s exactly what I needed at this time in my life. It’s time to go again!