What I learnt from being an award finalist – By Kimberley Hepburn

After winning the inaugural RICS Apprentice of the Year title in 2017, I desperately wanted to avoid winning any more awards too soon – only to find out that I’d been shortlisted as an EG Rising Star and a Women of the Future finalist this year.

I am absolutely honoured and so humbled by these phenomenal accolades, and help this article inspires others to embrace the cringe-mixed-with-proud feeling when receiving recognition, big or small.

I am bursting with pleasure to have been shortlisted as an Estates Gazette Rising Star and a Woman of the Future among a crew of incredibly talented professionals in real estate, infrastructure and construction. The photo above was taken of the 2018 EG Rising Stars. We are considered the UK property sector’s ‘brightest’ and to think I am rubbing shoulders with such amazing individuals here is quite surreal.

The truth is, after winning the inaugural Apprentice of the Year title in 2017 from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, I so desperately wanted to do what I could to avoid an award-winning streak – I wanted to avoid the embarrassment of doing so well.

But my burning passion for the profession and industry I am adventuring in, overrides this. Getting to work on fantastic projects like the transformation of the arches in Wood Lane and my drive led to me being nominated for these accolades – now here I am.

Why would I want to avoid recognition and, as Sheryl puts it, ‘mute my achievements’?

Quite possibly to protect my likeability – see Success and Likeability in Sheryl Sandberg’s book Lean In (in fact, please read the entire book if you haven’t read it already. All 184 pages, because it’s a must for everyone in the working world).

However, I realised that this self-minimisation will get me absolutely nowhere near realising my dreams and potential. We have to be our own ‘yes-people’ and give ourselves permission to stand tall in our talent.

The importance of visible role modelling and self-promotion

Role modelling yourself not only does wonders for your own career confidence and prospects, it shows others that they can (yes, you really can) too. I’ve found this natural and to an extent easy, as my career purpose has always been about something much greater than myself.

So be it overcoming my fears of public speaking (by speaking in front of more than 200 senior leaders at a reputable conference to advocate creating opportunities in property and construction for apprentices), or writing this article to help others realise that it is not only OK but necessary to own your success, I can always talk myself out of the default fear of embarrassment, if it means potential improvement for the next generation.

So own it.

Remember this when you experience the cringe-mixed-with-proud feeling when you are recognised for how great you are:

  • Owning your success inspires others to make a positive difference in their lives
  • You are worthy of being recognised and recognising your own hard work, talent and tenacity

I share this because I want you too to be unafraid of celebrating You, with or without others.

This marks my first conscious effort to ‘lean in’.

Thank you for the platform to do so Estates Gazette and Women of the Future.

Inspiration Credit: Sheryl Sandberg.

Kimberley Hepburn

Estates Gazette Rising Stars 2018 – Photo Credit: Will Bremridge – Location Credit: Printworks

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