This past week, I was honoured to receive an accolade in the speaking industry. It’s called a CSP, which stands for ‘Certified Speaking Professional,’ and it’s the highest earned award presented by the National Speakers Association, based in the US. If I can make it to Dallas this year, it will be presented to me at their annual convention. Either way, I may now add mention of it to my name and materials.

I’ve spent a little time thinking about healthy and unhealthy ways to react to an award. The unhealthy ones are obvious: feel entitled, look down on others, coast on the laurels. There is also a danger in adopting an ‘I’ve seen it all’ attitude, which is the antithesis of a learning mindset, and which contains within itself the seeds of eventual extinction. 

But the proactively healthy ways are perhaps more difficult to determine. From my viewpoint, here are six: 


  • Take time to celebrate. Don’t let the moment pass you by in the rush of daily activity. Even if it’s just a celebratory dinner with your spouse or friends, it’s important to commemorate it
  • Remember that an accolade is also an obligation. After receiving it, you must now continually live up to all that it stands for. This is a call to meet a very high standard, with consistency. Make the award mean something. 
  • Make a conscious choice to teach others. I’ve long believed that when we share our best practices in the experts-industry, not only do we not de-value our own offering, but we actually raise the perceived value of the entire practice. Healthy perceptions of what we do serve everyone well, and elevate earning potential communally. 
  • Find a ‘next goal.’ It’s unhealthy to feel that you have ‘arrived.’ Pursuing the next thing, whatever that might mean for you, keeps you open to learning and hungry for improvement.
  • Don’t ever lose the ability to laugh at yourself. Post-accolade, you will still trip over things, snort when you laugh, and emit occasional involuntary noises. A little humanity is endearing. 
  • Raise your fees. Yes, this is actually healthy, as it honours the award, and helps you to elevate your own positioning in your industry. 


For my part, I am immensely grateful for this award. I will do everything in my power to live up to it.


Douglas Kruger, CSP, is a global speaker, who focuses on brand, culture and innovation. He is the author of five business books with Penguin and has won the national championships for Public Speaking, through Toastmasters International, a record 5 times.

In 2016, in honour of excellence in his craft, Douglas was inducted into the Speakers Hall of Fame by the Professional Speakers Association of Southern Africa. In 2018, the National Speakers Association granted him the accreditation of Certified Speaking Professional, a designation held by only 12 per cent of speakers globally.

See him in action, or sign up for his free newsletter, ‘From Amateur to Expert’ at Email