My journey to the Microsoft MVP and what it means to me

On January 2nd 2019 I was notified that I had been chosen to receive the Microsoft MVP award for Office Development. I am highly honored and it was such an amazing and emotional moment for me.

Some have asked me to share my journey and I feel it important also to identify what the award means to me.

My Journey

I can honestly say that my journey never actually started with the intent of earning the MVP award.

I was inspired by the refreshingly inclusive attitude that makes up the SharePoint, Office Development and the Patterns and Practices communities.

They include incredibly smart and talented experts willing to share and spend time helping anyone and everyone within the community.

I simply wanted to do my part to help in any capacity I could. I looked for opportunities to help out and took action whenever I could.

Starting out this was especially hard for me because I always worried that what I had to contribute would be criticized as to simplistic or not good enough.

The reception from the community, to the contributions I made though was the complete opposite! Everyone was appreciative, supportive and encouraging. This energized me to keep doing more and more.

Even with the increased contributions, I never did actively lobby for the MVP award, but I did follow the lead of other MVP’s.

Before the MVP nomination process was restricted to existing MVP’s and Microsoft employees, I was nominated by a co-worker and I greatly appreciated the nomination. However, after taking an honest look at my contributions to the community, I did not feel worthy of even the nomination at that moment in time, so I never went into the MVP system and accepted the nomination.

What I did do though is continue to look for additional ways to get involved and continue to help others.

Eventually and at some point along the way, the biggest complement I received was when other MVP’s made a reference to me already being an MVP.

Doing my part to act like an MVP without actually being an MVP is what I feel resulted in my official nomination by other MVP’s and eventually receiving the award.

What the Microsoft MVP means to me

There are certainly some who may begin their contributions to the community with the sole intent of gaining the MVP award and feel that achieving that goal means the work is complete…the journey is over.

For me though, receiving the award means something entirely different. It’s absolutely an honor to have received the award and something I’m very proud and grateful for, but there is another label associated to receiving the award that I feel is perhaps the most important of them all…..RESPONSIBILITY.

There is no doubt a degree of increased visibility that comes with becoming a Microsoft MVP. Using this increased visibility to continue, if not increase the contributions and helpful kindness to the community is not just a benefit, to me it’s a responsibility.

It’s a responsibility to continue following the examples of the leaders before me and help impart this mindset to the next generation of leaders after me.

It’s a responsibility to always be willing to help others whether they are brand new to the community or have been there for a while.

It’s a responsibility to take the things I learn or create that can help others and share them without expecting anything in return.

It’s a responsibility to never….EVER think that the award means your more important than anyone else or that it gives you the right to not be nice.

The MVP is awarded based on exceptional community leadership and for me, I feel my journey to the Microsoft MVP award happened by following the amazingly helpful and humble examples of leadership already in place in the community.

I’m grateful and thankful for each and every one of you in the community for your support.

I encourage all those who have an interest in doing more, yet might be a little nervous about putting themselves out there in the spotlight, to take that step. You will be warmly welcomed, and together we can all be MVP’s!

Author: David Warner II

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