You’ve all heard the secret to winning a pageant is interview, or a Broadway quality talent, or spending hundreds of dollars on a wardrobe or fitness trainer. But that secret is a lie. Not to say an interview isn’t important, or that you shouldn’t bring your best to the stage, but that is not the biggest secret of all. The most important secret to the crown is confidence.
We all struggle with confidence because frankly, there is always someone who is trying to cast their shadow on you, downplay your accomplishments, or belittle your achievements. Even if you don’t believe it, “shake it off”, or pretend they don’t- these factors really impact our self esteem and can have long lasting damage. Before we know it, we believe the lies they’re spewing at us. It is so important to hone on developing confidence and accepting the multitude of benefits (event beyond a crown and career) that comes with a positive self esteem.
How can you do it? Easy!
- Silence the Doubt
The most important way to build confidence is to conquer the enemy: doubt. Whether your doubters are on the outside or inside, they need to step back. If someone it telling you that you can’t do something, they don’t belong in your life. They are just waiting to see you fail. Silence the doubter and then prove them wrong. If your doubter is internal, in the back of your mind, it is just as detrimental! Take Doubting Debbie voice in the back of your mind and strip her of her power. Replace her with a Positive Pattie who only wants to lift you up and whisper mantras send good vibes.
- Track your Progress
One of the best ways to track your progress is with pictures. Make sure you have a picture from every phase, note your hair and makeup, and don’t forget selfies with each of the contestants. A blog is nice, but a SmashBook is an even better way to track your growth. Sticking all your photos from each pageant into a scrapbook and listing the awards you win or your placement will make it easier to see your progress throughout the season and years. As you flip through the pages you will see your growth, and this will reassure you that you are growing and developing as a contestant. Plus, the memories last forever!
- Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
She is so much skinnier than me. That girl has been dancing since birth. So-and-so speaks in front of a crowd every day at work. Stop thinking about it! The judges are looking at YOU, and are judging you for you. You can’t change the other girls, so why are you even thinking about them? Focus on you. The judges are looking for the girl who will represent the specific region, and fulfill the goals of that specific local. Even if another contestant has qualities that you think make her the better choice, it is up to the judges to decide. Focus on bringing your best to the stage, and being the best choice for the crown.
- Ignore the Trending Winners
We all know there is that local that only crowns locals, or doesn’t want a girl in school, or maybe the winner is always a dancer. Ignore that. It’s neat to look at and consider when it works in your favor, but can be detrimental when you don’t fit the mold. The judges are not told to pick the girl who follows tradition. They want the best girl. So what if she has followed a trend? There is always that girl who is the first-such-and-such. That can be you. Stand out on stage and show the judges that just because you are different from previous winners, it doesn’t mean that you aren’t the best contestant to win. Show them that you will bring a new perspective and fresh set of skills to the state stage.
- Keep your Friends Close
Never underestimate the power of a strong support team. This doesn’t mean being buddy-buddy with every pageant girl out there (although it can’t hurt to embrace the sisterhood and send out kindness in eery direction). Choose a few people who are there for you and genuinely care about your progress and success. They aren’t after their own win, they are there to help you win. Whether it is a workout buddy, a talent partner, or roommate who puts sticky notes with interview questions around your apartment they will boost your motivation, and in turn boost your confidence.
- Never Give Up!
Sometimes the biggest crack to confidence is when you feel like giving up. Pushing forward, practicing your talent and speaking skills, and continuing to endure are all important in developing confidence. This is perhaps the most obviously, but the more you do something the better you will get and the more confident at it you will become.
Above all else, keep smiling! You are you, and you are who you are for a reason. No one can take that away.