After months of preparation, what do you do when your best isn’t good enough to win the crown? (Sigh) I have been there more times than I care to remember. As much as I tried to mentally prepare myself when I was a competitor, the sting of not hearing my name called out as the winner was always painful. Sometimes the pain was deeper than others; but it was there none the less. So, what do you do when your best wasn’t enough? The answer came to me from an unexpected place this week.
It was a big week with many highs and lows. I was at the Ohio State Fair where my daughters were having their 4-H projects judged. In between their competitions, I would read the messages coming into my cell phone from my clients. The thrill of victory and agony of defeat is putting it mildly.
As I sat in the youth center, I read the 4-H banner, “To make the best better!” Now, I’ve seen this banner for years and, honestly, I thought it was the goofiest slogan ever—that is, until now. It finally hit me.
It’s all about continual improvement. You work hard to be your very best at the moment you are competing; and at that moment, you may be at your best. Based on your training, resources, and time available to you, you were at a peak. But, life is never stagnant. You can always make the best better. Tomorrow you’ll learn something new and that will help you move forward and become even better. I’m sure when the first car was invented; some people thought it couldn’t get any better than that. There is always something we can improve on if we stay in the growing mode.
You will experience many peaks and valleys through your life. When standing on a peak, shout a big “Woo Hoo” and enjoy it. When in the valley look up, evaluate your resources, and start hiking back up the mountain.
Now, getting back to the pageant. The best thing to do is give the director a week after the pageant to just relax. A lot goes into preparing for a pageant. Plus, you need the time to chill out and purge yourself of all the negative thoughts and energy that you are holding onto. Call your coach or a trusted friend to let you just vent to get it out of your system. Don’t expect them to fix it. You just need a good listener at this point.
Next, call the director and ask for any feedback that they could share with you. Some directors will give you directions at the pageant about their protocol. If you do, follow it and follow up. You can’t make improvements unless you know what areas your scores were lowest in.
If the director doesn’t give you feedback, then you’re on your own to figure out your next steps. Many times, you don’t need to change a thing. You just need a different set of judges. So look for another competition. But there are times when you need to invest in a different gown or hire someone to do your hair and makeup. Perhaps your communication skills need more work. Or maybe it’s time to hire a coach, or get a different one.
The point is, you can always improve. Enjoy the journey and make the most out of your preparation process.
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Rhonda Shappert is an expert pageant coach, an iPEC Certified Professional Coach, an Energy Leadership Index Master Practitioner, and a member of the International Coach Federation.
She created Winning Through Pageantry® to partner with pageant contestants and their support people to provide complete pageant preparation, achieve winning results in life through pageantry, and to Succeed From The Inside Out®.
She has over 30 years experience in the pageantry world as a contestant, judge, emcee, staff member, mother of daughters who compete, Mrs. Ohio America 2005, and has held multiple titles at the local, state and national levels.
Rhonda graduated Cum Laude with a Bachelors degree in Musical Theater from The Ohio State University and has performed on stage in 15 countries on the Asian, European and American continents. This mother of three home educates their children and has been married 22 years to her husband Stephen, is the former mayor of her community, and serves on the Board of Trustees for the Ohio Virtual Academy. She and her husband perform original contemporary Christian music. For more information on Rhonda, visit www.WinningThroughPageantry.com .