Vince Lombardi once said “Perfection is not attainable but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.”
This is how I want you to pursue your title (or any dream really). There will never come a competition day that is completely free from snags, hiccups, whoops or just flat out wrongs. And yet, we hold our breath hoping for that day to be today. So what do you do when you are inevitably disappointed?
First, process and cope with the disappointment. ITS OK!! If you didn’t care at all that you didn’t win, I’d say you didn’t truly care to win. Every competitor goes into competition day with countless hours of blood, sweat, and blistered feet. So, understand that there is an immediate release of emotions following the closing ceremony. Allow space for this. Don’t book yourself solid for the two weeks following the pageant. Give yourself (at minimum) two or three days to get your feet back on the ground and hopefully not wear heels or makeup one. single. time. (your skin will thank me).
Ok, so now what? You have survived the emotional dump and now you are ready to get back up on those tippy tops. Now is the time to ask questions. Ask spectators, parents, friends, coaches, even the director if they have any notes for you. Anything that can help you improve and be ready for next time. Listen closely, dear heart, this can be the hardest part. It is never fun to hear that you may need work in a certain area. And people will undoubtedly feel they can word-vomit on you when you ask their opinion. Side story: when I asked this question after my first preliminary in a new state, I was told “You will never be thin enough to be Miss (state title).” Gee, thanks. That’s helpful. So when entering this portion of pageant prep, please take everything with a grain of salt. I wrote every comment on a post-it note and laid each one out on my kitchen floor. Slowly I worked thru them placing apples with apples, shapes with shapes. What I mean is if someone said “fitness was clearly not your strong suit” (thanks again), I would put that on top of the “never thin enough” comment. You will begin to see the competition take shape. At the end I had all the comments piled into events (swimsuit, talent, evening gown etc.). Thankfully my piles told a clear story. GO TO THE GYM. Yours may say something like “rethink your talent song” or “that gown is done.” In any case, give each stack true consideration.
Now, If you receive any ugly comments such as “you bugged me” or “rubbed me the wrong way” (clearly I never received these. I am an eternal delight) put those in their own pile labeled “thanks but no thanks” and have a nice bonfire at the end of this exercise. Maybe even have some s’mores …ok, maybe go to the gym.
You see pursuing perfection involves studying your imperfections, learning those things that may need a little extra work, like my back fat. But it is also about developing thick skin. You will not be everyones’ favorite person (ugh, the 3 in me dies a little). Discerning “constructive criticism” from just “plain ole mean” takes some practice but if you can master this you will be lightyears ahead on your journey. There will ALWAYS be things to work on, muscles to strengthen (both physical and proverbial). If you can work on your weaknesses to make them your strengths and then make your current strengths your brand, you will not achieve perfection but you will absolutely evoke the excellence inside of you.