As you know, being a pageant titleholder takes a lot of energy. Often times, you have to smile and wave for three hours regardless of how cold the NYC air is on Thanksgiving Day.
You may have to have entertaining conversations with media correspondents on 2.5 hours of sleep without yawning on national television.
You’ll likely have to speak with grace and gratitude to an school auditorium full of teenagers before lunchtime. And you’ll definitely have to politely negotiate the constant pull of requests for your time and your resources.
All competitions are won in the combination of strategy and tenacity.
Strategy is the process of preparation and tenacity is the proper management of energy, especially when the tanks are under pressure.
Many great leaders, including Psychology Today and one of my favorite business/life coaches, Blair Singer, says “The person with the most energy wins.” Mr. Singer is referencing business, relationships, and life, but this concept also applies to pageantry.
I first heard a version of this as it relates to pageantry from Emily Wills, Miss Pennsylvania America 2006. I was competing to be her successor. It was a grueling pageant week for me, on top of the many months of difficult preparation I endured. I honestly couldn’t wait for it to be over.
The night of finals, I sat next to Emily in hair and make up and asked for one piece of advice about success at Miss America.
Her response was completely unexpected…she said,
“Tenacity. The winner is the one who makes it to the finish line.”
I wish I would’ve asked her months before, because the night of finals is not the time to be attempting to reserve energy.
What Emily was teaching me was that Pageant winners have to know how to effectively manage their energy – first to win, and then to serve as the titleholder. Right after a winner wins, she is usually escorted to a reception where she has to give an acceptance speech, then smile for photos with everyone and their brother – literally. Then, she may be launched into a week-long media tour followed by a professional on-location photo-shoot on the beach – hopefully not in the winter.
If you don’t know how to manage your energy, you will be left exhausted even before the pageant ends…and that is how women lose pageants.
The good news is that energy is a renewable resource. If you feel low on energy, what do you do? Take a nap, eat healthy food, take a vacation, listen to uplifting music, surround yourself with encouraging people, laugh, meditate, workout…renewing your energy seems to come more intuitively than conserving energy.
Conserving energy is key in pageantry. The year I won Miss California, there was an outstanding contestant in my group. She looked the part to perfection, she was always at the gym when I arrived and still there when I left each day, she was constantly posting on social media and diligent about her meals. The night before the pageant, she was on fire at the gala!
But, pageant night she didn’t even place.
I remember looking at her thinking I ought to perk it up a bit and dig into my energy reserve to match her outgoing personality that night, but that wasn’t my strategy and certainly would have drained my tenacity.
Instead, I stuck the course of energy conservation for the moment to shine. It’s a subtle difference with a huge impact.
So, how do you manage your energy?
Glad you asked…
+ Maximize the things that add energy
+ Minimize the things that drain energy.
Throughout your day, you’ll encounter many things that drain your energy, like decision-making (even the smallest decisions of what to have for breakfast take energy), arguing, emotional distress, physical activity, and even just being awake!
The more drainage you have during the day – or pageant week in our case – the more you need to fill up and refuel. But, pageant week doesn’t offer a lot of time to refuel, therefore you have to rely on limiting drainage
In pageantry, I’ve found that the most draining activities are:
+ Ignoring a Preparation Plan (workout plan, training strategy), which leads to feelings of regret and “shoulda, coulda, woulda”
+ Mindset of comparison, which makes you focus on your lack rather than your value
+ Worry of not winning, and focusing on your fears
+ Drama of negativity, gossip, complaining, hurting others, being mean
+ Last-minute decision-making, unpreparedness
+ Responsibility of activity, just doing-stuff
Here are the best ways to stop draining yourself during pageant week:
Don’t care so much about what the other contestants are doing, thinking, eating, saying, wearing
Thoroughbreds run their own race. You have a strategy, stick to it. Shield against being drained by other people’s strategies during pageant week.
Don’t worry about not winning.
Keep your eyes on the prize. If you’ve done your homework, brought your best self, and prepared exceptionally, then it doesn’t matter how much you worry, it will not help you. It will only drain your energy reserve. Shield yourself against the outcomes you can’t control once pageant week begins.
Don’t be drug into the negative drama
The moment someone utters even a whisper of gossip or negatively, find a polite excuse and remove yourself from the situation. Words are powerful, just hearing negative comments will let them seep into your psyche. Shield against drainage from negativity – at all times!
Don’t leave yourself with last minute decisions to make
Make all decisions before you go to the pageant. That goes for exactly which earrings you’ll wear for the school visit and how you’ll wear your hair to the trip to the zoo. Be detail oriented in advance so you can shield against decision-making during the pageant.
Don’t leave all the duties up to you alone
It takes a team to win a pageant. That’s why there are vendors for every element of competition from wardrobe styling to makeup and hair. Hire someone else to do what you don’t have to do. You can’t hire someone to walk the runway for you, but you can hire someone to do your make up and zip your dress. Don’t attempt to create a 3-month pageant training strategy on your own. Hire someone to do that for you. Your energy is precious and the more that you delegate the things other people could do (and do better than you could, by the way), the more energy you’ll conserve for what you do best!
Managing your energy isn’t about being a wallflower or not talking to other contestants (unless those things are particularly draining in which case I recommend limiting them), it’s about being wise in where you put your efforts.
Here’s what I want you to do now:
Step 1: Make a list of the things that you know are particularly draining – put them in two categories, 1 to avoid all together (this would be like the gossip and drama-rama), and the other one that is necessary to pageantry (like creating a winning pageant strategy, make up, hair, platform ads, etc)
Step 2: From that list, in the category of avoidance, I want you to brainstorm a way you can avoid these. For example, the other contestants talking smack, you could say, excuse me and exit the conversation. For every element on the other list of necessary pageant elements, think of a person that you can outsource those things to. I know that a pageant preparation strategy is on every pageant girls’ list, and that is my specialty, so if I were you, I’d write Alycia Darby next to that one 😉
Step 3: Start outsourcing. Find the contact information for someone on every element of your pageant needs – reach out to them in advance to ensure that they are a fit. If it’s a make up artist you love, make sure they are available that day so that if not, you can find someone who is.
Step 4: Make a list of all the things that add energy to you! For me, those things are yoga, prayer, 8 hours of sleep, and a giant spinach and fruit salad. Start to do more of these things every day to put energy back into your essence.
The hardest part about this is not the outsourcing, it’s the avoiding draining activities. So start practicing that now. Only spend your time with uplifting people, walk away from negative conversations, stay focused on your own strategy and don’t concern yourself with the comparison of others.
If some of these ideas are new to you, then there is likely a few other things you may also love to learn. I teach a ton of concepts in my Free Pageant Course and I’d love for you to have an advantage in your next pageant. This week, we had nearly 100 new contestants from all over the US join the Free Pageant Course, and I’d love for you to be among these incredible women!
That ladies is how you win a pageant!
For more great pageant training, enroll in the Free Pageant Course