Mentally Preparing Yourself For Your Next Pageant
When a cowboy is preparing to get on his next bronc horse he isn’t thinking about the guy that just went or the guy who is getting ready to go after him. He is thinking about how he can make his ride the best it can be. Racehorses at the Kentucky Derby wear blinders so they can focus on running their own race. So why do we as pageant competitors get so hung up on the other people running the race, and why do we constantly second guess if we are ready to compete.
Often times when you think about preparing for a pageant the first things that come to mind are riding a lot of horses, studying, working on speeches, and getting your body into shape. However, one of the most important elements of pageant success often gets overlooked and that is learning how to overcome the mental head game. Anyone knows that a multi-day pageant can start to get draining on both your body and mind, but no one really ever talks about the mental games that you often stumble across leading up to a pageant. As I went into the summer of 2017 preparing for the Miss Rodeo Wyoming pageant I was guilty of doing all of the above. There were a few tips and tricks I used that helped me be mentally prepared and confident in the competitor that I wanted to be.
Are you afraid of public speaking or riding an unknown horse? Whatever it may be, we all have fears when it comes to competing in a pageant. It is important to address those fears and overcome them. For me, I was always worried that I would choke up during a speech or lose my train of thought. To combat this I wrote down five positive sentences and read them to myself every night leading up to the pageant. This included things like "You are a great speaker! You will get through your speech without a hitch!" Although it might seem foolish, you are training your brain to believe in yourself.
In the weeks leading up to a pageant, it can be hard to not pay attention to those you might be competing against. This is especially hard in this day in age with our constant use of social media. The time you are spending looking at other people could be time spent on your personal preparation. Get up every day with the intention to better yourself and focus on the areas you want to improve. Don’t get hung up in comparing yourself to the other pageant competitors.
Going into a pageant, it is imperative to keep your thoughts positive. I did this through basic things I knew I would see every day. I wrote positive affirmations on my mirror at home; I carried positive quotes in my car and made my cell phone wallpaper a motivational quote. I knew going into the pageant that I believed in myself. Be careful how you talk to yourself because you're always listening!
Everyone always says that you will never be 100% ready for a pageant and while it is hard to prepare for everything that might come up, you can do all you can to be the most prepared you’ve ever been.
I believe that the lack of confidence comes from the fear of not knowing (Not knowing if you know an answer to a question, not knowing if you can perform in horsemanship, not knowing if you can give a great speech, and not knowing if you are ready). The best way to increase your confidence is to know. You can do that by seeking knowledge, studying and practicing, A LOT! If you are spending your time focusing on being the most ready you can be, there will come a time when you start to feel pageant ready. I was so nervous in the weeks leading up to the state fair. However, I just kept pushing and finally, one day about a week before, a feeling of peace came over me. I remember telling my family “I have done all I can do, and I know I am ready”. I had reached a point where I was 100% ready for MY pageant. It was at this point I felt my most confidence.