Friday, July 12, 2013

Contemplating Competition

As I reflect on my own experience as I prepared for Chicago one year ago, I have to say that I arrived feeling as though I had left no stone un-turned and ready to compete. As an individual who loves to compete and has done so for most of my life in; figure skating, pageantry, and the construction industry, I have a philosophy that you may or may not agree with…regardless, here are my thoughts for you to contemplate:

  1. A true competitor prepares to be their very best, and lives by the mantra, “I can only control ME.” 
  2. Trying to compete against others will only cause frustration. I can promise you that I was not the youngest, the thinnest, the tallest, the prettiest, or any number of labels at the pageant last year…however, I was the best me I could be!
  3. The devil is in the details, and a good competitor shows up knowing they have done the hard work, therefore, they can be in the moment and perform at the highest level with ease.
  4. Be certain you understand what it means to win the title for which you are competing, and if you win, do you have a strategy for your reign. Even though I knew winning was statistically a long shot, I prepared as though I would become Mrs. International and was able to articulate to myself, my husband, and the judges exactly what I hoped to accomplish. On a very personal level, I never spoke about winning out loud because that is how I was raised, but internally you have to be able to believe in the possibility….
  5. Any good competitor knows where the points add up. In this system interview carries the most weight, therefore, be absolutely prepared for fitness and evening gown, but give interview the attention it deserves. For the formal judges interview, the best advice is simply to be you! If you win, you will be sharing conversations about your platform, the pageant system, your family, where you live, etc…everyday with people from all walks of life! These judges will want to know who you are, because you will become the face of the International Pageant System. 
  6. That said, do not under estimate the importance of the value for On-Stage Interview, both the prepared speech and the Q & A. In this case, it is not as much the point value, as the placement in the competition and the effect your performance will have on you as the competitor, the judges decisions, and your connection with the audience. A tip I love to share…I added my 30 second speech to my daily cardio workout for several months. When the treadmill timer hit the top of a minute, I would rehearse my speech and time it, massage it, and the result was a feeling so comfortable on stage, that I honestly felt as though I was talking to my best friend in an intimate setting. Even if you add it to your travel toward Chicago it will make you more confident! As for answering the question, the best advice is to be in the moment, listen, and answer the question with the confidence that you know your platform.
  7. It is critical to pace yourself throughout the week; rest whenever possible, bring items that ground you (I had two framed photos of my wedding day and Tonka, and an Aveda candle), make certain to drink water and consume healthy calories, I needed a wrap during rehearsals because I hate being cold, give your feet a break as much as possible, because you will be asking a lot of them during the pageant itself, and breath! 
  8. Competition is really a journey, not simply an end result. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet incredible women from different cultures and each with unique experiences. Do yourself a favor and get to know each other…I promise you will treasure the memories! 
  9. A classy competitor believes in good sportsmanship – win or lose. One of my most revered moments happened in my own home, by myself, curled up in a chair, when I put in the DVD of last year and watched the final moments of the pageant. When I saw the reaction of the amazing women in the Class of 2012 as my name was called, I burst into tears…of overwhelming joy…and was filled with a deep sense of humility. I had no idea the women behind me in their gorgeous gowns had cheered, high-fived, and hugged in a moment when many could feel less than joyful. Believe me when I say I have lost more pageants than I have won…and I know…how beautiful inside and out these women truly are!
  10. If you have made it to Chicago, you are already blessed and you are already a WINNER! Just remember there are so many women throughout the world who have thought about competing in a pageant, but for a variety of reasons never take the first step. You had the guts to do it, and that is a WIN in life…and if you believe…God has a plan for each and every one of us.

My very best wishes to each of you, and I want to share with you one of my favorite quotes of all time by Henry David Thoreau, “Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you’ve imagined.”

Sarah Bazey
Mrs. International 2012

1 comment:

  1. Love, love, love these words of encouragement. .. Thank you Sarah!

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