Accept the Challenge

"If it doesn't challenge you, it won't change you."

Over the last few months, I have been increasingly more inspired by my sister queen Maggi Thorne (Mrs. International 2014). Not only did she have an amazing year representing the International family, she has been so committed to her fitness competitions since giving up her crown. (Side note: If you haven't followed her fitness journey, check it out!) As I have watched her continue to challenge herself mentally and physically to get ready for competition, it made me think about what I am doing to challenge myself. After all, if you want to grow, you have to be willing to stretch yourself in a way that may be uncomfortable.

We all have different areas of our lives that we need to work on. It may be easier to address some of those areas versus others. But what is the most important is to take the time to challenge yourself so that you break through the obstacles.

For me, I know that I have I work really hard at putting boundaries up around my life. My tendency is to "people-please" to make sure everyone is happy and comfortable. Unfortunately, that sometimes meant that I was not making my own needs a priority. I decided to focus on this area of weakness in college by simply saying "No!" more. It was the hardest thing for me to do, but it has made all the difference in who I am today. I feel comfortable telling someone if I disagree and making my needs a priority. In order to grow, sometimes you experience growing pains. It will never be easy, but the journey will be worth it.

As we finish the 2015 year, I challenge each of us to to think about what we can conquer in 2016. Having a verbal and/or visual plan is helpful, but putting action behind it will be everything you need to be the better version of you!

Continuing to break the stigma,

Elise Banks
Miss International 2015


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