Encourage Yourself!

The International pageants will be here before you know it! There is so much to get done to make sure you are competing to the best of your ability come July. From picking your evening gown, working out to look your best in the fitness competition, and practicing interview questions, it is normal to get overwhelmed and feel that time is not on your side. However, there is one part of the preparation that I highly recommend that you make a priority. Find ways to encourage yourself for what will be a physically and emotionally draining competition week. You will have the time of your life while you compete with girls from all over the world, but you will also need some encouragement to keep you going through the week.

As I was preparing for competition, I made a playlist of songs on my phone that I knew would encourage me during the week. I had songs that were inspirational, others that gave me energy for those early call times, and some that helped me calm down before bed. This playlist of songs were so useful during my week of competition. I also had my journal with me. I have been journaling since I was 18 years old, so it is very natural for me to write a couple of times a week to tune in to how I am feeling. During the week of competition, I wrote down a journal entry after each day to fully capture the events of the day and how I was feeling. It was a very therapeutic to be able to put to pen and paper what I was keeping in my head.

I also had the most supportive family and friends who came to support me at the pageant. Having them be in the audience, gave me the extra boost that I needed to finish the week on a high note! However, my support system came through for me in another way. At my send-off party as Miss Texas, my Mom had 8x11 pieces of paper where attendees could write notes of encouragement to me. She ended up making a book out of all of the notes for me to read while I was in Jacksonville. I would read a few every day during that week. Some made me laugh, others made me cry, but all of them showed me that no matter if I won or not, I was still loved by so many! 

As you prepare for what I hope will be one of the best weeks of your life, remember to find ways to encourage yourself during the week of competition. I would also like to encourage you and say that the crown does not define who you are. You are a winner no matter what the results of the competition are. I have watched so many members of the class of 2015 go on to do amazing things, and they did not have the International crown to do it. So as you prepare, ask God to show you what His purpose is for being in this competition. His plan is always the best!

Continuing to break the stigma,

Elise Banks
Miss International 2015


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