Mental Strength for Pageant Week

Since I am a Licensed Professional Counselor, I thought it would only be fitting to give some advice on how to stay mentally strong throughout pageant week. The International pageant will hopefully be one of the best experiences of your life. You will meet so many passionate, caring, and hard-working ladies. You will make new friends and have connections from all over the world. You will get to dress up and take glamorous pictures to post all over your social media. But at the end of the day, you are still in a competition. If your goal is to do you very best, whether that is to walk away with the crown or accomplish another personal goal, your mental game has to be just as strong as your physical game. Here are some things that I found helpful during my week:

1. Drop The Comparisons - If you spend your entire week comparing yourself to the other contestants, you have already lost. God made each of us with a uniqueness and distinctiveness that sets us apart from other people. If He wanted you to look a certain way, He would have made you that way. When you are tempted to focus in on what you do not have, quickly name something about yourself that you love! For example, I think that one of my best physical assets are my shoulders and arms. I purposely picked outfits that would showcase these during the week. You may also feel tempted to compare platforms and volunteer work. Again, instead of focusing on what other ladies have done with their platform, think about all you have done with yours. Think of all the things that make you stand out and deliver that throughout the week.

2. Positive Messages - In another blog, I discuss how I had a book of positivity that my Mom made for me from my send-off party. I also had inspirational songs, Bible verses and encouraging phrases on my phone and in my hotel room. This helped keep me motivated throughout the week. Words are powerful tools. If you surround yourself with words that will encourage and uplift you, this can make all the difference in how you approach every day of competition.

3. After Pageant Plan - There is only one crown. I hope you know that by now! So it is very important that you have a plan in place for what you will do with the crown if you win AND what you will do if you do not win. Part of being mentally strong is being set in reality. The reality is that your chances of not winning are higher than your chances of winning. I state this not to be discouraging, but to encourage you to have other plans in your life besides the crown. I have competed in pageants where my full focus was winning the crown. And when I did not win, I was devastated. I did not know what to do, because I had not planned anything else besides winning the crown. When I competed for Miss International last year, I had a full plan on what I would do if I did not win the crown - I would continue working, I had appearances set as Miss Texas, and I had personal goals that I would work to accomplish. It just so happened that I won the crown, but if I had not, I knew I still had a plan and a purpose to go home to. Having an after pageant plan can take the pressure off of having to win the pageant.

I hope these tips help in stepping up your mental game!

Continuing to break the stigma,

Elise Banks
Miss International 2015


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