Moving Through the Fear
Recently I was part of the Miss World California pageant. No, not as a participant, but as the auditor in charge of tabulating the votes. My sister is the Director of the state pageant and I was helping her out.
So why is a coach for midlife women posting about beauty pageants? Because, if you look past the high heels and the evening gowns, these young women can teach us an important life lesson.
My sister’s daughter grew up in the pageant system. She started competing at the age of six and twenty years later, she became the 2016 Miss Washington USA, so I’ve been in a lot of pageant audiences.
I thought I knew what the pageant experience was all about, but this time, from the other side of the curtain, I saw the event from a completely different perspective. Working behind the scenes, watching the interviews, and the judging process, I could see with greater clarity the pressures under which these young women compete.
A Peak Behind the Scenes
Some pageants are strictly old school beauty pageants, but many, like Miss World, have modernized and now focus more on the whole person, not just the outside package.
The Miss World judging includes timed interviews (3 minutes), a review of the contestant’s pageant brand ambassador skills as evidenced by their social media posts, and their work on behalf of the charitable or social cause they’ve chosen to promote. The swimsuit competition has given way to a focus on overall fitness, but the evening gowns are still a mainstay of the pageant.
I say this to highlight the fact these women, some as young as 18, have put a lot of themselves into the pageant knowing that only one of them will be selected to advance to the national competition. So how do these young women handle it if they aren’t chosen to be queen?
Some go home vowing never to do that again, but surprisingly many come back, not once, but multiple times. Some are rewarded for their perseverance with a crown after the third, fourth, or sometimes tenth time. Others continue to leave without a crown, but that doesn’t mean they leave empty-handed.
A Valuable Gift for Each Contestant
The gift that each contestant takes with them is a valuable life lesson – how to handle disappointment and rejection, and how to regroup after failure.
Most of us would do anything to avoid the pain of rejection. Our fear of failure makes us turn down opportunities, keeps us quiet when we have great ideas to share, or silences our voice when someone else gets the promotion that should have been ours. I’m sure you can easily think of situations where you’ve pulled back for fear of rejection and failure. I know I can.
But these young women push through their fear and choose to compete year after year. Some people might say these young women just don’t know when to quit, and they’d be right. These young women won’t accept failure. Their dream is too strong.
They go home and spend the year analyzing their strengths and weaknesses, often working with coaches to improve their interview and public speaking skills, refine their singing, dancing or musical talent for the optional events, and strengthen their confidence and pageant presence.
Then they come back the next year and submit themselves to the possibility of rejection again. These young women are clear on their WHY. Their goal is to be crowned and use the title to advance their cause and their careers.
The Lesson for Us at Midlife
SO, what can you learn from these young women? You can learn that being rejected doesn’t mean you should turn tail and run. Yes, it hurts, and it’s OK to take a little time to lick your wounds, but don’t let that be an excuse to abandon your dreams.
Like these young women, you must avoid the temptation to run back to your comfort zone and seek cover. Instead, you must learn to analyze what happened, seek the help you need to improve, revise your strategy, and try again.
Failure is only failure if you give up. You’ve heard the definition of success – fall down seven times, get up eight. Are you ready to get up again?
It may not be a crown and banner you’re after, but whatever it is, ask yourself, are you fully committed to achieving it, or are you doing the two-step…one step forward, two steps back, because you’re afraid of failing.
By the time we reach midlife, we have a much smaller window of time to achieve our dreams. As a midlife coach, I help women fast track their success by learning how to handle rejection and tame their fear of failure. Is this something you’d like to take action on? Then book your free strategy consultation here. I’d love to talk with you.
Tell me in the comments below what dream you would pursue if you weren’t afraid of failing.