The countdown to the pageant is on. I’m less than a month away and time is flying past. Have I prepped enough? Done enough? Learned enough?
The simple answer is that if I woke up tomorrow and had to go on stage, I’m ready. I am as prepped on the basics as I can be. But that doesn’t mean I can coast on my laurels until pageant day. Having basic prep is not the same as feeling like I have done everything I need to do. For me, this continued prep is the difference between a “that’s good enough” attitude and an attitude of “I’m all in.”
This morning, I watched some re-runs of Coach Charming. That was a TV series at aired a few years back about a lawyer who is also a pageant coach. It was a lovely series and I’m not sure why it went off the air. But thanks to the magic of google, I was able to find it and I spent an enjoyable morning watching him work his charm. Then he said something that struck me. “Life is a pageant.”
What he went on to say, and I’m paraphrasing, not quoting, is that there are many elements in life that pageantry prepares you to do. For example, when someone asks you a question, do you know how to answer succinctly and clearly and avoid either babbling on or just giving a monosyllabic yes, no, grunt? Do you know how to be gracious in your introductions? Do you know how to walk into a room with confidence? Introvert or extrovert, do you know how to put people at ease?
Pageantry teaches us how to participate in the world on our own terms. When you’re new and you enter a room, all eyes are on you anyway. Why not decide for yourself what people want to see. You can make the choice to be seen as a confident woman or as a timid person. But it is your choice.
Here’s a secret my pageant sponsor, Maartje, (she’s the owner of Self Worth Coaching and Counselling) said about me when we were laughing about me being in a pageant, “You used to be mousy.”
It’s true. We’ve known each other for the better part of nearly two decades. In the past, I was mousy. In fact, coworkers in my old IMIT department of Network Services have commented that when I first started working with them a decade ago, I wouldn’t say boo to a goose. I used to be mousy. And not that long ago either.
Self-esteem comes from two places. It comes from extrinsic affirmation and intrinsic choice. When people around you boost you up, they are giving you feedback that says, “You are a person of worth.” When you make the choice to believe in your own successes as proof that you have value, you reinforce your own personal belief. You don’t need both to have self-esteem, but it helps a lot. When I was “mousy” I had neither positive feedback nor personal belief. Or maybe I always had positive feedback and just couldn’t hear it. Who knows? Either way, I had no belief in myself, my potential, or my value.
The people around me knew it too. I was easily bullied. People treated me badly. In return, I used their messaging to build my own self worth and it was poor. What changed was when I got involved with a company called Arbonne. This company, a skincare, makeup, protein shake distributer, brought with it non-stop personal growth training. I’m still a Consultant but I don’t run the business at all and haven’t made money in a few years, but I loved the products and I benefitted HUGELY from the training. It took a mousy girl and turned her into a confident woman.
So the whole world is a pageant. I agree with that. And I agree even more that I plan to live this life on my own terms. There are things I have committed to doing, like being a mom, a wife, a unionist, and an employee, and those things are non-negotiable, but with everything I do, I play full out. And the result is that the pageant, which is the ultimate in judgement in the confidence skills I have learned, will be yet another opportunity to grow.