Rejection is redirection! Say it with me: Rejection is REDIRECTION.
Rejection has been on my mind on a lot lately as I have spoken to clients who are grappling with rediscovering their confidence after recent pageant losses.
As a former pageant competitor for nearly a decade, I experienced firsthand just how painful it can be to not achieve your dream of winning the crown. You can readall about my journey to the crown here. T
he long and short of it is that I was a "how-to in reverse." Winning the pageant didn't come easily at first, and while I had a few stints as a runner-up, the closer I got... the more the it stung!
Yet, with each no, each rejection came redirection. The key is allowing and empowering ourselves to learn from each experience.
The intention or the "why" behind competing is essential. Why are you the next titleholder? It's safe to say that every one of the women standing on the stage wants to win, so there has to be more.
What impact are you currently having on your community? How do you demonstrate leadership? And perhaps more importantly, what skills and experiences are you working to cultivate in your life regardless of the outcome of the pageant?
Our focus should be presenting the best and most authentic version of ourselves.
During my competition years, I was told to change my talent to pop music (I'm a classically trained operatic soprano)... and guess what? I didn't win. I was told that I had to be "sexy" on stage and while my transformation was so intense my own mother didn't recognize me (I'm a classic All-American girl who brandished hair extensions and bandage dress)... I STILL DIDN'T WIN!
The times that I did win were when I delved in who I was and tapped into my purpose. I may not have been the tallest girl/the girl with the most expensive dress/the girl with the greatest level of fitness, but I WAS A WOMAN WITH VISION.
As a coach, I represent an opinion (it doesn't mean I am always right). I urge each of you to consider feedback from your last pageant, your coaches, friends/family, and spectators. What feedback is helpful/constructive?
"I wish you had brown eyes"- NOT HELPFUL! (I have green eyes.) Move on and keep pushing forward. I have experienced difficult feedback sessions, so I know that it is not always easy. One judge in particular told me that "I needed to work on my body" after winning Miss NYC.
What did I do? I worked my hardest to prepare for nationals as a confident and healthy woman on my own terms (not aligned with that judge's vision). And I will admit, while I initially felt embarrassed... it was a pretty amazing feeling to see that same judge's face when I placed Top 5 at nationals and won multiple high point awards :)
What about those times when we've been true to ourselves and it still isn't our turn?
I feel you on this too. That's why setting and working towards goals are so important!
INTENTION IS EVERYTHING.
Recently, I competed in a voice competition and sang my heart out. I was so incredibly proud of my performance and wouldn't change a thing. While I was disappointed not to advance, I DID come out of the experience a stronger performer, a more confident individual, and an inspired artist with new friendships because of the intention that I set. In addition to working towards the grand prize, I set goals to meet my fellow contestants and to challenge myself as a vocalist.
When your name isn't called into Top 15, Top 5, Winner, I challenge you to be excited for all that lies ahead. Rejection is redirection- whether it is strengthening how you prepare for your next pageant or equipping you to succeed in a new endeavor with confidence, public speaking skills, image, etc., I know there's opportunity around the corner.
So smile and applaud for the winner: she's earned her time, and I promise there's a spotlight waiting for you if you're willing to go find it!
NYC pageant coach Jackie Schiffer is passionate about helping women find their voices. Her international client roster includes women competing at the local, national and international level. Currently, she serves on the national coaching team for Miss Earth USA, USA National Miss, Miss Global United States, Mrs. Universal, and more.