What I’ve learned: 2016 Local Pageant Edition

I am not sure of a better way to start this off then by just saying how in awe I am at the caliber of women competing to be the next Miss California. To the hundreds of women who walked across a local stage at one point or another in the last few month: I am so proud of you. By the end of that special evening, only 48 of you walked away with the crown; but I can almost guarantee that every single one of you walked away with something elseIMG_9712. Whether it was scholarship money, confidence, new friendships, or the satisfaction of knowing you could cross that next item off of your “bucket list,” the women who I had the pleasure of watching in person or via social media, have accomplished something at this early point in their lives that few will ever dare to. I find it amusing to imagine myself at a later age, being asked to share an interesting fact with a group. What better than to talk about my involvement in the Miss America Organization! Sure, my future children may not to hear anything about it, but at least I’ll have something to hang over their heads if they misbehave. “Your mom was cool, once!”

Whatever your reasons may have been for competing, and regardless if you ended up Miss ____ or not, I challenge you to take a look at yourselves. To look at the woman you were prior to competing, and look at the woman you are now. I ran across an individual at a pageant this season who asked me what it was like to be Miss California, and after he listened to my lengthy response, he summed it up perfectly:

“It sounds like a tremendous year of character building.”

This non-MCO affiliated individual could not have explained the experience any better. You enIMG_0074ter your local pageants, maybe not 100% sure what to expect. You have have never performed in front of an audience, stated your opinions on current issues in front of a panel of judges, or walked in a swimsuit with so many people looking at you. Yet within a matter of hours, you have overcome those challenges, checked them off your list, and most importantly, gained the confidence it takes to do those things. In the “real world” there are going to be many other tasks that scare you, but given your track records of stepping out of the comfort zone, you are now equipped with the confidence to rise up to life’s challenges.

To the 48 lucky women who we will see on the Miss California stage in the coming months, set your eyes not only on the accomplishments yet to come, but the ones you have garnered along your path. And to the rest of the beautiful, intelligent, poised, and fearless women who made the leap to compete at their local pageant – I hope you leverage the pieces of character you acquired in this experience, and build upon them into the future. After all, you’ve walked onstage in a swimsuit…I’m pretty sure you can conquer it all, now!