While everyone can see the glamour of competing in a pageant, not everyone realizes the importance of avoiding pageant drama. The schedule typically includes long hours, and unexpected situations pop up during rehearsals. Suddenly the zipper in your pageant gown gives out, or your earring loses a stone. And there’s always some unwelcome and unnecessary contestant drama. As a pageant coach, I’m often on the phone after rehearsal, trying to help contestants stay in a competitive mindset. Pageant drama can derail contestants, leaving them unable to focus on competing. Learning how to maintain a positive attitude really can give you a competitive edge!
The emotions you feel under stress in competition are the same emotions you experience when you’re frustrated in everyday life. Instead of looking at those moments as upsetting, use those situations as an opportunity to develop “no drama” coping skills. Practice calming yourself, re-energizing and getting yourself back on track. You’re not going to be able to rely on your Mom or BFF to help you during a pageant meltdown. It’s a good idea to learn how to work through those situations on your own. So, here are some simple tips for avoiding pageant drama.
1. Acknowledge the situation. You can accept the negative aspects of a situation without developing a negative attitude. Try to identify the elements of the what’s happening without making judgments about ‘right’ and ‘wrong.’ Looking at a situation from a “just the facts” perspective will help you deal with what’s happening. That will help you maintain a neutral, ‘problem-solving’ perspective.
2. Apply the Don’t Add Additional Drama rule. The energy you spend adding to pageant drama steals energy from your ability to compete at your highest level. It’s always best to mentally or physically separate yourself from any drama that’s happening. Don’t pay any attention to complaints about the Director, pageant staff, judges, schedule, or host hotel. And steer clear of any drama created by other contestants. Your best strategy is to stay on the sidelines and not get involved. That way you can focus on being your absolute best.
3. Analyze your options. Look at the facts of the situation, engage your creative problem-solving skills and decide on your best strategic approach. Avoid the temptation to react emotionally and create even more negative energy for yourself. Evaluate your options based on your goals, and the solution will be obvious.
4. Adjust and move forward. Now that you’re remained calm and assessed the situation, make a decision and move forward in a positive way. You’d be surprised by the number of contestants who complain during every second of their pageant prep. And then when they’re at the pageant they complain about every aspect of the competition. It’s really no surprise when they don’t win – they just don’t have the mental toughness to compete.
Remember: contestants who are poised and confident at the pageant aren’t born that way – it’s a skill they’ve practiced in their everyday life. Avoiding pageant drama is something you must practice. Always combine a positive, drama-free attitude with a creative problem-solving approach. You’ll be able to easily work through any issues and perform at your best during the pageant!