How to Stop Pageant Anxiety and Win

Everyone experiences a case of nerves at some point during their pageant competition. You feel stressed about fitting into your beautiful – and expensive – evening gown. You’re worried that the judges will ask a question you can’t answer. You’ve got pageant anxiety. It’s perfectly normal.

But in order to get top scores, you must learn to compete at your highest skill level even when you’re nervous. Managing your nerves during competition is a skill you must learn and practice too. You’ve got to learn how to compete.

So, let’s take a look at five ways you can calm those nerves and stop pageant anxiety.

1. Create a Detailed Prep Plan

The simple truth is that most anxiety is caused by a concern that you’re not fully prepared. Maybe you haven’t been watching the news and you’re worried you’ll get a current events question. Or maybe you put off scheduling a modeling lesson and now there’s no time to squeeze it in.

You’ve probably heard that Benjamin Franklin quote, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Most top contestants know exactly when they have to start shopping for gowns, start their fitness plan or begin their interview coaching sessions. A detailed prep plan is essential to getting a winning score.

And the best thing is that creating a prep plan doesn’t take much time at all. Maybe 15 minutes, tops. You just need to sit down and do it.

2. Add Oops Time

I don’t care if you have 6 weeks or 6 months to prepare for your pageant, you’re going to fall behind at some point. Maybe you get sick and can’t work out. Or maybe it’s finals week at school and you can’t work on your pageant paperwork. Things will go wrong that will throw you off track.

So, you need to add “oops time” to your pageant prep plan. How much time should you add? I always recommend that you add 25% more time that you think you need to your prep plan. What do I mean by that? If you think you need 16 weeks to get ready for the competition, add another 4 weeks. If you think you’ve got 4 hours to run your final errands before you leave for the pageant, block out 5 hours on your calendar.

Knowing that you’ve got oops time built into your plan enables you to remain calm when something goes wrong. Trust me, extra time leads to less stress.

3. Live in a Drama Free Zone

Unfortunately, we now live in a culture of outrage and drama. People are easily upset and offended by the simplest things. Then, they feel compelled to share their outrage in a social media rant so that everyone else is outraged too.

Outrage and drama take an incredible amount of time and energy. And the more you complain about the problem, the bigger it feels, and the more energy it takes.

For every second you’re engaged in drama you’re stealing time from achieving your goals. Just think about the last time you were involved in – or following –  drama. You were either actively engaged in the situation, talking about it, or thinking about it. Then when the drama passes you’re so emotionally and physically exhausted that you need at least 24 hours to decompress.

Instead, you could be using that same time and energy to improve your pageant skills. No, you don’t have to be working on your pageant skills 24/7, but your goal should be to live in a drama-free zone. Every single contestant I’ve coached who has won a top title lives in a drama-free zone. You should too.

4. Let Go

This is a bit of a mind trick to get rid of anxiety. You disconnect from focusing too much on the outcome of the competition and focus on each individual skill area instead. Stop thinking about whether or not you will win the pageant. Instead, concentrate on each individual scored aspect of the overall pageant.  When you’re getting ready for your interview, just think about your interview – and nothing else.  After your interview is over, don’t review all your answers in your head over and over again, let go and focus on the next area of competition.

By focusing on each area of competition as it happens and then letting go so that you can concentrate 100% on the next area, you will be able to bring your best attitude and skill set to each scored area.  This technique reduces anxiety and enables you to take the pageant one step at a time to create your winning moment.

Unfortunately, anxiety is a part of life. Pageant anxiety is a part of competition. It’s always going to be there at some level. It’s up to you to decide if it will derail you or if you’re going to take control. I’m betting that you take control.

You’re going to be FABulous!