Advice · Competition

When You Don’t Win

72e2e73545d0f5b0f7512de57a686a60.jpg  – Joey & Rachel on F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

Have you practiced your ‘gracious-loser face?’ Maybe you should. Nobody wants a Joey Tribbiani…

…or Faith Hill moment. 

Let’s face the facts: Unless you are Katie Harman, losing is probably part of, or will be part of, your pageant journey.

Nobody likes losing, but it’s more of a matter of “when”, not “if”, than we like to admit.

I think that’s why a lot of pageant girls are caught off-guard and turn into, with all due respect, hot messes when they don’t win.

It’s classic: Girl loses. Girl shoots daggers at the winner or judges from stage. Girl who was just all smiles and rainbows and world peace a minute ago is now a blubbery mess of gossip around a circle of her besties assuring her she was “robbed.” We’ve probably all seen it happen, or heck, probably have been guilty of this a time or two ourselves! But how do you make sure going forward, that girl doesn’t become YOU?

Visualization is so important to success.

If you can place yourself and see yourself in that place of success, whatever it is, visualization can help provide you the fuel when things get rough, the tenacity when others may give up, and the drive when preparation seems cumbersome.

But how do you visualize losing?

Give yourself a moment or two, on a particularly upbeat day, to remind yourself that you are not the only person wanting this title and job. You are not the only one giving it your all. You can try and try, but you may not come away with the crown. Then put yourself in each scenario that may happen, and visualize it: First runner up, so close, what will you do? Didn’t crack the Top Ten, how will you react? No preliminary awards, how do you continue graciously? And whatever your reaction is, here are some tips on things to do (and not to do) in order to be a gracious loser.

Miss Congeniality, photo cred
  1. Be classy no matter who wins. It makes it easier to lose to the girl who has it all together and is well-liked. But what if the girl you don’t like wins? What if you think the judges picked the “wrong girl” or didn’t see her ‘true’ colors? Stay classy anyway. Keep your real feelings to yourself or a very few, trusted, close confidants. NOT fellow competitors! Nothing is more awkward and makes a person look disingenuous faster than walking past the emotionally wounded and overhearing nasty or disparaging comments toward her competitors.
  2. The stage is not the place for a melt down. Neither is the dressing room. As devastated as you may be, visualizing a loss can help you come up with ways to keep the attitude and excessive hysteria at bay until you are in a safe, private place. Remember: tears are ok! Excessive scene-making is not. I remember a gal who didn’t make Top Ten and was obviously upset, but who went on to help the rest of us change for Top Five. She was our champion, our cheerleader. I don’t remember what she brought to the competition. I will always remember her selflessness and graciousness.
  3. Silence your supporters. It is easy to want to jump on the “what just happened?!” bandwagon, but don’t. Your supporters are there for you, of course they think you are the best! Show them how great you are by squashing their insults toward your competitors. You may need to identify some people who can act as buffers for your crew if you feel like things could turn ugly or you simply don’t have it in your emotional ‘bank’ to ‘fake it till you make it.’
  4. Remember your legacy. More important than winning the title is leaving an impression on those around you. It is ok to be sad. It is ok to cry. It is not ok to be a mean girl or run out of there in a huff. People will remember you for that instead of the value of your onstage presentation.

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