What Does it Mean to Win (article)

This article was posted in a newsletter for pageant contestants several years ago for a local Miss America Preliminary pageant. We got some good feedback on the material and wanted to share it for those who might enjoy the message.

I know that you are probably working hard preparing for your up coming pageant. This may be your first pageant or your 30th but my message is the same no matter your level of experience. Winning is not always about who leaves with the crown at the end of the evening. Winning IS always about walking away feeling like a winner inside. In pageants we spend a lot of time telling girls about prize packages and what you “get” if you win a title. I want to spend a moment to tell you what you receive no matter where you place.

My Father, Lanny Bassham, says “Everything we do in life is preparation for something greater”. This pageant is preparation for something for you. For one girl it will mean you will win a title and train to compete for the next pageant. For everyone else it will be preparation for something else…another competition, your dream job, a future performance, you may meet someone who changes your life, you never know.

We learn more on our struggle up the mountain than we do standing on the summit. Those who walk away without the crown could gain more from the experience than those who win. We learn about determination, perseverance, taking on challenges and striving to be the best we can no matter the odds even if we don’t win the title. When we step outside our comfort zone and challenge ourselves we live up to our expectation!

You do not win or lose in competition – you Win or Learn! There is no lose if you chose to take every experience as preparation for something greater. The reality is that most of the contestants will go home without a title because that is how competition works – not everyone takes home the prize. However, I learned so much through competing when I didn’t win that I would never advise someone to wait and only compete if they knew they could win. I bet I competed in 40 pageants over 7 years and I only won 6 titles. Many times I left a competition without a crown but I never left without growing as a person. I never saw my experience in pageants as a loss. Every competition taught me something and I am who I am today based on those experiences. I didn’t wait until I knew I could win before I started competing. My Father always says “Perfection is the Purest Form of Procrastination”.

I’m so proud of you for stepping out of your comfort zone and taking a chance to go for your dreams realizing that to wait until you are perfect would be waiting a lifetime! Typical people have fear that holds them to a level less than their potential. Typical people do not compete in pageants – typical people do not demand more from themselves and put themselves in positions to potentially be disappointed. Typical people stunt their growth by only striving for what they are certain they can obtain. Thank you for stepping outside of what is typical and walking down the road to unique and extraordinary!

By Heather Sumlin

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