The Process of Reaching A Goal: A Former Pageant Girl’s Thoughts on Miss North Dakota Winning Miss America
By: Mandy B. Anderson
Did you hear the news? History was made last weekend when the current Miss North Dakota, Cara Mund, won the title of Miss America. Never in the history of the Miss America Organization has a Miss ND made the top 10, let alone took home the crown! It was an exciting moment and our whole state is so proud of her!
A few days ago I watched a video of her very first press conference as Miss America. Here she told the story of how she was in the Miss North Dakota Pageant four times before she finally won.
Four times; four different crowns and titles to get there. (With possibly many more local pageants before she won a crown to even be at the state pageant.) Four years of her life dedicated to her goal, with only one more chance to go after it before she would be disqualified from the race because of her age.
The entire time she had her goal in view: Win Miss North Dakota and become the first one to then win Miss America so she could inspire other little girls to go after their dreams.
Confession: I am a former pageant girl.
It’s true. My first local pageant was the Miss Carrington Pageant in 2000. I was in it for one purpose only – to get more experience singing on a stage and to overcome my fear of public speaking. I had no clue there was a responsibility of going to a state Pageant if I won. I just wanted to sing and be on the stage!
And then…I won. I WON! It was a surreal moment as I knelt down to get crowned. I still remember the shock. My life became a whirlwind then of practice interviews and preparations for the state pageant, along with a few public appearances around town. At the state level I met some pretty awesome women, and the pageant thing got in my blood. That first year I won the overall talent award but didn’t make the top 10. I was relieved and a little crushed at the same time.
So I decided to compete again the next year with the goal of making Top 10 at the state pageant. And…I did! I made Top 10 at Miss North Dakota! And you know what happened next?
I choked. Self-sabotaged my possibilities by letting go of my confidence just a smidge – but it was enough to be noticed by the judges – because winning the crown of Miss North Dakota scared the crap out of me at 18! I had gone in with the goal of making Top 10. I did it. And then I gave up because of fear. I never went back for a third try because I was engaged to be married by the time the next pageant season rolled around.
“What does this have to do with Cara Mund, Mandy?” I’m so glad you asked! It has a lot to do with her, actually, and you as well.
You see, history was just made with a young woman who was very clear on her goal. She kept going after it even when she lost three times. On the other hand, I was a young woman with unclear goals. My goals kept changing back then and I wasn’t clear on my WHY. In fact, my why back then was more self-centered than others-centered which proves that I had a lot more personal growth to do before I could’ve handled such a huge responsibility as representing a state, let alone a nation in such a way as holding a crown and a title demands! I’ve come a long way in 17 years…and you probably have, too.
Here’s what we can learn from our new Miss America, Cara Mund, on the process of reaching a goal…
1. Believe that you CAN.
Your belief matters more than you know. Others around you might be doubtful but you’ve got to be your own number one supporter. And then surround yourself with other Believers, too. Miss America did this – she had some people speaking death over her dreams throughout her life, but she chose to believe in herself instead. She believed she could…and she DID!
2. Embrace the Process.
Most goals don’t happen right away just because you simply believe enough. Believing is only one ingredient in the process. (Anyone that tells you that you can believe and manifest your dreams without going through the process is feeding you a New Age fluffy lie!) There is always a process, and it differs depending on the person and how much character they already have versus how much character they need to develop. Cara Mund went through the process. Every time she lost the state title, she more than likely critiqued herself so she could grow and come back more prepared; stronger.
Don’t dismiss the process! It needs to take place so that you can develop the necessary skills to handle the responsibility once you reach the goal.
3. Stay dedicated and refuse to give up.
Many people give up right after a small breakthrough happens! (Like me, for instance – I gave up after reaching the small breakthrough of getting to the Top 10. Miss America, on the other hand, kept going back until the BIG goal was reached!) Dedication is what helps you develop the skills you need. You must also remember that breakthrough isn’t always big – it’s usually dealt in small doses that gain momentum and strength the more dedicated you become.
I don’t know what your goals are. But I do know this: if you believe in yourself, embrace the process, and stay dedicated…you might just make history in your own way, too. You matter. Your goals matter. Go get them!