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Confessions of a Pageant Competitor: Battling Imposter Syndrome 💭

I'll never forget the days leading up to each of my pageant competitions when doubt crept in, whispering in my ear that I didn't belong on that stage. With just a couple of weeks to go before the state competition, my brain would start to play tricks on me, as if I really had time to change anything or back out at that point... right?

Imposter syndrome hit hard, year after year, making me question my worth, my abilities, and if I was really good enough to be Miss Kansas. It was like a record that kept scratching and playing the same lines over and over again that tried to chip away at my confidence. But let me tell you something: those feelings were nothing more than a little voice in my head that wasn't real.

As I've talked to women getting ready for their own competitions, they've asked me if I ever got imposter syndrome and I say, "GIRL, YES. And if I could only tell you how many other people feel the way you do...!" You are not alone in feeling like this. I know Miss America's who have felt this way even when they're halfway through their year of being, well, Miss America. But just because you're not alone, doesn't mean the feelings aren't incredibly valid. So I tried to break down some tips to battle the little voice in your head in the final countdown to the crown.

In the final weeks before the competition, it's SO important to get your head in the game, and unfortunately, that's also the same time that those insecurities feel a little bit louder for some of us. So, how do you overcome imposter syndrome? Here's what I've learned along the way:

1️⃣ Embrace Your Journey: Remember, you've earned your place here. Every step, every challenge, and every triumph has shaped you into the incredible competitor you are today. Embrace your unique path and how much you have grown throughout the journey before you even step foot on the stage.

2️⃣ Focus on Your Strengths: Instead of dwelling on perceived weaknesses and insecurity, celebrate your strengths. Literally write down what sets you apart, the qualities that make you shine, and keep that list with you during competition week to look at and serve as a little reminder. Believe in your abilities and the value you bring to the opportunity to serve your state.

3️⃣ Turn to Your Support Squad: Surround yourself with a support system that lifts you up. I've talked about how important your circle is before, and it's even more important in the weeks immediately before and after the competition. Share your insecurities with trusted friends, mentors, or family members who will remind you of your worth. It's okay to ask them for a little hype and to ask them ahead of time to send you notes of encouragement throughout the competition. They love you ;) They won't mind telling you how amazing you are.

4️⃣ Visualize Your Success: Picture yourself standing tall, radiating confidence, and owning the stage. Visualize your crowning moment, the applause, and the satisfaction of knowing you gave it your all. Let this mind-movie of your success play in your brain every night as you close your eyes and go to sleep as the countdown dwindles for the competition and allow yourself to feel what it's like to become her.

5️⃣ Own Your Narrative: Rewrite the story you tell yourself. Replace self-doubt with affirmations of your strength, resilience, and determination. You are not an imposter; you are a force to be reckoned with - and you really could be the next Miss State.

I know it's easier said than done. I can't tell you how many phone calls I've had with Juven over the years where he's had to remind me that I'm a boss and the work I've done to get to different points of my journey. But I really do think that if you put some of these things in play in the next couple of weeks, the tension in your shoulders will release a little bit and you'll be able to go into the competition week with your head held a little bit higher.

As the competition gets closer, let go of those lingering doubts and step into your power. Remember, you've put in the work and gone through so much just to get to this point. Trust in yourself and your journey. You are more than deserving of this moment. Believe it, own it, and let your light shine on that stage! 💫✨

You got this.

xoxo - Annika


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