Miss Riverside Mondays: My Definition of Success

image source: Nicole Hornaday

It would be easy to assume that the moment I was crowned Miss East Riverside County was my greatest success of this year’s pageant season. I mean, I competed eight times over six months with two first runner-up and two second runner-up placements. Three times I found myself without any placements. To put this into perspective, you must win a local preliminary title before advancing to state. While first runner-up is an honor and something to be very proud of, it leaves you just shy of qualifying for the next level of competition.

So while my crowning moment was extremely exciting, the crown that was placed on my head was simply a symbol of my success. In my book, I had achieved success far prior to that final night of competition.

With that said, I truly believe that there is no such thing as failure in pageantry if you have the right attitude. Oprah Winfrey put it well: “Think like a queen. A queen is not afraid to fail. Failure is another stepping stone to greatness.”

I choose to see my pageant journey in a similar way. I didn’t necessarily succeed when I was crowned. I succeeded when I was first runner-up in the first pageant of the season, following the most devastating personal tragedy of my life. I succeeded when I didn’t place in the following competition, yet kept competing. I succeeded through talent injuries and by standing up for my beliefs when answering a highly controversial on stage question. With every “failed” attempt at the crown, I not only gained scholarship money, but also the best possible opportunities to practice for the big stage at Miss California.

What “failure” can you choose to look at as a “stepping stone” today? I challenge you to change your perspective and have gratitude for every stepping stone that guides you to where you’re meant to be.

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