Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Skills I Learned From the Miss America Program

Skills I Learned From the Miss America Program

By Lorna Stremcha

"Adversity brings knowledge and knowledge wisdom."
-Proverb

A Piece of Me: Skills I Learned from the Miss America Program

Commitment is essential when trying to obtain any goal. I was fortunate enough to compete in the Miss Montana/Miss America Pageant. Though I did not win the state title, I did come away with life skills that I have been paying forward ever since. Understanding the program's value, I was able to utilize many of my acquired skills while managing and counseling at top weight-loss clinics and centers. The centers and clinics I worked for extended this knowledge with schooling and practical experiences.

Good fortune allowed me to attend conferences put on by Glamour magazine; attend workshops with Dr. Covert Bailey, author of Fit-or-Fat; attend Diet Center's Nutrition and Behavioral Modification School; and participate in continuing education courses and workshops by Dr. Wayne Dyer, author and visionary. The knowledge I gained from these experiences has taught me much about commitment.

Preparing for Miss Montana/Miss America requires huge commitment from its contestants. It also demands a great deal of personal responsibility, sincere humility, knowledge, loyalty, and sincerity. The program also teaches that there is always room for improvement, along with the essential need for preparation and hard work. These are some skills I was able to pass on to a group of juvenile girls in Portland, Oregon.

One of my clients was having difficulty reaching these girls. The more we talked, the more we learned about one another. After sharing some of my childhood and teenage experiences with her, she became convinced that I was the one that could reach these girls. Her goal was to persuade them to attend school and graduate. I realized that the girls thought she didn't understand their situation. She had no clue where they were coming from. She asked me to meet with them, and I agreed.

In just a few short minutes, we bonded. We connected. They knew I wasn't going to fill them with a bunch of BS and listened intently as I talked to them with a completely open heart. The intense conversations that followed my speech prompted tears and sighs of relief. Someone understood! They knew truth!

Realizing the girls trusted me, I challenged them to each make a commitment. This commitment required that they attend school and graduate. It demanded that each of them give their best because they needed this for their futures, for their future children's futures. After persuading the girls to sign the contracts, I placed the contracts in a folder and handed them to the client who arranged the meeting. Because follow-up is vital, we continued to meet until I moved back to Montana. The next year, I received a beautiful card announcing that all but one of the eleven girls graduated from high school; some were attending vocational schools while others chose college.

The point is that these girls had to make a personal commitment in order achieve their goals. They worked through their adversities in order to meet their goals. Just as Miss Montana/Miss America and life experiences have taught the power of commitment and follow-through, it also reinforced gratitude. The importance of gratitude should never be understated. I recall coming to this conclusion as a young child.

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