An emotion-charged moment captured. My friend Val snapped these 2 photos as I broke down backstage after feeling like I flopped on stage during my World Championship win.
Here's what happened & what I've learned from the experience....
Let me set you up for where my mind was:
-I had been a winner in the past, there were expectations.
-I hadn't set foot on a stage in 2 years.
-I got 1 shot, 1 opportunity to hit a home run.
-I was the only mother (let alone of 2 kids) in the entire line up...could my physique really compete still?
-This is what was my reality post-baby #2...in no way do I think it's "bad", but let's be honest this isn't World Champion level.
I'm sure you can appreciate the mental work it took for me to be prepared to own my 1 shot, and go for it with confidence.
I practiced, practiced, practiced. I mentally worked through so many doubts & set my mind into that of a "power woman". It wasn't a switch I just turned on - I worked on my inside as much as the outside. I meditated and emulated over & over my target persona.
I worked the hardest mentally then I ever had before to get to this single moment. A moment I wanted to own with confidence, class, strength and power.
And so I took the stage....and my mind freaked out.
The initial walk was fine, but as soon as I hit the first pose series here's what my mind started screaming...
"Omg. You're not up for this. The others' are more practiced. You look rusty. Your tummy will show the babies you had. Omg. You're screwing it up!!!!!!"
The short 2 minutes continued in mental battle like this. And yet I still moved...smiled...posed.
As I walked off stage, the mental beat up started. I felt I didn't do my best & blew it. It shook me because I had worked so hard.
In this photo you are seeing me talking after the show (before awards) to former 2x World Champion Kasia Sitarz ...she is a woman I always looked up to in this sport as she shows with strength & class what a Bikini Champion should be. She understood what goes into this mentally. So I broke down as she assured me no one could tell that full out mental battle raged.
She noted she just saw strength.
The tears came. That's all I wanted...to rise to & show the strength of the power we all have. Myself included.
"So what did I learn? Many people say to me how much they admire my "confidence". But I think it's a mistake they call it that. It's actually empowerment they see, not confidence.
I'm not really that confident in what I do, I'm still (always?) working on my "confidence" but what I do posses now is an incredible level of empowerment.
I remember a goal of mine when I first started weight training and competing was to "improve my confidence". Yet I understand now that I've got something even more powerful - empowerment.
You may think...what's the difference? The difference is that despite fear & doubt, despite challenges and naysayers, I continue towards what I want with strength.
It's not that I'm so confident that I don't feel or think negatives and doubts. Yes I may fail. I do often. Empowerment is about being ok with failing because you learn & grow. I'm empowered when I educate myself and when I make my own choices. I act empowered when I choose those who I surround myself with because I can feed off of their positive energy, belief & strength.
Empowerment is worth 10x confidence in my world.