Coping with failure.

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When it comes to pole dancing competitions there’s one thing which I know about, and that is failure. Now I am not a pessimistic kind of person, but when it comes down to it, I know first-hand how it feels to fail, to not place and to feel like you didn’t compete the way you had spent the past 3 months planning to do. I have competed frequently in the past few years, and have placed in all of the positions, last, second, fourth… but I am yet to place 1st. At first I found it frustrating and upsetting, (I won’t like one time I absolutely cried my heart out all the way home after and one time I came off the stage absolutely devastated that my routine didn’t go right at all) but nowadays I have learnt how to deal with it and to take away as much positivity from a competition as I can. This weekend I competed in the British Isles and unfortunately did not place, so most of these feelings are still fresh in my mind, and are the kind of feelings that I am working through myself right now. So instead of all the blogs and articles you may read about how to win a competition or put together a routine, I’m going to give you some advice on scenarios as to when it doesn’t turn out the way you planned.

-Gracious loser: there’s nothing worse than a sore loser, so make sure that you don’t turn into the loser backstage that everyone wants to avoid for fear of coming under their raft of bitterness. When you heart is sinking after they announce another pole dancer as the winner, make sure you keep that stage smile going and applause the winner. Not only would you want it to be the same way around if you won, but from an audience perspective it is easy to see peoples faces turn when they aren’t announced. (Just check out awards ceremony videos!)

-Gracious winner: as much as it is important for those who didn’t place to be gracious it is also important for those who do place and do well in competitions. I know first-hand how much it hurts to have a winner of a competition bragging backstage about how they only put their routine together the other day and the like, when you have spent the past months dedicated to training for the competition. Or to have someone jumping around in your face screaming about the prizes they have won and flashing their medals at you. As proud as you should be for your achievements, just remember about those who didn’t get the news they wanted and how disappointed they may be.

-forgotten routine/missed moves: the wonderful side to competitions is that your performance is new to everyone around you (obviously expect any supporters you may have who have seen it before the day.) This means if you are unlucky enough to go blank up on the stage and forget your routine or you miss out a move/trick you had choreographed the only way the audience and judges will be able to know this is if you show it! Keep moving, fill the gap with the first move that comes into your head no matter how basic it may be (a pirouette or ankle spin can give you the time you need to get back on track) and don’t let you game face go down, because as soon as you start to look worried or upset everyone will know what is happening. And most importantly, don’t bust your balls over it when you come off the stage. Missing that trick or having a blank mind moment does not mean that your routine was ruined, I have seen many competitors miss out their moves and still done well.

-fall: now clearly this is one of the worst situations safety wise, but more than anything you will just be embarrassed that it happened. Obviously the first concern in your safety and ensuring that you have not injured yourself, but recovering from the incident itself can be a bit more difficult. My best advice is to learn from what happened to cause it (such as don’t do that move again in a competitor or make sure that your costume is not going to get into your way) have a laugh about it and move on! It’s a horrible situation and I do not wish it upon any competitor but once it has happened there is nothing you can do about it, and the only important thing from an outside perspective, is about how you handle it. Take it on the chin, and you never know you could send your video off to you’ve been framed and earn yourself some money!

-you don’t feel the competition is fair: this is a horrible situation to be in, particularly if you have clear evidence and facts to prove your concern. If you feel that the competition was biased or that it was judged unfairly, voice your concerns to the suitable organisations/groups and do so in a professional and respectable manner, and avoid that competition in the future. At the end of the day you wouldn’t want to be associated to a competition that is unfair anyway and wouldn’t you much rather win a competition because you feel that you truly deserved it and not because of some other factor?

-you had a wardrobe malfunction: unfortunately all you can do is cope with the embarrassment like a true trooper and get over the embarrassment afterwards. If the incident occurs during a performance and the malfunction is not easy to sort out like repositioning a top, then just take yourself off the stage if you do not feel comfortable or that it is suitable to carry on. This will reduce the risk of more people noticing and may also save you from the situation of having your performance stopped like some competitions do in the case of a wardrobe malfunction. Most importantly, make sure you do a full run through of your routine in your costume and never underestimate the power of lingerie tape and safety pins!

-and general advice for every bad pole competition situation: have a cry about it, moan about it and move on. There is no time machine to go back and do things different and tearing yourself up about it won’t change anything. Get the frustration out quickly and then move on to working on the areas which you struggled in.

And my own personal advice: wanting it is not enough. If we all got what we wanted just from wanting it, then I am sure many of us would be millionaires with perfect bodies and a living a dream life. To be able to achieve those goals you have to put a lot of work in, and match your desire to win with the training which will get you there.
Will I ever place first? I hope so, but I honestly don’t know. But one thing is for sure, I will keep trying and be a regular face at competitions for some time to come.


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