Emotional Maturity: The Real Story of Miss South Carolina Teen

Chances are good you are one of the thousands of people who were watching the Miss USA Teen competition a few nights ago or one of the 4 million plus who have watched the YouTube clip of Miss South Carolina Teen's seemingly disasterous on-stage answer or at least have heard of her now infamous :30 seconds of fame. The real story is not her train-wreck answer to the question about 1/5 of Americans not being able to find the United States on a map. It is not about how many millions of people have checked out the video clip. It is not even that more than 1/5 of Americans now know who came in third at the competition (Miss South Carolina Teen), but probably less than 1/5 of the people in the room with you right now knows who came in first.

The real story here is she had the guts and the emotional maturity to go on the Today Show two days later to discuss what happened, to describe blow-by-blow how she managed to talk on stage for :30 seconds and not give one complete sentence, and to laugh at herself a little.

Even as a full-time communicator and pageant contestant coach, I will admit we've shared a few crinches and chuckles at the office over this deal. But yesterday I was talking with one of my sales-coaching clients and he told me about a high performing rep in his office who absolutely refuses to stand in front of her 12 office peers and give a 10-minute presentation!

The real story here is not about Miss South Carolina Teen's :30 seconds of failure. It is about how she took a risk, fell flat on her face, got back up, learned something and moved on. When was the last time you risked boldly in front of your peers, allowed yourself to be challenged, failed and then had the emotional maturity to admit it and talk about it - especially in the transparent and unforgiving realm of public speaking?

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