Becoming Miss Universe in 2017 was one of the most amazing things that has ever happened to me. Not only was I honored and humbled by it, it also opened so many doors for me to get to where I am today. Once my year as reigning Miss Universe was over, I had to stop and decide what to do with my life. Would I use my platform for good, or would I squander away the opportunities ahead of me. It’s a decision most of us have to make at some point regardless of the accomplishment. Once you graduate from college, how will you move forward? Once you achieve that goal you’ve been striving toward, what’s next? Well, I learned a few very important things from this journey that I’d like to share with you in hopes that it inspires or encourages some of you too!
Never Limit Yourself. The only person able to put any limits on what you can accomplish in this life is YOU. I think believing in yourself is the first step in dreaming big. If you don’t believe in yourself, your dreams are limited. Believing in yourself, that you were created with value and with a purpose is the most important step in accomplishing big dreams. Without it, you simply cannot even fathom the amazing things you’re capable of achieving. What most people don’t know about the pageant world is that it takes a lot of hard work, training, dedication and focus. I aspired to become Miss Universe mostly because I had seen the women before me use their platform to create real change in the world, and that’s something I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to live my life on purpose, to dream BIG and create real change in the world around me. But like most achievements that we dream about, it didn’t come easily. A part of dreaming big is also working hard, setting goals and making a plan that you can stick to. None of that happens without confidence in yourself and your capabilities.
Find your purpose. Listen, I know some of you reading are young and may not know your purpose yet. And I believe on top of that, our purpose may change with the different seasons of life. For some of you, your purpose right now might be going to school, or raising up your children, and for others it may mean something as big as starting a non-profit organization. But whatever it is, figure it out because once you know, it allows you to do it daily with all of your heart. It gives your life meaning, and that encourages you each and every day to never waste a moment, never waste an opportunity. If you’re not sure what you’re passionate about yet, that’s okay! What breaks your heart? What stirs something in you? What are you good at? Whatever that thing is, educate yourself on it and use your voice to speak up and speak life into that person, project, or passion. If your platform is thousands of people or just the people in your home, use it to inspire and encourage others to come alongside you. Sometimes all it takes is a small spark to create major change in the world or in the lives of others around you.
Confidence can’t come from any title or achievement. If I’ve learned anything about achievement, it’s that confidence cannot come from any title, any accomplishment or any role you play. All those things are temporary. If I had to be bluntly honest I think it’s fair to say that I had more confidence in myself before acquiring the Miss Universe title compared to when I handed over the title. The reason for that being that I had based all my confidence in a title, accomplishment and a role that wasn’t eternal. Over time, I’ve realized confidence has to come from something greater than yourself, and for me my confidence comes from my Creator. I can’t only focus on having self-confidence, because based on my circumstances this can and will always change. But I know that I can have GOD-Confidence because God created me in His image, He knit me together perfectly with a specific plan and purpose for my life, and He did you too!
So whatever stage of life you’re in now, it’s never too late to dream big, to find your purpose, and to begin to develop a God-confidence in who you are, the purpose God has for your life, and the person He has called you to be!