It was May of 1982 at the Miss USA pageant in Biloxi, Mississippi. I could barely breathe. Miss Texas and I stood on stage, hip to hip, as the two final contestants. One of us was about to be named the winner.

I was convinced Miss Texas would win. She had been the front-runner during the whole competition and I had been the underdog. I wasn’t your typical contestant. Miss Texas had long flowing blonde hair and a beautiful red evening gown. I, on the other hand, had short brown hair, a simple dress, and had shared in my Top 12 Interview that my friends and I often spent Saturday nights at the Tastee Freeze in my small hometown of Cabot, Arkansas, and the guys drank a little beer and dipped a little Skoal on the back of a pick-up truck while one of my friends played the banjo. I definitely didn’t fit the mold of a Miss USA!

But Miss Texas didn’t win. I did! Wow! I couldn’t believe it!!

My reaction to being named the new Miss USA showed just how shocked I was at being crowned the winner. I had broken the rules of being a pageant winner!

There was something else going on that if the judges had known I probably wouldn’t have won. Just months prior to winning, I often tried to beat up my boyfriend.

I was an emotional mess. I had lived my life as a good girl, trying to get it right and be the best so I could “win” people’s love. By the time I got to college, I was a basket case. I drove myself into the ground trying to be “really good” by keeping up my high grade point average, believing THIS would bring me success and happiness in life. Plus, I constantly gave myself up in my relationship with my boyfriend trying to keep him happy. Nothing was working. I felt depressed, angry, in fear, and often a complete control freak.

Thankfully, during the second semester of my sophomore year in college, I knew something needed to shift. And that’s when I decided to break the good girl rules, step off of the hamster wheel of trying to get it right, and I quit school. I didn’t understand that this is what I was doing. I simply knew that my life wasn’t working and that I had to make a shift.

For the first time in as long as I could remember, I felt happy. I felt free. I had no idea where I was going but knew that where I had been was not right for me.

It was just two months after leaving school that I decided on a whim to be in the Miss Arkansas pageant. And I won! Two weeks after that, I left for the Miss USA pageant.

What a whirlwind! Now when you see the picture of my crowning moment and my mouth as big as the Grand Canyon, you can understand why I was in such shock!

Miss USA winning moment headshot insert  Miss USA nice mouth

Winning Miss USA taught me a lot of things. The biggest lesson that I learned, however, is that a seed was planted that said, “When you break the good girl rules and follow your heart, miracles show up.”

As I said, a “seed” was planted. It would take a long time for me to understand what  caused my emotional angst. Once my year as Miss USA was over, I stepped right back into the good girl rules of trying to get it right and onto the hamster wheel of stress again.

It wasn’t until I became a wife and mom that I knew I had to get to the bottom of my emotions. I thought it was my job to make my stepson “be good.” I believed this was the loving thing to do. However, instead of feeling loving, I often found myself screaming at him. I hated who I was. I could see that I was handing my pain over to him and would eventually do the same to my two little girls. And that’s when I made a commitment to heal.

As I dove into my emotions to look for the gift of what my feelings were telling me, I discovered that it was my need to be good and “get it right” that was causing not only my emotional suffering, but my family’s as well. But as I gave myself permission to break the rules, everything shifted for the better!

I became a happier wife and mom, and my whole family dynamics changed. And as I continued to unravel the good girl rules from my life, I stepped onto a magical adventure of abundance and miracles! I found my gifts and my life purpose. But most importantly, I finally felt free to be me.

Now I understood why breaking the good girl rules is so important:

Breaking the Good Girl Rules = Inner Freedom

Now after 20 years of studying the good girl rules and working as a spiritual coach and energetic healer, I see that it is the good girl rules that cause lack in our lives. It is only when you make a decision to break the good girl rules that you find emotional freedom within. And as you find this love within, you open up to receive abundance and miracles in your outer world because you feel “enough” simply for being you. You step off of the hamster wheel of stress and struggle, and just like I did, you step into your gifts and life purpose.

One day while in prayer and meditation, I asked, “God, why did I win Miss USA? There’s got to be a reason.”

A message came through me that said, “Terri, USA stands for freedom. The reason you won was to send you on a journey to your life purpose: To find freedom within and to help others do the same.”

I will be forever grateful for winning Miss USA. However, it is the miraculous journey of breaking the good girl rules to get there that was the greatest gift of that year.


Are you tired of trying to be good like I was? It’s time to stop the madness and get off of the hamster wheel of stress and struggle!
Grab my FREE Ebook and I’ll show you how.