So true, if you're lucky enough to have people around you that support you and remind you of the good things about your dancing during the disappointing times, it is much easier. Even better? To have your pro participate in the process of goal setting (and evaluation on other factors than just placement) if they are enlightened and willing. Pro-am, over the years I have been competing, has dramatically increased in quality and the level of skill in the competitions. You will find many good dancers being left in the semi final rounds at the larger comps now. The quality at these comps speaks well to the diligence of the students and the pros that teach them. Given that, pro-am students need to develop some of the mindsets and attitudes that the pro and am competitors have developed over the years to remain motivated and progressing when there is less chance of "winning". Though some pros may not yet understand it as an advantageous thing to develop in their students, they can become a big part in helping a student learn to navigate the disappointment and get back quickly to productive progress and work. It's just one more thing to migrate over from their pro partnerships to part of the experience of pro-am. It's part of the process and good business to boot.