Life lessons from the ballroom

There were many things I expected when I agreed to go on Strictly...but I never expected how immense the impact would be on my life as a whole!

As a full time mam and businesswoman, I’ve had my fair share of challenges over the years, so I thought I was pretty prepared for whatever would be thrown at me – but these past months on the show have taught me SO much more than I ever imagined.

The glitz and the glamour that you see on screen is only a TINY part of it – the real lessons have come from the hours of training, teamwork and the MANY tears.

Here are just a few of the things I have learned along the way, which will definitely stay with me forever…

The value of discipline 

Being disciplined has always served me well and it’s been vital throughout my career. However, it’s a COMPLETELY different story when you’re dancing, where you need to to think about everything in minute detail.

From what your feet are doing to getting the timing right – you can’t afford to miss anything out… and you have to do all of this whilst trying to make it look EFFORTLESS!

It takes such hard work and dedication to pull off a great routine – and the slightest deflection can cause catastrophe! I’m truly in awe of how the professionals can make it look so SIMPLE…

Being up at the crack of dawn and training so intensely left me feeling EXHAUSTED but it was important to me to start and finish early so that I would have more time with the kids. To be honest, a lot of the time I just wanted to curl up in bed and forget about everything. But, that feeling of accomplishment after all the hard (and often painful) work makes it all so worth it!

All of this has taught me that anything really is possible with the right discipline – if you told me a few months ago I’d be able to do a decent job of a dance like the foxtrot, I would have laughed in your face!

Teamwork really makes the dream work 

Running a business of over 200 fabulous people, I’m used to taking charge – so things being out of my complete control has been a real change.

As soon as I entered that training room I made an agreement with Aljaz…that he was the boss, NOT me! Having his support has been incredible and I know it hasn’t been easy for him (especially the early mornings!) but it’s made us so much stronger as a result.

Doing well is not something I want to achieve for myself, but for both us as a team – there is no one without the other! And it has been so much more than dancing… Alijaz has helped me adjust to my new, even more crazy life. From training early so I can do the school run to coming round to spend time with my family, who absolutely adore him! He really has made the whole experience a lot less stressful.

It’s true when they say that sweat and tears make strong bonds!!

Overcoming my fears

This is definitely the BIGGEST lesson I have learned.

Whilst I’m no stranger to being in front of the camera, getting out on stage and busting some moves with so many eyes watching has taken a LOT of guts… plus the added fact of being judged by a hawk-eyed panel – I now understand the feeling of those coming into the Den and facing us Dragons!

But, the scariest things are the MOST rewarding. And trying so many new things I never thought I was capable of has been terrifying and exhilarating.

In reality, I thought I was a lot tougher until I found myself at the bottom of the leaderboard. The criticism can really get under the skin! But the show must go on and I’ve been completely overwhelmed by all the amazing support.

For me, there was no other option than to pick myself up and dust myself off and I’m really proud of myself for pulling through!

Looking forward…

Although the journey is not over just yet (fingers crossed!) and I’m bound to learn heaps more, the Strictly experience has truly changed my life.

Pushing myself out of my comfort zone and working with some amazing people has unleashed potential that I never thought I had – Who knew swapping the boardroom for the ballroom would be such a journey!

Finally, to all those who have supported me so far – I am eternally grateful!

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