We all have times in our lives — even important times — that we don’t think of very often. But every now and then something happens that triggers those memories.
It’s been a long time since I thought about my 2005 win on The Apprentice Martha Stewart. So much has happened since then—two children, one miscarriage, two businesses built and sold and two books written.
So you may be wondering what happened that has all these memories flooding back? Today I am flying to New York City and will be reunited with Bethenny Frankel for the first time since the show’s finale.
I am appearing on her show “Bethenny”. I’m taping the show tomorrow, which will air sometime in December. Last week I would have said that the Apprentice experience and my time with Martha seemed like a lifetime ago, but this upcoming appearance has made it seem like just yesterday.
As I was reminiscing about the past, I pulled out an article I wrote for Entrepreneur magazine: “What I Learned from Martha Stewart on The Apprentice.” I quickly realized that the tips I provided so many years ago not only helped me grow and eventually sell two successful businesses, but the tips are still relevant today.
I wanted to share those tips with all of you in the hope that they can help you with your future success.
“What I Learned from Martha Stewart on The Apprentice”
(First seen in Entrepreneur magazine, 2006)
This past fall I was fortunate enough to work with and learn from the world’s first female self-made billionaire as one of 16 candidates on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. I consider Martha one of the greatest female entrepreneurs of our time and since publishing is her main business, I couldn’t think of anyone I’d rather learn from.
I came into the show with years of experience in the mechanics of how to run a business: writing business plans, maintaining multi-million dollar budgets, hiring and firing employees, etc., but the show emphasized how important the mental aspects are to overall success in business and in life:
1. Focus is key. On The Apprentice, the producers remove virtually all outside distractions –radio, TV, magazines, newspapers, family, friends, laundry, grocery shopping, etc. The result? We accomplished astounding tasks in severely limited time including writing, designing and publishing a children’s book for Random House in 48 hours. If you’ve been attempting to write a business plan or author a children’s book for years without success, lock yourself in a room, focus and get it done!
2. Keep your eye on the ball. Being the owner of a women’s sports magazine, my goal heading into the show was simple: to win. But I quickly found that sleep deprivation, ultra-tight deadlines, interpersonal conflicts between candidates and other distractions (like dinner with Donald Trump) conspired to cloud my reason for being there: to strive, survive and win. Before I left for the show, my husband gave me invaluable advice: When things start to get out of control (and, believe me, at times they did) remember to “keep your eye on the ball”. His words helped me never lose sight of the end goal and always act accordingly.
3. Passion is contagious. Probably the most valuable lesson that Martha reinforced was the power of passion and enthusiasm. I’ve never met anyone with more passion for her work than Martha. What you rarely see on TV is that many tasks involved 48 or even 72 hours with little or no sleep. When others were wearing down, I would think about Martha’s passion and try to reinvigorate the team.
4. The more you're challenged, the more you gain. Over the last several years, Martha faced some incredible challenges. She met all head-on and now says her experience made her a better person. Apprentice producer Mark Burnett told us the show would be the hardest thing we’ve ever done. I thought he was crazy. I’ve done the Hawaii Ironman, I swam 5 to 8 hours a day in high school and college, I run marathons. But in the end Mark was right. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And it was incredibly rewarding.
I look back at my Apprentice experience fondly. I learned from one of the most successful entrepreneurs in the world, and most importantly I was able to bring those lessons back to my own business. Thanks Martha!