When I signed on to do “Dancing with the Stars,” I didn’t know it would have such an impact on my life or how much I would learn about myself. I knew I would learn some dance steps, a couple of routines and tone my body a little. I didn’t know that Sasha, my partner, would leave an indelible print on me. I didn’t know that dance would hit me like a freight train, but in a great way. I opened myself up to something new and different and it changed my life. Having no point of reference for dance (I didn’t dance as a child nor have I ever taken a dance class), I embraced all of it! Sasha told me that his job was not to just teach me to dance, but that he wanted to make sure I had an unforgettable experience, an unforgettable journey. Mission accomplished! The entire cast and crew of DWTS 22 made this adventure remarkable.
Here are a few amazing discoveries I learned along the way:
- It is never too late for me to discover a new passion. When I did RHOA, there was an episode in which I discovered I needed to find a “happy place” for Kim – not as a wife or a mother, and not even as a career woman, but a happy place for Kim as a human being. During my journey on DWTS, I found that happy place Dancing! It is liberating and energizing. The amount of focus I needed to apply to the process was also wonderful, because I couldn’t think of anything else or anyone else at that time. I also realized that doing something for me, putting full focus and attention on me, did not diminish my dedication to my husband, to my children, nor to my career. It actually enhanced my presence in all of those areas. It gave me more strength. It gave me more energy. It gave me more self-confidence. It was a huge self-discovery to me that I found a happy place, MY happy place, in dancing!
- I have a new level of tenacity. I have always felt limitless and unstoppable in life, but I learned during DWTS that my tenacity had even more levels, higher levels, than I ever knew existed. It was an exhilarating revelation to experience an already unquenchable work ethic being kicked into high gear. For instance, when I was dealing with my ankles and my tendons being overworked and they wanted me to skip rehearsal – the thought never entered my mind. Not out of stubbornness, but I know my body and I knew that I could push through rehearsals and the actual dance(s) without injuring myself. I was determined and committed to not miss a beat (pun intended) during this process, and that commitment to excellence was my focus. DWTS is wonderfully demanding. My focus was to not only rise to the occasion, but to strive for a sense of mastery of a craft that was totally new to me. I challenge/encourage anyone reading this to commit to a higher level of excellence in everything that you do and you will be surprised at how limitless you can be! Go to your #NextLevel!
- There are times when I simply cannot multi-task! This one took a lot of rewiring for me, lol, but I had to learn that, while I am used to working on a lot of irons in the fire, I couldn’t work on anything else while on my DWTS time. For me, the amount of focus required wouldn’t allow that. I really had to rely on my village. When people talk about giving themselves permission to be singularly focused on something, I could never relate to that. But this happened for me by divine default because I simply could not focus on anything else. I am totally a multi-tasker – and most women, especially moms have this trait. I learned that there will be times when I cannot do everything and I will have to rely on my support system. DWTS was nearly three months of intense work and travel. I went through a gamut of emotions, from being frustrated with myself that I wasn’t getting some other things accomplished to being annoyed with myself for getting frustrated! My mom helped. My sister helped. My husband helped and did an amazing job. My business team stepped up. My entire village had my back, and it was a blessing both to me and to them – because they always want to help me however they can. Therefore, I also learned that when you don’t allow people to help you, you are a ‘blessing blocker’ (thank you Blair Underwood for that phrase years ago).
- I could embrace a new level of surrender. I didn’t know that surrendering a certain sense of control would be something that I would have to contend with on DWTS. I don’t think of myself as a controlling person, but I realize, as a director and businesswoman, it is in my nature to have a leadership vibe in work situations. Early on, Sasha kept telling me “I lead, not you.” With partner dancing, I had to embrace this sense of “He’s got this. Relax. He knows what he is doing…”
That aspect of SURRENDER was an eye-opener. I learned to surrender my will and my instinct to just go – because I’d learned the steps – without waiting to be led into them. It was an interesting dynamic to embrace and what it taught me most about myself is that there is a deeper level of surrender that I would like to have in other areas of my life – especially as a woman of faith! People say they want to let go and let God…but do we really?
Sasha didn’t need my help. He was the leader there. He only needed me to let go and let him do what he does. That is something that I learned about myself, and it transcends dancing because I see how the principle (of surrender) can make me better as a person, wife and dance partner. I do plan to continue dancing. I discovered that listening and surrendering are not the same thing. In addition, it is about how to surrender. In dance, it is the beauty, grace and joy and whatever the feeling is for the dance that you must surrender to. In life, it translates as your response to surrender. The ability to surrender well can be the difference between success and failure in most situations.
- When I’m are learning something new, I can’t be insecure or afraid to be vulnerable. What I had to learn right away is, I had to get rid of my fears and insecurities. Insecurities and hindrances are handcuffs. Tap into the power of vulnerability and use it to your benefit. If you can let yourself be vulnerable in a safe, nurturing environment…you can grow beyond those handcuffs. The ability to be vulnerable is important when learning something new. Otherwise, we go in acting like we know something that we don’t, and that will hinder the learning process. Jump in with both feet and eyes wide open and be as much of a blank canvas as possible. I was proud of myself for never saying “I can’t” to anything that Sasha asked me to do. There were certainly times when I was uncomfortable or embarrassed, but I worked through it. You are not going to know everything from the start, which can be tough to handle when we are usually in a society of know-it-alls. Know that you may be insecure, but cut it off at the start. Create an emotional environment that allows and supports you being vulnerable… Then have fun on your new adventure!
Bonus Lesson: I can wear three layers of eyelashes at once and bottom ones too!