2016 – The Highlights Pt 1: The Apprentice

2015 was an eventful year for me for many reasons, not all of them bad, but not all of them good. Needless to say, various events lead to some pretty big decisions this year. After 33 years and in the space of 365 days, I finally realised the significance of the phrase ‘Live for Today.’

When people have said this phrase to me in the past, I would be quick to counteract it with an argument as to why we shouldn’t, but that’s only because I didn’t truly understand its meaning. People weren’t telling me to enjoy myself and not think about the consequences of tomorrow like I thought. They weren’t telling me not to save money or not to plan ahead and they certainly weren’t telling me to be careless. I’m here to tell you that ‘Today’ is not ‘one’ day. It’s a space in time where you can accomplish something great, and the final days of 2015 taught me just that.

2016 therefore, was going to be my year of new challenges. 2016 was MY TODAY, and I can honestly say, hand on heart, that I went after what I truly wanted. I went after dreams I’ve had for years and years and the result has been one of the best years of my life.

An example being, The Apprentice. Every year I would watch the series on BBC1 and every year I’d be judging and complaining how I would do each task better – an opinion, I’m sure, that is shared by the majority of people reading this blog. This being said, I decided to stop talking the talk  and start walking the walk (awful phrase used to often on The Apprentice)! I’d never done a business plan before and I’ve never needed to learn, until now. I spent countless hours researching business plans, talking to professionals (you know who you are Lee Morgan!), reading book after book on how to compose one and ended up with a 43-page wonder for a Lifestyle Management Company. I was ever so proud, and it even made sense! Honestly, my five-year turnover was a seven-figure sum and I was convinced I was on to a winner.

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A glimpse of my business plan

Then came the online application, which truth be told, was pretty simple by most standards. The difficulty however was to follow, in the gruelling series of interviews in London. Sitting in a crowded room full of applicants, kitted out in their best business wear with their briefcases and iPhone 100s, I could easily have lost my nerve. I was surrounded by far more experience, far more business acumen and far more attitude than I had but in a situation like that, you HAVE to stop thinking about how everyone else might be better than you and start thinking about what makes you better than them. It truly is the best way to believe in your own ability and get rid of the nerves from those unhelpful comparisons.

Thankfully, potential candidate after potential candidate fell at the early interview stages that I was getting through rather happily. I couldn’t help looking around at the dwindling crowd of applicants and questioning, is this actually happening? My final interview stage which I can proudly say was very late on in the whole application process, was absolutely terrifying. Try sitting in front of two, angry-looking, hotshot, ball-busting female producers who would do everything in their power to make you not only question the turnover figures in your business plan but actual life choices and purpose on this Earth, all whilst eyeing you up and down at the end of a very large table in a room with glass walls so everyone outside the room can see you sweat. Honestly, no job interview I could ever have in future could EVER be this horrific! Sadly, this was where I failed and my Apprentice journey came to an end.

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Photo Courtesy of The Guardian

However, fail I did NOT. A week after returning home to Swansea, I had the email that my chances of getting onto the show had ended. I would be going no further in the process.

An ‘Emotional Intelligence’ lecture I once had, taught me that EVENT + RESPONSE = OUTCOME.  The event being my rejection and the response being how I would react. I quickly decided that although I didn’t get onto The Apprentice, in the space of two-months, I learnt how to write a business plan, the ingredients one needs when running a successful company, what an Executive Summary was and most importantly that I, Stacey Louise Harris, can bust balls with the best of them.