We were so excited to see this article featuring Holly Hoffman “Survivor” and other competition-style reality show contestants, in this Business Insider. We just had to share!   

Holly Hoffman
Holly Hoffman was a South Dakota-based swim coach for 17 years before she decided to head off to the wilds of Nicaragua.

She had founded the Eureka Area Swim Team herself. Her son and both of her daughters were swimmers, with the latter two receiving full rides to college on swimming scholarships. On the side, she also helped her husband manage his political career. But once all her children had gone off to school, Hoffman said she was faced with a dilemma.

“I remember dropping our youngest off at college and thinking ‘What am I going to do with my life?'” she told Business Insider. “It just kind of flashed in front of me.”

Hoffman said that inspiration struck her one day, while she was watching the season finale of “Survivor: Samoa” in the kitchen.

“Out of the blue, I looked at my husband and said, ‘You know, I’d really like to try that,'” she said.

The next day, her husband recorded her casting tape on the family camcorder. As both the owner, manager, and coach of the swim team, Hoffman was able to leave her job no problem when the “Survivor” casting department expressed interest in her tape. She gave two month of workouts to an assistant coach, told her team she was going on a mission trip, and headed out to LA, flying by herself for the first time.

“I had a job position where I could leave and come back and still have my job,” Hoffman said. “Not all ‘Survivors’ are in that situation.”

However, once filming started up, things didn’t get off to such a smooth start. Hoffman said she had a “complete meltdown” five days into the experience, throwing another contestant’s shoes into the ocean after an argument and seriously considering quitting.

“I remember standing in the middle of the jungle after I talked to Jimmy Johnson, who was on our season, and he definitely inspired me to stay. I remember thinking how if you don’t believe in yourself nobody’s going to believe in you. You don’t have a cell phone, you don’t have a computer, you don’t have a tooth brush, you don’t have toilet paper. It’s the real deal.”

Hoffman said her subsequent attitude change helped her out. She ended up coming in fourth, and was the last woman standing in the season.

Returning home, Hoffman could not tell her team about her experience. She had lost 22 pounds and was sick for a week.

“The first time I went to swim practice, my swimmers looked at me and just about fell over,” she told Business Insider. “The other coach kind of looked at me and was like, ‘You were on a mission trip?’ And I said, ‘Time will tell.'”

Once the show started airing, a call came in. A rotary club wanted her to come and speak at a luncheon. Hoffman had to put off the gig until January 2011, as the show was still airing in December 2010.

“I remember asking, ‘Well, what do you want me to talk about?’ And he said, ‘Well, we want you to talk about your experience and what you got out of it and how you felt and everything.’ I remember hanging up the phone and thinking ‘Oh my goodness, I really don’t know wht I should tell them.'”

She decided to “speak from the heart” and share her experience of overcoming adversity on “Survivor.”

“For me, in the jungle, dealing with all these different types of people with different personalities, you have nothing and you still have to get through the day,” she said. “It’s stressful. That’s kind of how I take my ‘Survivor’ experience and throw it back into the real world. You don’t have to be on reality television to feel this. You don’t have to be on reality television to want to quit something or to not believe in yourself.”

After the talk, two women approached her with more requests to come speak at other events. She said she assumed the offers would slow down, but they haven’t yet. Hoffman coached the swim team for one more year, handed it off to the other coach, and began pursuing the career of public speaking full time.

Today, Hoffman’s career trajectory is entirely different, thanks to her appearance on “Survivor.”

“I would have never in a million years thought a reality show would take me to where at I am at this point in my career,” she said.

Hoffman said that her time on “Survivor” allowed her to branch out into an entirely new career.

“Did I take my experience and take it to the next level?” she said. “Yes, I did, but I worked extremely hard. I’ve worked extremely hard to get to where I am. I have everything that I’ve done. I was not looking for this career, but taking one opportunity can change your life.”


Read the full article here: www.businessinsider.com

For more information on Holly, contact Midwest Speakers Bureau today!

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