An emotional start to the 2019 Operation Transformation series
Last Wednesday night, I was a ball of nerves. Watching the very first Operation Transformation of the year always makes me feel like this.…and this is season 12 and Im allowed wear clothes!!!!
But the nerves are not for me or my performance or what people will think of the show. I get nervous until I know the leaders are OK with how they have come across on screen. That they feel we have done them justice and portrayed them fairly. Its one thing putting yourself forward for Operation Transformation, in front of the entire country when you feel vulnerable and when your self esteem is in your shoes. But its another, seeing yourself on camera for the first time, having put your trust in a team of people to tell your story fairly.
Operation Transformation has its critics and thats cool. Not everyone is going to like what we do. But what it has at its very core is the wellbeing of the leaders who have been brave enough to put themselves forward for the process. Yes we are making a TV show that is edited to be entertaining and engaging. But every person who works on the show, in front of and behind camera understands that the relationship between us and the leaders has to be built on trust. Thats the only way it works, believe me. They are trusting us, allowing us into them homes, their families, their jobs, they are revealing their strengths and weaknesses every week and that is lost on anybody who works on the show.
I text all the leaders before the show went out on Wednesday night and reassured them this will be the hardest show they will watch. I said to Pamela, Cathal, Jean, Siobhan and Paul to remember to have trust have trust in us. Easier said than done I know. But one show down and they were all able to breathe a sigh of relief. “Handled with dignity” and “I cant believe the confidence you have in me” were just two parts of the text messages I got back. Phew, now I was able to breath a sigh of relief!!!
And yes there were lots of tears last Wednesday. I was in bits on the couch. I only get to see the show in its totality on the night it goes out too. But tears are OK. Watching other people in pain, feeling guilty, admitting weaknesses, facing their biggest fears is powerful and not something we see a lot on TV. People say to me all the time, why do they do it? And I say because they are braver than me and you. It takes a special type of person to hold their hand up and go “Im in trouble, I need help and I know Im going to feel exposed but that will be temporary and if it means I get my life back I don’t really give a shit what people think in the long run.” A leader is someone who goes places others are afraid to go but by their actions, they spur others to follow them. 365,000 people tuned in on Wednesday. If even 1% of them were inspired to do something that has been holding them back, that is a powerful movement. The Instagram messages I get from people also reflect the impact of the show.
Jean talking about the loss of her daughter Sloane and her miscarriages obviously resonated with me hugely and we are actually so similar in so many other ways, we reckon we were sisters in a former life. Siobhan, Im in awe of. Pamela is the realest person you ever met and cracks me up all the time. Cathal makes me melt with the love he has for his little girl and I love Paul. He is so down to earth, a complete workaholic and considering small town Ireland, the last man in the world I thought would apply for the show. But that is why the leaders are special. They will surprise you. They will impress you and hopefully they will inspire you. Get ready for the next 7 weeks.