I am not a huge fan of Dancing with the Stars (DWTS), but I enjoy watching to see how the “stars” react to doing something outside their comfort zone.

I read recently that the ratings are much higher this year than last. As a Texas Ranger’s fan I was surprised to learn that DWTS drew more viewers than Game 5 of the World Series, which in turn drew more viewers than the Monday Night Football game. Is that a commentary of the status of baseball, football or DWTS? It certainly shows a significant number of people watch the show.

While I do not believe  Bristol Palin is a “star” in her own right, or was one of the top dancers on the show, I have been intrigued by watching her develop her skills and deal with pressure. She may also be the reason the ratings are so high. ABC got the best of both worlds: Bristol helped keep the ratings high by staying on the show and the best dancer took home the trophy

Bristol Palin strikes me as a shy kid, who in spite of her parent’s athleticism, is not very athletic. My guess is that she would have never chosen to be in the public spotlight. Since the show is live, I sometimes felt like a parent watching his young gymnast daughter on the balance beam and fearing she might fall. Bristol didn’t fall.

Most people believe that fans voted for Bristol to stay on the show because they support her mother. That was likely true for a significant percentage of the fans, but I believe there was more to it than that.

I decided to search for an article or blog post that identified that something extra. During my research I found some pretty hateful stuff and I learned Bristol and her partner had received death threats. I learned that one Wisconsin man was so upset that Bristol made the finals that he blasted his TV with a gun. (Click here. I am not making this stuff up.) I read what I considered to be a weird blog titled: The unholy (s)election of Bristol Palin by Sally Quinn. Among the many weird things, Sally Quinn acknowledges she has seven phones in her house and votes seven times as a result.  I laughed at many of the comments to her blog.

I finally found a blog post titled: What Marketers Can Learn from Bristol Palin. If you get a moment, read it. The writer says:

…when you watch that 20-year old you realize that, despite how you might feel about her mom or the Republican Party, despite her clutziness at times, despite even a really horrible stint dancing in a gorilla suit, she has what some people feel is the only differentiator in our cluttered world. She’s likeable.

Bristol Palin is likeable. The blogger believes that on DWTS, she was more likeable than Brandy, who spent the first several weeks arguing with Maksim, who is likeable in his own right. Bristol also took a chance and competed against people who regularly perform in front of crowds and on television.

So, what do I believe you can learn from Bristol Palin?

  1. All things being equal, clients want to hire lawyers they like.
  2. You will gain confidence in yourself by doing difficult things.
  3. You will become a better lawyer when you practice, practice practice.
  4. Learning by doing is more effective than learning by listening to a lecture.
  5. People admire and relate to a person who strives to get better and takes a risk outside her comfort zone.
  6. Don’t let the naysayers distract you or discourage you.
  7. Remain true to yourself. Don’t try to be someone you are not.
  8. At the end of the day, a lawyer with significantly more experience and more natural talent will more likely prevail over a lawyer with no experience and less talent.
  9. Be prepared to pick yourself off the mat and try again.

What does the future hold for Bristol Palin? I am not sure. What I know is she has stared down the fear of failing in front of millions of people and as a result will approach any future task with far more confidence.