What Made Barbara Corcoran of ‘Shark Tank’ Cry for the First Time in 25 Years

Barbara Corcoran of ABC’s Shark Tank has proven herself as a tough businesswoman and shrewd investor. She started her real estate empire with just a $1,000 loan and then sold it for $66 million in 2001, according to CNBC.

Yet she revealed that one challenge she faced brought her to tears for the first time in decades.

Barbara Corcoran of 'Shark Tank'
Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank | Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Corcoran reflects on growing up with a learning disability

Corcoran has been very open about her dyslexia. “I’ve wrestled with letters and numbers my whole life,” Corcoran said on her podcast Business Unusual. “My biggest fear all day long was that I would be called on to read out loud.”

Even in adulthood, the real estate icon sometimes feels insecure about her intellectual ability. “I feel like my whole life I’ve been insecure about looking not smart,” Corcoran told Entrepreneur. “So I feel like everything I do is a constant attempt to prove to whoever’s around me that I can measure up. I’m also proving to myself that I’m always running around with insecurity.”

Today, she realizes there are positives that grew from dyslexia. “It made me more creative, more social and more competitive,” she told Entrepreneur. “There’s a great freedom to being dyslexic… if you can avoid labeling yourself as a loser in a school system that measures people by As and Bs.”

Never one to shy away from a challenge, Corcoran took on a role to sharpen her skills in an area she felt had been a hurdle due to dyslexia.

“It’s hard for me to learn sequencing, like dance steps,” she told Us Weekly in 2017. “I signed up for Dancing With the Stars to see if I could get over it and finally learn to dance.”

Corcoran donned her dancing shoes for ‘Dancing With the Stars’

Corcoran followed the example of fellow Sharks Mark Cuban and Robert Herjavec and decided to compete on ABC’s Dancing With the Stars Season 25. Cuban, who appeared in season 5, gave Corcoran a heads-up on what to expect. “The advice I got from Mark was that [DWTS] was the hardest thing he had ever done in his life,” she told People in 2017.

The advice from the billionaire investor took Corcoran by surprise, even thinking Cuban might have been exaggerating. She soon found out he was spot on.

“There is something about Mark that makes you think that nothing is hard for him, he seems to breeze through everything, and I should have believed him and not said ‘yes,’ because this is the hardest thing I have ever done in my life,” she said. “This is really a confidence crisis for me. … I am shocked at how weak I am. I thought I was very good at pressure, but I’m not very good.”

Dancing brought Corcoran to tears

According to ABC News, the stress of mastering dance steps actually brought Corcoran to tears for the first time in 25 years.

“It has been very difficult because I use my mind in my work. I’m always analyzing things and running from my gut,” Corcoran said. “With dancing, it has nothing with the mind. It has to do with what you believe in your heart, actually! Weirdest thing. I’ve never encountered anything that was so difficult for me.”

Sadly, Corcoran was the first to be eliminated. And naturally, the Shark Tank star was extremely disappointed to be sent home so soon.

“Let me tell you, I felt like Cinderella, and somebody had robbed her pumpkin,” she told BuzzFeed News. “Immediately, I was ashamed of myself.”

Never one to stay down for long, Corcoran started to see the positives that came out of the experience.

“By the time I got back to New York on that midnight flight, I’m like, ‘Hey, what’s so bad? I’m going home to my beautiful home and my beautiful family, I got to dance with this hunk for six weeks running, and I know how to dance — this is amazing!’” Corcoran said.

Always a class act, Corcoran shared her appreciation for the opportunity of being on the popular reality show.

“It was such an honor and probably the most exciting thing I’ve done in my whole life,” she said on her last show. “… If you’ve got that dream in your head, you better go for it.”