"Be confident, but don't let your ego get in the way," the rocker tells PEOPLE
Credit: Kristian Dowling/Fox/PictureGroup

After all the battles Bret Michaels has fought over the past 12 months, he still ranks winning Celebrity Apprentice as “one the toughest things I’ve ever done emotionally and physically, because they drain you down to find who the winner is.” So now he has some expert advice for the show’s remaining hopefuls.

“You got to work hard, delegate and be able to perform on a fume,” says Michaels, who turns 48 March 15. “Because you don’t eat a whole lot and you don’t sleep a whole lot, and that’s the truth.”

He adds: “Listen to what Donald Trump and the task assigners are asking you to do. And you better be good at rallying your team, even when they don’t like you or believe in you. Eventually, you’re going to be facing the same people you worked with.”

A show full of type-A personalities can cause chaos, so Michaels advises, “Don’t ever take your eye off the prize, when all these other people start to push and pull. Be confident, but don’t let your ego get in the way, because it is such an awesome [opportunity] to help your charity. I’ve raised so much more money to fight diabetes because of the awareness.”

After recent surgery to repair a hole in his heart, Michaels says recovering hasn’t been easy. “I’m not going to feel super great for about six months because of the new blood thinner and my heart getting used to having something in it that hasn’t been there,” Michaels says.

But the rocker hopes to be back in shape for solo gigs and a joint summer tour with his band Poison and Mötley Crüe.