Part Three of a Three Part Series
by Guest Blogger Dianne Orwig
Transformation #3 – THE SPIRIT – Fast forward to July 4 – Independence Day again – but this time, 2008. After receiving several email invitations to join a new site created by Bill Phillips called Transformation.com, I decided to go in and take a look. I really missed my days at Lean and Strong and felt this might be the perfect way to get back to giving back.
I remember the palpable feeling of uneasiness when I logged on that first time, but I attributed it to past history. I reasoned that whatever transpired between Bill and I had happened years ago and besides, it wasn’t as though I harbored any resentment for the way things unfolded. Bill was just a busy guy, publishing is a fickle business, and my book just wasn’t a good match for High Point Media.
I reasoned as well that transformation is about moving forward, to a new place, a new beginning. Just for my own satisfaction, joining the site felt like a good way for me to say nice work, so happy to be here. I put up a profile, sent a quick email to Bill congratulating him on the launch, and set out to find my place in the community.
Despite feeling twitchy and insecure whenever I was on the site, a pretty unusual feeling for me, I continued to log on, make friends, and do my best to share what I had learned from my experience of training a thousand-plus people on the Body-for-LIFE program. I blogged, posted inspirational success stories from many of my own clients, and spent hours coaching many individuals, a few of whom actually went on to become T.com champions.
Since training is my profession, I would occasionally receive questions about what I might charge if someone were interested in hiring me off site and my response was always that “any help I offer on T.com is, and always will be, something I do to pay forward. If I met you here, there is a reason. Once you have asked for my help, I am here to help you to the fullest of my ability. There will never be any fee attached.” Still, I could never shake the uncomfortable feeling that I was being, for lack of a better word, observed.
Then, after seven months of watching threads being removed, posts being censored, hands being slapped, and folks being booted, and with absolutely no contact from Bill whatsoever, I received an email from him a few days before Christmas. It said he hoped my holidays were going well but that he “Just wanted to respectfully ask that you not court Sharen and other Transformation Honorees to endorse your services, books, programs, etc.”
My first reaction was“What?” I mentally scanned over the previous week on T.com and remembered that a few days earlier a friend who I had been coaching there had published her before-and-after pictures, saying publicly that I had helped coach her through her transformation.
That week she and I received dozens of emails (her results were pretty jaw-dropping!) and, at one point, she shared with me that Sharen had contacted her, saying that she wanted “those amazing abs” too. She said that Sharen was hesitant to contact me directly because she thought I might be too busy and suggested that perhaps I should drop her a line.
So I sent a brief email to Sharen, saying that I was never too busy and would love to chat if she ever felt inclined. This later resulted in an exchange of emails, at which some point Sharen said she was excited about the possibility and the opportunity of working with me, the opportunity being the same one that I had openly offered anyone and everyone at T.com from day one, but she explained that she felt she should run it by Bill first, just to make sure it wouldn’t create any conflicts.
In his email Bill went on to say, “Sharen is now at merely the beginning point for the truly powerful transformation. Sharen has a healthy and fit body. She gains nothing by getting leaner or stronger as I see it. Her path is now open to trlanscend physical concerns and continue with her spiritual work which she is ready for in ’09. The body change is step 1 of 11 and to ask her to direct her consciousness to repeating that course, as you have (inadvertently) done, could hold back her growth and spiritual transformation. I don’t feel that is fair to Sharen. Perhaps you understand.”
I sat for a moment in disbelief, trying to figure out how my conversations with Sharen had led to this. I went back to try and piece it all together, but when I searched my private T.com email box for our conversations, I could only find one. What happened to the rest I have no idea.
Yes, I remember telling Sharen that I wanted to write a book one day but anyone who talked to me knew that. I told her that I felt I understood what she was hoping to achieve. Being a past champion myself and having trained other champions, I explained that I had learned a lot about the unique needs of folks who had already “arrived”. I mentioned that there weren’t that many Trainers to the Champions out there and I loved the idea of sharing all of the subtle tweaks I had learned over the years, the same tweaks that had helped our mutual T.com friend get those great abs! But I knew, regardless of what was said, whether I was in error or not, in Bill’s eyes I had stepped way out of bounds.
I was so frustrated and hurt, but the thing I found most disturbing was how THE guru of fitness and health had suddenly decided that he was in charge of determining at which point someone “had nothing to gain by getting leaner or stronger.” Wasn’t that something for Sharen to decide on her own?
His email concluded with “There are SO many people out there whom you can reach with your work and who can authentically endorse you that I know it is not necessary for you to recruit from those who represent the new Transformation Way or those who aspire to through their involvement with the online community.”
I responded immediately, saying, “I truly apologize for the miscommunication – because I sincerely believe that is what has happened. After looking over my emails with Sharen, I can understand how my intention might have been lost in translation, but you have my solemn promise, my aim was never to solicit.”
My gut told me to leave but I knew in my heart I had done nothing wrong. I wanted to scream “I’ve never done anything but offer my help. Ask anyone who has ever connected with me at T.com and every one of them will tell you I have one agenda and it’s to help and learn.” But when you know you haven’t done anything wrong, explaining starts to feel more like defending, and I felt neither the need nor the desire to defend anything.
So I stayed, reasoning that I couldn’t let go of all of the people I was connected to, all the friends I had made, all of the people I was continuing to help. Besides, if I left, how would I explain it? People would want to know. Would I be able to explain it without hurting someone?
Then a few weeks later, I received this from Bill: “Hey we communicated not too long ago about you using t.com to solicit clients for your business and how that is very much against the intention of the site. I hoped you would comply, but unfortunately you have continued to come to t.com and solicit people to your database. That’s against the terms of the site, and it’s really non-integrous as well.” I could only surmise that the unforgivable offense for which I was being removed occurred when I offered my regular email address to someone who wrote to me on my “private” T.com email account, inquiring about my free weekly fitness tips.
Seconds after Bill’s email arrived, my profile was removed. The T.com tornado swept through and in less than five minutes, seven months of love, caring, and heart were swept off the map.
TURMOIL turns to TRIUMPH – Adversity is a funny thing. It’s something that most of us look upon as the bad stuff. But more often than not, when we allow it, adversity has the power to turn into something surprisingly extraordinary.
The truth, at least for me, is that without adversity nothing much would ever change, and I’m a firm believer that change is what we came here to do. We came here to change and transform – ourselves, the world, and each other, for the better. And while the way we experience change isn’t always pretty or pleasant, it is always miraculous.
Every difficult moment of your life contains the seed of something greater. I’ve learned not to look at something upsetting and ask, “what does this mean?” or “how do I stop this?” Instead I ask “what’s coming next?” Because the good is almost always right around the corner.
In the years since my last transformation, I’ve gone on to build a thriving online coaching business, www.LoveLivingFit.com, a successful corporate wellness program named FitWorks, and I continue to help my clients change their bodies and lives through a program I developed called Living Fit. I am also the proud author of nine highly successful e-books. In fact, if you’d like, I’ll send you one just for making it through this ridiculously long story.
Above all, I continue to blissfully follow my passion and purpose. That, I have discovered, is what real Transformation is all about. For me, transformation comes not from what happens to you but from what you DO with what happens to you, something Henry Ford said a long time ago.
It’s not the fair things in life that bring about real change. It’s the mixed up soup of uncertainty, misunderstandings, unfulfilled promises, and deep burning desire that conjures up the unstoppable action that creates that unique, new, wonderful YOU. No one can do it for you. You have to, as my beautiful friend, Michelle, has so eloquently pointed out “Be Your Own Oz.”
So I promised there would be a point to all of this, and here it is: When you can find a way to embrace all of the things life throws your way and welcome it all, good, bad and in-between… When you can say thank you to the antagonist for harassing me into alignment…thank you for showing me what I don’t want so I can finally move on to all the things I do…When you can happily throw your arms around all of it and know that this is what led you here…You, my friend, will have experienced true transformation.
Love your turmoil, celebrate your triumphs and, above all, be thankful for all of it. It is, after all, the soup that makes you YOU!