by Guest Blogger Troy “Zooman” Cook
When I posted my reasons for leaving Transformation.com late last year and was kicked off shortly after, I assumed that would have been the end of that. No more hearing about T.com and what Bill Phillips was doing.
I knew Michelle was starting to put together a blog about peoples’ experiences dealing with Bill and with other occurrences on that site. I, like a few of my other friends, thought after a few months this whole thing would die off and go away.
It seems like there is still trouble in paradise. Every few days it seems I’m getting friend requests from people on Facebook who are on or who have left T.com. They have questions. The first one is usually how did the apology go with Bill and was he sincere about it? Did he meet with Michelle, Clara and Beau along with me or were the meetings done individually. My response to them is that I was never due an apology, I wanted it for a friend of mine. Bill has never apologized directly to the people involved. There were promises made, then no follow through. I feel he never planned to. This was just a little dramatic acting on his part to shift the blame from him and make it appear that all would be taken care of, while making him look like the good guy again.
As a matter of fact, instead of apologies most of the people he said he was going to apologize to he has hit with cease and desist orders from his attorney. That doesn’t look like an apology to me.
The other thing I have people that friend me on Facebook talk about is how the site seems to be totally different than it was two years ago. They talk about it losing that friendship, support, and family-like feeling which promoted Christian-type values to one of an all-out commercialized marketing campaign bordering on a cult-like worship of Bill, who hardly appears on the site anymore unless it’s to clean up
another mess that has hit the forums.
The latest mess was the awarding of the Holiday Challenge winners. T.com does a couple of challenges during the year. In past years, there have been challenges which award special status to people who complete them. These aren’t the big challenges. They are more like the old BFL Sprint type challenges. Winners typically have gotten a special badge by their name, a small dollar award, and free admission to one of the bigger T.com events, like the Denver or Dallas marathons.
Now there are always people who don’t win who think they should. It happens everywhere. This year the winners were named and a few folks felt they should have won. Again, that’s normal. People get disappointed and frustrated. This time a couple of them were upset enough they posted they were leaving the site. One in particular wrote that he was disappointed and was leaving. Soon after that post, Bill made came out and said there was an “oversight” and awarded this person a spot as one of the winners.
This opened up a little debate about poor sportsmanship. The thread ran a little bit, then was deleted. Once again, any time something that doesn’t seem to walk the line goes up, it comes back down.
How can this actually be a good way to reward anyone who has entered a challenge? It’s supposed to be about transforming your inside, not just the outside. It’s okay to be a little disappointed if you don’t win. You set out to lose the weight, you shoot for that milestone goal and then you hit it. Then you don’t get any recognition because it seems like you don’t know the right people or aren’t popular. You enter over and over again, and see some of the same people getting recognized, but they don’t make any changes. You can work it around in your head so that it makes sense. They obviously made some changes you just can’t see. But then you get someone “winning” because they complained about it? You don’t know any more if it’s about the best winning or just about the squeaky wheel always getting the grease.
There are other things that are going on over there that really call past rules into question. There are several members who are peddling other products that either Bill endorses or doesn’t know about. Why have several people been kicked off the site for similar behavior in past years? They were accused of trying to sway people away from his site for their personal benefit or had other agendas different from his. Heck, if you posted a link to a product you liked, a lot of the time it got deleted because it “violated site policies.” If you posted a link to a personal blog, that could get you in trouble. If these people are pushing other products to members I’m just guessing Bill doesn’t know. If he does know, then I guess he doesn’t care now.
It seems as though the more time that passes the more contradictory that site becomes.
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You are right on with these comments. A friend of mine, who has finally seen the light away from T.com, was still there when the last “Holiday Champions” were announced. He was part of the thread for the member who was going to quit — because he didn’t win. After Bill explained his “oversight” and was going to announce that member as a Champion, my friend posted that this was like the little boy who “takes his ball and goes home” because he didn’t hit a home run. His friends then let him run the bases, pretending he hit a home run, so he stays.
One day later, when my friend was going to show me the thread — it was gone. The entire thing. I told him, “This is how it works. People’s real feelings and thoughts are posted and shared, but if they do not fit into what the Powers that Be want on the site, then they don’t count.” How can they not count? How, if the site is based on sharing your experience of change with others, so they can use your experiences to grown and change themselves, can those experiences and thoughts not be worthy of staying on the site? My friend dropped his profile that day.
I thought it funny that Bill had an “oversight” and forgot to mention this member as a Champion. Do any people who have had experience with Bill think he ever has major “oversights” like this? He seems like a very deliberate and well thought-out individual, who seldom overlooks something as major as forgetting one of his “Champions.” That being said. Thanks for your blog Troy. It’s sad to see that something that could have been such a great thing for all of us, continues to fall further and further from what we believed it to be. Be strong everyone.
Troy, I’m so very proud of you for sticking up for yourself and your morals and leaving the site.
I can say that after still hearing about the stuff going on, I’m glad I left as well. No lookin back!
Brett, the main reason why I deleted all of my blogs there was when the site went down. I felt I would have no control over what I had posted, because it all could be gone in a second. I saved all of my blogs onto a computer and then went about the process of deleting them on the site. I had no idea that people’s threads were being removed. I only knew that the thread that heated everything up had been removed, which didn’t help me in figuring out what was occurring. That made me even more insecure. At least if I had seen the thread, I could have made (or at least TRIED to make) some sense out of thinking Bill was gone forever. (Hindsight- you can’t make sense out of crazy.) I felt strange that something would be taken down, because at that point I thought, what is there to hide??? I could not imagine Bill being implicated in anything bad. He was my hero, so it didn’t compute in my mind. Anyway, when the site went down, I remember feeling very insecure. I recall my shock and disbelief in reading a comment stating something to the effect of Bill not knowing (about something, perhaps his profile or photos being gone, I can’t remember now)- Remember this? I think the comment was something to the effect of that he “about fell over” when he found out. (This was after he seemed to have vanished to me.) What I do remember VERY clearly are the feelings of hurt and betrayal I had, and staying up late thinking, waiting for some sign from him, figuring out in my head that if he didn’t know, that meant that he had not looked at his profile (logged in) for days, and that just made me feel even worse. Not checking in would have been worse than pulling his photo and name in response to a difficult situation. (We all have reacted in our lives and made rash decisions that we undid when we quit reacting.) I kept watching the site for him to come back. It was an untenable situation. I honestly did NOT want to go to Denver last October, but did because I got some very heavy pressure from higher ups to go. I ended up getting critically injured on that trip. I wish I had just stayed home like I wanted. I needed distance from the entire fiasco, and I wanted time to work through feeling insecure about my choice to even be a part of that site to begin with, after knowing what just had gone down. (Terrifying to think that there were things happening I had no idea about, especially since I gave my full support.) Does this make sense? In my eyes, it’s sort of like finding out you bought stock in a company that is supposed to save energy and make the world better and finding out that they actually made pollution. As for me, my ankle STILL is swollen, and that’s not all the bad that happened from that trip. Oh, also, I remember telling someone very important to me at the event that I would not be able to do the half marathon (my leg was in a brace.) The comment was made something like “Well, you have to stick with it.” Stick with what??? The brace on my leg?? Sheesh! (I already had done my first half marathon two months before.) Funny, now that I pulled my profile, it seems like every time I turn around, there’s some other information of which I had been blissfully ignorant when I was on. I keep wanting to wake up and find out this was a bad dream. And, I miss most everyone there SO much. I ran into some other posts on a site of people talking about being “banned” from T.com early on. Some of them had me laughing, which is a good sign for me at this point (somone labled the term TAAR something like “Transformation Account Activation Regret.” I identifed with that one . . .) Personally, I poured my heart and soul into everything there, and I left on my own. Gosh, I cannot imagine having my profile pulled involuntarily. I wish I had known what I do now, before I got to know and love a bunch of people there. It’s sad; I thought I had found something that I would belong to for life. (My entire life’s purpose has been to serve others, and I thought I was going to be able to do that there while finishing losing the weight I wanted to dump.) It all seemed so healthy. Now, I am in a much worse position than when I started, because I am injured, and hurt. I am VERY SORRY to read the above. Bill taught us to follow through with “Making Things Right.” It sounds like he didn’t??? Regardless, what hurt me the most about that situation was not that it happened (that was bad), but the manner in which it was handled. It violated my trust. What if I had been in that situation? Would Bill have stuck up for me???? Until then, I would have placed my life on it. It is scary that I didn’t know about any of the things then that I have learned about now. In closing, I am reminded of a scripture that says “Woe to him that causes the least of these to stumble . . . for it would be better for him to have a millstone cast around his neck and thrown into the sea.” I don’t want to be a part of that if possible. I know how much I was hurt. I wouldn’t want to be a part of that happening to anyone (emotional pollution). When I think about going back on that site, I think about all the things I am learning out here. It just feels bad. I hurt to think about how openly I trusted Bill and “the process,” only to read horror stories that totally conflict with everything I knew to be “truth.” Something tells me that this is not over. . . . I have a bad feeling. It sounds like the madness continues. It feels like we should be praying . . .
…wait, did someone honestly tell you to do the half with a bad leg?
You know, that has been one of my BIG and I do mean BIG peeves with T.com. The push to do marathons, without any concept of carefully vetting people is just insane. That was one of the final straws for me. Trainers as a group don’t really like people who are overweight and out of shape training for long distance running events. It’s an incredibly good way to get yourself badly hurt. There’s also never been any thought to the physical condition some folks are in. I’d see people with knee replacement surgery being encouraged to go run. In several instances I’d see people be told to ignore their doctors and “push through the pain”. There’s a right way and a wrong way to do that. It’s a very fine line and you have to gauge it based on the individual. Encouraging someone who’s borderline to finish a 5k is one thing. Encouraging them to tackle a half or full marathon is totally different.
I’ve long maintained that one issue over there is there’s no “adult” supervision. Nobody on staff over there had quality credentials in training or nutrition at the time I was there. A few folks were careful about suggestions, but most of them were not. I saw some truly terrifying advice given out to folks on a regular basis. I was convinced that someone was going to get seriously hurt or ill following said suggestions.
I’m very sorry that you did get hurt. Are you doing physical therapy?
Hi Clara. No, I think the reference about sticking to it was just keeping on the plan. It was frustrating tough. How about “Oh no. I’m sorry you got hurt. Try to remember that you will get through this and don’t let it stop your efforts for good nutrition. . . ” Nah, I didn’t hear those words. Although, there were a lot of members who were kind and concerned. I already had shown that I could “stick with it,” as I had just completed my first half marathon two months earlier. The comment made seemed thoughtless. (Perhaps you are right; it never dawned on me that someone would say run it because it simply was not an option. I could barely walk and my leg was swollen over twice its size. -So, it never dawned on me to even think about doing it.) I won’t say who made the comment about sticking with it, but that person’s opinion meant a whole lot to me. I just took it that the person had not really understood the gravity of my injury. I still am injured and trying to move forward. Ironically, my leg is very symbolic of the emotional pollution to which I feel I was exposed. My body and spirit still are healing!