People talk about the key ingredient for a successful transformation. They talk about desire, motivation, planning, equipment, suppliments. There’s one thing I don’t see mentioned nearly often enough.
Now I’m not talking about religious faith, though that’s something that I know many successful BFLers have. I’m talking about a deep, profound belief that this transformation is actually possible. A belief so deep, so true, that when things get dark, you KNOW that if you just hang on a second longer, you can make this happen.
BFlers have a great gift before us. We have living proof that amazing transformations can and do happen to ordinary people. People just like us. These people show us that by putting away our fears, by believing in the process 100% that you can make a 180 degree turn in your life.
You have living, breathing proof. Every single successful transformee stood where you are. They were upset by how they looked, and how they felt. They stood at the abyss. Then they did something truly scary. They stepped off the edge. They committed 110 percent to the process. When they made that step, they never looked back.
This is week three. I know that some of you out there still haven’t crossed the Abyss. In the back of your mind, you know this can’t actually work. Somewhere between now and week 12- you are going to find a way to prove yourself right. That big, black hole is scary, dark, the wind howls up at you. It’s trying to suck you in. Nobody is going to blame you for backing away from the edge. I mean come on. It’s scary, you can’t see what’s at the bottom, you can’t see how far it is. Back away. Afterall, you don’t want to fall.
That’s the easy choice.
You can look at the black void in front of you. You can’t see the bottom. It’s dark, empty, the wind is blowing. Your hair stirrs in the breeze. Close your eyes. No, trust me. Close them. Feel the wind. Listen to the sounds. Do you hear that. That tiny breath of heaven, that small voice saying “can” You have to strain to hear it. Step closer. Listen to it. “can”. It’s just out of reach. Step closer. No, it’s okay- trust me. Take that step. Let the wind catch you, support you.
Step. Keep your eyes closed, don’t worry about falling. Step. Listen to a fallen champion, let her carry you forward. Step.
Listen to the voices telling you- CAN
Trust me. This journey never ends. You won’t fall. Believe. When all else fails you- Believe that you can keep taking that next small step.
Crossing the Abyss is all about faith. Those of us who’ve crossed are there to keep you from falling.
Trust us, believe.
Close your eyes…
So it looks like this idea struck a real nerve with people. It’s resulted in a ton of interesting offline conversations with folks.
For clarification purposes- I’ve been reminded that originally the Transformation website was actually open for people to read, not post. That just re-enforces my level of horror that people were posting these kinds of deep, dark secrets to the world at large.
I mean come on, posting that you are having an illicit affair and your husband doesn’t know about it yet is bad. Posting it where anyone with half a brain and Google can find it? That’s just asking for trouble. The site was then closed up, requiring you to be a member and log in to view things. Still troubling, but at least you couldn’t be exposed in a drive by type of situation.
Now the site is again open AND there’s the added bonus that people can wander in and randomly tweet out your blog entries. This isn”t such a big deal if you are just joining and can see that entries can be tweeted out. It’s a big deal if you posted information and you didn’t expect it to be republished.
It’s a bigger deal when you have information on that type of site and no longer have the ability to remove that information. People who’ve been removed from the site can’t delete their blogs. Yet someone can come in there and republish that information.
This begs the question- if you are removed from a website for any reason, should you lose your ability to control information that you put onto that site?
The internet is not your therapist.
This thought keeps bouncing through my mind this week as I consider the ramifications of social media and the shrinking of on-line privacy. It’s not your priest, rabbi, or pastor. It’s not a lawyer. The internet is not the place to go with information that you’d rather keep confidential.
The internet can create a false sense of intimacy and privacy. It’s funny when you think about it. Parents closely monitor where their children go in real life and on-line. They don’t always do a good job of thinking through what they do or say on-line.
A few years back I was spending time on an internet wellness community called Transformation.com. It was started by Bill Phillips, the originator of the Body-for-Life program. I’d used the program with great success, and like many BFLers, was interested to see what Bill’s new program would be. Transformation.com was not BFL. The site had a much greater focus on mindset, with workouts and nutrition taking on a secondary role. For real deep and meaningful transformations, you needed to get your mind right.
What alarmed me was the emphasis placed on opening up and revealing things which might be holding you back. There was a particular discussion which started up that just floored me. People were encouraged to reveal concealments, things which they’d been hiding from others which were holding them back. This is a variation of Alcoholics Anonymous step 5, where you reveal to another the exact nature of your wrongs.
I watched in horror as people stepped up and revealed things they had never discussed with others. These admissions ran the gamut from illegal drug use, to theft, to acts of violence against animals and people. People admitted to affairs, abortions, and then confessed that they’d never told their partners about these actions.
There was a very important element missing in these confessions. Because they occurred in a public discussion area, there was no confidentiality. None. Zip. Nada. The only protection these folks had was the site required a login to read forums. That’s it. When it was brought up that this may not be the best venue to discuss these things, the counter argument was that people in the forum would never betray the trust of other forum members.
Why do I focus on this? Because two years later those discussion forums are now open to the public. There’s no password required. Nothing stops you from wandering over there to read anything you chose. You can now wander over and republish blogs without the permission of the blogger. All you need to do is push the Facebook or Twitter button.
There was a good bit of peer pressure to post your deep, dark secrets. It was almost a contest with some folks to see who could come up with the best issue. Now that information is out there, with potentially identifying information which could allow the wrong people to find it. Privacy laws don’t help here. There’s no law which can undo the impact of the send button. Once the information is seen, you can’t unsee it.
If you do not want your kids to know about the wild partying you did in college, best not to go publishing that information in your blog. If you were addicted to drugs and don’t want employers to know that, then don’t go out there and discuss drug addiction and rehab. If you don’t want your insurance company to know that you dislocated your shoulder, then do not go discussing it in your Twitter feed.
If you need to share things which are holding you back, seek a professional with an obligation to protect your information. Remember that personal trainers, life coaches, gurus, and “doctors” without degrees or licenses to their name have no obligation to keep your information private. Do your homework. Take steps to protect yourself. Don’t assume that a website is going to keep your private information private.
Private online is not the same as private in real life. Remember, the internet is not your therapist.
bill phillips, clara k.showalter, clara showalter, facebook, FTC, library of congress, privacy, social intelligence corp, status update, think before you post, think before you speak, transformation, twitter
Thinking before you speak is becoming a bit of a lost art form. This week the Federal Trade Commission is giving internet users a reason to start thinking hard about what they say online. Social Intelligence Corp, a background checking service will start keeping record of Facebook users publicly available information as part of their check services.
It’s becoming commonplace for companies to Google potential employees in this day and age. Job seekers have started to learn the value of cleaning up their online identity before starting a job hunt. In the case of Social Intelligence Corp, your data will stay on their system for 7 years, much like bad information on your credit report. So even if you go back after the fact to clean up your Facebook statuses, that data is still on file.
So why does this matter? After all, it’s not like you’ve done anything you are ashamed of right? Plus, there are laws on the books which state employers can’t ask various types of questions. According to Social Intelligence, they only collect information which is relevant to employers under the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
So let’s say that you are out with a group of friends at a bar. One of them for fun tags a picture of you with, “Joe and his new bong.” You see the photo the next morning and untag it. That tag and photo have all ready been saved because your buddy doesn’t have his privacy settings turned on. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, drug use is something which is legally reportable. You’ve never used drugs, yet there’s now a chance that you will flag as a drug user in a background check. All due to a Facebook prank.
As another example, you find out that you are expecting your first child. You update that on Facebook. That status update shows up accidentally in a background check report. You don’t get the job. You have no way of knowing if you didn’t get the job because you weren’t the best candidate, or if the Human Resources rep decided that bringing a pregnant woman into the company wasn’t a good idea. Is that supposed to happen? Of course not. But companies are run by humans, not computers. Humans aren’t perfect, and they do allow their own bias to impact decisions.
You are looking for your first job after college. What you don’t know is that a picture of you at a prom after party with a bottle of Bud in your hand shows up in your background check. You were 17, underage, and stupid. Because that information stays on file for 7 years, you may be rejected as a candidate. All because you didn’t realize that your friends had posted the picture of you.
I came of age on-line in a time where the rule was, “don’t say something you don’t want to have come back at you.” There was an understanding that you needed to take pains to protect your identity on-line. With the flood of social media and share everything, the push to protect your information isn’t as strong. People don’t realize that information on-line doesn’t just vanish. With time and patience, it can be tracked down. Insurance companies are using social media updates to deny claims. We are on the leading edge of a generation of young Americans who will face serious questions in job interviews related to what has been traditionally been private conduct. Because it’s been tweeted out, and updated on Facebook, it’s now being considered fair game.
You think it can’t happen to you. Yet all it takes is a formerly trusted website changing settings, and your private business could be public knowledge. A friend of mine contacted me the other day to let me know that posts I had believed were reasonably private, were now public. For a period of time I was a member of Bill Phillips’s Transformation.com. At the time I was there, you had to be a member to read various sections of the site. Individuals were encouraged to post very private information in order to “share their concealments”. In other words, fess up to doing bad things in your past as part of your “transformation” process. Now as I said before, I’m old school internet. I don’t post things like that in places I don’t trust. So I never made those types of posts. There were a lot of folks who did. Now anyone can go to the website, and without being a member, access those posts and put them on any number of social media sites.
I read stories from people confessing to extra marital affairs, drug and alcohol abuse, and a wide range of lying and cheating activities. At the time I was floored. This type of information has no business being available to the masses. When I voiced concerns, I was told that the site required a login, so it was fine.
Not so much anymore.
I’ve been told for several years now that my focus on privacy was silly. Now the FTC is giving companies the green light to archive public status updates. The Library of Congress is logging every public tweet on Twitter. The line between public and private continues to blur.
All I can say is, I’m thankful for my early time on the Net. I generally think a bit before something goes up, even an off the cuff status update. I keep my privacy settings tight on Facebook. I always ask myself if I’m going to be ashamed of something 20 years down the road. If the answer is anything other than no, it doesn’t go up.
Think before you post. Remember that you can’t rely on a company to keep your private information safe. That’s your responsibility.
It’s time that we all start moving back to thinking before we speak.
Pigs get a tough rap. The word pig has evolved to not only include our porcine brethren, but includes human who exhibit slovenly and gluttonous behaviors. Because we associate these negative behaviors with pigs, we’ve also evolved a series of quotes related to pigs in various social situations. One of the classics is, “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sow (female pig) ear.”
Another popular variant is, “you can put a pig in a dress, it’s still a pig.” The underlying concept is actually a sound one. When you try to change the nature of an animal, you are doomed to failure. The nature of a pig is based on thousands of years of evolutionary behavior. No matter how hard you try, you simply are not going to change the nature of the pig.
Yet we ignore this lesson on a daily basis. Over and over again I see people dressing up the pig and expecting him to act less pig like. Past actions are a good indicator of future behavior. If an individual is regularly breaking promises to you, do not expect that he is magically going to change his behavior because he’s got a new, fancy dress on. The odds are not in your favor.
I’m like anyone else. I love a story of redemption. I love to see someone overcome the odds and make a positive change. Heck, it’s what I spend a good chunk of my life helping people do! Making lifestyle changes is all about finding a way to transform behaviors. The thing is, I understand fully who has to make the change. When I’m helping someone with a physical transformation, I don’t need to do the work. They do. You can show them the way. You can offer inspiration. You can offer a shoulder. You can’t make them do the work.
On a more critical level, you cannot ever make someone change their basic nature. Your actions will not make them into a better person. If you do something just right, it’s not going to make the person love you more. It’s not going to keep them from hitting you. It is not going to keep them from taking advantage of you. Remember, your actions cannot control the actions of another. You can’t take a pig, dress it up in a dress and expect it to be the belle of the ball.
When you are dealing with someone who lies to you, who belittles you, or who hits you, remember this- that person is a pig. No matter how you dress it up, what excuses you give, the person is still a pig. You cannot effect change in that individual.
The only change you can effect is a change in you. Walk away. Remove yourself from that situation and that person. I know it’s hard. I know it hurts. Remember that you are worth it.
Unlike pigs, humans do have the potential to rise above our nature. The key is that it’s an individual decision. It’s not yours. Don’t encourage the pig to wander around in the dress. It annoys the pig and upsets you.