"You Should Be On That TV Show!" and People Magazine Is Incredible!
“Sean—dude, you need to contact People Magazine about their annual “half their size” issue. You’re perfect for that!”
I started getting messages like this regularly a very long time ago; suggestions from friends, family, and fellow weight loss bloggers alike. The messages and suggestions were sincere and always supportive. “You need to be on Oprah or Ellen, and what about Rachael Ray? Rachael Ray would love you!"
You think? Really?
When I checked my email on a Friday night at my Aunt Beverly’s house in Alabama during my November 2010 visit, it was confirmed. I was sitting across from Aunt Bev on her couch, when I became slightly out of breath while checking my email. I couldn’t believe what I was reading.
“Sean, we recently discovered your amazing blog and story and we would love to discuss having you on our show. I also sent you a facebook message regarding this email. I need you to send me your phone number so we can talk about a possible appearance.”
And it was signed by one of Rachael Ray’s producers, with their address in New York City, their numbers, everything. It was official. They would love me! They already did because they checked out this “amazing” blog, as she said in her email message.
I immediately showed the email to Aunt Beverly, simply to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. This was really happening.
The rest of the weekend was amazing. I enjoyed what turned out to by my grandfather’s last birthday party. I met relatives I’d never had the pleasure of knowing, and all the while, I carried this crazy euphoric feeling accompanying the idea that I might have a larger stage someday soon; to share the message I’m so passionate about. I can count on two hands how many weekends I’ve had in my life, filled with this much love, understanding, clarity, hope, and anticipation. It was a cleansing time in my life, where everything seemed to be falling into place in its own perfect time. And it was, and it does. But as I quickly learned, my version of “perfect time,” and the divine universe’s version of same, can be very different indeed.
The phone call came with the Rachael Ray Show and it left me with an uneasy feeling. The producer asked me the expected, “How did you do it?” and what I gave her in return was something she wasn’t expecting.
I tried to condense the core of my story into a tight sixty-seconds. I hit all the bases in what certainly felt like a championship homerun trot around the diamond of my transformation. I mentioned the “Steel Curtain Zone,” the “Calorie Bank and Trust,” and how my biggest battle was with me and not the food and exercise. I quickly explained how I’d never eaten a salad, ever. And since Rachael Ray could probably create an amazing salad I would love—perhaps my first salad ever, should be on her show. Great idea, wonderful presentation, delivered with a calm confidence and tone; unwavering in my beliefs and my mission of sharing, in hopes of helping other people “like me.”
The uneasy feeling stemmed from the reaction she gave me in response to my sixty second (okay, who am I fooling? I do very little in sixty seconds.) I mean my ninety to one hundred twenty second explanation of this entire journey. I’m familiar with this response. My passionate delivery of the simplistic, yet deep approach leaves many people scratching their heads. And that’s okay. Because the ones who really get it---the ones who relate, who allow themselves to really absorb truth and learn—those people are the ones that come away with their perspective forever changed. And it’s not because they’re learning about me or from me. It’s because they’re finally looking inside themselves and discovering something incredible. This change isn’t exclusive to me or a lucky few. It’s available to them too. But this producer of this nationally syndicated television show wasn’t relating, she was scratching, before quickly moving along to other things, whatever big time producers do---she was doing that, and given the cold reception email inquiries from me generated, I finally let it go and realized something wonderful.
The Rachael Ray Show wasn’t ready for me. And that’s cool. I do like Rachael Ray and what she does. And it would have been an absolute dream to be on her show. But I have a calm confidence in what I do. And what I do isn’t influenced or changed by what mainstream media expects or wants. I’ll never change my message or approach. Some will totally get it and some will not. Regardless, I’ll keep on being me. The rest can catch up later.
This same dynamic repeated itself in 2011 with People Magazine.
My entire morbidly obese life, or for however long they’ve published the “Half Their Size” annual issue, I’ve bought it. I bought it again last night. This time was different. I was interested in the stories of who they chose. I was interested in how they presented each story and the overall impact of this traditionally mind blowing issue of my favorite magazine of all time.
I was also interested in how the article turned out, because I was one of many they were considering for this monumental New Year issue. I just couldn’t imagine being in People’s HTS issue. When I think about the number of times 500 pound Sean would sit and become emotional from reading the stories featured---and to think, even for just a little while, that I might be in the issue—was the craziest notion, but for a little while last August, it seemed like it might actually happen. I had exactly what they were looking for, I thought. A natural approach—no pills, no surgery, no gimmicks…just eating, exercising, and living in the real world—navigating life and all of its ups and downs, while maintaining my focus where it had to be the strongest, and accomplishing something I once was convinced impossible. Yeah, right on—you friends that suggested I submit my information to People. You get it, you understand!
But People Magazine doesn’t. I realized this after hearing from someone who caught the interview on NBC’s Today Show and asked why I wasn’t on there. (Like it was simply a choice. “Nah, didn’t have time, really…yeah right.) They told me about the different plans and products used, the stories—most all of them but one that I noticed, could be tied into a company or companies that make the wheels of this 33 Billion dollar a year industry turn. And so I bought the issue to confirm what I was told.
Before I even noticed the story, I noticed the hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of display advertising for a bunch of weight loss industry heavy hitters. All the big names were found in those pages and the cash register at People keeps ringing, and that’s good! I don’t fault them for being successful.
So, I totally get it. I don’t take it personal anymore. It’s not me, it’s them. My story is my story and if you’re familiar with this blog and my book, then you know---I’m like an indie band you may never hear about on MTV, but they still put out the most amazing, mind enhancing musical experiences known to all who pause long enough to pay attention, to really “get it.”
People Magazine might not “get it,” yet. But they have plenty of money from the weight loss industry to intoxicate their motives and good intentions, just enough so they can feel good about what they’re doing as they make plans for the next issue. I still love People Magazine. Because I understand them and I love what is. And this is what is, for them…and me. And it’s all good.
My goal has never been fame and fortune. My goal is very simple: Reach as many people as I can with my experience and to communicate it in such a fashion, that somehow, maybe, just maybe…it’ll make an impact, shift someone’s perspective---the tiniest amount, but enough to help them facilitate their own “click.” Because I’ve found a sweet freedom and it would be selfish of me to keep it to myself.
And it was found without the weight loss industry. Because when I stopped looking for the solution outside of myself and I finally looked in the mirror and into my soul, I realized I had everything I needed already. And I couldn’t have purchased it from any store or in the supermarket checkout line. It’s real and inside each one of us, this power to choose change before change chooses us.
2012 is poised to be a monumental year for 505 Industries L.L.C. And I’m sure I’ll receive some criticism about commercializing my pursuit with an eventual premium content section on my website, an online “505 Store” containing merchandise like audio/video downloads, frame worthy printed quotations, bookmarks, journals, clothing, and more. Plus produced and promoted speaking events will take my world of weight loss speaking to another creative level—making them an experience designed to make the most impact to those in attendance. These pursuits, plus media, including plans for radio and perhaps television on some level, someday, are completely possible.
The goal is simple: Reach as many people as possible. I do not care if mainstream media ever calls—and I know, the weight loss industry will not like what I have to say about truly natural weight loss—and as long as the industry writes huge checks to mainstream media, I’ll need not worry about those kind of calls, because they simply won’t come. And that’s just fine.
Because I’m going to keep on writing, speaking, and sharing, always and forever, as long as I can. And whatever way I find to monetize my pursuit, in an effort to maintain a full time effort along this road, so be it. You can bet on two things always being consistent: My mission and my integrity. You’ll never hear me speak of or endorse something that isn’t in tune with what I’m about on every level.
By the way--Thank you to my friend Cyrus Webb for featuring me in an article in the January issue of Conversation Magazine! You can find it here: www.conversationsmag.com
Thank you for reading, Happy New Year and,
With my big brother Clarke Hodson. Clarke is featured in the beginning of the book--he's a great man and was a wonderful influence in my life!
You can order your copy wherever books are sold, online at amazon.com, and signed copies are available directly from me at www.transformationroad.com