Thursday, March 30, 2006

ONE: Conscious Leadership

So, what ticks you off about leaders in your workplaces or in other positions of authority? When we can identify the characteristics that irritate us about our leaders (and, by the way, about ourselves as leaders), all we need to do is the opposite, which will then inspire others.

Lance Secretan's brand new book coming out on April 6 called ONE: The Art and Practice of Conscious Leadership opens up a very important dialogue about those characteristics and ideas for implementing them in our own lives.

Lance has discovered that what is really missing is oneness - unity - connection - community. He says, in this book, that in order to get to oneness, we simply need to connect with attributes that are within us already - those that represent behavior that is opposite of those leaders that irritate us. He calls these attributes the CASTLE principles, where CASTLE is an acronym for Courage, Authenticity, Service, Truthfulness, Love, and Effectiveness.

The CASTLE principles are so powerful and intuitive and natural that people can guess them before you tell them. Think about other models – very few have that kind of resonance. You can hardly forget this one.

Stay tuned for more information about this book and upcoming seminars, workshops and keynotes I'll be developing and delivering around this topic. I'd love to visit your city and your organization. I'm committed to facilitating dialogue about leading and living consciously in ways that will inspire and transform people, organizations, and the world.

And if you want to get a book before April 6, let me know. As a member of the ONE community, I'll be selling the books along with the seminars and keynotes and I can get you one before the release date. It will change your life and the world!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

How's Your Head?

Right now, as you're reading this post, notice something. Do you have a headache? No? Did you notice that you didn't have a headache until I asked that question? Stop for a minute and appreciate the fact that you don't have a headache. Celebrate that your head feels good.

Do you find that a little goofy? Yet it's usually only when our head hurts that we wish we'd remember what it feels like not to have a headache. Only when we feel lousy can we appreciate what it's like to feel well.

That's not a lot different than the way we view our companies or organizations - or really, our lives. We don't really think much about the things that are going well until something happens to throw us off our game. At that point we need a quick fix so we can get back to taking the health of our bodies or our organizations for granted.

What might we do to maintain our health, whether that's our physical health or our organizational health? What might we do right now - today - when we don't have a headache, to ensure we won't get one - or at least to have a plan if we do?

Charles Handy talked about the Sigmoid Curve in his book The Age of Unreason. He also mentioned this concept in his book The Empty Raincoat where he said " the time you know where you ought to go, it's too late to go there, or, more dramatically, if you keep on going the way you are, you will miss the road to the future."

According to Rick Sidorowicz, the Sigmoid Curve sums up the story and time line of life itself; we start slowly, we experiment and falter, we then grow rapidly, then wax, and wane. It is the product life cycle, it is the biological life cycle. It describes the rise and fall of empires, dynasties, companies, and individuals. It also describes the course of love and relationships.

But we need to realize that in we need to manage changes that happen before we begin the downward cycle, otherwise we will be fighting to catch up instead of leading the way. If we can introduce change at point A, we will be able to be on the upswing at point B instead of the downslope.

What does this have to do with a headache? If we can stop and be grateful and mindful when things are going well, we will be much better equipped to manage the times when things aren't going as well ... and, I propose, we won't have as many of those unforeseen headaches in our path.

Just try it. Stop and notice that you don't have a headache and be grateful. And see where you might be able to be proactive instead of reactive. I bet you'll gain a brand new perspective.

Intentions in Conversation

I've been re-reading "Crucial Conversations" and am getting reacquainted with the concept of the pool of shared meaning, and it's caused me to wonder about our pure intention when it comes to conversation.

If I've got a hankering to instigate a conversation about a topic that's of interest to me, why would I feel the need to talk about it with another person? Is it to get support about my ideas? Is it to share information? Or is it to persuade the other person to go along with my way of thinking?

I've been thinking about this ever since my mom and I somehow found ourselves smack dab in the middle of a conversation about religion - an area we don't really see eye-to-eye about anyway.

If I'm truly committed to dialogue, I will be willing to suspend my assumptions for the purpose of learning something - and I may eventually change my mind. Which brings me to another question: do both parties need to be committed to the same outcome? If not, is it really a dialogue? Or is it more of a debate?

Just wondering. What do you think?

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

It's A New Blog World for Jodee!

Mr. Make It Great, my buddy Phil over at Make It Great, is exercising his expertise at help desking by introducing me to all things blog. I'm working in a whole new realm of blogging right now ... look out world!

Jodee Bock
You Already Know This Stuff

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Thursday, March 23, 2006

What is Failing?

I've been thinking recently about failure (whatever that is). As a recovering perfectionist, failure is not something I've been familiar with, at least not in the traditional sense.

When I was younger I would make sure I didn't undertake any new endeavor unless I was sure I would be good at it. I studied for tests to get the "right" answers, but didn't really learn much that really stuck. I acted the way I thought others wanted me to because that was the "right" thing to do.

OK, it's time for true confessions here: In the past year I've had up close and personal experience with what the world would call failure.

As I've become more and more interested in topics and subjects that cause me to go deeper into myself and to figure out this bug called "Jodee," I've become less interested in what is "right" and what is "wrong." I'm very interested in questions and in finding the answers to the questions myself instead of quoting someone else. I'm not that good at it yet, mind you - it's taken me all my life to get where I am; I'm not going to alter that overnight - but this insight has proven to be really interesting to me.

So I decided to get certified in a certain training program, which I knew involved a testing process. And when it came time to take the test, I failed. I was crushed. I don't fail! I've never failed at anything!

And then it occurred to me that the reason I failed is because I am at the point in my own personal development where I want to learn things that are applicable to me - things that I can learn and process and formulate and apply in my work and life. I failed the certification because it was an oral exam, and I had to answer the questions the way the questioner wanted them answered. I had put in too much of my own knowledge and experience and it wasn't the way the program had the information set up.

It took me a whole year to muster up the gumption to re-study and re-take the test, but on the second try, I did pass because I knew how the questioner wanted the questions answered. It was a breakthrough for me because I knew what I was doing - and I knew why I was doing it. The world still wants us to have certifications - framed certificates - proof that we "passed." But for me that framed certificate meant much more than all the other certificates I've "earned" in the past. I had "failed" by the world's expectations, but I had "succeeded" by being true to my own beliefs.

It gave me a whole new perspective on high school education and its practical applicability for today's students. No wonder so many of them are disinterested. Our education has been set up to stuff information in to kids' heads, not to let it out.

Here's a line from the book The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie:

To me education is a leading out of what is already there in the pupil's soul. To Miss Mackay it is a putting in of something that is not there, and that is not what I call education. I call it intrusion.

That gives me a whole new perspective.

What does it mean to fail? If I would have hung up that testing process when I "failed" on the first attempt, that would have been true failure. Because I tried again, I got the certification, and am now able to present this program - with my own spin, which I hope will help the training stick for people in whatever way works not for me - or for the program - but for them. I would never have had that perspective unless I had been there myself, and I know it makes me a more empathetic and effective instructor.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Blogher: Where The Women Bloggers Are

I just discovered (and joined) an online bloggers' network called "Blogher" which connects women bloggers for online connections for many topics and dialogues.

It all seems very informational and interesting ... except that when I registered, I inadvertently checked "male" in the gender box and now I can't figure out how to un-do it.

I find myself with just a bit of trepidation as a registered member of this blog, which is targeted to women bloggers, registered as a male (not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you!).

This gives me just the tiniest empathy for transgendered people. I'm a female in a male checkbox on this site!

Regardless, check it out. It looks to be a great network!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Thank You, Dana Reeve

I, like many others, am saddened by last Monday's death of Dana Reeve. I had the privilege of meeting Dana last May when she visited Fargo to talk about her life - her children's book, her marriage to Christopher Reeve, their son Will, her upbringing. Her uplifting message was very inspirational and I'm so glad I had the chance to meet her.

My thoughts and prayers are with her family. (The photo is my friend Ericka, Dana, and me on the right.)

When Pigs Fly!

OK, I'm the first to admit that I'm really bad at self-promotion and marketing for my business.

It would seem to be pretty easy to come up with something clever. After all, my company is called "Bock's Office." Movie tickets or concert tickets come to mind.

So I'm always impressed when someone comes up with what Seth Godin calls "The Big Moo" - or an extreme example of innovation.

The other day I got an e-mail from someone at a company called Opus Communications asking if she could have my mailing address because she wanted to send me a book her boss wrote.

Being an absolute fanatic for books, I of course sent her my address and also asked her how her boss found me. She said he was a fan of my blog, and had recommended it to her, and she even recommended it to her father, who is a preacher and now they all read it. Wow - what a small world!

Anyway ... I got a package in the mail last week, and sure enough, inside was the book "Wisdom of the Flying Pig," by Jack Hayhow, which I'll tell you more about in a minute. (A quick F.Y.I. here: as I'm posting, it seems Opus' server is down and I can't get to any of the links, but keep checking - persistence will pay off!)

Along with the book, was an actual flying pig! Really! You hang it from the ceiling and it flies. How cool is that? Along with the book and the pig, Jack handwrote a postcard telling me how he enjoyed my blog. Well, now I'm a Jack Hayhow fan for life!

It seems Jack and I have very similar views of the world of work and leadership and management. The book is very colorful and full of wisdom - from not only flying pigs, but also several other leadership and management greats.

So after I got the book, I checked out Jack's company, Opus Communications and I see right away the connection. This is a training company that creates and distributes training that employees want to take and I can see why. You need to check them out for any kind of training your company might need. Their videos are funny but relevent - what more can you ask of training?

It's so fun to connect with yet another kindred spirit! Thanks, Jack, for the book - but even more, for the connection.

Are You Misunderstood? Great!

I've been listening to my new best friend Wayne Dyer and his lectures on CD recently and have learned so much in such a short amount of time. Check out his newest book Inspiration and you, too, will be sure to learn some new things!

One of the things he was talking about in the CD version of his newest work was how we, as humans, must see the world differently in the morning of our lives than we do at the afternoon and the evening of our lives. We have very different values and worldviews depending upon our age and our wisdom.

As I began to think more about that, I was reminded of one of the first Emerson quotes I memorized back in college. It seems very appropriate in light of Dyer's comment.

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little philosophers and statesmen and divines. With consistency a great soul has simply nothing to do. He may as well concern himself with his shadow on the wall. Speak what you think now in hard words and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today. "Ah, so you shall be sure to be misunderstood." Is it so bad then to be misunderstood? Pythagoras was misunderstood, and Socrates, and Jesus, and Luther, and Copernicus, and Galileo, and Newton, and every pure and wise spirit that ever took flesh. To be great is to be misunderstood." - Emerson in Self Reliance

Don't give in to conformity if it goes against everything you know to be true for you. I'm learning this from Wayne Dyer - and even more, learning it from myself as I listen to what I know.

Think about how much more effectively we could lead our organizations - our schools, our churches, our governments, our businesses - if we honored the truth as we all KNOW it.

In another fabulous book, The Other 90% (click on the link on the right side of this blog for more information), Robert K. Cooper reminds us that we have three brains in our bodies - our head brain, our heart brain and our gut brain. The trouble, especially in business, is that we've let our head brain rule despite what the other two might be trying to tell us.

Wayne Dyer says the disparity for us is between our belief systems and our true Knowing. Don Miguel Ruiz calls it "domestication." Whatever it is called, I think if we are really honest with ourselves, we do Know what we Know ... we just work so hard to shut it down.

Take a few minutes today and connect with your inner Knowing. Just for today, when you get in your car, turn off the radio and notice what you notice. What are YOU trying to tell YOU?

What distinction have you noticed for yourself between what you BELIEVE and what you KNOW? I can't wait to read all about it!

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Meet My Newest Kindred Spirit

I just realized that I have had a new visitor to my blog - and I realized it AFTER I wrote the last post.

If you have any doubt that there are no coincidences in the universe, please read Alexander's blog entry: The Story So Far.

Here is a guy who is doing exactly what I say I want to do but which I have - in the past - let doubt keep me from doing.

If you want a huge dose of inspiration, add this blog, Positive Sharing, to your list of must-reads. There is so much here that will - and is - shifting the way we think about our work. Alexander is proof positive that one person can make a HUGE difference.

You inspire me, Alexander. Thanks for visiting - and we'll DEFINITELY be in touch!

No Doubt!

OK, I want to tell you about a very strange dream I had the other night, but before I get into the details, I should set the stage a little bit.

I'm not sure about any other "soul" proprietors out there, but I'm guessing that others may have those moments of doubt about whether or not we made the right decisions to leave safe, comfortable, secure jobs with a sure paycheck. OK, maybe it's only me, in which case you'll just have to use your imagination.

After having my taxes done last week, I had a moment of panic when I realized that I hadn't planned well enough to get this year's taxes paid. On my way home from that fateful meeting - I remember at exactly which intersection I was stopped - I thought to myself, "I just can't do this anymore. This is too stressful ... I just want to get a job. I can't do this alone." I think I literally took my hands off the steering wheel and looked up when I thought to myself - "I can't do this alone."

Well, after about five minutes of that "poor me" thought process, I decided that I just needed a new perspective. I got back to my home office and had a very interesting phone conversation with someone I was put into contact with by a mutual acquaintance. He told me on the phone that his business is going so well (he's also a "soul" proprietor) that he doesn't think he can do it alone anymore. He's looking for a "partner" or an "affiliate" or someone to help him with his work. Hmmmmm.

So here's where the dream comes in. Before I went to sleep that night I was thinking about a Wayne Dyer CD I had been listening to earlier in the week. On that CD he talked about how he wants to take babies who are unwanted and put them into families where they are raised with no doubt about their purpose in the world. He says on this CD that we let our belief systems get in the way of what we KNOW and the message I kept hearing from him was "no doubt." We've got to get rid of the doubt in our lives. Who told us we can't teleport ourselves from one place to the other, he asks on the CD. We just don't believe we can, so we can't.

So that night I dreamt about a really big mansion with a huge green lawn in front of it. The lawn just kind of melded into a big blue lake out in front of the mansion. I was walking out of the mansion onto the lawn, and just kept walking out onto the lake. I was actually walking ON the lake. I remember in my dream looking back to the mansion and seeing people on the porch. I was thinking in my head as I was walking ON the lake "no doubt, no doubt, no doubt" and I was motioning to the people on the porch to come out and join me ON the lake.

I remember waking up early the next morning and being really jazzed about the dream. Although I thought, after having my taxes done, that I was going to be sunk, I just need to keep believing in myself and my purpose, by telling myself "No Doubt" and I will be able to keep my head above water.

I'm committed to building my business and inviting others to join me in my quest to raise the level of our small talk in our homes, churches, school, businesses. When we start having conversations about things that matter, we will automatically invite others to do the same. I know I can't do it alone, but I can do what I can do.

When I think about, I'm never really alone anyway, am I? It's a great feeling! C'mon. Join me and we can do anything.


Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Why the Gap?

I'm very interested in questions ... I'm not as interested in what the answers are, but more in the process of coming to the answers. My question today is, "Why don't we do what we know?"

I remember a couple of years ago when I actually started writing this blog that I just KNEW this was going to be called "You Already Know This Stuff." I had people tell me that if I ever wanted to write a book, that title would never sell, because why would people buy a book of stuff they already know?

That's also a good question, but I have another question for that one: why aren't we doing something with all that knowledge? Why is it that we ask the same questions over and over and hope that somehow we'll find an answer that says we don't really have to do anything differently - that if we just keep doing what we're doing, we'll automatically get different results?

You might recognize that logic as a definition of insanity sometimes attributed to Einstein: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.
I think the main reason we don't do the things we know all comes down to some form of fear: fear of failure, fear of what other people will think - even fear of success. We sabotage ourselves all the time when it comes to growth opportunities because we have this need to be right. We'd rather tell ourselves over and over that we're not good enough or not pretty enough or not smart enough - even though that new friend or new boss or new co-worker sees something else in us. We tell ourselves enough times that we're not enough of something and pretty soon the other people around us will begin to believe us and will leave us alone. Then we'll get to be right about not being enough of whatever we think someone else wants us to be.

I'm learning that the first step when we determine that things might not be working exactly the way we might like in our lives - the first inkling that doing the same thing over and over might not be the best solution to a new avenue of understanding - is to change our minds. The way we think determines what we become, what we produce, what we create, how we listen, and really what and who we are.

Seth Godin's book "Survival is Not Enough" has some good ideas for what he calls zooming - moving off dead center without rocking our foundations and triggering our change-avoidance mechanism. Here is a summary of that book you might find interesting.

It's really simple ... but it's not necessarily easy. It's about setting your mind on a new idea and then committing to it for, say, a week. Once you notice the effects of the shift, you can determine whether it's worth the effort to commit for another week, and so on.

Another thing to remember is that people around you who have known you in the other mindset might not know how to support you in your new thought pattern. So ask a few trusted friends to hold you to what you say you want to do differently. Trust that they may see things in you before you see them in yourself, so be willing to hear their comments as supporting steps in the new direction you want to go.

If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading. - Lao Tzu

What are you doing to shift directions? What challenges are you facing? What's working for you? I'd love to hear!