Thursday, August 31, 2006

How Long Have You Been Enjoying Your Life?

I love blogging for so many reasons. Let me count the ways:

1) I've met some amazing and incredible friends who share so many of my passions
2) I've gotten a chance to get feedback on my writing and my thoughts
3) I've published a book thanks to encouragement and feedback from these wonderful people
4) Every single day I learn something new or gain a new insight
5) Many more reasons than I can even articulate.

Here's today's insight, thanks to James who commented on my last post. He commented on what I had written on the 29th and then at the end of the post asked this question: "How long have you been enjoying your life?"

Wow - that really got me thinking. If you read my response to his question, you'll see that my answer was "about 3 years" because I wonder if I was really awake enough before then to actually enjoy my life.

That can seem a little depressing if I think about all the years I wasn't really awake to the enjoyment of life, but I'm just grateful I woke up!

I was talking with a very dear friend of mine here in Fargo a couple of weeks ago (he's 28, by the way) and he commented that he wished he had been able to figure things out sooner in his life so he wouldn't have wasted those years not being in a higher level of conversation. He's 28!!! If I had only figured out the secret to my life's enjoyment at 28! But we all are right where we need to be on this life's journey. I'm so blessed and grateful that I've been able to share mine with all you wonderful readers and bloggers who have become my friends.

My 28-year-old friend is starting his own blog which he wants to use to document a project he's working on in his life called "A Journey of Thanks." He plans to go through the decades of his life (0-10, 10-20, and 20-30) and thank all the people who made a difference in his life during those times. He's a filmmaker, so he's going to document all these interviews for posterity. What a cool idea!!

It reminds me of a movie I heard about recently called ONE: The Movie. What an incredible project! That movie isn't showing anywhere near Fargo, but maybe we can create that here. I'll work on it and let you know.

So, getting back to the original question: How long have you been enjoying your life. How would you answer that question? What does it make you think about? I'd love to hear! Let's start an "Enjoy Your Life" movement! What do you think?

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

You Really Do Know This Stuff

I had a great day today. My friend Dr. Tiff Johnson and I invited a small group of trusted business associates to join us for a focus group in which we introduced Lance Secretan's book ONE: The Art and Practice of Conscious Leadership (see the link in my recommended reading list) and asked for their feedback about whether presenting a workshop or seminar in our community would be of benefit, and also to get their ideas about marketing if we determined that it would.

By way of explanation, Lance Secretan's latest work highlights six principles or attributes which he says are in us already - we just have to unlock them. These six attributes are represented by the acronym CASTLE - Courage, Authenticity, Service, Truthfulness, Love, and Effectiveness. These are not flavor-of-the-month values: they are time-tested and the beauty of this work is that the principles are not only foundational, they are also intuitive, which makes them easy to remember ... re-member - come together - create the ONEness we are lacking in our businesses, schools, churches, and even families.

The conversation we created today was magical. We discovered - together - that there really is a huge opportunity for all of us to reconnect with some of the foundational and fundamental values which have guided humankind throughout history. We already know this stuff ... but we just need a reminder to really own our knowledge and move beyond the knowing to the doing and the being.

We got some great ideas for marketing, and I think we even created a mini evangelism force as they asked for more books and materials to pass along to their associates to give them an idea of the power of this concept.

The more I study this work the more I think this is a pretty amazing way to engage our co-workers and the people with whom we spend our days, weeks, months and years.

Please let me know how I might give you more information about this learning opportunity. I'd love to support you in your own personal and organizational transformation!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

The 100% Factor is on Amazon!

Well, it's real ... I can see my book on Amazon! Although you can't actually order it yet, The 100% Factor is available for pre-order! If you're interested in getting a copy of the book, go to Amazon and order it because they will order the books from me based on the orders they get from people like you.

I've learned so much about self-publishing - and I'm glad I did this - but my next goal is to get published by someone else.

So if you get the book, do me a favor and let me know what you think. I've printed 500 copies and so far have about 120 of them spoken for. I'd love to have to do a second edition, so any help you can provide will be very welcome!!

Here is a little more about the book from the introduction:

“You always have to give 100 percent,
because if you don’t, someone, someplace,
will give 100 percent and will
beat you when you meet.”
– Ed McCauley

The 100% Factor is paradoxical – it’s not what you might expect. At first glance you could get the impression that it’s about competition, as the quote that opens the book implies, but it’s more than that. There is more to life than “winning.” That might sound strange coming from an All-American basketball player, I know, but I’ve learned a lot since those days. And I’ll tell you from experience that if you finish the book with the same understanding you had when you started it, then you’ve missed the major point. If you’re not living your maximum capacity, you’re cheating yourself – and you really are ripping the world off and keeping others from experiencing your 100%.

The 100% Factor is about measuring your own progress against your previous performance. Instead of despairing about how far you have to go, this book will give you a chance to see how far you’ve come.

You will have an opportunity to examine some of the lessons you’ve learned over the course of your life, whether at work or outside of work, and ask yourself an important question: “How’s that working for me now?”

Click here to go directly to Amazon and order your copy today!

Friday, August 18, 2006

What is Empowerment, Really?

I'm in the middle of creating a new class for next week and I've gotten a little bit sidetracked as I think about the topic of empowerment. What does that mean, really?

I remember my days as an employee, and how easy it was for people to avoid taking responsibility by saying "it's not my job" or "I just did what they told me to do" and other pretty lame statements like that. Often what's really going on is employees are choosing to be powerless instead of powerful or empowered.

It reminds me of a story I heard about a Bobby, a fourth-string quarterback for a small college who was also the part-time punter. He was a senior, but had never played in even one game. It was one of the last games of the year and during the second quarter, the first-string quarterback got hurt and was taken out of the game. In the third quarter, the second-string quarterback went down with an injury.

Bobby's team was up 6-3 and it was nearing the end of the game, when, as luck would have it, the third-string quarterback also got hurt and had to come out of the game. Which left the coach with no choice but to put Bobby in.

As the offense prepared to take the field at their own 15 yard line, the coach gave Bobby his instructions. "On the first play I want you to take the ball and run to the right. On the second play I want you to run to the left. On the third play I want you to run right up the middle. And on the fourth play I want you to back up and punt the ball."

Bobby ran on to the field with his instructions. On the first play he ran to the right and gained 17 yards. On the second play he ran to the left and broke enough tackles to gain 26 yards. On the third play he ran right up the middle and to everyone's amazement he broke through everyone except one guy who tackled him on the 6-inch line. The crowd went crazy. On the fourth play Bobby backed up and punted the ball into the parking lot. The crowd was silent.

The coach came storming on to the field and grabbed Bobby by the shoulder pads and yelled "Bobby! What were you thinking when you punted that ball?????"

Bobby replied, "I was thinking that I must have about the dumbest coach in all of football."

Funny story, but how often does something like this happen in our businesses? "I'm just doing what I was told" is a statement we use when we make the choice to be powerless.

This diagram is from the book "The Power Principle" by Blaine Lee, which is the basis for an online course I'm finishing up this week. Click here for a summary of the book. It shows what happens when we choose the powerless route and also what can happen when we choose the powerful route.

Watch for more information about this course and this diagram in a future post.

Perhaps the problem is not so much with empowering people as it is having the empowered people own the empowerment. How accountable are we willing to be for the results we get in our own lives?

The view from the principle-centered power option will offer us opportunities we couldn't even imagine from the powerless vantage point. Go ahead. For the next week choose to be powerful instead of powerless and notice what you notice. If you choose to be powerful and choose coercive power, you'll get a result. If you choose utility power, you'll get another result. And if you choose principle-centered power, you'll get something else. Do a little research on yourself and see which works best. There may be times and places for each choice, but as you're intentional and have an outcome in mind, you'll begin to see which choice gets you the long-term results you intend.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Higher You Climb ...

Wow - what a couple of weeks! This has definitely been the busiest month for Bock's Office Transformational Consulting to date, so consequently the blogging has suffered just a bit. No excuses - it's all good!

As I've been working on my radio show (don't forget to tune in Sundays from 1:00 - 2:00 central at to hear "You Already Know This Stuff"), I've had a lot of great opportunities to connect with friends old and new and to learn more about them as they share the songs they would pick to represent themselves and their lives.

As I think about that question for my own life, one song that keeps coming back to me is Dan Fogelberg's "The Higher You Climb." I found this great graphic representation of the lyrics of this song at (thanks, Vicky!) and it really tells a lot about my life.

If you start at the bottom of the spiral and read up, you'll get the feel for the lyrics. As a recovering perfectionist (does one ever fully recover?), I've found this to be my path. The higher I climb, the more that I see; the more that I see, the less that I know. The less that I know, the more that I would want to know and the more that I yearned to know, the higher I would climb.

As I found myself climbing that never-ending spiral, I really did seem to need less and less, and there was a time in my life when I was pretty alone. For me, however, gratefully there has also come a point where I realize that I'm not on this spiral alone. The more people I meet, the fuller and richer is my life. So where this says "the fuller you feel, the less that you need," that can mean two things. Maybe I don't need as many external validations as I used to ... and maybe I really don't NEED anything more in my physical world. But I do find that I choose to interact with people on a much different level. The more I learn, the less I really do know, and the more I want to learn - but from others, not on my own.

This is a great life lesson for me - but not in ways I intended when I first heard this song in the mid '80s when I was still struggling to figure things out.

I certainly don't have them figured out now, but I have a whole new perspective on the journey.

If you have songs in your life that have left an impression on you, or that you might consider a theme for a portion of your life, please let me know. I'd love to play the song and the reason you chose that song on my radio show!

Friday, August 04, 2006

Insights Where You Least Expect Them

I just got back from my longest work-related car trip to date - Fargo to Pierre, SD - and I'm amazed at the lessons I learned along the way.

The first thing I learned is that Mapquest may not be the best source of directions. I also learned that even with directions, my sense of direction isn't all that great - and sometimes that's OK.

From the map it looks like the route is pretty straightforward - west to Bismarck and then south. Or so I thought. Since that looked pretty easy, I didn't print out the directions or the map and just had it in my head that that's how I would go. So I planned a much-needed visit with my good friend Bonnie in Bismarck, with a stop to see my friend Chris and then I'd make copies of my handouts at Staples in Bismarck before I left and be in Pierre by 5:30 or so.

You know what they say about the best-laid plans, right? Well, I got a late start, and left my house at 7:50 instead of 7:30 as I'd hoped. One thing I forgot is that summer is the season of road construction so I had a couple of minor slowdowns, but it wasn't too bad. I got to Bonnie's by 10:30 and we had a wonderful visit.

From there I headed over to Chris' office. Chris has a really cool company called The Rainmaker Group, and I'm very fortunate to be an affiliate of this company. Chris has always said that if I need to finish any work or have a place to park while I'm in Bismarck, I'm always welcome there. So I stopped by to finish up my handouts, and snapped this photo of Chris' license plate (I had to send it to Phil!) before I headed over to Staples to make my copies. In talking to Chris and his associate Don on the way out, they informed me that the road I needed to catch to head to Pierre was 22 miles back east before I could head south. Another glance at the Mapquest map confirmed that I had looked too quickly and thought Pierre was directly south of Bismarck. Oh well, what's 22 miles?

So I headed over to Staples. One thing I forgot about is that making 20 sets of 30-page handouts takes some time, so I had another 90-minute delay. Fortunately there was a Cold Stone Creamery across the street!

With handouts in hand, I headed back to I-94 to my 22-mile redirection to Highway 83 south with a straight shot to Pierre. What a cool little drive through southern North Dakota! I ended up driving right past Strassburg, ND, the birthplace of Lawrence Welk. Things were humming along until I got to the South Dakota border.

All of a sudden I was stopped behind a pickup, which was stopped behind a car, which was stopped behind a gravel truck. As I looked ahead, it looked like they were carving the road out of the prairie. We were stopped so a pilot car could take us over the left side of this new road, which was covered with fresh oil and gravel. We waited there for about 20 minutes, and then were guided slowly through the tar to the other side of the construction zone.

From there it was like a different world. There were rolling hills which, because of the extremely dry conditions, looked more like sand dunes. As far as I could see there was nothing but prairie. I knew what Laura Ingalls Wilder must have felt like. Most of the other cars and pickups eventually peeled off and went their separate ways and it was like I was out in the wilderness by myself. Until I came upon an orange and white striped barricade with a sign that said "Road Closed" with a detour sign pointing east, leading to a gravel road. Great.

So I followed the sign for about 10 miles over washboard gravel roads until the sign pointed me south again, and then back west to catch the original road. Now I'm back in the desert-prairie, with no one around. No towns, no farms, just an occasional horse or cow or buffalo herd. Checking my cell phone I noticed that I didn't have a signal for about an hour, which was even eerier.

Now the old me would have been frustrated and upset - with the people at Mapquest who told me this was the route to take, with Staples for taking 90 minutes to copy my handouts, with the South Dakota highway department for making me take a 22 mile detour over gravel roads - but I was not upset. It was very strange. Sometimes I just need to do a check-in with myself and see how I'm doing and I'm still a little amazed at this new me. After all, I'd spent most of my life being upset and then wondering why things didn't work out the way I wanted. Hmmm.

When I eventually pulled into my hotel parking lot at 8:30 - just 3 hours later than I wanted - I had a new outlook. I got my stuff together for the next day's presentation and went to bed.

The next day the presentation was great, the people were wonderful (thank you to everyone at South Dakota Game, Fish & Parks!) and I learned so much! I attended their organization's annual picnic and met some great folks. I learned about conservation wildlife - tracking otters and chasing mountain lions and hunting and fishing and even about the Sturgis, SD motorcycle rally which explained all the Harleys I had seen in the parking lot of my hotel (Sturgis is about 2 hours from Pierre).

When I left Pierre yesterday I decided to take a different route home. I traveled north on 83 to Highway 12 - about 60 miles or so - and then headed east on 12. This new route took me directly through the town where my sister and her family live, so I stopped and had lunch with my sister and my niece. This new route even gave me a long stretch of 4-lane highway right up to I-29 which I took north right into Fargo.

When I go back to Pierre in a couple of weeks, I'm going to take I-29 south to 12 and straight into Pierre. But I'm grateful for the detours, the scenery, the stop in Bismarck "on the way" out there. It showed me parts of South Dakota - and parts of me - I didn't realize were there.