Sunday, December 31, 2006

2007: The Year of EASY!

I'm very much looking forward to trying out my theory for 2007: that things really are supposed to be EASY!

I understand from my own experience that when I'm in flow state - when things are EASY - the results are so much more positive. I realize that the best results come from those times when things are easy ... so, to me, it stands to reason that I would want to create or allow more of those opportunities to show up in my life. The really cool thing is that I don't have to wait for things to be easy to feel good - I can choose to feel good which will lead to things being easy. I really can change the outcome just by changing my mind.

I gave this Staples easy button to several of my friends and clients for Christmas this year. When you push the button, it says "That was easy." I know we all need reminders.

So may 2007 be the year of EASY for you, your family, your clients and associates!

Goodbye 2006 - HELLO 2007!!

I'm on my way to my last radio show of 2006 (remember you can tune in Sundays at 11 a.m. central at The show is called (surprise!) "You Already Know This Stuff."

As I reflect on the radio shows of 2006 - and really, the lessons I've learned over that same time period - I'd have to say that The Secret and related readings and listenings (including "Think And Grow Rich," "As A Man Thinketh," and "Is Your Genius At Work?") have occupied a big portion of my mindspace.

The Secret has lots of people talking (see Time's recent comments here). And some of that talk is less than positive (I remember someone earlier this summer kind of dissing this whole concept on a blog somewhere). But since my life theme is "Making Our Small Talk Bigger," I have come to understand that my genius - "Inviting Dialogue" - requires that I suspend assumptions for the purpose of learning something. If my intention was always to get people to agree with my point of view, I wouldn't be coming to a conversation with an open mind, and would be hypocritical to my own mission.

So, once again, I'm blessed and grateful for everyone who has read and commented on this blog in 2006 - and for the new connections I've made because of this blog. I'm SO EXCITED for 2007 because there is so much to learn and so many new connections to make!

If you weren't able to tune in to today's show, here is a list of some of the songs I plan to play on my Best of 2006 show.

Grateful - Art Garfunkel
Thankful - Jonny Lang (the Fargo boy!)
Anything's Possible - Jonny Lang
Welcome to Wherever You Are - Bon Jovi
Patience and Fortitude - Count Basie
It's In Every One of Us - Dennis DeYoung
This Is The Moment - Donny Osmond
Waiting On The World to Change - John Mayer
Change - Tracy Chapman
Change the World - Eric Clapton
A Place in the World - Mary Chapin Carpenter
If I Were Brave - Jana Stanfield

Welcome 2007!!

Friday, December 29, 2006

There is No "Out There"

I just received an excerpt for a new book to be released in July by Dr. Joe Vitale and Dr. Ihaleakala Hew Len, titled "Zero Limits" and it's really got me thinking.

Seems there's this doctor in Hawaii (Dr. Len) who was able to heal mentally ill inmates by searching inside himself for the places he needed healing. He simply told himself "I'm sorry" and "I love you" and everything around him started to change. He never even saw inmates - he simply looked at their files and forgave himself.

That gives a whole new perspective to personal accountability. I've noticed for myself that as I've shifted my perspective from one of fear to one of love over the past couple of years that I really don't have any negative friends. There really aren't people in my life who "drag me down" and, according to Dr. Len & Dr. Vitale, it could be because I don't drag me down like I used to.

This gives me a lot to think about as I work to grow my business (watch for updates soon). How different can I make the situations with my clients by simply looking inside myself for ways I might be contributing to their challenges?

Note to Self: "I'm sorry" and "I love you." Hmmmmm ..... :)

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Change Your Questions, Change Your Life

In true Make It Great style, Phil introduced me to Raj Setty just before Christmas. Phil's the best connector I know!

Raj currently serves as the president of Foresight Plus, LLC and is also involved in five other companies (4 in US and 1 in India) in some combination of investor, board member or advisory board member. The companies are iPolipo (meeting scheduling), Suggestica (trusted content on the web), Compassites (outsourced product development) and CIGNEX (open source content management systems) and PSVillage (networking for senior PS Professionals).

Raj is working on a project for 2007 where he will be asking some really significant questions on his blog Life Beyond Code. Here's what he sent me on December 19:

I know you are busy so I will be quick. I maintain a blog called Life Beyond Code where I get about 400,000 page views a month. I have always believed that it is not always the answers but sometimes asking one good question is what is required to make a difference in a person's life or business or both. So as we approach the new year, I am posting a series of questions that people should consider asking themselves in 2007 to get more out of their life or business or both. I am reaching out to several influencers like yourself to get those questions.

So, what is the ONE important question a person should ask himself or herself in 2007?

What a great conversation starter! Since I discovered my genius to be "Inviting Dialogue," this thread is right up my alley!

So, here's my one question for 2007:

What is one burning desire I can articulate for myself and my life in 2007?

That may seem rather obvious, but if you get beyond the pat "stuff" answer (a new car, a new job, more money, etc.) it might not be as easy as you think. I'm a huge fan of The Secret and am currently reading the Napoleon Hill classic "Think And Grow Rich," and I know the answer to that question will be much different for me in 2007 than it's ever been before.

If you'd like some help keeping you on track, consider subscribing to Notes from the Universe (also known as TUT (Totally Unique Thoughts)). When you register there, you'll be able to put in a goal you want to accomplish, and the daily notes remind you to keep it at the top of your mind.

I accomplished what I told TUT last year (a published book) so I changed it this morning. In 2007 I have a burning desire to write for Motto magazine, so that's what I declared (are you listening, Kevin? :) )

So thank you, Raj, for asking me the question question. I look forward to finding out more about you in 2007 as well!

What's Your Type?

Here's another interesting personality test you can take to find out more about yourself. According to the Enneagram Type Indicator (RHETI version 2.0), I'm an Enthusiast:

Type Seven
The Enthusiast
The busy, productive type. Sevens are extroverted, optimistic, versatile, and spontaneous. Playful, high-spirited, and practical, they can also misapply their many talents, becoming over-extended, scattered, and undisciplined. They constantly seek new and exciting experiences, but can become distracted and exhausted by staying on the go. They typically have problems with impatience and impulsiveness. At their Best: they focus their talents on worthwhile goals, becoming appreciative, joyous, and satisfied.

Wow - spooky! Click here to take the test yourself.

It's OK - I'm With the Band

I've been thinking a lot recently about how I'd like my business to do something with education in high schools in addition to our work with businesses. There have been two things I've experienced recently that have reinforced this calling for me.

The first was the November 9 episode of Oprah in which high school students were transformed during Challenge Day. Real change and connection is possible, according to this episode, which profiled Monroe High School in Michigan, where racial tensions were high, and cliques and bullying were very evident. This episode showed an example of what can happen when people learn to really listen and communicate to turn personal baggage around. Teachers and students alike showed what is possible when people really communicate with each other and listen. I was very inspired and want to do something to bring this "Power of Possibility," as Oprah called it, to my local high schools.

The second was a halftime show I saw at a recent North Dakota State basketball game where I am a statistician. The entertainment was a high school pep band from Ada-Borup High School, about an hour away in Minnesota. I don't think I can remember seeing a pep band spread out all over the gym floor for a halftime show. But I don't think I've ever seen a high school pep band like Ada-Borup's. You can see more about this amazing band here. I understand that it can be really cool to say you're with the band after seeing how much fun those kids were having - and creating - that night.

Both of these incidents showed that it is OK to be who you are, whether you're in high school or at any stage of your life. People really are much more alike than they are different.

It is definitely possible to change the world one person at a time - and that one person is you (and me). What conversations are you having in your life that could lead to deeper relationships? Where might you be able to listen more and talk less? How can you be the change you want to see in the world?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Jumping Down ... or Leaping Up?

I gathered tonight with a group of the best friends I've ever had and we shared our observations from the past year along with some great soup and great wine and it got me thinking about a lot of things (surprise, surprise).

One of the things we were talking about tonight was how it feels/felt to take a leap out of Corporate America to the entrepreneurial world (four of the five of us have done that). One friend who formerly owned her own company and went back to Corporate America a little over a year ago is considering making the leap again. But this time it will be much different.

She said the first time she lept it was quite scary. She didn't really know exactly what she was getting herself into and it felt more like jumping into a cavern, hoping that a net would appear to catch her on the way down.

As she described her current state, she had a much different take on her next leap. Returning to the corporate world was something she had to do for various reasons, but it's soon time to hit the road again. Only this time she feels she's leaping UP, not DOWN. It's a much different place for her to be leaping to something on a higher plane than when she first left.

I wonder how often we find ourselves leaping from something instead of to something else. It's a simple distinction, but with a huge shift in perception.

Next time you need to make some sort of change in your life, consider where you're leaping. There is certainly a time and a place for each. But the view is different if you're jumping down or if you're jumping up. Just notice what you notice on the way!

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Spreading the Blog Love

So I've been tagged once again in the latest "meme" in the blogosphere. Seems Terry Starbucker has been spreading the blog love in order to get more bloggers on the Techorati charts. I'll spare you all the details, but suffice it to say that I'm in!

Here are the rules of the game:

You create a new post on your blog, then cut and paste the list below (under the rules you should take out the name of your own blog), and then add as many blogs as you prefer that you believe deserve more "link love" The ones that you add to the list would then do the very same thing on their blogs. Thus, one VERY long list will eventually get created.

Let's spread the love!

The List:
A Journey of Thanks
Life 2.0
Think Positive!
Come Gather Round
Shotgun Marketing Blog
The Copywriting Maven
Hee-Haw Marketing
Scott Burkett’s Pothole on the Infobahn
Multi-Cult Classics
Logic + Emotion
Branding & Marketing
Popcorn n Roses
On Influence & Automation
Servant of Chaos
Presentation Zen
Dmitry Linkov
John Wagner
Nick Rice
CKs Blog
Design Sojourn
Frozen Puck
The Sartorialist
Small Surfaces
Africa Unchained
Marketing Nirvana
Bob Sutton
¡Hola! Oi! Hi!
Shut Up and Drink the Kool-Aid!
Women, Art, Life: Weaving It All Together
Community Guy
Social Media on the fly
Successful Blog
Instigator Blog
The Future of the Web
Talking Story
Make It Great!
Mary's Blog
Carpe Factum
Christine Kane

December 22 Update - Terry notified me that there were some blogs missing from the original post, so here are some more great blogs that should have made the original list:

Customers Rock!
Being Peter Kim
Pow! Right Between The Eyes! Andy Nulman’s Blog About Surprise
Billions With Zero Knowledge
MapleLeaf 2.0
darrenbarefoot.comTwo Hat Marketing
The Emerging Brand
The Branding Blog
Drew’s Marketing Minute
Golden Practices
Tell Ten Friends
Flooring the Consumer
Kinetic Ideas
Unconventional Thinking

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Blessed and Grateful this Christmas

I've had some amazing conversations in the two weeks since I met Dick Richards in person and really tapped into my Genius. I discovered that my Genius is "Inviting Dialogue," and just acknowledging that for me has given me access to so many amazing insights - and have woven threads I could never have imagined. I'm thinking about how Marianne Williamson defines a miracle as simply a shift in perception. So, with that in mind, here's a snapshot of the miracles that have happened in the past two weeks so you can get an idea of what's been going on:

So I deliver some training two weeks ago called Job Relations at a manufacturing company. It's pretty cut and dried training, but somehow this week seems different. The CEO sits through the entire week (which has never happened before in the dozens of times I've trained this class - usually this is one the CEO sends people to). As he's listening for the first 3 days, he can't help but comment that the spirit of the class seems more about what's wrong than what's right (well, he's right - this is a class to teach people how to solve problems with those they supervise). He asks if they might start focusing more on what's going right with those people. He even invites them to challenge the policies that say when people violate the stated rules they are automatically punished or written up.

I tell the class about Oprah's Pay It Forward Challenge where she gives the audience members a $1,000 gift card, but they have to use it on someone they don't know. The next day the CEO brings in $25 gas cards for each member of the class and says they have to find someone doing something right and reward them in the next 2 weeks and then send an e-mail to the HR director documenting what happened and the outcome. The entire class focus and spirit shifts. A miracle, right?

As with every class like this I teach, I send the feedback to the company as well as the organization that contracts me to do the training. But it occurs to me to send the feedback also to the organization in New York where I was certified to deliver this training. I kind of forget about that part until I get a call from New York asking me to tell them more about how the focus of this training has shifted because this is exactly what they've wanted to do with this training, but haven't known how. He invites me to consider speaking at a national conference in Orlando this summer about what I've seen with this new focus. Hmmm - maybe another miracle?

The week after the Genius workshop I hold a summit in Minneapolis to plan for the future of my company, Bock's Office Transformational Consulting. My new business partner is there (who also attended the Genius Workshop) along with six others who I've invited to join us to brainstorm and heartstorm about their visions for Bock's Office. They are there from Minneapolis, Bismarck, Fargo and Chicago - on their own time and their own dime - because they see the possibilities. We have an amazing meeting and are each inspired in our own ways to somehow be part of this organization. So Bock's Office will be expanding in 2007 - watch here or at the website for more information and updates! Sounds like a miracle to me!

I get a "random" call from a good friend who is leaving her organization to venture out on her own - with a very full rolodex - and we meet for coffee and she asks how things are going on my end. I tell her a little bit and she asks how she can support my efforts and it occurs to me that she could open some HUGE doors for my company. I remember that doors won't open if I don't knock - and answers won't appear if I don't ask the questions. It occurs to me that I've never done any marketing for my business and that might just be selfish on my part because, after our summit, I realize that there is a lot of dialogue to be invited into and people are hungry for that connection.

I read Phil's blog entry "It Takes Courage to Forgive - Be Strong and Let It Go" and he shares his insight about forgiveness and I remember that that was an area I wanted to talk about, but he's done it so beautifully I'll just point you there.

I think about the two clients I delivered presentations for this past week - and they were both amazing. We talked about strengths-based plans with one and getting beyond the fear that keeps us stuck with another. Both were dialogues I invited them to join and I learned as much - if not more - than they did. I'm reminded yet again how amazing people are and how truly blessed and duly grateful I am for so many things.

I'm reminded of my radio show, which has opened my access to beautiful music and the meaning so many songs have for me - as well as the memories they create. So far I've found two really amazing songs in the search for music for my show. One is called "If I Were Brave" by Jana Stanfield and the other is "Grateful" by Art Garfunkel. Each of these songs has become very special to me and convey so beautifully messages I love to share.

Miracles abound. As we start opening our eyes, ears and hearts, we really can find them everywhere. Oprah calls them "God Winks," but no matter what they are called, you really can find miracles everywhere.

I'm starting a new blog in 2007 called "A Miracle A Day." My intention is to post the miracles I notice. Please check it out and join me in noticing the miracles in your own life.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Life 2.0 - a MUST-read!

I just want to tell you about a new blog on my blogroll. It's called Life 2.0 and its author is Nick Smith, and he's from Yorkshire, England. Here's a taste from the "What's Here" portion of the blog:

This idea behind this weblog is that we are far more powerful, creative and loving than we could ever imagine; and the realisation of this, our natural state, is the answer to all our problems. This 'true nature', though perhaps long forgotten, is I believe incorruptible, undiminished and always readily available to each and every one of us.

I especially connected with Nick's reminder from one of my favorite books, Richard Bach's Illusions (we really do already know this stuff):

Learning is finding out what you already know.
Doing is demonstrating that you know it.
Teaching is reminding others that they know just as well as you.
You are all learners, doers, teachers.

Thank you for your fantastic perspective, Nick. Keep up the great work!

My Genius IS at Work!

I had the distinct pleasure to participate in a weekend workshop with the one and only Dick Richards, author of "Is Your Genius at Work?" and author of the blog Come Gather 'Round.

I've been a fan of Dick's since he first found me in the blogosphere shortly after I began blogging and it was fantastic to meet him and his wife Melanie at the Genius Workshop I attended this past weekend.

I would highly recommend this workshop to anyone who is curious to know more about what makes you tick. I learned a lot, and was validated in my career choice as I discovered that my genius is "Inviting Dialogue."

Thanks to Jesse and the gang at Fissure for the invitation to join in this fabulous experience.

Is YOUR genius at work? Please Check out Dick's work for new insights into the answer to that question!

I Guess I'm IT!

I've been tagged ... in a virtual game of BLOG TAG (thanks, Phil!)

So I'm supposed to share five things that people don't know about me, and then I get to tag five other bloggers to do the same.

Soooooo ...

1) I played basketball in Europe for 5 weeks when I was in college. We won the national championship my freshman year at Concordia, so we went on a tour of several countries to play their national teams. It was a wonderful trip - I hope to get back SOON!

2) I sing baritone in a barbershop quartet called No Boundaries (we'll be competing at our regional competition in April in Rochester, Minnesota, so watch for details!). I love acappella music!!

3) I am statistician for North Dakota State men's and women's basketball teams and also for Concordia College's men's and women's basketball teams. I also am the official bookkeeper for the Minnesota State high school basketball playoffs each spring. I probably average 35 basketball games per season!

4) I am a freak for autographed books. I have so much respect for authors and anytime I have the opportunity, I will buy a book from an author if they will promise to autograph them!

5) I am a HUGE Oprah fan and am setting the intention to meet her within the next 2 years (anyone have any connections????). I bought an XM satellite radio just to hear her new Oprah and Friends radio show which definitely makes all my road time go much quicker!

So - I'm tagging Alex Kjerulf, Nick Smith, Troy Parkinson, Kyle Coolbroth, and Chris Young.

I'd love to hear more from Kyle (hint, hint, Kyle!) so I'm tagging him to get him back blogging! And you'll want to visit Troy's brand new blog and follow his progress with his fantastic project.

Let's get tagging!

Who, Me?

It's no wonder we're having the challenges with accountability we're having in our workplaces. I know just about every behavior and action that might be considered less than favorable that happens, whether in workplaces or in life in general, has a lot to do with fear, and we've been conditioned by fear since we were babies.

Have you seen the TV commercial about the carpet cleaning machine where the mom says magic happens in her house because spots appear on the carpet even when no one is in the room (she proclaims this "fact" as she's looking at her sheepish husband and son who kind of slink away as she notices the spots)?

I remember being a kid and blaming every broken plate, carpet spot, and squabble on my younger sister, even when I'm sure I was as responsible for the outcome. I watched a professional football game last Sunday and I was reminded of this phenomenon as I watched the Vikings jump off sides on defense as the guilty player immediately pointed his finger at the offense to try to blame them for drawing him off sides.

We don't even question those actions anymore because we're just so darn used to hearing about and seeing fingers pointed out. I'm really interested in how we might eliminate blame altogether - that means stopping blaming others as well as ourselves.

What good does blame do in our businesses? Have you witnessed blame in your workplace? What are your ideas for getting beyond the blame game in your life? I'd love to hear your thoughts!