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Sunday
Aug212005

What Oprah Knows for Sure

OK, I admit it, I'm a HUGE Oprah fan. I'm just reading the September issue of "O" this Sunday afternoon and am pleased to see in her column on page 288 "What I Know For Sure" that she's talking about making decisions and making commitments to our decisions.

Oprah quotes mountaineer W.H. Murray:

"Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves, too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets: "Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it./Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it."


I'm also a fan of Ralph Waldo Emerson, who said, in the mid-1800s, "Once you make a decision, the universe conspires to make it happen."

Goethe was born in 1749 and died in 1832, so these are not new ideas.

I'm working on a book with a friend of mine, tentatively called "The Beginner's Guide to Life." We're going to look at ancient wisdom and see whether it's still relevant. What we're finding is that, like the title of this blog, we already know this stuff. Emerson also said

"In every work of genius we recognize our own rejected thoughts; they come back to us with a certain alienated majesty."

How are you becoming what you know you were meant to be? With whom in your life can you practice being authentic? Think about who would be on your own personal board of directors so you can surround yourself with both like-minded people as well as those who will challenge you to expand your horizons.

Friday
Aug192005

Leap and the Net (Or Someone's Arms) Will Appear

I just caught the tail end of a live Lasik procedure on the Today show this morning. I don't know all the details because I tuned in at the end, but apparently there is a new procedure that makes laser eye correction even easier. When I tuned in they were just having the patient sit up after the procedure and she was shocked and amazed to be able to see (as you would expect).

She said she had had glasses since she was 7 and this was the first time she could remember being able to see without glasses or contacts. As someone who has worn glasses since 3rd grade myself, I can relate to how that must feel.

However, the real beauty in the story came when the doctor revealed that this woman, before the surgery, had vision of 20/10,000 - which means that at 20 feet she can see what people with 20/20 vision can see at 10,000 feet. She is legally blind and had lived in fear that she may lose a contact while she was driving, or misplace her glasses and not be able to care for her children in an emergency.

The doctor explained that people with vision as poor as this woman's are the most frightened of having the surgery because they know what it is like to be blind and their fear of losing what little sight they do have often prevents them from having the surgery.

I absolutely loved the doctor's demeanor and delight as he talked about how blessed he felt to be able to give the gift of sight to people like this woman. She was thanking him profusely with tears running down her cheeks. His response: "You're the one who was brave enough to have the procedure done. You made the leap - I was just here to catch you."

How often do we stand on the brink, unwilling or unable to make the leap because we're not 100% certain the net will appear? Maybe we have it in our head that that net needs to look a certain way before we will jump. If we're worried about all the things that might happen if we leap and the net doesn't appear - or it won't be the right color - or it might not be strong enough - or a whole host of other "what ifs," we're giving up the opportunity for something even better.

In the case of this woman, the net appeared as a loving pair of arms.

What are you waiting for? Make the leap! Take a step toward what you really want in your life. You'll be amazed at what appears for you!

Sunday
Aug142005

Connections

I've just started a really great book "Never Eat Alone" by Keith Ferrazzi and it reinforces my belief about the power of connections. If you've read anything I've written here before, you know how important I believe relationships to be in all of human interaction.

I believe the core of this book is the answer to making our business lives more happy and fulfilled - oh, and by the way, more productive.

It seems often that in the quest to fulfill the needs of our shareholders (whoever they might be), we forget the elements necessary to create that productivity. And this usually involves the issues related to the more human characteristics of our existence.

This book connects characteristics like relationship-building with external success (read: bottom line financial success).

Why is that surprising? Yet there are still those leaders within our business world who don't understand the importance of those characteristics like relationships, effective communication skills, and - dare I say - LOVE. It comes down to the disparity between fear and long-term success within the business world.

As I'm writing this I'm watching Clean Sweep on TLC - the show where couples get rid of their clutter by having the show come in and help them start over. It's a great metaphor for that point at which we determine we want things to be different - whether in our home lives, our work lives, or any part of our lives.

In this episode Peter, the host, is identifying how the language the couple uses affects not only their clutter but their relationship. Both Janelle and Shane have gotten into the rut in their marriage of separating their clutter into "his" and "hers" and then they end up justifying their attachment to their individual stuff and end up blaming the other for keeping the stuff, which causes the other to feel more defensive and keeps the attachment to the stuff stronger than their commitment to a clutter-free life (or to each other). It's a classic example of collusion.

It's a great metaphor for business relationships, too. Where are we setting up our connections? In places they can come between working relationships by helping us justify our traditional behaviors and mindsets? If we're considering external connections (those outside our companies) without considering the effects on our internal connections (those within our companies), we may actually be building walls rather than tearing them down.

It's another example of how giving up our need to be right can give us more satisfaction with our connections with others than our self-justification will provide in our being alone.

Friday
Jul292005

The 4- (5, 12, 25, etc.) Step Method Approach to Life

I've been thinking a lot lately about all the books out there that give you a "tried and true" or a "guaranteed to give you results" or a "follow this and you're sure to succeed" promise that will change your life. I'm thinking about why the surefire answer approach just doesn't sit well with me.

Maybe it goes back to my need to find THE answer to all the challenges I wasn't even able to articulate in my own life. I've always been a seeker, an eager learner and an overachiever, so I was a sucker for anything that would promise me results - especially those I could obtain outside myself.

The very reason I've titled my blog "You Already Know This Stuff," I think, is why I'm unsettled by having someone else tell me what I should do or guarantee me results based on their formula for success.

I get that there are certainly great ideas that others have learned from their own experience and that they want to share with others. I'm the same way. I'd love nothing more than to be able to share all the things I continue to learn about my own life so that others might be able to subvert those experiences themselves and get to more important work more quickly.

But for some reason I have a problem with some guru promising others THE way to success. Maybe I'm overly sensitive since reading Peter Block's The Answer to How is Yes, which really altered the way I ask questions to support people in connecting with what they already know.

I'm all about connecting with our inner KNOWING. Maybe it starts with defining that inner KNOWING - the collection of all the wisdom we've accumulated over the years and either discounted because it didn't fit with who we are or accepted because it did. I wonder if we get to a point in our lives that we've accumulated enough inner wisdom - a critical mass, maybe - that makes it easier to trust both WHAT we know and THAT we know.

I can't promise that someone's life will be altered by reading this or any blog, or any self-help book out there. But I do know that there comes a point in everyone's life - Lance Secretan in the book "Inspire" says that sometimes it happens on people's deathbeds, but it does happen - when they connect with their destiny, when the switch flips and they realize that they can have a life they love.

I don't want to wait until my deathbed, and I'm learning every day - every minute. Yes, as the Beatles tell us, "Living is easy with eyes closed, misunderstanding all you see/It's getting hard to be someone but it all works out, it doesn't matter much to me" (from Strawberry Fields Forever).

Don't let fear of the unknown keep you from living with eyes open, learning to understand all you see. It's a much more enlightening place to live as you figure out your own, personalized approach to life!

Tuesday
Jul262005

All Wrapped Up: A Lesson For ME!

Wow, it's amazing how readily those pesky life lessons can appear - and how prevalent they are when we have something to learn!

The funny thing about lessons is that they are so personalized! Served up on a silver platter, tied up with a beautiful bow, and complete with a gift card with my name on them!

Did you ever wonder why the exact same situation can totally tick one person off while another person in the same environment doesn't even notice? That's the fancy gift-wrapped lesson with the personalized card on it. I'm learning that the situations that bug me the most are the ones with the most important, and often the most pressing, lessons for me to learn.

I'm finding some situations are appearing in more than one package for me recently. They might not look exactly the same on the outside (one's got a gold bow and one's got a red bow, for example), but the lesson inside is exactly the same. Until I figure out why these gifts are still being presented to me, I'll be destined to keep unwrapping the packages - hoping to find new gifts inside, but finding the exact same thing in the box. It's not enough for me to say to myself "I've already got one of these" ... I've got to really ACCEPT the gift for what it is - a lesson for my entire life. When I get that I have a choice to really accept the gift as a GIFT, not a reprimand, an "I told you so" or a form of punishment - I can get beyond this gift and beyond the situation that presented me with the gift, and on to other opportunities to learn and apply.

It's not enough to just understand this insight ... I now need to actually DO something with it. The true test will be whether I'm presented with this gift yet again. I'm banking on getting something brand new next time!