Years ago when I trained managers and trainers, I liked to be playful with each group. The company I was working with one day had a culture that was closest to Acronym Heaven than I had ever before or since experienced. So, I wrote on the flip chart in large letters: B O Q.
“Today we’re going to learn about the BOQ,” I said, pronouncing it Bock. My demeanor suggested they already knew — or should know — what the letters stood for, just the way that most acronyms are stated. Came a flurry of activity as they wrote the letters, trying to jog their collective memories of the words that B, O, and Q might possibly represent.
I did not leave them long in this state of mild confusion. They knew me well enough to know that I liked to play. They rose to the occasion and expressed their relief in laughter as I said, pointing letter by letter: Basic Operating Question.
One way of thinking of the Basic Operating Question is to consider it your “default” question. It is the question you think of first when you are facing a certain type of situation. In some situations, you might be well aware of your BOQ, but in others you may not. Questions guide you all day long, and some are more empowering than others.
For example, when the phone rings, you are likely to wonder who is calling and may formulate the question “Who’s that?” or just think, "I wonder who that is." While it’s customary to answer out loud with your name or with "hello," still you will be silently questioning who it is until you know.
If you have a tense relationship with your boss who motions you to his or her office, your BOQ might be “What have I done wrong now?” If your relationship is cordial, perhaps your question is "What can I do for you?"
You walk into a room with others present and your BOQ in your thoughts might be “What’s going on here?” If you have arrived late to a meeting, your default question might be "What have I missed?" Often, others will answer your questions even if you have not verbalized them because they are predominant in your thoughts, and so you are projecting them.
A BOQ can be positive, negative, or neutral. It can be empowering or disempowering. It can be easy to answer or not. It can be verbalized out loud or only thought about. It can be a neat sentence or a disjointed thought or a crisp, clear question. The Basic Operating Question itself, as well as its quality and resonance, guide the quality and resonance of the answer.
The purpose of identifying your Basic Operating Questions is to discover if they are helpful and empowering. And, if not, to craft more helpful and empowering ones. A long-time habit of asking a particular Basic Operating Question will not necessarily be instantly changed just because of discovering one that you consider better, but that is a good starting place. After identifying one or more of these, it is important to practice your new, empowering Basic Operating Questions as often as possible.
I invite you to read Ask Questions that are Empowering, an article that gives you additional information on empowering questions.
What’s your BOQ in each of the common situations you regularly face in your life? For example, when you get up in the morning, when you get to your place of work, when the phone rings, when you see coworkers, when you go to a meeting, when you get into your car, when you go to sleep at night?
Once you have identified the situations that are most important to you, note the default question, and adjust it if it needs to be more empowering. Now, practice, practice, practice.
Life is like a buffet — it is filled with much more than you can consume. That’s the magnificence of the power of choice. Life has many delicious things to choose from.
Do you ever find that you make a decision or a choice and then end up either criticizing the other options or trying to prove that those other options were the wrong choices for you? Maybe that’s never happened to you.
Perhaps you can identify with this scenario: you made a choice at an earlier time in your life and now you are making a new choice. Perhaps this new choice is even the exact opposite of the previous choice. With the new choice comes judgment or criticism about the earlier choice. This is a very common pattern when partnerships break up, and end up with expressions of criticism, judgment, and bitterness.
Or here is another possible scenario. You look at what you have created in your life and then you compare your creations with what others have created. And you try to explain the difference by finding fault with the others who appear to have received more goodies or better experiences.
Certainly at any time in your life, you might have had an isolated experience such as some of these scenarios I have suggested. But if you live regularly in such attitudes, you are in a very unhappy life.
My suggestion is simply that you look at the variety in your life as food on a buffet table. Choose what you want to eat and leave the rest for others.
Life is filled with variety.
The key is to choose what you like and not criticize the rest.
It’s interesting how rarely I use the word "problem." It’s not because I think problems don’t exist, nor is it that I’m afraid of them. When I’m writing or speaking, I tend to choose more neutral words so as not to further inflame something that’s locked in as a "problem" to someone.
Words like "subject" or "topic" or "situation" seem just as descriptive, but a little more neutral. Simply by identifying a subject, topic, or situation, it is easier to focus on change. And your focus is essential because when you give your attention to one topic, you are more likely to work with the dynamics to make changes that are helpful or empowering.
I have found that when people are focused on a "problem," they often get far more preoccupied and even expert on the dynamics and history of the situation as it is now, rather than moving forward. To find a solution, it’s important to move the attention to the "problem I cannot solve" to "solutions."
I suppose all this is part of the game I play. I like to play a game of empowerment. That’s a nice segue to what I really want to write about today, which is to create or name a game that helps you to be more successful or inspired in your life.
I often play this game of game naming with clients. Here are a few examples:
Game: Spicing up a Boring Job
First of all, I have to be honest, I have never had a boring job. On occasion, I have to do certain tasks that are less interesting to me than other tasks, but I have a very low tolerance for boredom. One of the games I play is: Do a boring task for a minimal amount of time, like, for example, 20 minutes. Or maybe only 7 minutes.
If you have a "boring job," you might find that regularly shifting the task will be helpful. Here are some ideas that I’ve suggested to shift the relationship to a boring job for different people. I’ve chosen names to give the people identities; of course, these are pseudonyms.
Spicing up Sally’s Job
Sally is in a corporate job that has had a variety of changes over the years, but it is essentially the same job she was doing 15 years ago. Because of changes in personnel (bosses as well as peers and subordinates), she has stayed interested in and challenged by the people to make the job tolerable. But she is often bored by the tasks she has to complete.
A while ago, I suggested that she write an article for the company newsletter about the innovations in her department over the last 7 years. Here’s an important caveat: my suggestion was to WRITE this article, and not to PUBLISH it. After it’s written, she can decide if she wants anyone to read it. I knew that if the writing only served to shift her relationship to her job, it would be a powerful process.
I gave her a few questions to stimulate her writing, and she agreed to write about 20-30 minutes at the end of each work day. When we spoke a few weeks after I gave her the assignment, she said that the writing so dramatically shifted her perspective of her job that she felt the fire again. Specifically, she found the enthusiasm for an innovative project that had been put on hold for several years.
Shifting Dull Meetings for Bob
On the back cover of Energetic Meetings, a book I wrote many years ago, I ask the question, "Do your meetings start at 9:00 sharp and end at 11:00 dull?" Most meetings go that way.
I frequently suggest to clients that they work with very specific energetic techniques and become witnesses to the processes. Working with certain colors or symbols or movements can shift the vibration of a group of people dramatically and also make meetings more interesting for the one who observes.
Bob relates easily to colors and also to sounds. Seeing and hearing are common ways of knowing about our environment. Seeing and hearing in the energy field can shift vibration quickly. So I described a very specific symbol for Bob to envision, in a specific color, and I asked him how that "sounded." He described the sound he was hearing and also made the sound so I could hear.
Together, we adjusted the symbol, color, and sound as we worked together on the room in which he was scheduled to conduct a meeting the next day. He could experience the differences as he worked energetically with me so that the next day when I would not be on the phone with him, he would feel skilled enough to work on his own.
His email report to me after the meeting was astounding. This particular group had met monthly, with a few personnel changes, for 8 or 9 years. In addition, the individuals found themselves with each other in other groups and meetings.
Bob said they had never laughed as much nor had they ever accomplished as much in one meeting as they did that day. He has continued to work with those images and now reports that his meetings are much more satisfying, whether he is leading them or not.
Change of Perspective
To me, the key to both these examples is a change in perspective. For Sally, it was to see herself as a journalist or reporter, so that she was viewing the situation to describe to others within her company, but outside her department. Sometimes I like to suggest writing or describing something as you would to your grandmother or a seven-year old or someone at a backyard picnic.
For Bob, his new viewpoint was to discern the energy field and sometimes to see from inside the energy field. He was working with some dynamics that were familiar, and perceived in very different ways.
I chose these as somewhat representative. The truth is, I have hundreds of similar examples. Sometimes, it is just a 1/2 degree turn of the head or considering a possibility before making a commitment, or just saying or thinking, "what if you look at it another way?"
Jeanie Marshall is a Personal Development Consultant and Coach
and a Certified QEC Practitioner
Call her at 310-392-1987 for an Private Consultation
Personal Consulting and Coaching
Everyone these days is writing: books, ebooks, memoirs, reports, proposals, profiles, scripts, email messages, tweets, marketing or product information, web sites, and on and on. How you relate to your own writing does come through to the reader, regardless of the medium.
Do you love to write or do you hate to write? Perhaps your feelings are more moderate than either extreme.
Several years ago I attended a writing conference in Santa Barbara, where Fannie Flagg was one of the speakers. She made a comment from the podium that sent a strange ripple through the audience. She said that she hates to write!
I was perplexed that a published author would hate to write. I think I was just as perplexed that she announced this to a group of writers. Why would she spend her time doing something she hates? I know that many people hate what they do, but most often they are in jobs in which they feel trapped for some reason. But writing?
I fall at the other end of the spectrum … I love to write. I’m a prolific writer who has never experienced writer’s block. To me, it’s a joy to see what comes to me and through me. I am inspired by the process. I learn something, whether the words just seem to flow through me or they are measured or halting.
In my work as a consultant and coach, I often suggest to clients that they write something as a way for focusing their attention. Any writing exercise I suggest is always related specifically to the needs of the individuals. While results vary, when people sit to do the writing assignment, usually the words flow for them. I know that is, in part, because I work with them energetically to support their process.
In working with clients over many years, I’ve noticed that there are specific ways that energy flows through the body that enhances or diminishes writing. Many times, I’ve done simple energy work that opens the floodgates for the ideas and the words to flow. This usually feels so natural to clients that they soon forget what it was like before.
It has been a delight to become involved with the Global Information Network because great emphasis is placed on the writing of your Dreams. In fact, it is an essential part of the training.
The writing of dreams needs to be fluid and organic … and ongoing. As I’ve been studying the courses in this private membership club, the statements of my dreams and chief aims were in flux for longer than I thought. After all, I have been writing my chief aims and compelling visions and statements of intention and goals for many years.
The first step in the training process is listening to and studying Your Wish is Your Command. If you’d like to have a loaner copy of this 14-CD set, please let me know — just use the Contact form or call me; see information on this Contact Page.
Certain kinds of writing are best done with a pad of paper and a pen. For example, when you hand-write items that are really important for you to manifest, you will relate to them more strongly with a pen in hand. With the ease of computers, we sometimes do not fully connect with what we write as we keyboard characters. It depends on your experience, of course, and the key is your relationship with the writing as well as the writing process.
Writing helps you to focus your attention. In addition, your conscious intention for writing makes all the words more meaningful.
My Personal Development Program
Energy Work for Writing
Recently a new client asked me what energy system I work with. Often I’m asked this question and I’ve found there’s only one beginning answer: my own.
After my initial response (which I state a little differently for each person), the conversation might go in any number of unique directions. The direction will depend on variables including the amount time we have for the conversation, the other person’s consciousness and interest, our relationship, etc.
I’ve been working with energy as part of my professional work for about thirty years. It has emerged for me as I have talked with clients, led training programs, facilitated team building events, faciliated teleseminars, and written about my experiences and wisdom.
The real key for me is that I learn through my clients — listening to them, to my inner self, and to Spirit (Source). Clients ask me questions. Often I simply do not have answers from my ordinary consciousness. So I go to “another place.”
“Place” is really a misnomer when talking about energy or consciousness, yet it fits well enough that I often use it. It’s a word that most people can relate to, even though it is not completely accurate. Choosing words that people relate to is essential. Stretching too far can create a disconnect, like stretching a rubber band so far that it snaps or breaks.
This “place” I also call the “energy field,” which is a fairly commonly used term these days, although it was not when I began my exploration of energy and energy work. I read energy. I read energy fields.
Everyone does, really, but I talk about the energy field as easily as I talk about a desk. I’ve found language that is designed to include rather than exclude, even though not everyone connects with my language. I like to talk with people about energy if they are interested in hearing about energy; I am not interested in trying to convinceh people of something they have no interest in.
An important basis for my work is that I extract information from the energy field so that I can create ways that clients can work with processes that I call “energetic techniques.” When these techniques are used regularly, they become “empowering practices.”
I know that some people prefer to have a problem of ten years be resolved with the snapping of the fingers or tapping on meridian points. And, truly, this can be awesome energy work! I know, I have done it personally and with clients. However, the snapping or tapping is usually most effective with proper processes to restructure your life.
The way out of a problem is the same as the way of getting into a problem: repeating the same thoughts, words, and actions. Miracles of dissolving old limitation are valid and welcome. However, many people recreate or create a new, similar situation if they have not found new thoughts, words, and actions that resonate with where they want to be.
You will move yourself from where you are to where you want to be if you use the thoughts, words, and actions that resonate with where you want to be. It’s a simple equation, but the elements need to be known, and the formula needs to be practiced.
The proper energetic process for you will be one that you resonate with and use. For example, if a certain image or thought will move you out of a mess, recognizing or devising that image or thought is the first step. The next step is to use that image or thought as well as other images and thoughts and words and actions that resonate similarly.
I find that it’s rarely helpful to be obsessed. Instead, I suggest people use the empowering energetic technique in place of the image or thought that is more familiar but disempowering. You can think of it as substitution or as a cut and paste process.
It doesn’t need to take ten years to walk out of a problem you created over a ten-year period, but it does involve awareness, choosing a new direction, and taking one step at a time moving in the new direction regularly.
I have created many products that include energy work,
which you can purchase from my Personal Development Products page.