Coach, author, speaker and business consultant are just a few of the titles Jodee Bock currently holds. However, during her playing days at Concordia College, Bock collected quite the list of titles as well. She was a two-time All-American, a conference MVP, three-time all-conference performer and a national champion.
I’ve read that coming out of college, it took you a while before you found your calling? Can you take us through that journey and talk about how you did finally come to the conclusion about what you wanted to do?
I thought I knew what I wanted to do when I graduated, and that was be a sports information director at a university. I had a double major in English Writing with an emphasis on journalism and broadcasting and communications, so it seemed like a great fit. Right out of college I got a job as news and sports editor at a small weekly newspaper in Rolla, ND. Three years later I got my dream job as Women’s Sports Information Director at NDSU … and I hated it. It turned my love of sports into a job and I found I just didn’t enjoy it. Now what? What do you do when you get your dream job and that’s not it? It’s not that different from what happened when we won the national basketball championship my freshman year. There’s nowhere to go but down from there. So I got a series of jobs that worked for a while but just didn’t fill my bucket. I ended up starting my own coaching and consulting business in 2005. I considered myself an accidental entrepreneur. Now I work to help others find that fulfillment in themselves first so they can enjoy whatever they do for a living.
Did you have any struggles when trying to make that mental shift from athletics to the real world?
I think the struggles I might have had were being with and around others who didn’t share the focus it takes to be part of a winning program. I learned that if you want a certain result, there are things you need to do to get that. Not everyone has that mindset in the world of work.
If so, how did you go about addressing those struggles?
I’m still working on that! Awareness is not a finished process … it’s a lifelong pursuit. What I’m realizing is that while sports gives you pretty immediate results, at least on the surface – it’s about W’s and L’s – real life doesn’t always work that way. That’s been a process of undoing for me. I never in my entire high school or college career ever had a losing record, so I understand a lot about mastery and determination and, if I’m honest, a bit of luck. I saw early on that my effort produced a desired effect. We didn’t win every game, but we never had a losing season. But there were leadership struggles, interpersonal struggles and cultural struggles. When you are learning about yourself by being part of a team – and when you’re the only freshman on that team – you acclimate quickly, and could end up losing your own autonomy. Success these days is much less about external validation and rewards and more about a core desired feeling. I never really learned how to identify the feelings I wanted. I just knew wins felt great and losses felt lousy. It wasn’t until years later I realized that I learned more from the losses on the basketball floor than I did from the wins (except the national championship win – that was really sweet!) As a life purpose and career coach, I shine a light on other peoples’ mindsets and show them options for making a positive impact on their worlds no matter what they are doing in the world. The doing comes from the being, and I’m focused there to help them be the kinds of leaders and workers who can change the world for the better.
What advice do you have for athletes out there looking to do the same?
It’s about a harmony between external validation and internal confidence. It’s knowing the distinction between confidence and arrogance. Confidence is inside and arrogance shows up outside. It’s knowing how to be present on the court or the field so you don’t get derailed by a bad play but also being able to see the big picture. There’s something about focusing on the game you’re in – including the individual plays inside that game – and being unattached enough to the outcome that it doesn’t throw your world off if you lose. You can be committed to a certain outcome without being attached to there only being one certain way to get there. Lots of things happen in a game that are outside your personal control. A personal example for me is fouling. If a ref calls a foul on me, I can either be really upset because I don’t agree with the call, which will take me out of the next few plays, or I can adjust the way I play to the way the game is being called. I can be stubborn and attached or I can be smart and see the bigger picture. Understanding that bigger picture sooner than later is a gift on so many planes that will serve athletes who are still playing their games and those who bring their awareness to the next “game” they play at work.
What are some things you think former athletes can use to their advantage in the professional world?
There’s a mindset we learn as athletes that has us step up and contribute in ways others may not understand. In most professions, it’s all about relationships, which then lead the transactions. If we get that mixed up, we might win in the short term, but the experience of playing the game has a very different feel to it. If you consider your career or your job or your business playing a game, you will see similarities to a sport. There is certainly planning and strategy and desire and practice and mastery to both. And we do the best we can with what we know. Athletes know how to navigate those parts of the game.
What are some blind spots to be aware of?
Business and work and careers are enough distinct from athletics that if athletes try to use the mindset that got the wins on the field or court, they will be limiting their opportunities for the bigger game. In sports there are rules. There is a clear endpoint. The difference is that in sports winners and losers are easily identified. Not so much in business. If you play an infinite game – the game of life or business which doesn’t have the same simple outcomes in mind (W’s and L’s on the scoreboard) – with a finite mindset, you will be operating in a culture that values the W’s over the culture. You might run the risk of missing the journey for the destination, and get attached to outcomes like “beating your competitors” and “closing deals” rather than being innovative, inspirational, resilient and lasting. When you remember that businesses and workplaces are much bigger than simply making a profit, you recognize the huge opportunity and responsibility you have to change the world for the better, not just win the next point.
- 2x All-American
- MIAC MVP
- 3x All-Conference
- Concordia College Athletics Hall of Famer
- National Champion