Getting started with Working Out Loud

This week I joined my first working out loud circle. It was great. I’ve told lots of people about my experience, so naturally people have asked me “What is it?” “What is a circle?”

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John signed my hard copy at Jive World in 2016. Now i’m finally experiencing my first circle.

What is Working Out Loud?

Here’s how John Stepper describes working out loud taken from his website:

Working Out Loud is a way to build relationships that can help you in some way, like achieving a goal or exploring a new topic or skill. Instead of networking to get something, you invest in relationships by making contributions over time, including your work and experiences that you make visible. Your contributions over time are what build trust and deepen a sense of relatedness, and that’s what increases the chances for cooperation and collaboration.

To me the concept of working out loud comes quite naturally. I’m an over sharer, I tell everyone what i’m up to all the time. I manage an Enterprise Social Network (ESN) i’m constantly contributing to relationships across Pearson to support our business goals.

But what has spiked my interest in learning more, was the promise of deepening relationships. Sometimes I feel like I have a vast network, it stretches to every corner of the globe across diverse companies and cultures. But how deep are those relationships, what do I offer the people who follow me on Twitter, what am I giving back to the connections i’ve made on LinkedIn and am I bringing my whole self to work?
If you are new to Working Out Loud John shares a simple way of approaching it:

The practice starts with three simple questions:

  • What am I trying to accomplish?
  • Who’s related to my goal?
  • How can I contribute to people to deepen our relationship?

Picking a simple goal makes it purposeful, and orients who you choose to build relationships with and what kinds of contributions you might make. Instead of networking to get something, you lead with generosity, investing in relationships that give you access to other people, knowledge, and possibilities. Your contributions can range from recognition & appreciation to sharing learning, resources, and original work that might be helpful to others.

Last year I made a commitment to Work Out Loud. I did work out loud, I shared a lot more of my experiences, interesting content on social media that I thought others would enjoy. I started a blog about my travel experiences with my family The Godbers Travel.

But I missed the point. I didn’t ask myself those three simple questions.
Towards the end of last year I started to revisit the book and was asking myself how can I get involved? If I was to ask myself the three questions, what would my answers be? And then Simon Fogg contacted me. I’m a firm believer in fate it felt like it was meant to be and January is a good time to start new things.

What’s a working out loud circle?

One of the best ways to start is to form a Working Out Loud Circle. That’s a peer support group of 4-5 people who meet for an hour a week for 12 weeks. You can meet in person or via video. Both work well.
In your Circle, you each pick an individual goal you care about, and short, simple guides help you find people related to your goal and develop relationships with them. By the end, you’ll have developed a larger, more diverse network and a set of habits you can apply toward any goal.
The guides are free, and are available in English and German. You can connect with WOL practitioners around the world – and even find Circle members – in the private WOL Community on Facebook.

You can generate a circle on your own, you can reach out in the WOL community on Facebook to start one. You can do it with acquaintances, colleagues or complete strangers.

My WOL Circle is part of a wider group. My circle is made up of 7 of us. We meet weekly via Zoom and share between sessions using Workplace by Facebook.

I’m largely caught up on what I missed in the first week. I have a goal, i’m now working on my relationship list.

It is quite normal to adapt, refine or change your goal. It is your goal after all and you want to make sure you’re getting the most out of circle. This week i’ve changed my goal. My goal felt too big and when I gave it some serious thought, 12 weeks didn’t feel like a very long time to make significant progress.

My goal is…

To define my career achievements to date: this will mean updating my LinkedIn profile to reflect my skills, capabilities and who I am. I will also update my CV, to reflect the same.

Phew that felt quite momentous, it is out there i’ve said it out loud beyond my circle.

I’ve also ordered the book Designing Your Life – Build the Perfect Career, Step by Step written by Bill Burnett and Dave Evans. Check out the video on YouTube. I will let you know how I get on.

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This was one of the first recommendations i’ve had during my Working Out Loud circle. Looking forward to reading it.

Over the next 10 weeks I will keep you updated on my progress and welcome any feedback.

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2018 I’m Ready For You

It is amazing how time flies…well actually it really is.

The last time I posted a blog on here was a little over 6 months ago. Since then i’ve been to Barcelona, Camping with the family, numerous theme parks, days out, festivals and theatre shows, we’ve been to Ibiza, I’ve had my sons first and 4th birthday. We’ve celebrated milestones, birthdays, Halloween and bonfire night. I’ve attended progress evenings, Christmas performances and nursed poorly boys. I’ve packed, unpacked and packed again. I’ve planned holidays for 2018, Christmas came and went, we traveled to Thailand and we traveled back again.

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Looking out at this view gave me a lot of time to think, reflection is good when your life runs away with you.

 

When we pack a lot into life it isn’t really a surprise when time flies.

And this year I celebrate 10 years at Pearson. It is quite the milestone. It is a whole decade. I’ve spent more time working at Pearson than anywhere else. I’ve been in a relationship with Pearson longer than my husband. And whilst at Pearson i’ve seen no end of change. I’ve seen two CEOs, i’ve seen two office locations, three legal entities and three different pay dates. I’ve lost count of the amount of desk moves i’ve had, i’ve seen systems come and go. I’ve written, created, shared and recycled content. I’ve made friends, met new people and said goodbye to many. I’ve had two maternity leaves, more managers than I have fingers, i’ve worked in HR, Comms, HR and then Comms again. Change is a constant and 2018 will be no exception i’m sure of that.

It seems fitting that 2018 is the year I finally take time to reflect to ponder and to wonder. And i’ve decided to do that through the process of Working Out Loud. I’ve written about it before and i’ve never quite made the leap of faith and joined a circle.

At the end of last year Simon Fogg approached me and asked if i’d like to join a WOL circle and I jumped at the chance.

I’m excited and nervous about where the next 12 weeks will take me. We are already on week 2 so I have a little catching up to do. I have a good excuse I was returning from holiday with the family. But I am here putting it out there into the universe that i’m Working Out Loud, i’m excited to get to know my circle and see what comes out of the experience.

If you’re not familiar with WOL check out John Stepper’s work on his website Working Out Loud. I’ve borrowed this image from there to give you a very quick visual of what it is all about.

WOL
I’ve borrowed this image from workingoutloud.com credit to Tammay Vora.

Running out of time…

5k gazelles

In my last blog post which was…31st March I said that working out loud doesn’t come naturally to me and it was something I was going to have to work very hard at. I wasn’t kidding. When I returned from maternity leave I eased myself into working life gently. I had a lot more time for thinking and but very quickly a few curve balls brought me back to reality with a bump. I am committed and that is why i’m here writing an update from the passenger seat of the car, kids asleep in the back whilst we drive up North to see family.

driving_to_nottingham
Sometimes you have to work where you can
I have beaten myself up a bit about not keeping the blog up to date but actually I am going to give myself a break because I also made a commitment to my personal health and fitness this year and on that front i’m kicking ass.
And then I realised as I sat here writing this blog I have actually been working out loud just not quite how I envisioned it at the start of the year.
In March I signed up to join 10 of my neighbours on a couch to 5k programme run by another neighbour Phil. i’m including a link to his facebook site Gazelle Running MK. He offered the 10 week course for free. I jumped at the chance and over 10 weeks I made some new friends and got fitter.
I had to be accountable to myself and others, we shared our progress and achievements with each other through Whatsapp. We encouraged each other when we were having bad runs or we were not feeling it and we met every week to improve our speed and distance. Our hard work paid off and we ran our first Park Run together and loved every second. Spurred on by my new love of running I signed up to a 10km in September and so to support my training i’ve also signed up for the Phil’s 10km programme we start next week. We basically created our own WOL circle.
5k gazelles
We made it 27th May Couch to 5K graduation day
And as my running has improved i’ve been spurred on to try and beat my personal best times and to do this I need to also work on strength as well as diet. I started to talk to the various communities I belong to and decided to commit to The Body Coach. I’ve signed up for a 90 day plan and have now been doing his HIIT workouts every other day for 3 weeks. I can already feel the benefits and i’ve roped my husband and mum into joining me.
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No excuses even when we travel.
Between work, two kids, running a home and the fitness sessions i’m committing to there isn’t a lot of free time but right now the balance feels right and i’m happy.

I’m back…

It has been a while, there was the small matter of growing a baby and then keeping said baby happy for the last 7 months. But yesterday I found myself back in the comfortable saddle of work and it was like i’d never been away. Except I have, and instead of being responsible for one little human I am now responsible for two…

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Whilst on maternity I have had some time to reflect and think. And there has been a lot to think about in 7 short months the UK voted out of Europe, Trump voted in and our news is dominated with the horrors that are still taking place in Syria, Yeomen to name but a few. Some days the world feels like a very scary place, unsafer, more worrying. And I probably do worry a lot more now because I have these two small people to consider.

Communities and social media has played a massive part in the outcomes of some big events and over the course of 2017 we will see and hear more through our mediums of choice. At times i’ve felt incredibly overwhelmed and frustrated and as someone with a huge social  media footprint i’ve found my timelines bombarded with desperation, negativity and anger from all sides of the political spectrum. I’ve seen friends, families and work colleagues fall out as individuals wear their heart on their sleeve when it comes to their political persuasion.

At the beginning of the year I made a resolution of sorts and that was to be more thankful. I wanted to try and cancel out some of the negativity with positivity. I wanted to put it out there to the universe that I am thankful for the big things, the little things and everything in between.

So i’d like to put it out there that I am thankful for meeting some wonderful new people in 2016. One in particular inspired me to explore my creativity and turn on my sewing machine. So when the world outside is feeling all too much I explore a new community i’ve immersed myself in, as I start to get to grips with the basics of sewing and take on some new personal projects.

I am also thankful to be able to get back to a job I enjoy very much and I hope I am able to continue sharing my community experiences with you through 2017.

Kim’s Why…

A number of people have asked me why I am doing this trip…there are two reasons, one “because I can” I am very fortunate to work for a company (https://www.facebook.com/pearsonplc) that allows me to donate 4 days to volunteer so that’s been used up today and 3 days next week.

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And of course I have a very supportive husband, he’s been roped in to help with the sorting and packing and will look after our 2 year old over the 3 days i’m gone.

And two because when I saw the pictures of Aylan Kurdi in the arms of a police officer it moved me, I couldn’t get his lifeless body out of my head, I then went through the motions of getting my son ready for nursery and whilst I zipped up his jacket, I started to think about the children arriving on the continent in t-shirts and shorts, no shoes or just a pair of sandals – Europe is not a warm place to be in Winter and they have nothing…something inside me snapped and I felt like I needed to do something.

truckGillian and I set the wheels in motion to start planning our trip, we set up our https://www.gofundme.com/qa3f3vv4 page (there is still time to donate) and the obligatory facebook page(https://www.facebook.com/wordsandwarmthreliefrun). My mind shifted to my wedding and pending honeymoon but the challenges these people faced remained at the forefront of my mind, except now it was getting even colder and the numbers seemed to be getting more and more, whilst support and guidance from the various European governments was weaning.

If you want to understand why this has become something I had to do then please watch this short video from Save the Children.

This video is a stark reminder, it could be anyone of us in this situation. And the people who are fleeing Syria and other war torn countries in their thousands, millions with their children, their elderly parents/grandparents are fleeing something so terrifying – jumping on a boat in the dead of night and believing God will see them to safety is their only option for a future, yet that isn’t where the struggle ends. They’re now persecuted along the path they take through Europe, treated like animals and if they’re lucky they get to pay to be in what is essentially a prison under the guise of a refugee camp.

What Gillian Seely, Joe and I are doing is something so very very small and insignificant in the grand scheme of things but we hope it will help a few hundred people and give them some warmth, some hope and some strength to go on the journey.

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Some wonderful ladies have helped us immensely by co-ordinating collections, sorting and packing of donations. Mirus-IT have donated their van and so many of you donated through my sons nursery and directly at our house today – for this we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

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To those of you who have donated cash through https://www.gofundme.com/qa3f3vv4 please be assured your money will go directly to those that need it most along our journey. We have the means to find out the hot spots that need aid and will use the network of volunteers and support to guide us to make an informed decision on where to go. Please follow our page to keep up to date with our journey and please share our page.

SociusCommunity

Socius means companion, you can’t have a community without other people so it makes sense to put these two words together to describe what it is I do. Since I was a child i’ve built communities, I ran sports days for my neighbours kids when I was 10 on my front garden. I was involved in everything and anything that involved people throughout school and university.

Building communities makes me happy and I believe communities make a difference. My life revolves around multiple communities in person, online, at work, in my personal life all across the globe. For some time i’ve wanted to write about communities and i’ve finally taken the first step. I’ve set this blog up so I can share my ideas, passion and experience, I hope I can inspire others to create communities too.

I’m a working mummy, I work at Pearson as Global Community Director and i’m mummy to a 20month old little boy, William.

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Mummy and Bilbo using our Connecta solarweave.

Find out more about me:

LinkedIn: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/kimengland

Twitter: https://twitter.com/miss_england_19

Instagram: https://instagram.com/kimberlykat81/