This week is a real milestone, it marks the half way point in my working out loud circle experience. The weeks have flown by and it is amazing how many moments of synchronicity have happened during the last few weeks.
Here are my reflections:
It is amazing how quickly you can build deep relationships with your fellow circle
We only have 1hrs of face to face virtual contact a week but the commitment from the group to support and help each other is enough to leave me feeling incredibly supported. This is particularly important when you’re taking risks, or moving out of your comfort zone to achieve your goals. Thank you Circle A for being so awesome.
I’ve found some of the tasks harder than I would have thought
It is no secret that I’m an over sharer, I’m quite comfortable living my life out through social media and sharing a lot of myself. However I found the week 5 exercise ’50 facts about you’ quite difficult. There are lots of things I could share about myself but how much do I share? how deep I delve into myself to let others know and understand me? Within my circle I’ve shared my 50 facts about me, I’m not sure it is content for the big wide world. And that is OK, I don’t have to share everything publicly but it has surprised me how the exercise has played out.
How much of your WOL journey should be public and private?
I’ve wresteled with this a lot over the last couple of weeks. By definition working out loud means you are sharing, you’re being open. But how much of your experience is helpful within the privacy of the circle and how much do I share on my blog and through social media. My solution is a hybrid. I’m sharing reflections (here on this blog) I’m sharing breakthroughs as they happen on twitter, in my WOL community on Workplace by Facbook and in the WOL facebook community. So far it seems to be working.
Everyone is reading Design Your Life
It is funny how a book seems to be on everyone’s reading list. My circle introduced me to the book, I ordered it and read a few pages. I can see how it might help with my goal so I am working through it slowly. Kathryn Everest is on my list and when I caught up with her I mentioned the book, she is also reading it, as is another friend of ours. We’ve now formed a book club. I’ve since told some colleagues about the book and they are also planning on reading it. The jury is out on whether it will help me but I’ve found the Workview and Lifeview reflections very helpful.
I’m very excited about introducing WOL Circles into my workplace
I knew I needed to experience a WOL circle before I could even consider introducing the concept to Pearson. But I’m already seeing how WOL would work and provide us with a huge opportunity. I met with John Stepper (swoon) this week and we discussed how he’s been working with other organisations. I think the most exciting thing about this is that John’s approach allows practioners or advocates for WOL to experiment, there is no pressure, the resources are freely available so you can proof test and gather evidence of the impact it can have before engaging more deeply. Over the coming weeks I plan to seek out folks who’ve introduced WOL in their workplace and think about how I will run a pilot and with who.
My WOL journey continues, here is to the next 6 weeks…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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’ve been following John Stepper’s journey for many years, we met in person at a Melcrum conference where we both had to do a terrifying quick fire presentation. He’s as amazing in person as he is virtually. And you can find out more about his work here Working Out Loud
On my return from maternity one of my colleagues shared that she’s starting to work out loud through the Community Roundtable and on a weekly basis she is sending me her list and in our one to ones we have started to discuss the book a few chapters at a time.
I am a big fan – in fact one of the areas we’ve been looking at within our Jive community is how can we encourage working out loud amongst colleagues. Over the years iterations of the Jive platform and changes to UI has pushed the ability to work out loud deeper into the weeds. At Pearson we used to ask the question “what are you working on?” front and centre of our homepage.
Alas we no longer have this capability and I think our community is suffering because of it. I no longer hear the anecdotal stories describing the serendipity moment that we had in the early days. I miss it.
What is the answer? Do we bring the status update back to our homepage? I’m not convinced this is the right way to go…our community is more mature some of our users are now more sophisticated than that. Which brings me back to Working Out Loud. John recommends creating WOL circles and we’ve talked about creating a dedicated space in our community for working out loud.
The challenge is bringing 36,000 people with you. It is a change in behaviour and change in the way people work and we all know change, engagement and communication can be really really hard.
Never one to step away because something is hard, we’re going to start small we’re going to model the behaviour ourselves and we’ll bring people along with us.
Of course this also means a massive shift for me because I’ve discovered working out loud isn’t coming naturally to me. But I am committed and I want to change my behaviour because I am a massive believer in setting out your intentions.
So here I am committing to working out loud and sharing my experience with you.