Feb 162018

We’re calling this week 3.5, as a couple of the participants are interstate and were unable to join us this morning.

After puzzling over who to add to their Relationship List, one of the Circle members commented that they might need to revisit their personal goal and maybe change it. This is quite a common reaction after the first few weeks. The first time I tried WOLling, I changed my goal four times! And that’s OK – every time you think about your goal, you are learning something about yourself and about the WOL process. You’ll get better and (dare I say) smarter as you practise setting and refining goals.

Once you have an idea for a goal, the Circle Guides suggest asking yourself four questions:
• Do you care about it?
• Can you benefit from the experience of others?
• Can you frame it as a learning goal?
• Can you make progress towards it in 12 weeks?

So, for example, you might want to get a promotion. That’s not something you can realistically promise to achieve in three months – but it is something that you can work towards. Your WOL goal might be “I want to meet others who work in a higher-level role and ask them questions about how they got there.”

Here are some examples of goals from the WOL Circle guides:

1. I want to learn more about something I care about
2. I would like to explore possibilities in a new area
3. I want to meet people with similar interests
4. I want to get better at what I do for a living
5. I would like to find a new role
6. I would like to get more recognition in my current job

Do any of these goals sound like something you’d like to try? Grab a couple of friends or colleagues, make a regular appointment to meet, and form your own Working Out Loud Circle. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you can achieve in just three months.

Feb 122018
Photo of breakfast and coffee on table at Southside Cafe in Geelong

Second meeting with my career transition guide (who I’ll call Shepherd from now on). Gorgeous sunny day, groovy cafe and strong coffee.

Neither Shepherd nor I know why we were assigned to each other; only that Shepherd’s colleague (who does the assigning) thought we would be a good match.

These sessions are supposed to be about me finding a new career path, figuring out what I want to do next and starting the process of making it happen. I’m making a conscious effort to talk about myself, to dismantle the barriers that normally keep me from over-sharing or behaving like a raving ego-monster.

Looking through my notes from this morning’s conversation, I find two to-do items where I promised to send Shepherd information about topics that are of interest to her (and me). I completely failed to write down any to-do items that are mainly about me – but we did talk about a couple of tasks I can tackle before our next meeting. I just didn’t write them down; I was too focused on being helpful to somebody else.

As a general rule I try not to behave in a self-centred manner when with company; I look for ways to make a contribution, to be helpful (or at the very least to be amusing).

Here’s the problem: this self-discipline can get in the way of growth and change. In early adulthood I didn’t like myself much; I was vain, I over-estimated my talents and skills, I was desperate to be liked (loved), to fit in. It took a lot of work in my 30s and 40s to move away from that mindset, and in my current situation perhaps I need to take a couple of steps backward.

My employer has paid for me to be well-supported as I explore options and reinvent my professional direction. To take advantage of that opportunity I need to give myself permission to be self-centred, at least for the next few months. I need to be generous to myself, in the same way I try to be generous to others.

Working Out Loud Circle week 2 diary

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Feb 022018

A quick update on progress from the Friday morning Working Out Loud Circle that started meeting recently. Technically, today was our Week 3 meeting but a couple of new members (who were unable to attend the first meeting) have joined the fun so we have adjusted our calendar and are today starting the Week 3 activities in earnest.

At today’s meeting we shared and briefly discussed our individual goals, and then we got down to the real business of the morning – reviewing our relationship lists and swapping ideas about which individuals and organisations we might add to the list.

At first glance it might seem like each of our goals were quite separate and different — it was mildly thrilling to realise as we talked that Person A had connections in their local community that might help with Person B’s goal. This sort of thing happened several times during our hour together.

During this week, we will each refine our relationship lists and start making contact with one or two people on the list. The free Circle Guides on the Working Out Loud website have more background info and exercises to try for yourself.

Working Out Loud week 1 diary

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Jan 192018

About 10 days ago I put out a message via Yammer, inviting anybody interested to come and join a new Working Out Loud Circle. I need to do some thinking and planning about some forthcoming changes in my work and home life, and a WOL Circle is a great place to do that sort of thing.

This morning the new Circle met for the first time, 10am over coffee at a nearby groovy cafe.

Loosely following the Week 1 WOL Circle guide, we talked about why we’re committing ourselves to 12 weeks of self-directed professional development and what our specific goals might be. Each of us already has a mental list of the kinds of people and organisations that can help us to achieve our goals. In the next couple of days I will write down my list, my specific goal and my ‘big picture’ purpose, so that I can track progress as we go.

While we were together at the cafe, we also threw around some ideas and stories that related to each other’s hopes and dreams: gently questioning goals and motives, figuring out how we might be able to support each other over the next three months.

There won’t be a face-to-face meeting next week (public holiday on Friday) but the Week 2 Circle Guide gives us a bit of homework and a couple of easy next steps: adding to our relationship lists, and making a contribution to somebody on the list.