I shared the following message with our Working Out Loud group this week:

Tomorrow is our last meeting.
Tomorrow we continue the learning.
Tomorrow we discuss our accomplishments, what we have learned, and how we have incorporated WOL into our lives.
Tomorrow we share our challenges. What did not work, what did not go as planned, what else we wish we had time for.
Tomorrow we make plans for the future.

When our group first met 12 weeks ago, we were colleagues. Though we all knew each other, most of us were not close friends. But, as soon as Working Out Loud began (only about halfway through our first meeting!), we all became tightly connected to one another. We shared challenges, we were vulnerable with one another, and we all became deeply invested in one another’s success.

When our group first met 12 weeks ago, not everyone was even sure what Working Out Loud was all about. But, people trusted the process, and made a commitment to learning and participating.

  • “While I had NO idea what the heck this was about, I took a leap of faith to experiment and explore and I am glad I did! It opened a whole new way in bringing intentional thought to personal goals and did so with the help, encouragement and trusting conversations from our WOL Circle.”
  • “I too took a leap of faith and pushed myself out of my comfort zone and feel blessed and honored to have connected with such outstanding colleagues who are now friends. Each of us is growing and connecting our sacred work and our lives in new ways…both within and with each other.”
  • “WOL is now a sacred part of my week! I’m grateful to have this opportunity to connect with colleagues across the organization in such a unique way and working towards my personal goal has brought focus to other areas of my work (and life).”

We had goals in mind, but we did not have a clear idea about how those goals might be achieved. We worked together. We followed the excellent circle guides created by John Stepper, and we all made meaningful progress. We supported one another, challenged one another, and celebrated with one another.

This is not to say Working Out Loud is not without its challenges. Time must be found outside of meetings to pursue goals, and grow relationship lists. We read books and we read blog posts. TedTalks were watched. We researched, we wrote emails, we sent tweets and we made posts. We committed to our goal, and we found ways to pursue that goal every week for 12 weeks.

But every person in the group found some level of success. Everyone made new connections, learned valuable new skills and developed habits that will serve them well as their learning and networking continues. Some group members are even talking about doing Working Out Loud again, as they feel they want to experience the process again.

Sadly, not everyone in our group could join our last conversation, as holidays and vacations conflicted with our meeting. So, we agreed that our meeting today was Part 1, and we will have Part 2 of the meeting once everyone has returned to work. While it would have been nice to have everyone on the call, I think it will be nice to be able to reflect with everyone after a couple of weeks have gone by. Will we still be using our newfound skills? Will we still be making connections? Will we still be Working Out Lod?

When we first met 12 weeks ago, we did not know what Working Out Loud was. Today, the six of us are connected by an incredibly positive shared experience. We have learned new skills, and we have made positive changes to our work lives and personal lives.

12 weeks seems like so long ago.

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