WOL Circle Guides now in Dutch

As I began to write this post about the Dutch translation project, I looked again at the letter that Marc Van De Velde wrote telling me the work was complete. After reading it several times, I realized there were no better words than his, and so I include his note in full below. His last paragraph on his motivation for doing it is especially powerful.

My only addition is to add my personal thanks to Marc, Annemie, Geert, Frederik, Natasja, Saskia, and Jeroen for their translation, and to Peter for his review of it. It is a tremendous effort, inspired solely by their desire to help others.

Annemie told me, “I am proud to have participated in this project. Grateful and happy to have met beautiful people who I trust deeply.” What a truly wonderful collaboration. I hope to thank them all in person some day.

***

“Amazed by the first steps I set myself in relation to Working Out Loud, I saw the richness that the Working Out Loud method has to offer to other individuals, teams, and companies. I also became convinced that it would be beneficial for many Dutch-speaking people to have the circle guides in their own native language. 
Triggered by the initiatives from Fiona Michaux and Tiago Caldas who translated the guides into French and Portugese, I contacted you in the beginning of this year to see whether you would agree that I would launch such an initiative. 
Grateful to have received your formal agreement I’ve launched a request for help on the WOL-facebook page and other networks I was involved in. I was proud that a group of six people responded enthusiastic and committed to help me out on this project. With the help from Fiona Michaux I was introduced to the way she and her team approached this translation into French so that our NL-team could have a head-start in our own translation project. 
On March 20th of this year I held the formal kick-off for our WOL-NL-Translation-project together with Annemie Martens, Geert Nijs, Frederik Maesen, Natasja van Schaik, Saskia Wenniger and Jeroen Brands. As a team we discussed on how to approach this project and divided work amongst each other. As in any project, also this project was not spared the difficulties and problems that we had to solve as a team. Every member did what she/he could in order to complete this project and to deliver a great result to you. 
Before delivering our work to you, the Dutch circle guides have been reviewed by Peter De Troch and are currently tested within the company Annemie is working for. 
I’m proud that we made it work as I am with the result achieved. I feel humble as I’m allowed by the team to deliver our great result to you and hope that you also like what we’ve done and that you will make the Dutch version of the circle guides available on the Working Out Loud website. As you will notice we’ve also tried to respect the original layout as much as possible although we’re aware that it might still need some corrections in order to be delivered in a final version. 
As to the question “Why we’ve done this?” I think I speak for the all team in saying that we have done this project out of generosity towards the growing WOL community while at the same time being convinced that this will help others in experiencing the fun and effect of Working Out Loud. Working as a team felt as in participating in a WOL-circle in which we all experienced how great it is to work with peers who are their to help and support the other when facing a problem, issue or difficulty. In being part of this each one has built on the intimacy level with other team members so we became more closely related with each other. As a result of this we’re now even explore on how we can do more things together.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to initiate this project.
Marc"

***

Annemie Martens

Frederik Maesen

Geert Nijs (Author of "De netwerkexpeditie. Slimmer samenwerken met sociale technologie" available November 2018)

Jeroen Brands

Marc Van de Velde

Natasja van Schaik

Peter De Troch

Saskia Wenniger

Thank you very much in Dutch.png

 

 

Introducing a new kind of Circle: WOL-SC

For people who have participated in a WOL Circle, a common question is, ”What comes next?” Many people want to keep going, so some join another Circle with new members. Others just continue to meet every so often, updating and supporting each other. 

Now there’s another option. It’s a new way to deepen the insights and practice you began developing in your WOL Circle, and it’s called WOL-SC.

 

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What is WOL-SC?

The “SC” in “WOL-SC” can stand for many things: “Self-Care,” “Self-Compassion,” “SuperCharge,” or whatever other label you can come up with that expresses a sense of investing in yourself and and developing important skills. In many ways, a WOL-SC Circle can be thought of as a prequel to a WOL Circle. Whereas Working Out Loud improves how you relate to others, WOL-SC helps you improve how you relate to yourself.

WOL-SC is comprised of five discrete practices that you experiment with one after the other. Without exaggeration, these practices have changed my life. When I compare my current self to myself in years past, I am happier and calmer. I act with more confidence and clarity. I am a better father, husband, and friend. WOL-SC is an attempt to distill what I’ve learned from years of experiments aimed at improving my own work and life. It is not meant as a prescription that will work for everyone, or to presume that anyone should do what I do. Rather, it's offered in the spirit of “this helped me, and I hope you find it useful too.”

The main ideas are not new. The WOL-SC Circle Guides are all based on ancient wisdom, much of it thousands of years old and increasingly supported by scientific research. My intended contribution is to make it easier for anyone to apply these fundamentally good practices till they become habits, so more people can realize the many well-documented benefits.

How does it compare to a WOL Circle?

If you have already been in a WOL Circle, then certain aspects of WOL-SC will be familiar to you. You will meet as a group of four or five. It will be a psychologically safe, confidential space without judgment or competition. Your Circle can meet in person or via video across locations, and there will be guides with instructions on what to do in those meetings.

Beyond that, there are several important differences. You will meet only once a month for six months. You will do daily exercises on your own each month, and your meetings will be for you to share what happened and to prepare for a different practice the next month.

Also, unlike a WOL Circle, there is no goal or relationship list. The practices are largely focused on yourself. The only goals are to develop greater self-awareness and mindfulness. These are the keys to realizing more of your potential as well as a greater sense of fulfillment and happiness. The reason for the Circle meetings is that the structure, shared accountability, and support can help each person make progress. Also, reflecting on and exchanging experiences each month can advance your learning. 

Better for you. Better for your organization.

The personal benefits of the five practices in WOL-SC have been thoroughly studied and documented, and the new Circle Guides include resources to help you explore further and learn more. But there are benefits for organizations, too. Companies clearly recognize the need to do more to help employees handle the strains of work and life. Every company I've met with, for example, has a Wellness at Work or Mindfulness program. And hundreds of companies are spreading Working Out Loud Circles, proving that they are willing to create a safe, confidential space for employees to develop themselves.

What if we could build on that, and use Circles to enhance employees' focus, self-control, and stress management while helping them be kinder and happier? How many people would benefit if all those wellness programs had a new method that was easy to implement and spread? 

If you would like to be the first to try it…

I’ve been toying with this idea for a few years. While staying in Japan this summer, I finally drafted a set of guides that are ready to test, but not yet ready to publish. For the first experiment, I’d like to form 3 Circles, comprised of people I don’t know well and all of whom have been in at least one WOL Circle. We will start in September.

  • Circle #1 would meet in person in New York City, and I would be a member. So I would need four volunteers who live in or near NYC.
  • Circle #2 would meet via video and would span timezones. I would be a member of this Circle too, so I would need four volunteers from different countries.
  • Circle #3 would not include me. This will help me understand if the new guides are self-explanatory and what changes I may need to make. For this Circle, I would need five volunteers who would meet via video (unless five people in the same location volunteer as a group).

If you would like to volunteer for the WOL-SC experiment, send me an email at john.stepper@workingoutloud.com and let me know if you have a preference for which Circle you’d like to join. This is version 1.0 of something that may take many iterations to get right, but I am committed to working on it and to making the guides available for free. I appreciate your interest and support.

WOL Circle Guides now in Spanish

When Barbara Wietasch first told me she wanted to translate the Circle Guides into Spanish, I was confused. We had corresponded a few months earlier, and I remembered she was German, living in Vienna. She even blogs in German

She explained, “I lived 14 years in Madrid studying and living and working within the Spanish culture. So my emotional part is always there.” My next question was, "Why would you volunteer to take on such an extraordinary project?"

“I believe in agile work and want to make the world and organizations a better place to live, and I’m sure that WOL is an important method….a clear structure, a method, and a mindset of “who gives – wins.” I’m a fan of WOL and feel like an ambassador, having the need to spread and share it.”

She reached out to Spanish-speaking friends in Madrid, Vienna, and Munich and came into contact with new people who wanted to contribute. Gabriela participated because she “firmly believes in collaborative work and work methodologies such as WOL." Ana volunteered because of her own experience in a Circle. 

“I think WOL is really good. The change of mindset and how it worked for me in the first two weeks made it already worth it. My network is already larger than it had been before and my working area is known better only by doing WOL.”

Julia is someone I have written about before. She contributed so more people could experience the benefits.

“I am a great fan/follower of WOL and I have not thought twice when I saw they were looking for people to translate it into Spanish. I think there are many people who feel more comfortable reading in their native language and I wanted to support facilitating the dissemination of WOL in Spanish speaking countries.”

Daniella, who worked on the Portuguese translation and who used her Circles to do amazing things, said, 

“When I heard Barbara was putting together a team for translating the guides to Spanish, I did not hesitate in activating my network and bringing together some amazing women. Again, another wonderful team was formed that contributed to spread Working Out Loud! It was a great experience.”

In total, a dozen people self-organized around an idea they care about, and created something that can help hundreds or even thousands. I’m grateful to all of them for these new Circle Guides, and hope to thank each of them in person someday. 

Team Members:

Barbara Wietasch - Coordination & translation

Juan Salgado Bito – Proof reading

Daniella Cunha Teichert – Layout

Translators:

Rosa Reyero

Rosa Maria García Torres

Julia Flug

Julia Bustamante

Dolores Santiago

Jose Manuel Benedetti

Perla Saucedo

Gabriela Melicchio

Ana Belén Salcines

Muchas gracias.png

WOL Circle Guides now in Mandarin

I’m writing this overlooking Changfeng Park in Shanghai, and it all seems like a bit of a miracle to me. 

I first wrote about Working Out Loud in China in September of last year, after Connie Wu had me join her WOL Circle via WeChat. Little did I know that I would travel to Beijing and Shanghai, work with companies and a business school there, and see the Circle Guides in Mandarin

Now you know why I’ve begun calling her “The unstoppable Connie Wu.”

After her experience in a Circle, Connie wanted to help others have that same experience, that same feeling of confidence and connection. So she organized a team of 20 volunteers to translate the guides, and now they’re ready

Every one of these people has a busy work or school schedule (or both), and yet, motivated simply by the desire to help others, they generously worked to make the material accessible to more people in China.

I met Connie in person for the first time this week, and met her daughter and other members of the translation team. They’re smart, kind, determined people. I can imagine many more miracles in the future.

Chen Chanyu (Aimee)

Chen Jing (Lynn)

Chen Qin

Chen Yanyan (Dora)

Fan Yingying 

Fu Haoxuan

Liu Yi

Meng Na (Mona)

Pan Jiaqi (Olivia)

Shen Jie (Jane)

Shi Jing (Ivy) 

Wang Hui (Emma)

Wu Chuanjuan (Connie)

Xia Yunxin

Yang Mengyun (Daisy) 

Zhang Lingli (Angela)

Zhou Diya (Delia)

Zhou Jing

Thank you in Mandarin - Xie Xie.png

“The bird which doesn’t hide itself gets shot” 

Next week, I’ll deliver a talk and workshop in Beijing, and it will be my first time there. A month later, I’ll go to Shanghai for a different company, and be part of a public Working Out Loud event on June 23rd. A woman who grew up in China commented about it on LinkedIn.

“I am curious how the WOL culture goes with Chinese culture. I was told to be “modest” when I was a kid - don’t show it even if you are good... And we have sayings like “the bird which doesn’t hide itself gets shot”.

That saying stuck in my memory. There are other translations, and there are similar expressions in other countries. Sometimes it’s "the shot hits the bird that pokes its head out” (枪打出头鸟) or “the nail that sticks out gets hammered down” (出る釘は打たれる). Common interpretations are that conformity is valued over individuality, and that being open is somehow inappropriate or risky. ”Standing out invites criticism."

My first reaction to her comment was that it's your intention that matters. Indeed, it makes all the difference.

“Expressions like those are why WOL emphasizes the need to lead with generosity, to frame your work as a contribution that might help others.”

The “WOL culture” isn’t about trying to stand out or show how remarkable you are, but about being helpful, about leading with generosity as a way to build authentic relationships. If it feels fake or isn’t offered as a contribution, it isn’t WOL.  A post on Twitter yesterday highlighted this different:

“I expected #WOL to be all self promotion: look at me, how to get attention for what you are working on. [Instead] the focus was on was being empathetic, encouraging and helping others. Complete polar opposite.”

In China, WOL may not be as foreign as one might think. For example, they already embrace the concept of guanxi (关系),  "a central idea in Chinese society” that's related to “personalized social networks of influence…[in which] there is an emphasis on implicit mutual obligations, reciprocity, and trust.” Working Out Loud can be a way to extend this idea, making the networks even more open, and the relationships based more on empathy and giving freely than on obligation. As another Chinese expression says, "If you always give, you will always have.” (如果你总是给你永远拥有)

Are there differences between cultures? Yes. Is China different than Europe or the US? Yes. But “culture” comprises a wide range of human behaviors across huge numbers of people, and 1.3 billion people don’t fit comfortably into a single box. We have much more in common than the labels and expressions might lead us to believe, including our capacity for generosity and our need to build meaningful connections.

I’m looking forward to my visit.

WOL Circle Guides now in Portuguese

I’m not sure which is more amazing to me, that the Circle Guides are now in Portuguese or how those translations were done. 

A few months ago, I wrote about Tiago Caldas in Sao Paolo who wanted to translate the guides and spread Circles in his company and country. He made his intention visible online, and Portuguese-speaking people from around the world decided to join him, like Gleyce in Munich. 

“Why I have contributed to this project? When I first saw Tiago's post in the WOL community in LinkedIn asking for support to translate the guides into Portuguese, I immediately thought: how nice is that!?
Since WOL is based on generosity, I saw his post as an opportunity to keep the generosity ball rolling! As a bonus I got the opportunity to expand my network with others WOLies in Brazil and Germany that I hope to meet in person soon.”

The group grew to 11 people from multiple countries, and from companies including ZF, Bosch, Daimler, Airbus, and Schaeffler. They’re all busy professionals, yet something drove them to volunteer and take on this extra work. Daniella from Bosch wrote to me explaining why she did it.

“3 things have moved me to join the translation group:
1.       I wanted to contribute to spreading the WOL method to a wider audience, specially Brazil which is in dear need of a positive cultural transformation movement.
2.       I wanted to help the Portuguese-speaking community to better engage their emotions, having the guides in their mother-language when they are going through their WOL journey.
3.       I wanted to experience cross-company collaboration and to get to know amazing, engaged people from other companies to reach something together.
I would like to thank Tiago for the organization of the group and all the participants for the TOP engagement! It was fun, let us continue our cooperation! On an individual level our resources maybe limited, but together we can move mountains!!”

Though these people are working in very different environments, they share two things in common: their love for Brazil and their generosity. Danilo told me, "I fully agree with Tiago when he says that it will be very useful for Brazilians, assisting us to have one organized tool for development. Let's make it happen.”

When Tiago sent me the guides, he said, “I feel very good working for something that will help a lot of people to develop themselves and connect to a new world of possibilities. WOL captured in us this sense of how we feel good in being generous.”

Generous indeed! I am extremely grateful to this wonderful group of people for their tremendous contribution. I hope these guides help spark a WOL movement in Brazil and beyond, and that I get to thank each of the translators in person someday.

Ademir de Souza

Caroline Bremberger

Daniella Cunha Teichert

Danilo Diniz Cintra

Fabrício de Almeida Mozer

Gleyce Kastl Lima

Isabel Duarte

João Senise

Patricia Coelho dos Santos Nascimento

Sergio Scabar

Tiago Caldas

A cross-company WOL event in Shanghai on June 28, 2018

It all started with a phone call from Connie Wu. After her experience in the first WOL Circle in China, she wanted to spread Working Out Loud to more companies there. So she reached out to the dean of the business school she had attended, connected the three of us on WeChat, and together we came up with an idea.

Though we’re still in the planning stages, we're committed to the project. By sharing what we intend to do we hope to include more people and make the plans even better.

The main idea

Originally, I thought a simple event for multiple companies would be a good way to introduce WOL and launch WOL Circles. For global companies already spreading WOL, the event would give them a way to expand the movement in China. For others, it would give them an easy way to experiment with it.

It was Prof. William Hua Wang, the dean of the EM Lyon business school in Shanghai, who suggested we turn it into a kind of case study. We would still aim to launch Circles, but the business school would collect data before, during, and afterwards to measure effectiveness. I would also offer coaching webinars at several points throughout the 12 weeks.

Some details

This isn’t a marketing event, it's a learning event. We want to discover how and why WOL could help individuals and organizations in China. Over the course of a full, interactive day, there will be talks and workshops from a range of practitioners to help people understand and experience WOL, and to decide if they’d like to participate in a Circle and in the case study.

The date is Thursday, June 28th. We expect several large companies to join, and perhaps 100 or so attendees. In anticipation of the event, we’ll translate the guides into Mandarin and adapt them so they refer to more relevant tools and examples.

The case study data should help us understand whether cultural differences affect the adoption of the practice, and how we might handle those differences. For example, in Chinese culture there’s the concept of guanxi (关系) - social networks built on “implicit mutual obligations, reciprocity, and trust.” Would Working Out Loud complement or conflict with this idea? Besides translating guides into Mandarin, what other adjustments would we need to make?

If you or your colleagues are near Shanghai on June 28th…

I’m fascinated by the prospects for WOL in China. After all, more and more companies have employees, customers, partners, and suppliers there. And even if only 1% of the people in China Work Out Loud, that’s more than 13 million people. Learning how to better collaborate in and with China - how to develop a deeper sense of relatedness - is both interesting and valuable. 

If you or your organization is interested in attending the event, or would like to be part of the planning, please contact me at john.stepper@workingoutloud.com. I hope to see you there.

謝謝 (Thank you.)

 

Working Out Loud: How will it scale?

“Are you ready for this?” she asked us. We were talking with two people from HR who were planning to accelerate the spread of Working Out Loud. They had been involved in an important culture change program for their company, and saw WOL as a way to help employees experience the new way of working while developing key skills.

The question of “How will it scale?” will be asked more often as WOL appears on corporate press releases and becomes a standard development method in more organizations.

Here are four ways to answer that question. If you want more information or have feedback about any of these, please leave a comment on this post or send me email

Internal network of WOL Mentors

WOL Circles are often introduced into a company by a single person. Over time, as Circles spread, people emerge who want to do more, and a “co-creation team” of six to twelve people forms. They help organize events, create materials, and offer lightweight support for Circles who have questions or challenges. 

To scale this across locations and divisions, it helps to augment that co-creation team with a network of employees who receive extra training on how to support and spread WOL Circles. This is a familiar “train the trainer” approach, and fits neatly into existing programs that may already have ambassadors or champions or advocates of some kind. WOL is simply another skill they develop.

First group of certified WOL Mentors at Daimler & Bosch

First group of certified WOL Mentors at Daimler & Bosch

Licensed WOL Partners

Over the past year, I’ve traveled to many companies to help them launch Circles with an event and workshop. To see people embrace WOL and then take steps to put it into practice is one of the most fulfilling things I do. But relying on one person to do this makes me a bottleneck. Besides, what if they want the event in another language, or in a place I can’t travel to? 

I am happy to announce the first two licensed partners: Sabine Kluge of Kluge Consulting in Berlin, and Mara Tolja of Workwell Consulting in Auckland. They’re long-time WOL practitioners, and I’ve worked side-by-side on WOL programs with both of them. (Mara formed the first WOL Circle in London. Sabine and I delivered a training program together for WOL Mentors just last week.) Sabine and Mara are trusted friends as well as highly-skilled, creative individuals. I’ve learned a lot from them and enjoy working with them - a wonderful combination. 

Sabine Kluge & Mara Tolja

Sabine Kluge & Mara Tolja

Products that make it easier to practice independently

Another way to scale the WOL movement is to keep making it easier to form a WOL Circle and have a good and useful experience. There’s a pipeline of products under development that should help, including a video coaching series, a Circle Journal, Circle Guides in more languages, and a 2nd edition of the book.

WOL adaptations

The first three ways to scale are focused on making it easier to spread and support WOL Circles. But there are some employees for whom Circles might not be an appropriate development environment. That could include executives who find the idea of a Circle to be threatening instead of a safe and confidential space, or who simply can’t make the time for it. It might include employees who work in an environment that doesn’t lend itself to the current WOL Circle format (e.g., a factory, a hospital).

To reach those people and enable them to experience (at least some of) the benefits of WOL will require an adaptation of the method. WOL for Leaders, for example, is a new program that’s now in three companies. WOL for Manufacturing is something I’m looking to pilot later this year. 

To be continued…

The aspiration of the WOL movement, our collective mission, is to improve how people relate to themselves, to each other, and to the work they do. So far, we’ve reached thousands of people in almost 50 countries, and that’s amazing. It inspires me to wonder how we can reach a few million people and still keep the practice consistent and coherent. We have a long way to go, and these four ways to scale are steps in that direction.

Working Out Loud in Brazil

I haven’t met Tiago Caldas yet. We haven’t even spoken on the phone. But after I gave a talk at his company in Germany last September, I noticed him join the WOL community from Brazil, form a WOL Circle, connect with people around the world, and actively promote WOL. Most recently (and incredibly), he organized a group to translate the Circle Guides into Portuguese.

I asked him via email why a manager in a global engineering company would do all of this, and he sent me a short blog post I said I would share with you. In short, WOL helped him and he thought it would help others, so he’s taking action to make that possible. 

I’ll speak to him for the first time in two weeks about ways to spread WOL in Brazil. I can’t wait to thank him.

Tiago Caldas with some of his WOL Circle members in Brazil

Tiago Caldas with some of his WOL Circle members in Brazil

 

Working Out Loud: a kind of dynamite for Brazilians’ improvement!

Everybody knows that we Brazilians are so open and we love relationships. We like to be connected with colleagues, friends, and family and there are no barriers for that. Five minutes are enough to invite someone for a barbecue, party, or to drink something together.

Therefore, sharing is in our blood! We are a mix of every kind of culture: Germans, Italians, Japanese, Americans, Indians, etc. This is also something that help us to be so flexible in dealing with so different characteristics and personalities.

So, why does Working Out Loud matter for Brazilians? 

I used dynamite in the title because in my opinion the advantage we Brazilians have in establishing relationships connected with an organized way to do that is extremely powerful. We can show our work and improve our networks at the same time.

The elements of Working Out Loud are real for us:

  • Relationships: We truly enjoy being together.
  • Generosity: Facing so many crises and difficulties, we learned to open our hearts and help each other.
  • Visible work: We like to talk and share! But we need to improve how we do it, and the 12 steps are a powerful tool.
  • Purposeful discovery: The heart moves us. We need motivation to discover what really touches us.
  • Growth mindset: We love life, and exploring more and more is our passion.

The topics above are what is moving me and I strongly believe that this concept is a powerful tool for Brazilians and other Latin Americans to develop themselves and use their natural abilities to make a difference in the digital world. This is why we are investing our time to translate the WOL Circle Guides into Portuguese, and a community of enthusiastic people will be involved in this challenge. (And I pray that as fast as possible we can have the book also translated to Portuguese!)

Highlights (and lowlights) from 2017

I’ll head home tomorrow from Germany. This was my 8th trip. (Or was it my 9th?) It’s a good time to reflect on what has gone well this year, and what I can learn from the setbacks.

The best moments

The most remarkable moments are when I hear other people talk about Working Out Loud. Sometimes they’re telling an audience about the benefits they’ve seen for themselves and colleagues. Sometimes they’re sharing a personal story with me, of how a simple practice seemed to unlock something inside them.

There were more of these moments as the year went by. Just last week there was the first public WOL conference, organized by eight companies in Germany, were 100+ people from 48 companies convened to spread the practice. At a dinner the night before, the energy was so positive that people described it as “a reunion” and “like coming home.” 

Two days earlier there was a WOLCON at Bosch, where individuals from all levels - including the board - came together to experience and spread WOL. People described their personal stories in a way that was emotional and touching. Seeing executive enthusiasm for what started as a grassroots movement made me even more confident that we can reach many more people.

One highlight I watched unfold remotely via social media. It was when eight companies - the WOL Community of Practice - attended an HR Excellence awards ceremony in Berlin. They had applied as a group. There were screams and hugs when they won. It was the first time such an award was given to a group like this.

These are just the recent highlights. The WOL movement is growing, with more people starting grassroots movements in their companies, and more of those companies embracing those movements and helping them grow faster.

The failures

My wife has been telling me, “You should share your challenges more,” and she’s right (as usual). Here’s an incomplete list:

  • Some talks don’t lead to much change at all
  • My first attempts at a video series were (paraphrasing a friend) “awful.” 
  • My second and third attempts were only marginally better.
  • I’m more than a year late on writing the 2nd edition. 
  • I don’t ask for help when I should.
  • When I did ask for help it sometimes went horribly wrong.
  • I’m constantly aware of the gap between what I need to do and what I’m comfortable doing.
  • The gap seems to be growing. 

I expect this list will grow considerably next year. I’m still learning how to scale the WOL movement while making a sustainable living. I’m still learning how to surf the uncertainty and enjoy it rather than merely holding on in tight-jawed determination. 

Looking ahead

Last week, I posted from the WOL conference about the people there making a difference, and someone asked via Twitter, “What difference?” While I was pondering my reply, a woman responded: 

“That day made a huge difference for me, because I’ve deepened relationships, built new ones, took away inspiration…a lot of helpful tips I can integrate into my daily work. Second I strongly believe this can make a difference for my environment, people around me, because I’ll share all of this if people/environment are interested. And if just one person will benefit from it.... it’s worth it.”

I'm mindful that, while there are some encouraging results & stories, it's really early. We have a lot of work to do and a long way to go if we want to "make the difference" we would all love to make. The woman on Twitter remarked:

“This is already happening ... as you know. We’ve just got to keep going.”

It was a good year, and a good start. Together, we keep going.