To read, listen to, or watch

What is WOL?

Blog: The 5 Elements of Working Out Loud

Blog: “The best approach to building relationships” 

What Happens When a Circle Works? Or Not?

Blog: If you’re doing it right it feels like this

Blog: When WOL doesn’t work

On the Power of Attuning Your Attention

Blog: “Why is Italo Calvino stalking me?” 

Blog Posts About the 12-week Method, Small Steps, and Deliberate Practice

Blog: Guided mastery at work

Blog: Just scary enough

Blog: If you want to be the author of your own life

Purposeful Discovery

Blog: When you’re looking for your purpose

Blog: Discovering your purpose

Reasons People Work Out Loud

Blog: What happened to Working in the last 45 years

Related Chapters in Working Out Loud:

  • Chapter 1 - Four Stories

  • Chapter 2 - Improving Your Odds

  • Chapter 4 - Purposeful Discovery

  • Chapter 9 - New Habits and a New Mindset in 12 Weeks

  • Chapter 10 - A Practical Goal and Your First Relationship List

Additional Exercises & FAQ

Something you can do in less than 15 minutes

Make five different searches related to your goal. “Cast a wide net.” (An old expression meaning to try many different things so you’ll have a better chance of finding what you want.) Then play Internet Detective, clicking on things that look interesting and following the trail till you discover more people and also more ideas for your next search.

For example, say you’re goal is related to becoming a better writer. (It could be “become better” at anything.) Your first search might be as simple as “how to be a better writer”.  That will lead to about a billion results on Google. You’ll find people who write and speak about the topic. It could lead you to authors who write about it (like Hemingway or Stephen King) or editors, and also to people whose communications/writing you admire. You'll also find a seemingly endless list of articles about writing (and people who write them).

Now, if you find anything interesting, click on it to learn more. If you don’t like it, go back to your results and find something else. If you do like it, make a note or add that person to you relationship list, and then use that as the basis of your next search. For example, let’s say you discovered "On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft” by Stephen King, or “On Writing Well” by William Zinsser (both are excellent), and that piqued your curiosity about other books. Then your next search might be a bit more specific: “books on writing well”.

That will lead you to more resources and more people, and it may also help you refine your own goal. That’s purposeful discovery.

Keep doing this till you’ve searched five times.

Q: I hate Twitter. Why is it an additional exercise in Week 1?

Twitter is perhaps the easiest way to reach people & expertise you would not ordinarily reach. Unlike LinkedIn and Facebook, Twitter doesn’t require the other person to accept a connection request, and so it’s both less intimate and less invasive.

Having said that, Twitter can be (like most social media) a waste of time and a source of irritation if you don’t use it purposefully. Experiencing both what it is and how to use it (and not use it) will help you make more mindful, informed choices of whether Twitter and other tools like it can be helpful for you.

Examples, Templates & Media

Top 3 Goal “Mistakes”

#1 Too specific: If you pick a goal that only you can do (lose weight, get promoted, make something), then it will be difficult to identify relationships related to that goal.

Try This: Frame it in terms of people who have done what you’d like to do, or as a learning goal that helps you explore the topic. So your relationship list would include people who have already tried to do what you want to do, or have shared information related to it.

#2 Too vague: If your goal isn’t specific enough, it will be hard to know where to start, and to make any meaningful progress in 12 weeks.

Try This: Either shrink the goal or frame it in terms of other people. What’s a smaller, practical step that you could list as a goal, something on the way to that larger ambition? Who else is doing what you’d like to do?

#3 Too…boring: You are the best judge of “boring.” Most people who fail to make progress in their Circle tend to pick goals they think they should care about but don’t.

Try This: Pick something that sparks joy! What would you like to learn more about? What possibilities might you like to explore? Even if it isn’t directly related to your current job, your WOL Circle will help you develop skills, habits, and a mindset that’s good for you and your organization. So pick something that will make you look forward to your Circle meetings and to doing the exercises.