#WOLWeek: Lessons

Another WOLWeek has ended. We have now held 6 WOLWeeks over 3 years. Each one is a step bigger than the last and the community continues to grwo and now genuinely reaches around the world. Here’s a reflection on what we learned this WOLWeek:

Working Out Loud Takes Purpose

Day 1 we asked people to share their purpose. What surprised me was the number of people who responded to that call by sharing their purpose on Twitter and other social media channels.  Purpose is meaningful. People have a strong desire to share their purpose and discuss it. We don’t allow that opportunity enough at work.

The second aspect of the need for purpose is that working out loud is uncomfortable, difficult, strange and can generate pushback. We need a strong sense of our purpose to keep going, to keep learning and to experiment as we go.

Working Out Loud Takes Bravery

I hold my breath every time we start another WOLWeek. There’s always a real chance it will fall flat. There are some regular voices who oppose WOLWeek or attention to working out loud.  This is a small example of the fear that confronts people in organizations who take on the challenge of promoting working out loud. They have to be brave, to lean into the fear and to push ahead in pursuit of their purpose.

Working Out Loud Takes Champions

WOLWeek would never have been as big if it were not for the champions who volunteered to run activities or share their stories across the week. In communities, things happen when people lead and set an example. The bravery, the generosity, and the effort shown by champions made WOLWeek possible. Champions might be individuals, they may be teams leading the way or they can be organizational leaders who put their hands up to set a new direction.

Working Out Loud Takes a Community

Working Out Loud depends on many communities all around the world. WOLWeek is a chance for those small pockets of passion to connect, to share, and to learn together.  The global community of working out loud practitioners is what makes WOLWeek possible and who does the work to make the week happen. We need to keep their needs and connection at the heart of the week as it moves forward. Ultimately, that community will lead WOLWeek where it needs to go to meet their needs.

Working Out Loud Takes Generosity

So many people gave their time, their attention and their support to WOLWeek. I have done some partial thanks but there are too many people who generously contributed. I hope their networks are rewarding them now for their working out loud. Never forget to sustain a community it takes a pattern of mutual generosity. WOLWeek is an example of this.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this WOLWeek. What did you learn?

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