It’s hard to form new habits. What seems to work best is small steps, practiced over time, with feedback and peer support. The best peer support groups make it easy to start and maintain positive momentum until the new behavior is unthinking and feels natural.
Doing these 6 things will increase the chances that you and your group will have a positive experience.
1. Keep the logistics simple. Schedule all the meetings at your first session, sticking to the same time and place. That makes it easier for everyone to remember and avoids the hassle of scheduling something every week.
2. Read the circle guides (at least). The more prepared you are, the better. At a minimum, read the section of the circle guide relevant for each given week. Each section is only 2 double-sided pages long. Reading the book
and subscribing to updates from workingoutloud.com will further help you work out loud effectively.
3. Have a clear, achievable goal you care about. Focus on a simple learning goal (“I’d like to explore that” or “I’d like to get better at that”), or pick a straightforward work goal (“I’d like more recognition at work”). Better to practice and make progress than pick a goal you feel you should have but is too abstract or isn’t appealing enough.
4. Schedule time to work out loud. Building relationships is an investment in yourself. Remember to “pay yourself first.” Even a single 30-minute session each week or two 15-minute sessions will help you build a network toward a goal you care about.
5. Keep track of where you are in the 12 weeks. If you’re conscious that the circle meets for a limited time, and that there is only, say, one Week 4 or Week 9, then you’re less likely to skip a meeting.
6. If you get stuck, ask for help. There are circles forming in 11 countries now with people around the world willing to help you, including a moderated Facebook community where you can post questions and connect with other circles. (Just search for “working out loud” on Facebook.”)
As more and more circles form, I get a chance to see what’s working well for them and what’s challenging. Having interacted with dozens of groups, I can confidently say this: circles work.
The positive results described in the reviews of Working Out Loud are common, and they range from feeling more open and optimistic to accomplishing specific goals.
“After just one WOL Circle meeting, I was already feeling more connected with my colleagues and more encouraged about my career.”
“I joined a Working Out Loud circle that followed this book and it helped me propel my small business idea into a successful, profitable and continuously growing venture...it helped me grow my network in a real and genuine way that felt comfortable and empowering.”
“Work has so much more meaning now and I feel like I'm in control of my own career destiny.”
“I am really enjoying the process outlined in this book. We are in our fourth circle week and having a blast. It is clear and concise and motivating. John Stepper provides small easy steps to guide us into this new practice of going after what makes us happy. I honestly feel empowered to own my success and not wait for it to come knocking.”
Following the tips here will help you and your circle get results like this.