Working Out Loud Circle Guide: Week 7
- Suggested Agenda
- Frequently Asked Questions
- Additional exercises from Working Out Loud
You work on making working out loud a habit, and allow yourself a longer-term view of what might be possible for you.
• Chapter 13 - Making It a Habit
• Chapter 17 - Your Greater Purpose
10 minutes - What happened since last week?
10 minutes - Exercise: The habit checklist
5 minutes - The group discusses adjustments to make
15 minutes - Exercise: A letter from your future self
15 minutes - The group discusses their letters
5 minutes - A few things before the next meeting
What happened last week? (10 minutes)
Each person should speak for a few minutes about what they did since the last meeting. Focus on broadening each other’s view of contributions.
Exercise: The habit checklist (10 minutes)
When it comes to making some positive change in your life, much of the wisdom and research I discovered in a decade of reading self-help books was distilled
into a simple, practical list in Coach Yourself by Anthony Grant and Jane Greene. The ten items in their list form a checklist for changing anything in your life:
1. Take small steps toward your goals.
2. Set some realistic, achievable goals.
3. Structure your life to help you attain your goals.
4. Chart your progress.
5. Look at the areas where you’re successful.
6. Reward yourself for your successes.
7. Focus on your achievements.
8. Allow yourself to fail without turning it into a catastrophe.
9. Enlist the support of friends.
10. Picture the way you’d like life to be.
Look at each of the ten items in the above checklist and consider how they apply to you and your own approach. Circle the ones you think deserve the most attention, and pick one adjustment you might make this week.
The group discusses adjustments to make (5 minutes)
What did you pick? Taking smaller steps if you’re struggling? Making a progress chart? Scheduling time in your calendar? Rewarding yourself when you make a contribution to someone on your list? Discuss what you chose and why.
Exercise: A letter from your future self (15 minutes)
The last item in the habits checklist is “picture the way you’d like life to be.” In Coach Yourself, Anthony Grant and Jane Greene described a method to help you decide what’s important to you and what to focus on: you write yourself a letter from the future.
Choose a date some months or years ahead. Then imagine what happened during that time if your life had gone well and how you would feel if you were successful and fulfilled. Here’s a quote from Coach Yourself:
For it to be real, for it to be useful, you need to engage your emotions. It seems that there is something quite special about writing it down that allows you to reach into your deepest self.
I’m including my letter, written 6 years before Working Out Loud was published, as just one example. Feel free to choose whatever outline feels right for you.
Remember this isn’t your bio or about page or whatever else you might write to impress someone else. In this exercise, write to your future self for yourself.
To live in different countries for months at a time—Japan, France, Spain, Italy...(to name the top four)
I would like to write (publicly—beyond my weekly work blog, which was at least a start) and to connect with an audience.
I’d like to create! Books but also software and other projects. Things that people would use and love.
I’d like to do something genuinely helpful, particularly when it comes to education for kids who may not normally have access to it. (I benefited from going to Regis High School, a free scholarship high school that changed my life.)
Oh, and financial independence...Actually, I don’t mind the idea of having to work to earn a living. But the dream is more to be able to research/write/speak/ present about
ideas and connect with people. Perhaps ideal “jobs” are those of a Malcolm Gladwell, Clay Shirky, or Seth Godin...or Keith Ferrazzi.
Articulating my vision
I will become a champion of ideas. Who will write, speak, and connect. Within ten years. (But taking steps NOW!)
How will I know?
I will have authored a book or other notable content that more than twenty thousand people read. I will have been paid to speak. I can earn a living from writing, speaking, and (only some) consulting.
How will it feel if I don’t try and if I do?
If I don’t pursue my mission now, I will continue to live my status quo and...my sense of being special will fade. My frustration at not doing “more” will increase. My (constant) fear of having to earn enough for the next twenty-plus years will remain. My entire life will be colored by the two statements above.
If I do pursue my vision now, I will be increasingly happy and...my sense of peace and inner calm will be much, much greater. My energy and enthusiasm will be much higher—every day. My family will be happy because I’ll be “present” and happy.
You can create a Working Out Loud Group in [Jive Community] and share this group with all of your current group members. To create a group click on the pencil icon in the top right hand corner and then scroll to the bottom where you will find Group under PLACES. Click on the Group link and get started.
You can fill in the group name and details and decide on what type of group you want. Keep in mind you may have some personal information in here with your Working Out Loud group so you may want to choose private or secret. Private means that your group is still searchable and you may have other users in your community come across this group. If you want it hidden then you can choose secret and invite just your core group members.
With a "Secret group" you can feel comfortable posting your letter from your future self here. Once you have your group made all users can click on the pencil icon again and create their own blog or document for their "letter from your future self". This is a great way to store your letters and discuss them with your group.
The group discusses their letters (15 minutes)
Discuss whether that was hard or easy for each of you. Help each other to see the wide range of gifts you have to offer and who might benefit from them.
When your group is discussing the letters you can even make notes or comments under each letter that was posted in [Jive Community].
A few things before the next meeting (5 minutes)
At the end of this meeting, the facilitator has three small but important jobs:
1. Schedule the next meeting.
2. Remind people to read the Week 7 circle guide and suggested reading.
3. Ask: “What will you do this week?”
Before the next meeting, keep working on your relationship list and on the contributions you would make for each person on it. Allow yourself to daydream about the things you wrote in your letter.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I’m having trouble writing the letter. Is there another way?
Some of you may prefer visualizing your future self instead of writing about it. If so, try a vision board. It’s a collection of photos from magazines or other media that capture what your future self, your future life, will be like. Whatever medium you choose, remember the advice from Coach Yourself: “For it to be real, for it to be useful, you need to engage your emotions.”
Additional exercises from Working Out Loud
Something you can do in less than a minute
Look again at each of the ten items in the habit checklist and at the adjustment you picked. Now take this opportunity to voice the intention, writing down when and where you’ll make that adjustment.
Something you can do in less than 5 minutes
Review your calendar for the next week, and schedule the times you’ll work on working out loud. Try and invest at least fifteen minutes a day or perhaps an hour a week. Any time is better than none. (You did this in Week 4. Now do it for all of the remaining time you’ll be in a circle.)