Learning that 110% isn’t Good

My last post was almost two months ago.  What happened?  To be honest, in the spirit of Working Out Loud, I have to work on not working so hard and setting limits.

For most of the past two months, I have been working on a tremendously exciting project with Julian Stodd’s Sea Salt Learning group.  Serving as Online Community Manager for a senior leadership program applying Julian’s work on social learning, storytelling for business and social leadership has been a tremendous opportunity.  I dove in – and let it consume my life.

I let it override my other projects – preparing to launch my own consulting practice, completing the website for said practice, keeping up with my blog, twitter and other social networking efforts, preparing for the Skill Application Exam for the CPLP certification, etc.


Passion – I LOVE what I do.  I totally get into understanding how learning works, why it doesn’t, and how to help people learn what they need to learn.  There’s nothing wrong with passion for my work.  Too many people got to work every day just because its’ how they pay their bills.  They just go through the motions.  I value my passion for what I do, but I also let it carry me away.  I’ll spend hours reading articles and related research because I come across a link and then another.  All relevant, all interesting.  But all taking up time I should be spending on other things.

Disdain for Regimentation – At times when I’ve caught glimpses of colleagues calendars and they have every waking minute scheduled for the next two months, I literally have shuddered.  My Mom has such a structured life (which she adores) that I know exactly where she will be nearly every day of every week.  Both extremes, but I default to the other end of the spectrum.  It may come from years of learning to cope with ambiguity and living a life not fearful of failing.  I love change, ambiguity is my friend, resilience is probably one of my best qualities.  But living in these states prevents me from the at least minimal structure I need to get to the gym or to blog regularly.  Things I WANT to do.

Perfectionism – This one has provided a career for a couple therapists over the years.  No matter what I’m doing, I can always imagine doing it better than what I currently am.  Sometimes it freezes me into inaction and other times it leads me to look for another research paper or revise a document one more time when it already is good enough for the job at hand.  At it’s worst, I delay and delay and then hurriedly complete a project that could have been better if only I hadn’t worried about it being perfect.

Focus and Effort – Yet again another double-edged sword.   I can easily get tunnel visioned on projects and give them 110% effort.  In theory, this is a great characteristic.  In theory, I would have all the time in the world available for every project.  In practice, to have time to complete everything I need and want to do, I need to divide my focus.  Working late into the night might feel good because I’m getting a lot done, but regular sleep and exercise are necessary for long-term success.

Clearly, I have a pretty good line of sight on at least some of my flaws.  So why don’t I just change them?  I see the benefit in the change.  But these same characteristics have driven my success over the years.  They are habits I’m comfortable with and habits are hard to change.

But I owe my clients better.  I owe my partners better.  I owe myself better.

One of my favorite quotes from Julian Stodd’s work is:

the things that got us this far will not get us the rest of the way.

So time for some self-reflection.  Time to get serious about working-out-loud.  Time to set my priorities and plan for all of the components needed to make my great life even better.

Feature Image provided by openclipart.com

What do you think?  Do you struggle with any of these characteristics?  Any advice?  Please feel free to comment below.

#WOLWeek Day 2 – Make a Connection

A day late in posting, but…..

Day 2: Make a Connection

Ask yourself who else might be interested in your work to fulfil that purpose.  Find someone new with whom you don’t usually interact. Your challenge for day 2 is to introduce yourself to this person or otherwise make a connection.  Join a group that they are a part of, follow them on social media, ask a friend to make an introduction.  Whatever you do take one step towards enriching the networks of people around your work. Feel free to repeat this step to connect a community around your work. A great step at this stage can be to start a Working Out Loud Circle with some new connections.  Working Out Loud circles are a great way to deepen relationships in an ongoing way.

What I am Doing

I’m following the spirt of today’s action, if not the letter.  I’ve made the decision to attend the xAPI Camp next Tuesday in Las Vegas where I can make multiple connections and expand my network.

#WOLWeek Day 1 – Share a Purpose

Michelle Ocker’s Day 1 post alerted me to the fact that Working Out Loud Week (#WOLWeek) is 7-13 November 2016. I’m using it as an opportunity to promote Working Out Loud (WOL) and give my own practices a boost by following the 7 days worth of actions to get you started working out loud.

Working Out Loud is one one of the practices being promoted to make social and informal learning more effective.

The seven actions for the week:


Day 1: Share a Purpose – Instructions

Choose some purpose that is important to you to make the focus of your #wolweek efforts. This purpose may be delivering a great outcome in a project for a group of stakeholders or it could be a personal ambition in your life or your career.  The purpose doesn’t have to be something big but it needs to be something that is worthwhile for you and others to pursue.  When you have chosen the purpose, share that you are working on it with some relevant stakeholders.

My goal for this week is:

Layout a plan of action that will guide me in building a non-technical expertise in the new xAPI standard for interoperability of learning data.

Tne xAPI standard in being developed by The Advanced Distributed (ADL) Learning and rolled out by DISC (Data Interoperability Standards Consortium).  xAPI is short for Experience API.  It is also known to many by its original project name Tin Can API  It will “replace” SCORM  over time. Continue reading “#WOLWeek Day 1 – Share a Purpose”