Working Out Loud: The making of a movement | John Stepper | TEDxNavesink



I had been playing career roulette my entire life and I didn't even know it until one morning my luck runs out when my boss calls me to his office John we have to make a change I must have done what dogs do when they're confused because while he's talking about a reorganization and how I need to find a new role all I could think about is why and I tell my wife maybe you've gone through something similar or know someone who has a reorganization or a layoff a bad performance review or a bad boss you could feel helpless like a victim it motivated me to try and find a better way a way that you could make your own luck instead of relying on somebody else to make it for you now some people seem to work this way naturally like my friend and colleague anne-marie in college she was one of only three young women studying math and computer science so she cared about the lack of diversity in technology at 23 she attends a Grace Hopper conference and there she learns that the lack of diversity is even more widespread than she even imagined so she decides to do something and the way she goes about it embodies the very elements of how you make your own luck she starts to I think the way she can contribute seems like organizing events to raise awareness a hackathon that she makes her ideas visible via her blog and immediately begins building relationships with people doing related work for her first event she raises enough money to serve pancakes and 20 girls show up and so do 20 people from a range of organizations that had heard about a via social media then anne-marie does another event and another one she keeps experimenting and learning along the way getting better at things like fundraising and corporate partnerships and press coverage each contribution that she makes is like a pebble and upon rippling out and bringing her into contact with more people and possibilities those possibilities leader to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen it leads to the TEDx stage in Barcelona it leads to a movement Stamets org that has helped thousands of young women in three years and has become a Marie's full-time job it's taken her to meet the Prime Minister where she's holding her own well this is this a woman who's half my age and we were sitting in the same team in the same big company all right how does she do it well her approach led to the purposeful discovery of opportunities that none of us could have imagined working out loud is the phrase I use to capture that approach and those elements building meaningful relationships based on generosity and shared purpose having a growth mindset leveraging modern ways to reach and engage people combine those elements are like a superpower but it's one that most people don't know they have where aren't comfortable using I wanted to help more people use that superpower so I started researching behavior change and aberrant coaching people and I wrote and I wrote hundreds of blog posts and ultimately a book and after several years of experiments I created something that made a difference and it's this it's a working out loud circle it's just a small trusted peer support group that meets for an hour a week for 12 weeks and Marie was in the first one in London and I published free circle guides that described small steps should take each week and can help you develop a habit of working out loud and it's easy and it can even be fun I mean look at these beautiful smiles they even took the first circle selfie now you might join a circle for different reasons maybe you feel stuck or you want more access to opportunities so maybe trying to get better at something or you simply want to explore something new in your life that was the case for Mari a piano teacher in New York City now Mari loves teaching and she does an extraordinary job with young kids but seeing the same students and parents each week could make her world field a little small so she joined a circle now in week one of a circle you start by writing down a goal something you could make progress towards in 12 weeks Mari wanted to compose more to have other people hear her own music next you list people related that goal so she began with people she remembered from music school then she plays Internet detective searching for people that might be interested in her music that's how she discovers for example independent filmmakers who might need scores for their films the rest of the guides walk you through ways you can contribute to those people to deepen the relationship now Mari may not have been ready to write a blog like anne-marie or start a YouTube channel but following the guide she started to reconnect with people she had lost touch with since school she started following new people online and after several weeks with the support and encouragement of her circle she mustered up the courage to reach out to a particular film director sharing something she composed and I happened to be with Mari when that director replied saying she'd like to collaborate mari lit up it was like something inside her was unlocked you made my world bigger she told me but it was me she did it herself with the help of a small trusted group of people circles have spread to 16 countries so far and I think the reason for that is working allowed taps into our basic needs for a bit more control for getting better at things for connecting to other people into a purpose bigger than ourselves it the circles and those meetings made made it all easier to practice me to feel more human early adopters started to spread circles inside organizations which surprised me Bosch for example is a huge corporation that's looking to become more agile more connected small team they're adapted the guides heroically translates my writing into German and begins which is a few circles and then a few dozen and then a few dozen more and they keep on spreading and the people in circles there say this is helping us individually and also helping the firm so now we're collaborating on ways to adapt it and spread the benefits even further I didn't set out to make a movement it's still early I just had a blog and a desire to make work better somehow to make people feel better I would try some experiments share what worked and didn't work and the feedback on that led to new relationships those relationships shaped my thinking and my work they they shaped me and over time some of those relationships became friendships and a community developed so if working out loud does become a movement it'll be because of the people in that community the people who care enough to create beautiful custom artwork the the people who say to me I feel more empowered now and want to share that feeling with somebody else the people who are spreading circles and adapting to practice now for schools and humanitarian organizations all of those people are making some kind of a difference is there a difference that you're trying to make in your life or in the world maybe like Mari you're just looking for the confidence to voice a goal and take steps towards it or like Anne Marie to discover your passion and your purpose and build your own movement the elements I talked about are important but they're not enough the key is to put those elements into practice that over time it becomes a habit and a mindset later this month Emery and I will form a new circle if together this time it'll be her third and it will be my eighth and the reason we keep joining them is because the structure and the shared accountability and support help us make progress towards goals we care about and feel better while we do it the steps that you take with feedback and peer support the meaningful relationships that you build based on generosity and shared purpose will make your world bigger and help unlock the music inside you I wish you well thank you

12 thoughts on “Working Out Loud: The making of a movement | John Stepper | TEDxNavesink

  1. Good introduction to the self-study-method "Working out loud". The concept itself spans beyond just working out loud as it is all about encouraging people to build new habits, creating lasting and meaningful relationships (in contrary to shallow greetings and simple exchange of visiting cards) and helping others in a purposeful way.

  2. Hi!
    Thank you for this talk! It was really inspiring!
    In the beginning you talk about your friend Annemarie. I would like to follow her work online. Can you give me the URL of her blog?
    Thank your very much,
    Tina.

  3. Joined WOL at work. It's taking me out of my comfort zone and I have to face me, but I've made some new friends. Those friends connected me to more friends. My world has gotten bigger and I'm so grateful for WOL!

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