Narrating Work in the Present – Taking a Leap of Faith

One of the assignments I’ve been undertaking in Harold Jarche’s Personal Knowledge Mastery workshop (#PKM14) is about narrating your work.  I’ve been working towards making an effort to increase my reflective practice as part of PKM for quite some time (mostly I’ve been writing in paper notebooks, reading and sharing in social networks, and most recently I started this blog).

The hardest part of sharing openly has been to share the present, I finally admitted this (see the red outline in the photo below) as I recently sketched out:

Narrating work, past, present, future

Narrating work, past, present, future – what am I sharing on a day to day basis?

What I realized is that I usually share things in the past, and things I’m looking to find out about for the future, which means I can share someone else’s link or ideas with others.  This is all great…it really is.  However, rarely, do I ever share many of my present experiences or narrate my work through an open network like Twitter (unless I’m at a conference). Why have I been struggling with narrating my work in the present for quite some time?

Narrating My Work – a Test

Well,  does anyone really want to hear what I’m doing?  Here’s a test:

  • Today I tried to figure out whether or not to merge two work team related Google Doc spreadsheets to maximize use and participation. I think I figured it out: I need two because both spreadsheets need their own tabs of related information that would be confusing if together in the same spreadsheet.  I also discovered some nice new Google interface updates in the process.
  •  I helped someone merge 3 PowerPoint files into 1 without losing the formatting of the original files, a struggle several team members and I have experienced.  Then, the file got so large I had to upload it through a special enterprise sharing site to get the 25 MB file to an ‘external’ partner (instead of the usual vehicle – email). And once that person received it we discovered we might have to rethink how to take it apart again to run the webinar! Oh well! 🙂
How to merge PowerPoints files and not mess up the original formatting

How to merge PowerPoints files and not mess up the original formatting

  • I started sharing and thinking about how to share more openly with our teams using Basecamp (something we’ve been wanting to do). This also enabled me to share the screenshot of how to merge 3 PPT files into 1 without messing up the formatting) without cluttering up email inboxes.
  • I sent an email/Doodle poll to pull together our 2nd meeting for putting together social media ‘training’ modules to make nationally available to over 50 EMG programs later in 2014/early 2015.
  • I coordinated the logistics on a few webinars (e.g. phone or VOIP? Can we broadcast a Prezi without crashing things?)
  • I worked with someone to promote one of our partners resources and thought about where to put a new partnership document that our teams could all access.
  • I felt guilty for taking the time to write this blog post about what I did, since it didn’t feel like work (yet it’s actually been very helpful).

Getting over the vulnerable feeling of open sharing – will it ever end?

If someone asked me what the value of social networking I would say it’s to share these kind of things, but it feels different when you are the one that is sharing.  I’ve known in my head (see Hagel: The Big Shift of Influence and Jarche: trust emerges from effective networks)  that this kind of present, vulnerable sharing can bring forth real fruit, answer, innovation, and new ways of working .

In fact, for the past few months, I’ve learned some of these best examples from Sacha Chua, because she has been diligent about journaling her work for quite some time.  What I’ve learned from her is that her willingness to share so openly is extremely valuable for me.  I’ve learned her process of getting better at visually drawing and conceptualizing ideas (a current goal of mine),  her technique for journaling her work, and how she’s been able to take on new challenges – like delegating tasks I’d never thought to delegate.

Taking the leap of faith to let my network filter me

So, what’s my dilemma? I just haven’t narrated or shared my work in the present much. It seems unworthy to take up space on the web, yet, I’ve just learned 750+ words later that this blog post has been an amazing process in self reflection.  I really didn’t think my day to day activities like merging a PowerPoint really needed reflection, but having done this now, I can now see that a seemingly trivial activity was more attached to a community and future improvement than I would have normally have given it credit for.  That in itself is exciting to recognize.

Harold Jarche said it took him several years to refine his blogging,  and I need to remind myself that this is a process. I’m seeing that other people have said it’s really about letting your network filter you. So with that thought, I’m going to take the leap of faith, reminding myself this is a process, something I can do for me, and perhaps from time to time what I say will resonate with someone else that might lead to future conversations and new ideas.


5 thoughts on “Narrating Work in the Present – Taking a Leap of Faith

  1. I just wanted to say that a link to this post appeared in my Twitter timeline. I have been thinking about blogging myself and feeling vulnerable about sharing my work–let alone showing it–so I found this post inspiring. Best of luck with the process!

  2. Thanks for leaving your comment Liz. It is really quite valuable and helpful to hear this. It’s been awhile since I read this post. I actually found a lot of value in re-reading it. I continue to struggle narrating work in the present, but it’s getting easier with every post I write – mostly because as I write and share I find other people that get what I’m learning and that helps reinforce the value in working out loud. Best of luck to you in your blogging adventures as well!

  3. Same, found the link via +NickLeffler. The picture is really nice and I liked your idea of an incremental process to refine our blogging style. Maybe be the best is to just write, write and let the unique voice take shape after some time. Without trying to overthink it from start.

    • Bruno I think you are right – it’s just good to get started. Blogging has really been much more of a developmental process and journey than I had thought. This year I’ve spent way more time thinking about what to write and how to write it than actually writing it. I had not planned on that. However, the more I write and get to know my thoughts, patterns, such as where my learning skill and knowledge gaps are etc…, the easier it gets to find what to write and how to write it. This emphasizes, to me, that blogging is a important process in skill development,(and PLN development – as proof by you and Nick helping me dive deeper into this topic) and thus an investment – not a waste of time, or frivolous activity. With that said: I do see that maybe when there is not a lot of overlap between learning out loud and working out loud (or narrating the present) that perhaps the frequency to use a blog versus another platform and approach may change. Thanks to Nick’s comments and yours, it helped me clarify(sketch) how I might think about using my blog for working out loud or learning out loud, and when I should think about using other spaces/techniques:

  4. Pingback: Five ideas worth sharing – March 10, 2015 | Karen Jeannette

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