4 Powerful Steps to Help You Communicate Your Big Picture and Grassroots Story

How the Power of Observation Can Help You Understand the Power of Words

Learning Resources From School of WorkLife. Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning.
Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning

I’ve adapted 2 Easy Steps to Help You Deliver a Story That Enthrals Your Audience for today’s story and lesson:

How the Power of Observation Can Help You Understand the Power of Words A Case Study:

I was at a Masterclass at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London, where the Actor Mark Strong shared his experience of his industry and his WorkLife before hosting a Q and A. 

One of the questions Mark was asked was how he gets into a character – to understand the essence of their being. He replied that it’s in the writing. He went on to say that he gets everything he needs from the words. He spoke in particular about his role as Eddie in the play A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller.

It was a very simple yet powerful answer because words are fundamental in our WorkLives and the medium through which we communicate who we are and what we stand for. 

Just as Mark used the words written to understand who Eddie is, the people we interact with come to understand our beliefs, values and dreams through the words we use to communicate. Because as people, it’s what we can make with words – ideas, images, hopes, theories, fears, plans, understanding, expectations, a past and a future, culture, ways of seeing …. the list is endless, and the power is simply powerful.

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WorkLife Book Wisdom

In Three Uses Of The Knife, David Mamet says: “It’s in our nature to dramatise. At least once a day we reinterpret the weather — an essentially impersonal phenomenon — into an expression of our current view of the universe: Great. It’s raining. Just when I’m blue. Isn’t that just like life?” 

“Or we say: “I can’t remember when it was this cold, in order to forge a bond with our contemporaries. Or we say: When I was a lad the winters were longer, in order to avail ourselves of one of the delights of ageing”.

“The weather is impersonal, and we both understand it and exploit it as dramatic, i.e. having a plot, in order to understand its meaning for the hero, which is to say for ourselves.”

Whenever we communicate, there is much at stake, perhaps even more so in our working environment.

2 Easy Steps to Help You Deliver a Story That Enthrals Your Audience is a resource to help you when you’re preparing your next communication – conversation, presentation or talk.

Today I want to demonstrate another lesson.

A Lesson in the power of observation to make sense of the world by gaining an understanding of your character and the world you exist in, and how it connects to your WorkLife. And to the WorkLife of others to build meaningful relationships. Just as Mamet demonstrated, we do with an everyday phenomenon, that is, the weather.

How the Power of Observation Can Help You Understand the Power of Words

This is important to help you Communicate Your Big Picture and Grassroots Story.

Let’s begin by considering how Mark Strong gained an understanding of his character Eddie and the world he existed in from this analysis by Sparknotes for A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller:

“A View from the Bridge is a play largely concerned with discovery. As Alfieri warns, no one can ever know what will be discovered. There are two secrets in the play: Eddie’s incestuous desires for his niece and the two illegal immigrants hiding in the Carbone home, Marco and Rodolpho. The gradual exposition of these secrets destroys Eddie, as he is incapable of dealing with either discovery. An inarticulate man, Eddie is unable to realise, speak or understand his own feelings for Catherine and cannot forgive himself for exposing Marco and Rodolpho. Eddie’s feelings toward Catherine manifest themselves into fierce protectiveness and eventual rage at Rodolpho. Because of his inability to deal with his feelings, Eddie instinctively reveals his second secret — Marco and Rodolpho — which completes his undoing”.

Now let’s consider how you can adapt the process of your WorkLife observations to your story — the concept, idea, and message you want to communicate — by following these:

4 Powerful Steps to Help You Communicate Your Big Picture and Grassroots Story

Step 1. Begin by understanding the bigger picture in the same way Strong did. In writing the story, Miller used his prowess in communicating the great conflict between community and American law. The words he used gave Strong a deep-rooted understanding of the world his character Eddie existed in, the challenges and problems, and the changes that needed to take place if he were to be able to move beyond these. 

You will need the same understanding of the world/industry/organisation/team/partnership you operate in.

Step 2. In writing, Miller took time to get to know people at grassroots level, to understand their hopes, dreams, fears and challenges. 

You need to stand in the shoes of your audience to understand your world from different perspectives. 

OBSERVATION ASSIGNMENT

To help you achieve these first two steps take time to understand what’s happening both inside and outside of your industry and sector. Tap into stories that help you recognise successful trends, practices, and behaviours that could make a difference to your world. This will help you to communicate your Big Picture Story.

Draw on your learnings from the observations you make as you go about your daily WorkLife — conversing, listening, watching and reading. This will help you develop your message to communicate your understanding of what others are feeling and thinking and to show respect for others’ points of view. In turn, this will help you to communicate your Grassroots Story. 

Step 3. Having an understanding of both the big and small picture (the world you operate in and the individuals within that world) provides the backdrop to your story (the concept, idea, and message you want to communicate), as well as an understanding of the fundamental words you need to use that have the power to arouse every emotion, and how to deliver them with the greatest impact that demands a call to action.

WRITING ASSIGNMENT 

Step 4. To develop your story from here, begin by asking yourself the questions: 

From the knowledge I’ve gathered, what makes a good story? 

What makes a good drama? 

Take time to reflect through self-feedback. This will give you insight into the words you can use to shape and tell your story in a way that is powerful.

SPEAKING ASSIGNMENT 

(From 2 Easy Steps to Help You Deliver a Story That Enthrals Your Audience)

When you have crafted your story, speak the words out loud. You can do this to an audience of no one. The purpose of this exercise is to hear how the words sound when spoken aloud. 

Begin slowly at first, and then on fast forward. As with the actors, the same principles apply:

This exercise will help identify words and parts of your story that could potentially trip you up. It will help you to recognise what needs more or less emphasis. It will help you to consider how pacing and pausing could help tell your story in a more interesting way to draw your audience in. 

Continuous Learning Assignment 

Words have the power to change the world. Through your words, you have the power to change the world of those around you. 

Think of the words you can use to do that. 

Write them down.

Then: JUST SAY THEM.

Words of Wisdom 

Become a collector of stories. Other people’s and your own. This will help you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations.

These are the words of wisdom I shared in 2 Easy Steps to Help You Deliver a Story That Enthrals Your Audience.

I hope the new story and lesson I’ve shared with you today reinforce the importance of this practice in enabling you to adapt your stories to add to your repertoire. 

Today’s featured books are A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller and Three Uses Of The Knife by David Mamet.

WorkLife Book Wisdom Stories:

The intention of the stories I share is to inspire you through people’s stories of their WorkLife experiences. Through these stories, you will learn about people’s dreams and ambitions, along with the challenges, obstacles, failures and successes they encountered along the road of their WorkLife journey. And how they used the power of book wisdom to help them find the inspiration and guidance to navigate their path to live their WorkLife with passion, purpose and pride.

My hope is that these book wisdom stories will help you throughout the chapters of your WorkLife Story.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

…………………………………………………………………….

POSTSCRIPT

This story was originally published on 21/5/21. I needed to republish it to add updates and also to tell you 

… The Continuing Story …

The pandemic brought about a change in my WorkLife from delivering in-person individual coaching sessions and group workshops to creating resources to help people self direct their WorkLife learning.

In the last three years, I’ve published 30 books and over 200 stories.

Each book and each story is based on real life struggles and successes that people have encountered in their WorkLife. They also detail the exercises that helped navigate through these situations, which are set as assignments for readers to adapt to their WorkLife situations and learning needs.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

My inspiration for creating my work comes from a lifelong passion for learning. My work has taught me that the one thing in life that can never be taken away from you is your learning. 

School of WorkLife Guiding Statement: To create resources that are helpful, insightful and inspiring in helping people to pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, purpose, passion and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes and resources that are accessible to everyone.

The resources I create will help you take ownership of self directing your learning in your own space and in your own time.

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

School of WorkLife helps you self-direct your WorkLife learning through resources that have been created to help you to take ownership of your learning in your own space and in your own time. 

What is Self Directed Learning?

Self-Directed Learning is when an individual is motivated to take the initiative and responsibility on decisions related to their own learning. It is a series of independent actions and judgements free from external control and constraint. 

Resources to Help You Self-Direct Your Learning 

Sparknotes is an excellent resource to help you self direct your WorkLife learning. The company, which was started by Harvard students Sam Yagan, Max Krohn, Chris Coyne, and Eli Bolotin in 1999, originally provided study guides for literature, poetry, history, film, and philosophy. Later on, SparkNotes expanded to provide study guides for a number of other subjects. (Source Wikipedia).

You may find the three books below from The School of WorkLife Book Series helpful in developing and fine-tuning your power of observation as a self directed learner. Tap the book title to see a preview of what’s inside.

How To Fine-Tune The Superpower of Observation 

How To Embrace The Superpower of Self-Awareness 

How To Self-Coach, Direct and Lead Effectively

All Super Skills in my book. 

You can view the complete collection here: The School of WorkLife Book Series.

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning
Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning

Founder of School of WorkLife, Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.  These include a Collection of Books which originated from her first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and a  Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies.  which originated from her latest book WorkLife Book Club. 

That’s the power of writing (and reading, which is an integral part of the craft for writers). It helps you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations – in day-to-day communication: WorkLife and feedback conversations, presentations, talks, and negotiations, at interviews, and when socialising and networking in building and maintaining good relationships. The practice of writing helps you to tell the stories that express who you are in an interesting and engaging way.

Two Easy Steps to Develop and Deliver a Story That Enthrals Your Audience 

How a Simple Performing Arts Technique Can Help You Understand the Power of Words

Learning Resources From School of WorkLife. Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning
Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning

imagesI was at a Masterclass at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket, London, where the Actor Mark Strong shared his experience of his industry and his WorkLife before hosting a Q and A.  

One of the questions Mark was asked was how he gets into a character – to understand the essence of their being. He replied that it’s in the writing. He went on to say that he gets everything he needs from the words. He spoke in particular about his role as Eddie in the play A View from the Bridge by Arthur Miller.

It was a very simple yet powerful answer because words are fundamental in our WorkLives and the medium through which we communicate who we are and what we stand for. 

Just as Mark used the words written to understand who Eddie is, the people we interact with come to understand our beliefs, values and dreams through the words we use to communicate. Because as people, it’s what we can make with words – ideas, images, hopes, theories, fears, plans, understanding, expectations, a past and a future, culture, ways of seeing …. the list is endless, and the power is simply powerful.

Whenever we communicate, there is much at stake, perhaps even more so in our working environment. When you’re preparing for your next interview or networking event, presentation or keynote speech, to help your process, consider the following simple technique actors in training develop to hone their skills in understanding the words that will allow them to deliver them with the greatest impact:

Technique #Step1. Actors are encouraged to read play after play after play because script analysis is the nuts and bolts in the literal fleshing out to bring characters to life. Every line of dialogue, every movement, every action and reaction gives an understanding of a character’s motivations and objectives, emotions and desires. This allows the actor to step in and become the character.

You can apply this technique by following the ‘Thought Leaders’ in your industry. Study them as the actor does to gain valuable insights into their characters and stories. Most likely, you will find their stories will be similar in format to Mark’s Masterclass – in that they will begin by sharing their experiences in their industry. Their WorkLife stories within that will then unfold and go deeper in response to questions asked. 

Writing Assignment

Make notes of what draws you into stories – what is it about each character that interests, intrigues and inspires you?

Pay attention to the manner in which people speak – the words, the phrases, the stories they tell.

Consider the most powerful words spoken (visually if you’re reading a story, auditory if you’re listening to a conversation or watching a video) that you can adopt and adapt if you were to answer similar questions about your WorkLife experiences. 

These are your unique WorkLife stories. The stories that you can share at interviews or when networking, or when delivering a presentation or keynote talk. Capture them by writing them down.

Technique #Step2. When actors are learning their lines in preparation for performing a role, they’ll come to a point where they will ‘run their lines.’ This is a simple technique where they will speak the words slowly at first, and then on fast forward. 

This helps identify words and parts of their character story that could potentially trip them up. It also helps to recognise what needs more or less emphasis. And it helps them to consider how pacing and pausing could help to tell the story in a more enthralling way to draw their audience in. 

Speaking Assignment

When you have crafted your story, speak the words out loud. You can do this to an audience of no one. The purpose of this exercise is to hear how the words sound when spoken aloud. 

Begin slowly at first, and then on fast forward. As with the actors, the same principles apply:

This exercise will help identify words and parts of your story that could potentially trip you up. It will help you to recognise what needs more or less emphasis. It will help you to consider how pacing and pausing could help tell your story in a more interesting way to draw your audience in. 

Continuous Learning Assignment 

Use the same approach to understand what’s happening outside of your industry and sector. Tap into stories that help you recognise successful trends, practices, and behaviours that could make a difference to your world. 

Adopt and adapt these stories to your WorkLife experiences. Write them down. Speak them aloud.

Words of Wisdom 

Become a collector of stories. Other people’s and your own. This will help you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations.

This practice will also enable you to adapt your stories to add to your repertoire. As I have done with this story when I adapted it to teach a new lesson in 4 Powerful Steps to Help You Communicate Your Big Picture and Grassroots Story

…………………………………………………………………………………

POSTSCRIPT

This story was originally published on 12/3/15. I needed to republish it to add updates and also to tell you 

… The Continuing Story …

The pandemic brought about a change in my WorkLife from delivering in-person individual coaching sessions and group workshops to creating resources to help people self direct their WorkLife learning.

In the last three years, I’ve published 30 books and over 200 stories.

Each book and each story is based on real life struggles and successes that people have encountered in their WorkLife. They also detail the exercises that helped navigate through these situations, which are set as assignments for readers to adapt to their WorkLife situations and learning needs.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

My inspiration for creating my work comes from a lifelong passion for learning. My work has taught me that the one thing in life that can never be taken away from you is your learning. 

School of WorkLife Guiding Statement: To create resources that are helpful, insightful and inspiring in helping people to pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, purpose, passion and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes and resources that are accessible to everyone.

The resources I create will help you take ownership of self directing your learning in your own space and in your own time.

……………………………………………………………………………………………..

School of WorkLife helps you self-direct your WorkLife learning through resources that have been created to help you to take ownership of your learning in your own space and in your own time. 

What is Self Directed Learning? 

Self-Directed Learning is when an individual is motivated to take the initiative and responsibility on decisions related to their own learning. It is a series of independent actions and judgements free from external control and constraint. 

Resources to Help You Self-Direct Your Learning 

Fast Company, First Round Review, Inc., and Wired are good sources for promoting excellent communicators and leaders and people worth reading. 

Another excellent source is podcasts. A few of my favourites are: Design Matters with Debbie Millman, The Tim Ferris Show, In Depth from First Round Review, otherppl with Brad Listi,and WorkLife with Adam Grant. 

Ted Talks is a great platform to observe inspiring conversations within a global community.

You may find the books below from The School of WorkLife Book Series helpful in meeting your learning needs as a self directed learner. Tap the book title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

How To Turn Your Story Into a Powerful Presentation 

How To Embrace The Superpower of Self-Awareness 

How To Fine-Tune The Superpower of Observation 

You can view the complete collection of books here: The School of WorkLife Book Series.

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.
Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning. 

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.  These include a Collection of Books which originated from her first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and a  Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies.  which originated from her latest book WorkLife Book Club. 

That’s the power of writing (and reading, which is an integral part of the craft for writers). It helps you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations – in day-to-day communication: WorkLife and feedback conversations, presentations, talks, and negotiations, at interviews, and when socialising and networking in building and maintaining good relationships. The practice of writing helps you to tell the stories that express who you are in an interesting and engaging way.

What Makes Creative Thinking the Ultimate Human Superpower? 

The Fact That We Can Resolve Every Problem by Tapping Into Our Creative Minds 

Learning Resources From School of WorkLife. Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning
Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning

imagesWhat is Creative Thinking?

“Creative thinking – in terms of idea creativity – is not a mystical talent. It is a skill that can be practised and nurtured”. Edward de Bono.

Because I help people through WorkLife transitions, I sometimes get asked if I’m always able to tell people what job they should be doing, and I have to explain that that’s not what I do. What I actually do is facilitate the process, which allows people to come to this realisation themselves. In essence, I help people to have greater clarity in their thinking. This, in turn, instils a sense of self-belief within each person in their ability as a creative thinker. This then enables them to pursue their WorkLives with purpose, passion and pride.

My programmes also support job search, and I get asked if I always get people a job, to which I reply: “my role is to support people in getting the job themselves.” This may all sound very cliché, but when I’m performing in my role at my very best, I’m merely the facilitator in helping people do things for themselves. Thinking creatively is an integral part of that. Because creative thinking leads to creative doing.

I meet with my clients weekly, fortnightly or whatever time frame that allows them to carry out the objectives agreed on in our session. I always say to clients that the best work takes place away from the sessions, whether that’s thinking, research, networking or marketing themselves. These are the actions that will drive their programme in line with their needs and objectives outlined at the outset of our work together.

I sometimes use the analogy of a sports coach – the world of WorkLife, Career, Leadership and Executive Coaching evolved from the world of sport. Many of my clients will have worked with a sports coach or personal trainer or will have an understanding of how these people help their clients – individuals or teams to get the most from their performance. 

They don’t go out and play a game or do their fitness programme for them. They do, however, walk alongside them, supporting their motivation, determination and persistence in achieving their goals. They help them to continuously improve their performance and to be in a position to achieve great things for themselves.

Clients will want to achieve the objectives outlined at the beginning of their programme for themselves. This gives them great satisfaction. And the skills they gain throughout the process remain with them and indeed help to progress their WorkLife to the next level. 

That’s because of their ability to recognise what’s unique about themselves in terms of their skills, experience, knowledge, attributes and potential. This is enabled by the focus of my work, which begins by helping people identify a WorkLife path that’s true to their core values, purpose, and motivation. This is followed through by creating meaningful short and long-term WorkLife plans while enabling self-coaching, self-directing, and self-leadership to drive these plans.

This allows people to be confident in communicating who they are and what’s important to them to effectively market themselves, whether in writing – job application, CV, and cover letter, or in person – at interviews or in networking situations. 

The experience people gain in building their networks in their chosen field also remains with them and gives them the impetus to continue to develop strong relationships, allowing them to easily navigate and progress their WorkLife when the time is right.

I truly believe Creative Thinking is the ultimate human superpower. And once people are confident in their ability to think for themselves and believe they have the answers they need within them, this instils the belief they can do for themselves through self-directed learning.

The ultimate satisfaction for me in my work is when my clients are confident in thinking and doing for themselves, and creative thinking promotes creative doing through self-directed learning.

……………………………………………………………………………………

POSTSCRIPT

This story was originally published on 10/3/15. I needed to republish it to add updates and also to tell you

… The Continuing Story …

The pandemic brought about a change in my WorkLife from delivering in-person individual coaching sessions and group workshops to creating resources to help people self direct their WorkLife learning.

In the last three years, I’ve published 30 books and over 200 stories.

Each book and each story is based on real life struggles and successes that people have encountered in their WorkLife. They also detail the exercises that helped navigate through these situations, which are set as assignments for readers to adapt to their WorkLife situations and learning needs.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

My inspiration for creating my work comes from a lifelong passion for learning. My work has taught me that the one thing in life that can never be taken away from you is your learning. 

School of WorkLife Guiding Statement: To create resources that are helpful, insightful and inspiring in helping people to pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, purpose, passion and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes and resources that are accessible to everyone.

The resources I create will help you take ownership of self directing your learning in your own space and in your own time.

.………………………………………………………………………………………………..

School of WorkLife helps you self-direct your WorkLife learning through resources that have been created to help you to take ownership of your learning in your own space and in your own time. 

What is Self Directed Learning? 

Self-Directed Learning is when an individual is motivated to take the initiative and responsibility on decisions related to their own learning. It is a series of independent actions and judgements free from external control and constraint. 

Resources to Help You Self-Direct Your Learning 

Edward De Bono has been described as the master of creative thinking. He originated the term ‘lateral thinking’. Six Thinking Hats and The Five-Day Course in Thinking are just two of his many wonderfully insightful books on the subject of Thinking.

You may find the books below from The School of WorkLife Book Series helpful in meeting your learning needs as a self directed learner. Tap the book title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

How To Be Creative in Your Thinking

How To Let Curiosity Be Your Driving Force   

How To Fine-Tune The Superpower of Observation 

You can view the complete collection of books here: The School of WorkLife Book Series.

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.
Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning. 

Founder of School of WorkLife, Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.  These include a Collection of Books which originated from her first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and a  Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies.  which originated from her latest book WorkLife Book Club. 

That’s the power of writing (and reading, which is an integral part of the craft for writers). It helps you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations – in day-to-day communication: WorkLife and feedback conversations, presentations, talks, and negotiations, at interviews, and when socialising and networking in building and maintaining good relationships. The practice of writing helps you to tell the stories that express who you are in an interesting and engaging way.

Turning Point Story How to Create Your Meaningful WorkLife Story 

How to Follow Your Turning Points to Create Your Next WorkLife Chapter

Learning Resources From School of WorkLife. Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning.
Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning

imagesWhat is The Turning Point of a Story?

The Turning Point of a story is a moment when a major narrative shift takes place and the rest of the story will be different. (Source Masterclass).

There have been a few turning points in my life that have caused me to stop and think about what’s important to me and to consider what I want from my work and my life outside of work. Sadly one of those occasions was when my brother, Kieran, died aged just 42.

Kieran had lived very much in the present and enjoyed the simple things in life. I remember his wife, Christina telling me how in the summer, once their four girls were in bed, they’d sit in their garden and watch the sunset.

As well as bringing up four daughters, they also gave their time generously to supporting the families who had been impacted by the Chornobyl disaster, and every summer, they would have children from Chornobyl stay with them. It was important for them to give back or indeed give forward. Thinking about my brother caused me to realise that I needed to live in the present and make every day worthwhile. I took a step back to evaluate my most important values and consider what needed to change in my work and my life to honour these.

I’d worked in Investment Banking for several years. I enjoyed the work and worked with great people. It also afforded me a great lifestyle. However, the hours were long, and I wasn’t spending as much time with my family as I would have liked. I made the decision to leave banking and set up in business myself.

This took time as; first, I needed to figure out what I wanted to do next, and then I needed to retrain. It was quite a juggling act initially: working to bring in much-needed income while studying and subsequently gaining practical experience to launch my new business and WorkLife. Although tough, it was extremely gratifying, and from the outset, I was carving a lifestyle in line with my wants, needs and values. 

Now I both plan for tomorrow and live for today. At times it can be extremely challenging, but it’s also extremely rewarding.

When I begin working with a client who is considering a WorkLife change, quite often, it’s because of a particular turning point in their life, and they’ve come to realise that life is too short for them not to be living it fully.

In light of the reality that life is short, what are the important elements you need to include in your life to ensure you’re fulfilled and motivated in both your work and your life outside of work? 

To get started in your thinking, take time to reflect on the following questions:

▪ What do you want to accomplish? Contribute? Complete? Create or build?

 ▪ What legacy or reputation do you want to leave behind?

These insightful self-questions will help you to self-direct your learning through effective self-feedback.

Self-Directed Learning is important because it enables a series of independent actions and judgements free from external control and constraint. 

Turning points in your Worklife can cause you to realise that life is too short not to be living it meaningfully. A turning point in your story will perhaps cause you to realise that now is the time to create the next chapter of your WorkLife story.

Perhaps now is the time to create the next chapter of your WorkLife story.

I have used the Ukrainian spelling of Chornobyl. 

………………………………………………………………………………………………….

POSTSCRIPT

This story was originally published on 6/3/15. I needed to republish it to add updates and also to tell you 

… The Continuing Story …

The pandemic brought about a change in my WorkLife from delivering in-person individual coaching sessions and group workshops to creating resources to help people self direct their WorkLife learning.

In the last three years, I’ve published 30 books and over 200 stories.

Each book and each story is based on real life struggles and successes that people have encountered in their WorkLife. They also detail the exercises that helped navigate through these situations, which are set as assignments for readers to adapt to their WorkLife situations and learning needs.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

My inspiration for creating my work comes from a lifelong passion for learning. My work has taught me that the one thing in life that can never be taken away from you is your learning. 

School of WorkLife Guiding Statement: To create resources that are helpful, insightful and inspiring in helping people to pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, purpose, passion and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes and resources that are accessible to everyone.

The resources I create will help you take ownership of self directing your learning in your own space and in your own time.

………………………………………………………………………

School of WorkLife helps you self-direct your WorkLife learning through resources that have been created to help you to take ownership of your learning in your own space and in your own time. 

What is Self Directed Learning? 

Self-Directed Learning is when an individual is motivated to take the initiative and responsibility on decisions related to their own learning. It is a series of independent actions and judgements free from external control and constraint. 

Resources to Help You Self-Direct Your Learning 

Today’s story was featured in chapter thirteen of my book, Your WorkLife Your Way Draw Upon Turning Points to Create the Next Chapter of Your WorkLife Story .

You may find the books below from The School of WorkLife Book Series helpful in meeting your learning needs as a self directed learner in telling your turning point stories.Tap the book title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

How To Use Turning Points To Start Something Different And Better. (Today’s story also featured in this book).

How To Make Your Values Matter  

How To Turn Your Story Into a Powerful Presentation 

You can view the complete collection of books here: The School of WorkLife Book Series.

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning
Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning

Founder of School of WorkLife, Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.  These include a Collection of Books which originated from her first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and a  Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies.  which originated from her latest book WorkLife Book Club. 

That’s the power of writing (and reading, which is an integral part of the craft for writers). It helps you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations – in day-to-day communication: WorkLife and feedback conversations, presentations, talks, and negotiations, at interviews, and when socialising and networking in building and maintaining good relationships. The practice of writing helps you to tell the stories that express who you are in an interesting and engaging way.

What Do Red Shoes, the Good Wife and a Pink Purse Have in Common?  

They Create a Sense of Who You Are That You Can Project to Others

Learning Resources From School of WorkLife. Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning.
Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning

????????????????????????????????????????My mum was born in an era when women always dressed up when leaving the house. And that wasn’t for a night on the tiles but for everyday occasions like a trip to the local grocery store. I always remember her looking elegant, and she had a penchant for clothes and accessories.

A few years ago, when my mum was in her early 80s, she asked me if I could pick her up a piece of costume jewellery. She wanted a necklace. I asked what colour she’d like, and I suggested perhaps something in beige because it would be quite versatile and go with everything, like a pair of beige shoes. 

My mum gave me a horrified look and said she’d never worn beige shoes in her life, it was such a boring and uninspiring colour and that she always wore red shoes because they were more fun and different. My mum was always full of surprises, and on reflection, her uniqueness always stood out, but in a very subtle way. I admit red shoes might not sound that subtle, but they do, I think, give an insight into the fun element my mum has always brought to life and allowed her personality to shine through.

I’m a fan of the TV series The Good Wife. At the end of the 1st series, I watched the interview with Daniel Lawson, the costume designer, where he spoke about the importance of each actor’s wardrobe in helping them develop their character and their story. He strived to have the wardrobe underscore what each actor was doing to help tell the story. It was important that the wardrobe didn’t upstage or detract in any way.

Then as the characters and their stories developed, he began to make subtle changes: for Alisha Florrick, as she settled back into work and became more comfortable with her work environment and the situation she’d been saddled with, he began by having her wear more jewellery, allowing a glimpse into her personality. For Diane Lockhart, who does pay attention to her style, he had her wearing vintage pins which portray her as the businesswoman she is, chic and elegant. For Kalinda Sharma, it was all about the job, and she wore very minimal jewellery and wearing the same necklace was her thing. He did the same for the male characters in developing their style to support the development of their character and story.

This is the same for professionals in their WorkLife today. They want to look the part, and they want to be taken seriously for their work, but they also want to allow their personality to shine through. And whether that’s a subtle development similar to Alisha once they become comfortable in their role and environment, or more obvious as with Diane to portray their fashion sense and being comfortable with their position of power, or like Kalinda keeping it minimal and making it about being good at the job. It’s up to each individual to do this in a way that allows their personality to shine through their personal brand.

Interestingly I was working with a client recently who was preparing for the interview stages of a significant progressive WorkLife change. And when she was selecting the clothes she would wear for the various stages of the process, she met with a personal dresser who said she had never failed in dressing a client for success in interviews while enabling them to make their personal brand statement.

The interviews were representative of the very different work environments across the world where my client’s work would take her to from a multicultural and community relations perspective. She needed and wanted to be respectful of this while retaining her own style and brand personality. Her dresser was true to her word, in helping my client to dress for success in securing the role.

For me, it’s my signature perfume, colourful lipsticks and my wacky pink Ted Baker purse that has started many a conversation and brings a smile to people’s faces. 

I think we all need something that allows our uniqueness, personality and fun side to shine through our personal branding.

What is something about your appearance that gives an insight into what’s unique about you and allows your personality to shine through?

The reviews I write are by way of reflecting on cultural experiences to include performing, visual and literary arts that touched my heart and my mind and making sense of them in the context of learning and development in both the community and workplace.

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POSTSCRIPT

This story was originally published on 26/2/15. I needed to republish it to add updates and also to tell you

… The Continuing Story …

The pandemic brought about a change in my WorkLife from delivering in-person individual coaching sessions and group workshops to creating resources to help people self direct their WorkLife learning.

In the last three years, I’ve published 30 books and over 200 stories.

Each book and each story is based on real life struggles and successes that people have encountered in their WorkLife. They also detail the exercises that helped navigate through these situations, which are set as assignments for readers to adapt to their WorkLife situations and learning needs.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

My inspiration for creating my work comes from a lifelong passion for learning. My work has taught me that the one thing in life that can never be taken away from you is your learning. 

School of WorkLife Guiding Statement: To create resources that are helpful, insightful and inspiring in helping people to pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, purpose, passion and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes and resources that are accessible to everyone.

The resources I create will help you take ownership of self directing your learning in your own space and in your own time.

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School of WorkLife helps you self-direct your WorkLife learning through resources that have been created to help you to take ownership of your learning in your own space and in your own time. 

What is Self Directed Learning? 

Self-Directed Learning is when an individual is motivated to take the initiative and responsibility on decisions related to their own learning. It is a series of independent actions and judgements free from external control and constraint. 

Resources to Help You Self-Direct Your Learning 

Today’s story was featured in chapter five of my book, Your WorkLife Your Way Who Do You Think You Are? Your Identity Your Brand,

You may find the books below from The School of WorkLife Book Series helpful in meeting your learning needs as a self directed learner. Tap the book title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

 How To Build Your True Personal Brand Identity (Today’s story also featured in this book).

How To Use Your Voice To Express and Protect Your Identity 

How To Live True To Who You Really Are 

You can view the complete collection of books here: The School of WorkLife Book Series.

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning
Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning

Founder of School of WorkLife, Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.  These include a Collection of Books which originated from her first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and a  Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies.  which originated from her latest book WorkLife Book Club. 

That’s the power of writing (and reading, which is an integral part of the craft for writers). It helps you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations – in day-to-day communication: WorkLife and feedback conversations, presentations, talks, and negotiations, at interviews, and when socialising and networking in building and maintaining good relationships. The practice of writing helps you to tell the stories that express who you are in an interesting and engaging way.

What Are Special Memories of Your Family That Make Great Stories to Tell? 

What Unique Gifts Will Your Loved Ones Be Remembered For? 

Nurse Anne
Nurse Anne

Today would have been my sister Anne’s birthday, but sadly she passed away earlier this year following a short hospital stay.

Remembering my sister Anne on her birthday with a few stories and photographs

Anne trained as a nurse but gave it up once she started her family to stay at home to bring up her boys. While she enjoyed being a stay-at-home mum, she also wanted to earn her own money. But anything she did needed to fit into the lifestyle she’d carved out for herself. 

Anne had always knitted. She once told me when she was four or five, our mum first taught her, and she never stopped after that. Anyway, she came across a company that wanted people to knit Aran jumpers (a traditional Irish jumper) for export to America. Apparently, there was a large demand for this style of jumper — among Irish ex-pats, I guess. And this is what Anne took on and did for many years to come. 

#FunFact1: Many years later, I asked Anne how much she was paid for each jumper. While she couldn’t remember exactly, she thought perhaps it was between IR£5 – IR£20 – depending on size. This was in the 1960s, when my sister Lily, who worked in our local post office, was earning IR£1 per week!

#FunFact2: The Aran jumper (Geansaí Árann) is a style of jumper that takes its name from the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland. A traditional Aran Jumper is usually off-white (báinín) in colour. Originally the jumpers were knitted using unscoured wool that retained its natural oils (lanolin), which made the garments water-resistant and meant they remained wearable even when wet. The jumpers kept the workers of the land and the sea dry and warm against the raging weather of the Atlantic coast. (Source Wikipedia)

Anne knitted the red Aran jumper I’m wearing in the pic (she also knitted me a báinín jumper, but I can’t find a pic of that). Although on the east coast of Ireland, our weather was less harsh than on the west coast, my Aran jumper still served the purpose of keeping me warm in snowy weather. 

Me (with my nephews) wearing my Aran Jumper knitted by Anne
Me (with my nephews) wearing my Aran Jumper knitted by Anne

I love that Anne’s unique gift as a knitter stitched her memory into the history of the Aran Jumper, which is quite fascinating in the history of Irish culture.

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Many years later, when Anne was in her 50s, she returned to work in a more formal environment, putting into practice the skills she’d gained in her nursing and worked with people with disabilities, supporting them to live independently in group houses in their community.

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On her retirement, Anne went back to her love of crafting and sold her wares to local craft shops and at local craft fairs. She was an extremely skilled craftsperson and won many awards for her creative collection of works. She also did quite well from a financial perspective. But probably more important to Anne was the network of friends she built through her craft and the social interaction that came from this. 

Anne was a very sociable person and loved nothing better than catching up for a chat with people over a cuppa. It seems fitting that the tea cosy she made of Irish President Michael D. Higgins (In the pic) was her most popular item in shops and at fairs – it flew off the shelves/stalls of the places she supplied. I love to think of how many people are enjoying a cuppa and a chat in the company of Michael D. and my sister Anne. 

#FunFact3 The glasses that accompanied Anne’s creation of Michael D. Tea Cosies were made by her husband, Brendan. Anne and Brendan met in 1961 when Anne was 16 and Brendan was 20. They married four years later and, on her death, had been together for 61 years. I used to laugh with Anne about the importance of the year 1961 because not only was that the year she met the love of her life, it was also the year I was born and the year she became my godmother. Anne was a wonderful godmother and sister, too, of course. I will always cherish that.

Michael D. Tea Cosy by Anne, Glasses by Brendan
Michael D. Tea Cosy by Anne, Glasses by Brendan 

Happy Birthday, Anne xx

Epilogue

Words of Wisdom

I like to tell stories about my family. They make a great story to tell because they’re special to me. And also because they allow me to remember my loved ones through their unique gifts.

What Are Special Memories of Your Family That Make Great Stories to Tell? 

What Unique Gifts Will Your Loved Ones Be Remembered For? 

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning
Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning

Founder of School of WorkLife, Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.  These include a Collection of Books which originated from her first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and a  Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies.  which originated from her latest book WorkLife Book Club. 

That’s the power of writing (and reading, which is an integral part of the craft for writers). It helps you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations – in day-to-day communication: WorkLife and feedback conversations, presentations, talks, and negotiations, at interviews, and when socialising and networking in building and maintaining good relationships. The practice of writing helps you to tell the stories that express who you are in an interesting and engaging way

Chapter 7 I’m Taking Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast on A Moveable Feast Chapter by Chapter

Chapter 7 (of 20) The End of an Avocation 

A Moveable Feast Chapter Seven, The End of an Avocation, Accompanied by Moules A L’ail with French Fries paired with a carafe of white wine.
A Moveable Feast Chapter Seven, The End of an Avocation, Accompanied by Moules A L’ail with French Fries paired with a carafe of white wine

Chapter 1 (of 20), A Good Café on the Place St-Michael, will take you back in time to the story that began my French culinary experiences while reading A Moveable Feast, chapter by chapter. From there, each chapter will take you to the next chapter and culinary experience. 

“If you are lucky enough to have lived in Paris as a young man, then wherever you go for the rest of your life, it stays with you, for Paris is a moveable feast.” Ernest Hemingway.

Chapter 7 (of 20) The End of an Avocationaccompanied by Moules A L’ail with French Fries paired with a carafe of Mon Roc Blanc, Colombard, France at La Petite Auberge, Islington. 

Notes From Chapter 7: The End of an Avocation

A WorkLife Book Club For One

Notes about Avocation

Racing never came between us but for a long time it stayed close to us like a demanding friend. This was a generous way to think of it.

It was not really racing either. It was gambling on horses. But we called it racing.

I was going to races alone more now and I was involved with them and getting too mixed up with them. 

I stopped finally because it took too much time, I was getting too involved.

When I stopped working on the races I was glad but it left an emptiness. But then I knew everything good and bad left an emptiness when it stopped. But if it was bad, the emptiness filled up by itself. If it was good you could only fill it by finding something better. I put the racing capital back into the general funds and I felt relaxed and good.

The day I gave up racing I went over to the other side of the river and met my friend Mike.

‘You never went to the track much, Mike,’ I said.

‘No, not for quite a long time.’

‘Why did you lay off it?’

‘I don’t know,’ Mike said. “Yes, sure I do. Anything you have to bet on to get a kick isn’t worth seeing.’

‘What do you see that’s better?’

‘Bicycle racing.’

‘Really?’

‘You don’t have to bet on it. You’ll see.’

… ‘we’ll go the bike races sometime’.

That was a new and fine thing that I knew little about. 

It came to be a big part of our lives later. 

Mike was right about it there was no need to bet.

As always, when having read the chapter over a glass and a plate, I take a little time to mull it over to consider how it connects to my WorkLife before I write the chapter notes. This mulling can be focused in the present, the past or the future. Really it’s just wherever my thoughts take me in relation to what the chapter means to me and what learning I can take from it.

A Note about my Present Past and Future Story

At the same time, I’m taking Hemingway’s A Moveable Feast on A Moveable Feast, I’m also revisiting stories I’ve shared on my blog over recent years to update them with the continuing story of my WorkLife: The pandemic brought about a change in my work when the in-person individual coaching and group workshops I was due to facilitate came to an abrupt halt. To continue to serve people’s WorkLife learning needs, I began to create resources to help people self direct their learning. 

I, in effect, filled the emptiness from my lost work, which kept me connected with people in person, to remote work, which gave me a sense of connection, albeit working solo.

The day I sat down to write notes about this chapter was the day I republished: Why is it Important to Put Your Interests and Hobbies on Your CV? (complete with my continuing story). In the post, I share Mary’s story about wanting to move on from an organisation, industry and sector that no longer inspired her. 

A Note about Mary’s Story

Mary, a Chief Financial Officer, is very private and wanted to keep her personal and professional WorkLife separate. Because of this, she hadn’t put her avocations on her CV. Now, Mary is also very unassuming and perhaps didn’t recognise or fully appreciate her amazing achievements outside of work.

This is an excerpt from Mary’s story to demonstrate what I mean:

Among Mary’s passions are a love for English Heritage and a love of animals. She supports charities in both her areas of interest through donations, and she is also a trustee and board member of her chosen charities. She does this in a voluntary capacity.

She had also taken a two-month sabbatical, during which time she lived in a small community in remote Africa and worked alongside the local people offering her financial expertise to support them in developing a sustainable business strategy for the community, which allowed them to be self-sufficient in promoting their social enterprise. At the end of the two months, the community held a carnival in celebration of Mary’s support, and she was crowned queen of their village!

Along with all of this, Mary also has her pilot’s licence, and at weekends you’ll find her navigating the skies of Britain along with her husband, a fellow enthusiast.

In my work, I never give advice. This is because I believe everyone has the inner wisdom to figure things out for themselves, and when they do, it’s always more meaningful. 

But that said, people, can sometimes get stuck in their thinking. And so it can help to share my thoughts – not by way of telling them what to do, but by way of giving them a different perspective that possibly could help them to move beyond their ‘stuckness’.

I shared with Mary that I believe it’s important for people to put their interests and hobbies (avocations) on their CVs because they need to share a holistic insight into who they are. 

This is a further excerpt from Mary’s story to demonstrate what I mean:

Having an insight into what’s unique and different about a candidate over and above their skills and experience allows an understanding of how they will perform in the role and in being an ambassador for the company. And as importantly, provides an insight into how the company can support the candidate’s learning, development and growth in line with what is important to them, both professionally and personally. 

Epilogue to Mary’s Story

Mary’s story does have a happy ending. Putting her interests and hobbies on her CV opened up a greater range of roles for her. She has since secured a role in an organisation, industry and sector that inspires her.

I love that my profession allows me to immerse myself in the world of people’s learning and that I get to participate in their WorkLife journeys. Mary’s is just one story of the 100s of client stories where people’s avocations played an important role in their WorkLife.

For some, their avocation remained a hobby or interest outside of work that gave them a sense of fulfilment. For others their avocation became their vocation when, as with Mary, they lived their WorkLife true to their passions. For all, their avocations helped their WorkLife learning and development. 

This chapter was a reminder of the importance of avocations.

Many of the avocations of the people I’ve worked with are good avocations. But as with Hemingway’s story, I’ve also experienced people’s stories of bad avocations, which they have had to stop. This left them with an emptiness they then had to fill. 

In my book, WorkLife Book Club, the back story of the character Benny was that he had been under immense pressure to save his company from failing, which would have resulted in significant job losses. In his fight against this happening, he had to give up much of what was good in his life outside of work. This was because what he needed to do required him to work every waking hour, and he had little time for anything else. He was living and sleeping at the office, and in the darkest of hours, when he was alone with an emptiness to fill, he filled it with the only thing he felt could keep him going and get him through the difficulties he was facing. That thing was alcohol. 

Within a short space of time, things spiralled out of control. An intervention from his colleagues, family and friends saved his life. His circumstance of recovery filled the emptiness of stopping drinking. Then at a much further point along his road to recovery, Benny felt he could begin to fill that emptiness brought about by stopping drinking with something else. 

He chose a book club simply because he loved reading and also because he wanted to enjoy a sociable experience that wasn’t focused around alcohol. The WorkLife Book Club took him and his fellow members on a culinary journey through the streets of Shoreditch, East London, while discussing WorkLife struggles and successes through the wisdom found in the books they read.

Words of Wisdom

Hemingway replaced horse racing (or gambling) with bike racing which became an avocation (without the need to gamble).

Benny replaced drinking with shared learning through reading and culinary experiences.

For both men, these were new and fine things they knew little about that became a big part of their lives later. They became their avocations.

Hemingway learnt that Mike was right about bike racing – that there was no need to bet.

Benny learnt from his new social experience – that there was no need to drink.

Epilogue

Unlike previous times when I wasn’t sure when I’ll read the next chapter of A Moveable Feast over a glass and a plate. This time I know because I read the next chapter over desert and a glass of wine at La Petite Auberge

… Let’s see where A Moveable Feast the next chapter story is going to take me …

… I can now share where Chapter 8 (of 20) Hunger Was Good Discipline Took Me …

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Today I enjoyed Moules A L’ail with French Fries paired with a carafe of Mon Roc Blanc, Colombard, France at La Petite Auberge, Islington. 

Se souvenir de toi, Norma.

3 #FunFacts about Mussels (Source Eyre Peninsula Seafoods).

#FunFact1 Mussels are good for the ocean

Not only do they taste great, mussels are a crucial part of healthy marine ecosystems. Without mussels, the ocean and her inhabitants wouldn’t fare so well. And that’s because mussels are natural filter feeders.

#FunFact2 Mussels have more iron than fillet steak

It’s quite amazing to think that such a small morsel can have so much iron, but it does.

Mussels are a great source of iron. They are a lean protein and will keep you feeling fuller for longer.

#FunFact3 There are male and female mussels

Have you ever wondered why some mussels are orange and others are white? It all comes down to gender. The orange mussels are female and the creamy white mussels are male. Both have the same rich, sweet flavour you love.

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School of WorkLife helps you self-direct your WorkLife learning through resources that have been created to help you to take ownership of your learning in your own space and in your own time. 

What is Self Directed Learning?

Self-Directed Learning is when an individual is motivated to take the initiative and responsibility on decisions related to their own learning. It is a series of independent actions and judgements free from external control and constraint. 

Resources to Help You Self-Direct Your Learning 

You may want to self-direct your learning by starting your WorkLife Book Club For One, For Two, or for more people. Guidelines for Starting and Running Your WorkLife Book Club will help you do that. 

You may find the books below from The School of WorkLife Book Series helpful in meeting your learning needs as a self directed learner. Tap the book title to see a preview of what’s inside each book.

Your WorkLife Your Way

How To Use Your Voice To Express and Protect Your Identity 

How To Self-Coach, Direct and Lead Effectively

You can view the complete collection here: The School of WorkLife Book Series.

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Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning
Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.  These include a Collection of Books which originated from her first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and a  Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies.  which originated from her latest book WorkLife Book Club. 

That’s the power of writing (and reading, which is an integral part of the craft for writers), it helps you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations – in day-to-day communication: WorkLife and feedback conversations, presentations, talks, and negotiations, at interviews, and when socialising and networking in building and maintaining good relationships. The practice of writing helps you to tell the stories that express who you are in an interesting and engaging way.

7 Insightful Questions to Help You Embrace What’s Important to You in Your WorkLife 

How to Create a Fulfilling WorkLife That Makes You Jump Out of Bed Each Morning

Learning Resources From School of WorkLife. Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning.
Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning

jumping-out-of-bedCan we really create a WorkLife that’s fulfilling, motivating and inspiring? 

That makes us want to jump out of bed in the morning and keeps us sustained throughout the day, week, month, year and beyond into the future.

Well, actually, yes, and I can say that because that’s exactly what I’ve done for myself, and I’ve helped quite a few people do it too.

But before I get to that …

What is WorkLife?

WorkLife is our life both in and out of work and the impact each has on the other. I believe WorkLife needs to be considered holistically because all areas of our life are so intrinsically linked they cannot be separated.

In my work I have connected the words Work and Life to express the meaning they hold for me. I capitalise the first letter of each word to highlight their importance and relationship.

These words are from my book, WorkLife Book Club

And now, back to my WorkLife Story …

A Case Study: How to Create a Fulfilling WorkLife That Makes You Jump Out of Bed Each Morning 
7 Insightful Questions to Help You Embrace What’s Important to You in Your WorkLife 

Coming from a background in Investment banking, which I actually really enjoyed while I was doing it, which was as much to do with being in a good environment and working with great people as well as the job itself. But it did become mundane towards the end as I was doing it for so long, and so the time came to move on, but move on to what? 

That was the million-dollar question.

It took time to discover what that was, but eventually, I arrived at where I am now by way of having a curious mind and an openness to the adventure of trying new things. This led me to interesting experiences to include many excellent courses. Not least my Postgraduate studies in Career Coaching and Career Management with Birbeck University. I know it sounds very cliché, but if there was one WorkLife changing moment, undertaking this degree would be it in terms of where I am now in my WorkLife.

My learning and development have always been important to me, and now because of my studies, I was in a position where I was working with individuals and organisations on their learning and development programmes. 

The one-to-one coaching work came easy to me, but I felt inhibited delivering group work – I was incredibly nervous talking in front of an audience, and I also suddenly became quite wooden! 

To overcome this, I undertook a foundation year in Drama along with several shorter acting and directing courses, and actually a little writing, drawing and painting too!

It was then I had my eureka moment of how the techniques, structures and methods of theatre making are significant in the world of WorkLife learning and development. The unique skills set performing artists have had to develop in their craft brings learning alive. This is ‘learning by doing’ enabling the practice of new skills sets and behaviours in a safe, supportive, challenging and creative environment.

I was now in a position to combine my knowledge and experience of WorkLife learning and development with drama-based techniques. This enables the individuals and teams I work with to be more active, spontaneous and flexible, freeing their minds to use their imagination to be inventive and original. The intrinsic nature of this work helps foster creativity, team spirit and emotional intelligence.

This was a double whammy for me because, along with a love of learning and development, I am also passionate about performing, literary and visual arts. Now I’ve created a WorkLife that embodies what’s most important to me both in and out of work. 

I work with interesting people helping them manage and develop their WorkLife in a way that’s fulfilling, motivating and inspiring for them. And I work with a team of performing, literary and visual artists in delivering the work. We incorporate all aspects of the arts into our work and, by association, our life — A definite win/win!

If you’re at a stage where you’re no longer finding your WorkLife fulfilling, consider the following:

7 Insightful Questions to Help you Embrace What’s Important to You in your WorkLife 

  1. What are your most important core values? e.g. for me, it’s the importance of continuous learning and development, and this is through many mediums – reading, writing, courses, cultural experiences, and even speaking! … eventually!

2. What are your best attributes? – e.g. for me, it’s kindness, curiosity, and a sense of humour.

3. What are your most unusual characteristics? – e.g. I consider myself adventurous – I love new experiences. Brave – I’ve taken risks. Humble – I’m more of a behind-the-scenes kind of person – l love researching and creating. I’m not big on fanfare and awards – my greatest award or reward is knowing my work has had a positive impact on someone’s WorkLife.

4. What are your best mental abilities? e.g. I believe mine are – empathy, the ability to see both the bigger and smaller picture, and the ability to think laterally and understand new ideas.

5. What are your best social skills? e.g. I’m friendly, welcoming, easy company, and interested in people. 

6. What are your best business skills? e.g. for me, it’s relationship building, flexibility and adaptability, and communication skills.

7. And what are your most important interests? e.g. for me, it’s performing, visual and literary arts, travel, exploring and discovering new things.

Answering these questions requires self-awareness about who you are and what’s important to you and then taking ownership of that. Some answers may come to you easily. Others may need input from people you trust. 

What I mean is, sometimes, when we do things naturally, we perhaps don’t recognise them as being anything special. Or we take them for granted, and it takes other people to point out to us what’s unique and real about us. 

For example, I can say I’m kind and friendly, welcoming, easy company, and interested in people because that’s what other people say I am. And as much as I knew that about myself, it felt strange to say it – almost big-headed, but then I recognised that not only is this self-awareness important, but so is taking ownership of who I am.

Answering these questions will hopefully help you create a fulfilling WorkLife because you’re ensuring you embrace what’s important to you both in your work and your life outside of work.

And if, like me, you want to consider a new WorkLife that embodies the things that are important to you, these questions will provide a good stepping-off point to begin exploring your journey to a new and more fulfilling WorkLife.

By having a curious mind and an openness to the adventure of trying new things, I am confident that you, too, will create a fulfilling WorkLife that makes you jump out of bed each morning.

And the wonderful thing about this approach is that you will become a self directed learner in taking control of your learning, development and growth towards a more fulfilled WorkLife.

I can’t think of anything more fulfilling, can you? 

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POSTSCRIPT

This story was originally published on 23/2/15. I needed to republish it to add updates and also to tell you

… The Continuing Story …

The pandemic brought about a change in my WorkLife from delivering in-person individual coaching sessions and group workshops to creating resources to help people self direct their WorkLife learning.

In the last three years, I’ve published 30 books and over 200 stories.

Each book and each story is based on real life struggles and successes that people have encountered in their WorkLife. They also detail the exercises that helped navigate through these situations, which are set as assignments for readers to adapt to their WorkLife situations and learning needs.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

My inspiration for creating my work comes from a lifelong passion for learning. My work has taught me that the one thing in life that can never be taken away from you is your learning. 

School of WorkLife Guiding Statement: To create resources that are helpful, insightful and inspiring in helping people to pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, purpose, passion and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes and resources that are accessible to everyone.

The resources I create will help you take ownership of self directing your learning in your own space and in your own time.

…………………………………………………………………………………………………………..

School of WorkLife helps you self-direct your WorkLife learning through resources that have been created to help you to take ownership of your learning in your own space and in your own time. 

What is Self Directed Learning?

Self-Directed Learning is when an individual is motivated to take the initiative and responsibility on decisions related to their own learning. It is a series of independent actions and judgements free from external control and constraint. 

Resources to Help You Self-Direct Your Learning 

You may find the books below helpful in creating a fulfilling WorkLife as a self directed learner. Tap the book title to see a preview of what’s inside.

How To Embrace The Superpower of Self-Awareness 

How To Let Curiosity Be Your Driving Force

How To Self-Coach, Direct and Lead Effectively

You can view the complete collection here: The School of WorkLife Book Series.

 Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning
Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.  These include a Collection of Books which originated from her first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and a  Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies.  which originated from her latest book WorkLife Book Club. 

That’s the power of writing (and reading, which is an integral part of the craft for writers), it helps you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations – in day-to-day communication: WorkLife and feedback conversations, presentations, talks, and negotiations, at interviews, and when socialising and networking in building and maintaining good relationships. The practice of writing helps you to tell the stories that express who you are in an interesting and engaging way.

9 Insightful Questions to Help Understand What People Can Bring to the Role 

How to Hire the Best Person for the Job

Learning Resources From School of WorkLife. Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning.
Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning.

imagesIn a Harvard Business Review article, Kevin Ryan, founder and CEO of Gilt Groupe, suggests going beyond the referees supplied by a candidate and utilising your network to find mutual contacts who can provide candid feedback to insightful questions.

The following good interview questions to ask support good hiring practices. 

1. Would you hire this person again? 

Follow on questions to dig deeper: If so, why and in what capacity? If not, why not?

2. How would you describe the candidate’s ability to innovate, manage, lead, deal with ambiguity, get things done, and influence others?

3. What were some of the best things this person accomplished? 

4. What could he or she have done better?

5. In what type of culture, environment and role can you see this person excelling? 

6. In what type of role is he or she unlikely to be successful?

7. Would you describe the candidate as a leader, a strategist, an executor, a collaborator, a thinker, or something else? 

Follow on question to dig deeper:  Can you give me some examples to support your description?

8. Do people enjoy working with this candidate, and would former co-workers want to work with him or her again?

9. In what areas does the candidate need to improve?

Perhaps Kevin’s thinking and approach are quite radical, or maybe not. It is congruent with his philosophy that businesses succeed not because of a unique idea and vision but because of the people and the execution that matters. And execution relies on human talent, which demands building and maintaining a high calibre team. And in order to do this, a candidate’s true potential needs to be understood. 

The approach described supports the right decision being made for important hires, and of course, all hires are important. Companies with good hiring practices will attest to that. They will also attest to the benefits of good hiring practices as outlined in Kevin’s thinking.

Words of Wisdom

Insightful questions lead to effective feedback.

The Corporate Drama – Role-play for Real-play: Hire for Potential short film shows a difficult scenario set up to enable candidates to demonstrate how they would handle a difficult WorkLife situation. 

POSTSCRIPT

This story was originally published on 20/2/15. I needed to republish it to add updates and also to tell you

… The Continuing Story …

The pandemic brought about a change in my WorkLife from delivering in-person individual coaching sessions and group workshops to creating resources to help people self direct their WorkLife learning.

In the last three years, I’ve published 30 books and over 200 stories.

Each book and each story is based on real life struggles and successes that people have encountered in their WorkLife. They also detail the exercises that helped navigate through these situations, which are set as assignments for readers to adapt to their WorkLife situations and learning needs.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

My inspiration for creating my work comes from a lifelong passion for learning. My work has taught me that the one thing in life that can never be taken away from you is your learning. 

School of WorkLife Guiding Statement: To create resources that are helpful, insightful and inspiring in helping people to pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, purpose, passion and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes and resources that are accessible to everyone.

The resources I create will help you take ownership of self directing your learning in your own space and in your own time.

…………………………………………………………………………………………..

School of WorkLife helps you self-direct your WorkLife learning through resources that have been created to help you to take ownership of your learning in your own space and in your own time. 

What is Self Directed Learning?

Self -Directed Learning is when an individual is motivated to take the initiative and responsibility on decisions related to their own learning. It is a series of independent actions and judgements free from external control and constraint. 

Resources to Help You Self-Direct Your Learning 

This is another Harvard article by Kevin Ryan on Building a Team of Players

You may find the books below from The School of WorkLife Book Series helpful in meeting your learning needs as a self directed learner. Tap the book title to see a preview of what’s inside.

How To Self-Coach, Direct and Lead Effectively 

How To Embrace The Superpower of Self-Awareness 

How To Fine-Tune The Superpower of Observation 

You can view the complete collection of books here: The School of WorkLife Book Series.

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.
Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning. 

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.  These include a Collection of Books which originated from her first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and a  Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies.  which originated from her latest book WorkLife Book Club. 

That’s the power of writing (and reading, which is an integral part of the craft for writers), it helps you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations – in day-to-day communication: WorkLife and feedback conversations, presentations, talks, and negotiations, at interviews, and when socialising and networking in building and maintaining good relationships. The practice of writing helps you to tell the stories that express who you are in an interesting and engaging way.

What Effective Key Lesson Can Business Schools Learn From the Medical Profession?

The Answer Lies in the Importance of Work-Based Learning

Learning Resources From School of WorkLife. Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning.
Resources to help you self-direct your WorkLife learning

imagesToday’s post was inspired by an article I read in Harvard Business Review in which the author spoke about the advantage medical schools have over business schools because most medical schools are affiliated with hospitals, allowing students exposure to real-world and real-time situations, in contrast to inserting business students into real-world managerial situations which are more challenging.

Now, as the author points out, while it can be disconcerting for patients to put their lives in the hands of individuals who are still learning their profession, the medical profession supervises its trainees, giving them enough autonomy to learn while minimising the chance they harm their patients.

The author goes on to talk about how Harvard Business School has long used case studies as a method to project students into the role of managers solving problems and, while acknowledging case studies as a very effective tool, also recognises the limitation for business students who can only imagine how they’d tackle a problem, whereas medical students are facing real-life health concerns. The author goes on to talk about a curriculum change Harvard is undertaking to close this knowing-doing gap through work-based learning.

What is work-based learning?

“Work-based learning (WBL) is an educational strategy that provides students with real-life work experiences where they can apply academic and technical skills and develop their employability.”

“WBL programs are targeted to bridge the gap between the learning and the doing through work placement and informal learning on the job.”

“Work-based learning strategies provide career awareness, career exploration opportunities, career planning activities and help students attain competencies such as positive work attitudes and other employable skills.” (Source Wikipedia) 

The Harvard article resonated with me because of a meeting I had recently with a previous colleague who is now working with a leading university on Work Based Learning. The university has pioneered an Institute for Work Based Learning which partners directly with individual learners and organisations to create bespoke programmes from certificate through to doctorate level. 

Additionally, they have partnered with two leading Business Schools by way of collaboration on the delivery of training. This initiative is further supported by the Work Based Learning Research Centre they’ve established, allowing real-time understanding of the relationship between work practice and learning within organisations together with development needs in line with UK policy and international demands.

This is an area of further interest for me because many organisations have cut back on their training and development budget as a result of the current economic situation. Many have come to recognise the adverse impact this has had on their corporate growth strategy, particularly as many of these organisations have gone through downsizing and restructuring exercises and, as a result, have lost valuable employees, causing intense pressure to the ‘survivors’ to not only steer through everyday challenges and increased workloads but also improve their skills and learning to allow them to perform in line with the needs and demands of their roles and organisational development.

Organisations always say employees are their most valuable asset, but slashing training budgets doesn’t convey that message and is incongruent with that philosophy. Surely the benefits of work base learning  is the solution to enable individuals and teams to bridge that knowing-doing gap that would support their organisation in achieving their business strategy.
Check Out Middlesex University London for further information on their learning programmes.

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POSTSCRIPT

This story was originally published on 16/2/15. I needed to republish it to add updates and also to tell you

… The Continuing Story …

The pandemic brought about a change in my WorkLife from delivering in-person individual coaching sessions and group workshops to creating resources to help people self direct their WorkLife learning.

In the last three years, I’ve published 30 books and over 200 stories.

Each book and each story is based on real life struggles and successes that people have encountered in their WorkLife. They also detail the exercises that helped navigate through these situations, which are set as assignments for readers to adapt to their WorkLife situations and learning needs.

I believe stories are a powerful mechanism for teaching, a powerful medium to learn through, and a powerful way to communicate who you are and what you stand for.

My inspiration for creating my work comes from a lifelong passion for learning. My work has taught me that the one thing in life that can never be taken away from you is your learning. 

School of WorkLife Guiding Statement: To create resources that are helpful, insightful and inspiring in helping people to pursue their WorkLives with greater clarity, purpose, passion and pride by creating continuous WorkLife learning programmes and resources that are accessible to everyone.

The resources I create will help you take ownership of self directing your learning in your own space and in your own time.

………………………………………………………………………………

School of WorkLife helps you self-direct your WorkLife learning through resources that have been created to help you to take ownership of your learning in your own space and in your own time. 

What is Self Directed Learning?

Self-Directed Learning is when an individual is motivated to take the initiative and responsibility on decisions related to their own learning. It is a series of independent actions and judgements free from external control and constraint. 

Resources to Help You Self-Direct Your Learning 

You may find the books below from The School of WorkLife Book Series helpful in meeting your learning needs as a self directed learner. Tap the book title to see a preview of what’s inside.

How To Fine-Tune The Superpower of Observation 

How To Plan Effectively: Professionally and Personally 

How To Be Autonomous in Your Development and Growth 

You can view the complete collection of books here: The School of WorkLife Book Series.

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.
Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning

Carmel O’ Reilly is a learning practitioner and writer. She creates resources to help people self-direct their WorkLife learning.  These include a Collection of Books which originated from her first book, Your WorkLife Your Way and a  Learn Through Reading Series of Case Studies.  which originated from her latest book WorkLife Book Club. 

That’s the power of writing (and reading, which is an integral part of the craft for writers), it helps you find, develop and tell the right story at the right time in all WorkLife situations – in day-to-day communication: WorkLife and feedback conversations, presentations, talks, and negotiations, at interviews, and when socialising and networking in building and maintaining good relationships. The practice of writing helps you to tell the stories that express who you are in an interesting and engaging way.