On 6 August, I was a guest at a Lifestream event organised by Connie Wu in Shanghai, where six guests shared their experiences with Working Out Loud (WOL).
How did I get this honour? I have been participating in my first (private) WOL Circle in Heilbronn since May 2021. I speak Chinese and that’s how Connie Wu became aware of me.
Who is Connie Wu? She is very well known in the Working Out Loud community. She introduced the Working Out Loud method in China and translated the WOL workbook into Chinese, among many other things. We were in contact several times before the event. Connie took a lot of time for me and was very supportive. You can tell that she wants the best for everyone.
What did I learn at the event? I summarise my experience with the help of the five core concepts of the WOL cosmos as shown in this diagramme:
1 Purposeful discovery: Having a learning goal in mind orients your activities
I work in the education sector and have practically no professional experience in business companies. For me as a China expert, knowledge about the Chinese working world and about German-Chinese cooperation is very valuable. The other participants in the event are all working in national and international companies. Their contributions were all very interesting for me.
2 Visible Work: Extends your reach
A young Chinese IT engineer working in a start-up in New Zealand told the audience:
„I heard that about 80 % of the good jobs are not posted in the form of job ads on the internet, I should spend 80% of my time on doing offline social events during the job search.“
It is impressive for me to see that young people all over the world today have the same experience when starting a career. WOL creates a perfect environment to increase visibility. Visibility is an opportunity for everyone to make themselves known, attract the attention of potential employers, get involved in interesting projects and realise their own potential.
3 Relationships are at the heart of WOL
Among other things, the WOL programme offers useful tools for building relationships. I always thought the Chinese were world champions at networking – and didn’t need any additional knowledge or new insights here! Nevertheless, it is a topic especially for young Chinese.
Much has been written about the Chinese notion of 关系 relationships, the term is widely known. WOL networking, in my view, is even more about building horizontal relationships than vertical ones.
This is how one participant summarised his experience:
„(…) I was able to make good contacts with peers.“
And furthermore, even if there are different experiences, this does level out within the WOL Circle:
„I am not the only one facing these problems, there were some very experienced people in the group who were facing the same problems as me, and by talking to them I could learn how they dealt with it.“
4 Generosity: We are wired for reciprocal atruism
One of the five core concepts in the Working Out Loud programme is generosity towards others. Generosity, as I understand it, is a Western value related to altruism (unselfishness as opposed to egoism). It also resonates with the maxim „It is more blessed to give than to receive“, which in turn has to do with charity according to Christian ideas.
In this context, I found the statement of one participant remarkable:
„If every member of the WOL Circle is generous and unselfish and helps others, he will also be helped. We can achieve a very great self-realisation in the process of helping others, the Circle is such an opportunity for you to help others.“
I was impressed by the great seriousness of the young woman when she spoke about this aspect.
Certainly, one can build a bridge here from generosity to the Chinese value system of 做人zuo ren, humanity in the Confucian sense. This is how Western and Chinese ideas meet.
The beauty is: Generosity is not prescribed. While, according to Chinese ideas, care and loyalty within the family or between friends are linked to moral responsability, generosity on the contrary – according to my interpretation – takes mostly place without obligation or coercion.
5 Growth Mindset: Develop an open and curios approach
The topic of Growth Mindset is widely discussed in China and in Germany, not only in the Working Out Loud community.
A participant’s statement on this:
„The ability to keep learning and stay curious about new things has become a necessary skill to keep moving forward. I think the Working Out Loud method can practically help every one of us ordinary people who are facing various challenges. „
After the event, Connie Wu wrote to me that I was described by an audience member as 励志 „inspiring“ – a nice compliment! In fact, to this day – at the age of 65 – I am happy to have maintained a kind of “Growth Mindset”.
Just to give you one example: I will continue to follow what happens at WOL China in the future with great curiosity.
Many thanks to Connie Wu for giving me this valuable opportunity to attend the event.