For the past year, I have been working on professional development with a mentor and on my own. Every two weeks, we had a scheduled phone call. Alongside that, I read books – Getting Things Done and Essentialism being the two standouts – read blogs, watched YouTube videos, and listened to podcasts. Before, I had been wary of going down the path of self-development. The tools seemed an easy promise to hide behind, the promise that just by reading the right book or watching the right video, your productivity or skills would instantly improve. I dove in anyway. The catch, I came to realize, was that nobody knew anything about it.
Sometimes, you do find the right tool to help you, and for me, that was listening to the Office Hours Podcast, hosted by TK Coleman and Isaac Morehouse. In one particular episode, they introduced the notion of “Learning Out Loud” where they argue that it’s better to stop hiding what you’re studying or learning or working on and start showing your work before you’re an expert. TK even wrote a blog post going into more detail on his reasons why this is a better professional approach.
“…if you’re like most people, you’re not sharing what you’re learning until you get to a point where your knowledge is impressive.
It’s the way of the world: Learn about it in secret. Admit it when you’ve finally mastered it.
I’d like to challenge that approach.”
I have been the Executive Director for AFSB for two years and this has been my classroom. And yet, I have stayed mostly behind the scenes trying to learn everything I needed to know until I deemed myself the expert ready to join the workforce of professionals. Not only does that deny my reality that I just don’t know everything, but I see it now as a hindrance. There is no possibility for collaboration with peers or engagement with others if nobody knows what I’m trying to accomplish or what I want to know.
And that is what this corner-blog is going to be about. Here I will be learning out loud. I will share monthly updates on relevant topics to being an Executive Director for a Non-Profit organization such as projects I’m working on, workshops I attend, books I read, and conversations I have with other professionals. Because nobody is born an expert and you can’t get answers to questions you never ask.