The 12 Day WOL Experiment – one thought a day

The basic idea of the 12 Day WOL Experiment is finding a way to sustain the experience of a 12 week WOL circle. Now the 2nd trial is ready to kick off. You may have read about the first trial on this website.

During this trial of the Experiment I am going to identify one thought each day which from my perspective represents the essence of one week of my WOL circle. The concept for this trial is the following:

  • The overall goal is to sustain the experience of a 12 weeks WOL circle
  • Each of the 12 days represents one week of my past WOL circle
  • It is my goal to find one thought each day which from today’s point of view mostly expresses the essence of the respective week to me.
  • This thought shall help to revitalize the experience from the pas circle.

Day 12

When reading “pay it forward” in the week 12 circle guide I was wondering if I understood this right. I tried to find out and reached this wikipedia page about “Pay it forward” .

It reads:

“…Pay it forward is an expression for describing the beneficiary of a good deed repaying it to others instead of to the original benefactor…”

Imagine what would happen if every participant of a WOL circle would act like that after finishing the 12 weeks.

Day 11

Will this be working? This “tribes thing” – a good idea!

Ok, I will put it on my reading list and then let’s see if I can use it in some respect. Should I?

No, I don’t think so. I will decide now! Do I want to do it at a specific point in time? If yes, I will put it in my diary, if no then I will not any longer think about it. I don’t want to spam my reading list with „maybe items“.

Day 10

A Checklist.

The checklist for week 10. The contribution checklist.

Does everybody need to do everything? It depends.

One could go and have a coffee with a colleague to share ideas or information instead of having a quick phone call. Or pick up the phone and have a call instead of writing an email or sending messages via messenger apps. My summary would be that it is always good to cultivate direct, personal communication.

When reading through checklists I sometimes think: yes, yes and also a yes to this item. Now I just need to do it. But when?

I need to give it a priority. As high as necessary. As high as it needs to be to be in my calendar at the place where I want to have it. At the priority I want to assign to it.

I need to do it!

I need to keep my diary up to date and also I need to keep the priorities where they need to be.

No excuses – go for it!

Day 9

Imagine: Everyone contributes and shares information.

Who wouldn’t like this? Productive meetings, full of creative ideas. Respectful communication. Content and results shared openly.

But one might say: “It is not possible because there are so many people out there who are not generous, who do not share, trust, and collaborate. They need to change – only then everything would be ok.”


Better to concentrate on the factors I can influence and change by myself. Everyone can be generous, open and constructive. I should be doing it.

Finally it will work out. Trust.

Day 8

As I already wrote during my personal WOL Challenge my personal favourites on the habit checklist are:
– set achievable goals
– plan small steps
– chart your progress

With these 3 items it is possible to create success day after day. This is also true if you look at the other checklists and exercises which are to be used during the 12 WOL weeks.

Especially in cases when a checklist or an exercise seems to be too complex it will help to set achievable goals (not everything at once) and plan small steps. Continuous status checking and progress charting helps to decide for the next step.

Just the top 3.

Day 7

The week 7 circle guide has the headline “be purposeful” and the task is to write a letter from my future-self. Imagining my future is part of creating my future. During one of his talks about habit 2 (Begin with the End in Mind) Stephen Covey says: “If you don’t take care of your future creation, it will be done for you”. Later during that talk he says “You are the programmer, write the program”. The letter from my future self is a first step to write this program.

When I wrote the letter from my future-self I was asking me sometimes if this letter could be a burden instead of a guideline. What if I would recognize that I was not going to achieve what I wrote to myself from the future? Wouldn’t that be a source of frustration, wouldn’t this be counter productive?

Again I would like to reference to Stephen Covey’s habit 2. He calls it a personal mission statement. Especially successful people are having one. Like a mission statement in a company or in any other context it needs review after some time. Hence the answer to my above question is to review my future-self-letter from time to time. It needs to be aligned with my present experience.

As the programmer of my future I am running through a normal refactoring.

Day 6

The headline for week/day6 is improve your visibility. But did you ever check in to a hotel where you went through the lobby and thought “wow! This is really a nice hotel”. But then you arrived in your room and you were disappointed.

Indeed, only the lobby has been styled and cleaned up. But at the moment you leave the lobby you enter a different terrain. In these cases the lobby was only meant to attract customers. The rest was meant to get them kind of used to it.

When going through the 12 weeks of the WOL program it becomes obvious in week 6 that all of the twelve weeks together make sense. It is not just about tidying up the lobby. Even though it is part of the whole journey.

Day 5

Day 5 of the 12 Day WOL Experiment shows that not only the big things count. Revitalizing the 12 week WOL experience in 12 days is at the core of this experiment.

Like compressing 12 weeks to 12 days it can be an exiting approach to just think about what someone did during the last 20 minutes to distill a list of fact about this person.

In my case I got me a cup of coffee and sat down at my desk. Before starting to write this article I quickly looked out of the window. Then I scanned some minutes through the online version of the New York Times. On this website I often magically touch down in the Cooking section. They have lots of exciting vegetarian recipes.

Then I began to write this daily thought.

And these are some facts and starting points about me distilled from the last 20 minutes:
– drink coffee
– special kind?
– what about tea
– read newspapers online
– which others newspapers?
– attracted by the cooking section of newspapers
– also cooking sites?
– vegetarian food
– cooking
– need some minutes to arrive at what I want to do

Think about what you did during the last 20 minutes and let your associations flow.

Day 4

To me the word “earn” is the linchpin in “earn someone else’s attention” which is the motto in the circle guide of week 4. “Earning attention” means earning trust.

Often one can hear “we/I/you need to build trust”. But trust cannot be build. It needs to be earned. Like in the above motto. But how can trust and attention be earned?

In his famous book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” Stephen Covey describes Habit 5 as:

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood”.

The Circle guide states it like that:

“In general, being mindful of the following three questions can fundamentally change how you approach someone:
– What would my reaction be if I were the other person?
– Why should she care?
– Why am I doing this?”

Trust is a fragile plant which needs to be nurtured steadily – with sincerity. It takes time.

Day 3

Take three small steps” is the title of the week 3 circle guide. My immediate association points to the power of the figure 3. It is so often the case that the 3 plays an important role in various parts of our life. It is so often like this

  • someone recommends three things one should keep in mind
  • there are three easy things to move forward
  • the three wishes one may have
  • there are three things on our priority list for today
  • three easy steps to success
  • the summary of a presentation has three key points
  • and many more …

Of course often there are far more than 3 things to do or 3 steps to success but here comes the power of the 80/20 rule the Pareto principle, It helps most to prioritize and concentrate on the top 20% which cause 80% of the effects.

Ok, let’s concentrate on the top 3 for day 3 and have a successful day!

Day 2

The thought for today comes from Tara Brach a Meditation Teacher from the US. Sometimes I listen to one of her guided meditations. At some point she says:

“Be aware of the difference between being inside a thought and being awake, senses open, present.”

It was this thought that came to my mind when I read through the week 2 circle guide and went through the Generosity Test which read like:

“The key to real generosity is to be detached from the outcomes […] Offer some assistance without any mental strings attached.”

Coming to the ZEN of holding the door open is like detaching the metal strings. This is the point of awareness, senses open – being aware of the difference between being inside a thought and being awake.

Day 1

For day 1 the key thought is just one word: Enthusiasm

When I first read about WOL I was fascinated by the enormous amount of Enthusiasm I could sense between all the WOL participants. This feeling was it what made me looking for more of that. And this was also the key thought during my first WOL week.

My Association of Enthusiasm with regard to WOL in the beginning was
– learn something new
– value driven culture
– connect to other people
– first time an HR strategy concretely helps to transfer from wish to reality
– self responsibility
– adventure
– driven by purpose
– take responsible decisions
– identify goals
– agility
– social networking with purpose
– becoming visible
– each one gets a chance and gets help

And yes, John Stepper’s blog post “Your one word” inspired me to select just the one word “Enthusiasm” for day 1.

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