Friday, 3 August 2018

Why openness is good

Because I am an open person I have transferred this into the digital realm via this blog.  I've been openly expressing myself by writing on this blog for 5 years (this month) where I share both personal and professional snippets of my life.  I decided to create this blog to share my growth and development as a person and professionalism.  I could have written this in a private journal, but I believe that it is important for others to see the development of others (peer review), so that others in the wider world can gain ideas as a form of feedback to develop themselves or even to stimulate thought processes.

My blog is largely for personal expression so I can look back on my journey.  I keep things as real as possible.  If I have experienced something and has made me think, I just write on what happened etc.  Give credit where is due and all that too.  Moreover, I do share openly because I believe in helping and inspiring others through my own learning.  It's in my strap line "Beware of my openness!".  This used to be followed by another line saying "I dare to share and be me."  But I removed it to focus on my openness and being me is a result of that.  This blog is basically a digital summary of me.  It's all about my learning, challenges I have experienced and ideas I have developed.  It's even a 'curriculum of me'.  In this blog post I will share some of the positive things it has brought me as a result of being open.

Applying for jobs and attending interviews

I talked a little bit about this in the blog post 'An employability check ☑'.  The main thing I would say is, if you want make your work open, reflect on it regularly.  Not just about what was good and what could be improved, but why it is interesting, what you learned throughout it and what it leads onto next.  This leaves it open to return back to in future blog posts which show a coherent developmental and progressive journey of your work, confidence and performance.  The outputs then demonstrate your digital identity as someone reputable, reliable and authentic in their professional field.  You can then share this with employers or employers can find this work and bring it up in interviews for further questioning etc.

Peer and self support

With family and friends, I find that I sometimes send links to my personal posts on my blog.  For example, when me and friends talk about similar issues we have experienced in our personal lives or careers,  I obviously captured these feelings at some point in the form of a blog post.  So I go over it briefly face-to-face but then I send a the link to the blog post that details it more clearly so they can get a better perspective.

Framing understanding and practices

I blog frequently on work projects and general thinking to help me understand what I am doing, why I am doing it and what are benefits from it and who gains from it and so on.  This is a learning technology that helps me immensely to record my thoughts and feelings that are required to make greater sense of a situation, literally to support my slow learning ways.  It's good to record and reflect anything you learn as it will become useful later at some point.  Like some of my blog posts provided me with a foundation when writing my Learning Technology book (#LTbookFE).  I can easily recall things to remind me of what I did at work.  Like things for my appraisal and my feelings of what and how I did it etc.  All of this ties in with 'personability' which is introduced in my book.  Personability is about soft-skills like imagination and adaptability, for example.  These are not taught but are usually developed by taking part in activities and interactions with others.  You could argue and say personability is just about being open to yourself, others and willing to learn from both.  Which we should all strive to do in general.

Help others to understand you

As it can be quite hard to articulate yourself in the work environment, reflecting openly helps others to see how I am learning and what challenges I am against.  Obviously it has to be written positively and not damning of individuals and the organisation.  But from my experience, colleagues have found it useful in understanding me better.  My colleague said the following which sums it all up and totally supports my ethos of doing a blog.  It really does encapsulate the tangible output of being open...  The blog post they are referring to is this one.

"I wanted to drop you a line as I’ve just read your latest blog post on the mountains you’ve been climbing.

I’m glad I am able to “stalk” you online 
😉.  Because you are able to write so openly I am able to read what you have to say and gain a much better understanding of how things are for you.  We’d never achieve the same endpoint just from talking in the office.  I firmly believe this can only help strengthen our working relationship that I already think is good and enjoy.

As you’ve noted you’ve already achieved a lot at a time of great change for you in your work and personal life.

I think you’ve been a great addition to the team.  I like working with you and learning new things from and with you.

I look forward to watching you continue to grow." 30 March 2018

I guess doing it this way through a blog helps me to think things through and gather my thoughts etc.  Yes they're right about not achieving same endpoint in the office, it's sometimes tricky to articulate yourself in a work environment.  But I'll continue to be open as much as I can!

Express to understand yourself

You may be thinking, well just be yourself, yes which I am and hopefully people will see that.  However, I still have difficulty articulating myself face-to-face sometimes, so having the time to think and prepare what I am saying and doing really helps me a lot.  This digital technology medium doesn't create a reflector, it just amplifies and solidifies me as a person and my thoughts for public/private viewing.

You can't always tell who specifically checks out your blog, but sometimes you may pick up snippets in face-to-face conversations.  Some passing comments may be made about the content or even repeating some lines that have been mentioned.  All of which may be referenced directly or indirectly.  You just don't know who's looking, so always make sure its honest, positive and ultimately you.  Write to express, not to impress - be true to yourself as you may not always be able to convey that person you have 'created'.

You may not want to share every professional, personal and emotional aspect of your life and on such a public accessible medium like this, but I would encourage you to express more openly as I do.  It could be on something smaller like Twitter or designing your own memes and gifs.  Whatever sparks your creative side, go with it and express yourself openly.