Focusing: 15 Questions to Activate my Learning & Working Out Loud

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Why Rotana 04

As we are heading toward the end of this year, I read the ebook ‘How to become a Modern Professional Learner’ by Jane Hart (@C4LPT). It contains many questions to help me to reflect and experiment while learning continuously.

What is the most important reason for you to become a modern professional learner?

In 2019 and beyond, it is this reason I shared in 2017:

Taking charge of our own professional development and self-improvement depends on ourselves.

What are your strengths & weaknesses in the workplace?

I did the StrengthsFinder Assessment brought by the Gallup Center. Here are my top strengths.

gallup assessment skills strengths leadership rotana ty

I lead with strategic thinking. In other words, it means I constantly absorb and analyze information that informs better decisions. I stretch thinking for now and the future.

What have you done so far to develop your skills & knowledge further?


I am reading books on Kindle, ebooks, and paper books. Business books and non-fiction books. Doing curation and sense-making, writing. I watched documentaries, explored third places and cities, and learned from podcasts.


I am learning about projects and innovation cultures, and workshops I host.


According to the engagement assessment from Scott Gould, this is how I engage:

engagement assessment rotana ty

From January 13th 2020, I participated for 60 days in the workshop and global community ‘Personal Knowledge Mastery’ with Harold Jarche, whom I met a few months ago in Paris over lunch.

“The Personal Knowledge Mastery workshop is conducted over 60 days, comprises 18 activities spaced through nine weeks, in addition to resources, links, and tips. Each Monday & Thursday a new assignment is posted in the online community space. People can work on their own or share in the discussion forum with other participants as they like. Harold is available to personally support all participants. At the end of the workshop, an additional week is provided for reflection or catch-up, so participants have access for ten weeks in total.

The discipline of PKM helps to develop four core work skills, identified by the Institute for the Future:

  • sense-making
  • social intelligence
  • new media literacy
  • cognitive load management

This workshop has had hundreds of participants from around the world. Open workshops are scheduled several times per year, depending on demand, and participants work as part of a cohort to encourage social learning.”

I also explore future thinking practices by taking this online course: Ready, Set, Future! Introduction to Futures Thinking, Jane McGonigal brings that from the Institute For The Future. Futures thinking is one of the five disciplines I explore. The four other disciplines are personal knowledge mastery, mind management, exploratory leadership and community management.

Consider learning more about the 70:20:10 or ‘Experience, Exposure, Education’ principle/lens via this blog post by Ryan Tracey (@ryantracey). How about 3Es and 3Rs, which stand for Rewind, Reflect and Refresh?

Which ways do you need to focus on to develop (or enhance) a growth mindset in yourself?

You view challenges as opportunities, trying different learning tactics, and cultivating grit. I am also reading David Amerland’s ‘The Sniper Mind‘ and will use the resources being produced by David. As he puts on his website, this book is about: “Eliminate Fear, Deal with Uncertainty, and Make Better Decisions”.

How much time will you commit to continuous planned learning? When will you do this?

60 days over ten weeks (first time in 2020)

40 days (second time in 2021)

1-2 hours 30 min-1 hour 30 min
– 1 hour
10-15 min
Participating in the PKM Remote Workshop

Four weeks

Ready, Set, Future! Introduction to Futures Thinking Online Course by IFTF

Biking, swimming
fitness going to an exhibition
Watching a movie/documentary
Reading business and fiction books

Having a walk


Hearing a podcast

Participating in a webinar/online community call/conference/meetup

I am reading blogs, a report, newsletters, and reviews.

IM/Linkedin/Twitter engagement

Travelling: can be a few days or weeks.

Which tool for your work journal?

Google Keep. WordPress. Moleskine. 

Which of the productivity suggestions do you use?

I am tracking and limiting my time on tasks/projects—by taking regular breaks. I use the Chrome extension ‘Easy Timer’ to ring a bell every 30 minutes to take frequent breaks. I also track my time and energy using Toggl on my laptop and phone to see where I spend them per task, project, and client. I am unplugging while savouring a cup of tea or coffee, sports, and setting aside my phone in the evening and during the weekend.

Hold standing meetings

Doing so if I have a video/audio call via Zoom/Google Meet/Teams. I use the K2-Laptop Stand Portable, Foldable & Height Adjustable: a tool for my standing desk anywhere.

Could you take advantage of my commute?

I often keep learning when I am on the go. If I wait for my train/bus/subway/tramway, I may read the contents I saved via Pocket or Kindle. While commuting, I may also hear a business/music / scientific/cultural / food podcast. I take notes on my Moleskine if I listen to insights and practical advice. It is a great way to update industries, emerging practices, people, places, experiences, and ideas.

Turn off notifications

I have done that on devices I use. I engage when it is meaningful and timely to do so. 

Why hire me?

I pay attention to behaviours and actions from people and organizations that are described below:

“The basics of a personalized candidate experience

There’s a mix to find between human and automation and it’s understandable that automation can prevail until the enterprise decides to interview the candidate, but there are some basics no one should forget ;

1) Personalize

2) Show attention, care

3) Have a relational approach

4) Adopt long-term thinking.” — Bertand Duperrin @bduperrin

I will also do some digging through research and conversations to see if the organization and its people are focusing on the following:

Meaningful professional engagement.

Having a societal, business and environmental impact.

Collective growth and personal development.

Working and learning out loud.

What takes you out of your comfort zone & helps you build new skills?

As shared in this post, it could also be about going beyond one method, approach, framework, a process like systems thinking, design thinking or any practice. So it is really about mixing up different techniques for shaping our cornucopia.

disciplines skills activities focus venn diagram visualization diagram rotana ty

Source: visual created by moi.

What are your teamwork skills? What do you need to work on?

I tend to think critically and listen to my instincts before deciding. I also ask myself: what are the possibilities? As I love learning and connecting the dots, I see myself as a deep thinker. I also believe that identifying/using our uniqueness and skills is how we matter.

It is about building on each other’s ideas while co-creating and adding value. I also learned that writing down answers to questions such as: why, what, who, where, when, and how and identifying the context and the benefits of a project or action can help summarize and clarify what has been said, thought and felt during a meeting. Then, after sleeping on the answers for a while, they can be revisited and iterated if needed.

When possible, I bring my energy, enthusiasm, and curated new ideas to propel teamwork.

Why do you share?

To develop and nurture relationships, to make sense of our world together. Personal Meaning Ecosystem makes us attractive as we engage in networks and conversations.

Why & how do you grow your professional network?

“It is all about the deep, meaningful connection @rotanarotana” — @marciamarcia

How will you ensure you don’t just collect dots – but connect them? What process will you use?

Ways insight patternists and sense-makers use. Blogging.

How do you record your progress & reflections?

This blog and my ‘why Rotana Ty’ page.

What does your Modern Professional’s Toolkit look like?

For more, please read this blog post on tools, activities and resources I use.

Did you enjoy this post? Check out the Tapestry Book.

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