As an owner-leader you often long for fellowship because your sovereign position also makes you feel alone, even lonely. Everything is up to yourself – all the ideas, the solutions, the decisions … It’s all in your own hands, seemingly.
But it doesn’t have to be this way. It depends on perspective.
Influence from the inside and out
In an occupational setting it is tempting to think that decisions and actions mainly stem from your own free will and thoughts. You may accept that to a certain degree you are influenced from without, but you´re still confident that basically you think and act as an independent agent. You see yourself as capable of evaluating things objectively and making the right decisions.
And so, perceiving your setting to be like this, you try to influence and inspire others to move forward and develop. It is tough work, and it can feel very unrewarding when the things you wish to happen do not in fact happen. You often end up feeling that you are not part of any fellowship at all. You experience yourself as walking alone.
Or influence from the outside and in
In a more connected – and to me more real – setting you are influenced and indeed formed to an extent where objectivity is more or less nullified; where you think and act in response to multiple influences and intricate relationships that create the scope for what you can register and decide.
If once you accept that even though you cannot always see how you are influenced and where your limits lie, then nonetheless, both the influences and the limits are always there, the wisdom of including the world around you as part and parcel of yourself and of asking for a glimpse of what you do not yet see becomes quite evident. The opinions, ideas, feelings, needs, values, visions, etc. of others will then present themselves to you in a new light.
So, instead of beginning by looking for ways to influence others, you might instead begin by asking: “How can I knowingly let myself be influenced by others and how can we all influence each other in order to allow new possibilities to reveal themselves to us and make things move?”
Fellowship is always possible
The amazing thing is that to others it signals personal strength to invite such a matrix of mutual influences. And you´ll find that somebody always wants to tag along. There will be people enough who want to explore both pitfalls and possibilities with you, to discover their own strengths and weaknesses and to be offered truths in new and various ways; and to help make you aware of what you have so far found it impossible to take into account.
They might be costumers, co-workers, members of the advisory board, business partners, suppliers, authorizational workers, or others. You may truly find yourself in a fellowship.
Gift and obligation
But of course, when you realize the amount of insight that can be gained from such a fellowship, with its stakeholders becoming like virtual co-creators, and what possibilities may pop up of running a healthy and sustainable company, then some obligations will arise too.
An obligation to give due consideration to every challenge from the outside and in, and an obligation never again to imagine yourself as walking quite alone.
An obligation to keep asking yourself how often you seize the opportunity to co-create, co-run and co-develop a better business.
Where would it lead to if you really dared to try?