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Want to Discover Your Life of Significance?

Find Some Fellow Travelers…

Warwick Fairfax

September 26, 2022

Let’s face it, life can be challenging…

Moving beyond your crucible and bringing a vision into reality that speaks to (and fulfills) your soul, is not easy. Especially when we think that we must do it all ourselves and can’t ask for additional help to navigate our way to a life of significance (a life on purpose dedicated to serving others).  We may even feel that asking for help is a sign of weakness. So, instead of looking to others for support, we look at ourselves in the mirror and say, “I’ve got this!”

But, as competent and gifted as we may be in some (and perhaps many) areas, I have learned that we all need help and community. This is what we at Crucible Leadership call a team of “Fellow Travelers”.

During my days at John Fairfax Ltd. and in the midst of my $2.25B takeover bid for my family’s 150-year-old media business in Australia, I sorely needed fellow travelers; people to help encourage and lift me up, as well as people with different skills than I had. While I did find people who encouraged me (and as a person of faith, prayed with me – which was such a blessing) some meant well but were not as helpful in their support. They viewed me more as someone that could restore the company to the image of the founder (my great-great grandfather), almost like some savior or conquering hero, rather than the person I was who was ill-fitted for the role of proprietor (as I was called) of such a large company. And since I was 26 at the time I launched the takeover, I also needed people with skills and experience that I did not have. Thankfully, I found a chief executive who had many years of senior-level global management experience.  He was both a very good CEO, but also had values that were aligned to mine, as he happened to be a person of faith as well.

After the takeover, especially during those difficult years in the 1990s once the company had fallen out of family control and had gone into bankruptcy, it was challenging, and I needed a lot of encouragement. I am blessed to have a wife who believes in me (which during those days after the takeover failed when I certainly did not believe in myself) was so helpful.  My wife’s love, support and encouragement were like drops of grace on my parched and dried-out soul.

So, what is a team of fellow travelers?  They come in two categories: those who encourage us and those who complement us (that is people with gifts and skills we don’t have).

1. Encouragers

In whatever situation we are in, whether we are in the pit of a crucible, feeling stuck in a job, or facing challenges in bringing the burning passion of our vision into reality, we all need encouragers.

Encouragers believe in us.  They respect us.  They value us.  Yes, they might at times tell us things we don’t always want to hear, but it is always because they want the best for us. They don’t judge or foist their agendas on us.  Instead, they listen, ask good questions and are there to support us in being our best selves.  They believe in us, respect us and lift us up.

Here’s what encouragers don’t do…  They are not naysayers.  They don’t tell us that they always knew we would fail when we have setbacks.  They don’t berate us or tear us down.  They are not judgmental of us as leaders or critical of us as human beings.

What is the action here?  Surround yourself with encouragers,  the fellow travelers with attributes we have just discussed.  Get rid of the naysayers, to the degree you can.  If some naysayers are family members, respectfully listen to them less or frankly not at all.  Life is too short, you, your life and your vision are too important, to be brought down by naysayers.  Besides, if your vision is one that has a higher purpose and serves others — in other words, your vision is part of you leading a life of significance — your vision is too important to be brought down by naysayers who may bring you and your vision down.

2. Complementors

The other type of fellow travelers we need are those who complement us, that is those who have gifts and skills we don’t have.  It is not a sign of weakness to ask for help, it is a sign of strength. A strong, self-confident man or woman knows that they don’t have all the gifts or talents, nobody does.  Again, their vision is too important, too many people are depending on them, for any potential insecurity to get in the way.  A great team enables you to accomplish things and serve others in a way that is simply impossible for you to do on your own.

In my case, I enjoy writing and reflecting.  I enjoy telling my story and the stories of others that enable people to get beyond their worst day, their crucible, or get unstuck from an unfulfilling job or career, to bring their visions to reality.  The vision is too important for me to feel like I can do it all.  Besides, I certainly can’t.  For instance, while I might enjoy writing and reflecting, there are some things I don’t enjoy and am not good at, some things I almost loathe doing.  For instance, I don’t like selling or promoting.

I am blessed at Crucible Leadership to have a great team.  We have people  who are very talented at selling and promoting, as well as people who are great at branding and marketing, and people who are superb at producing podcasts.

I could not bring Crucible Leadership to reality without them.  Fortunately, I don’t have to.  I have a great team with skills and gifts that complement mine; skills and gifts I don’t have.

What is the action here?  First make sure you know yourself; what your gifts and talents are as well as the areas that you are not good at or hate doing.  Surround yourself with people whose gifts and talents complement yours.  But most importantly, make sure that your teammates have values that are aligned to yours and that they absolutely believe in the vision that you are collectively pursuing.

Fellow travelers are essential to your journey beyond your crucible to a life of significance. Living a life on purpose, dedicated to serving others, is best played as a team sport.

Reflection

  • Who do you know who will encourage you? Someone who believes in you, is always for you and will ask challenging questions or at times make challenging observations; but always in service of you, your life and your vision?
  • Who do you know who has gifts and skills that complement yours, gifts and skills you don’t have, but also has values that align with yours and believes completely in your vision?
  • When will you contact those people you have just identified who will encourage you and those who have gifts and skills that complement yours?