Fellowship: A timeless Solution for the Traveler’s Journey (Solo practitioners take note)

Lesley Glenner

fel·low·ship
/ˈfelōˌSHip/
noun
1. friendly association, especially with people who share one’s interests.

I’m Alexandra, co-owner of HoloBeing and co-facilitator of our Fellowship Circle program. Fellowship is something I’ve come to value deeply as a holistic practitioner, and now that I have it it’s something that I don’t want to live without!

Although I grew up in Boulder, when I returned after 12 years away, I realized that I actually felt alone in setting up my acupuncture practice here. While I received some encouraging words from family and friends, I felt lonely and scared about the challenge ahead, and in general felt that the people around me didn’t understand the process and the obstacles I was facing. Many of the ‘obstacles’ were practical : how to be heard and visible in a community that is already full of holistic healers? How to make the right connections? How to meet the right patients for my healing practice? And some were internal, and emotional : how to keep going with a positive mindset when many things I was trying weren’t working? How to grow into a more magnetic and genuine embodiment of myself as a practitioner, and as a woman creating her own livelihood in the world in a way that’s very different from the mainstream?

Choosing HoloBeing as my office space and joining a diverse group of practitioners here in a Fellowship Circle transformed my experience of building and growing my practice. I gained a group of peers who have been encouraging me, supporting me, helping me see my blind spots and helping me grow through the internal and external obstacles on my path, for the past four years.

To us, fellowship means traveling through life within a community that is genuine, skillful, and making an effort to relate about what is actually happening. Meeting “in fellowship” involves sharing your experience and your growth edges and receiving feedback, reflection and support from one another.

Our motivation is to help people where they are. During our group sessions, there is no agenda for you to be anywhere or achieve anything — only to be working toward growth and your fullest expression. We meet in the “here and now” and explore what is alive for us. To me, that’s what fellow traveling is all about.

We do not have a forced structure for growing your holistic practice. Instead, we get to know you deeply and help you discover the methods and the ways that resonate with you – to be visible in the community, to meet ideal clients, to share your voice, to build and grow your livelihood. We support you and hold you as you grow through both your personal limitations, and as you choose which practical steps to take on your path.

We are decidedly non-cliquey! You don’t have to be “cool” to be here. Presence and openness are valued, as are sovereignty and nonconformity. But we’re not looking for any specific “type” of person to join our groups. We seek to create, above all, a safe space for ALL healer-types to connect.

Escaping the echo chamber of one
It’s no secret that private practice can be a lonely road. As we face our inevitable individual struggles, though, it is easy to forget that a network of other holistic business owners exists operating alongside you. You only need to reach out.

You may find yourself asking: “Who can help me? What do I need?” Sometimes we rely too much on people who are part of our daily lives for business support. The result is a lack of informed feedback from peers and practitioners who actually know about holistic business. Who “get” it.

Receiving well meaning but superficial or unconstructive encouragement can lead to a struggle with darker feelings. At times, we all fight off jealousy, envy, and disappointment in our careers. As a solo-preneur, it’s easy to get bummed out at what we see others doing that appears more successful or attractive—whether in our neighborhoods or on social media.

Additionally, some of us have partners, friends, or family members who are saying, “Why are you not already seeing 20 people per week?” “You’re not doing enough.” “Why aren’t you making more money?” “Why is this taking so long?” “Why have you not earned a PhD, given all the research you’re doing?” and the granddaddy of them all, “At what point are you going to get a REAL JOB?” With all the conflict and objections, it’s hard to be seen.

Maybe no one recognizes how hard you’re trying, and how hard it has been to create a business and still try to be of service without burning out. You KNOW your offering is valuable, but struggle to really feel that inside. Or perhaps you don’t see it showing up in your bank account.

Growth and visibility
Fellow healer-types really want to to see you grow and find your own definition of success. We each know experiences of feeling stuck, and also of finding a way to break free and break through and move forward, more experienced and wise than before.

Some healers suffer deeply inside, but because we are very capable and gifted at our work, we can pass as ‘fine’ to friends and family. Some of us feel absolutely repulsed by traditional elevator speeches or talk about ‘marketing funnels’, but feel pressured to build our practices on mainstream and traditional ‘marketing methods’.

Compromising your values in order to achieve your goals will ultimately keep you and your entire practice stuck. There is a different way to approach growth!

Fellowship means we walk together
Have you ever joined a community but felt it failed you? Small talk, feeling like an “outsider,” and going along to get along ultimately cause more upset than good.

When you find true fellowship, it’s like a breath of fresh air. Fellowship can be a refreshing change from the top-down, expert-student learning model or a entrepreneurship group focused on a singular group goal.

Fellowship — as we define it at HoloBeing — evolves more organically and takes a circuitous, iterative path to growth. Everybody is learning and growing together at their own pace, while giving and receiving 360 degree feedback.

The promise is not to grow your revenue by a certain time.
The promise is that you’ll be supported as you aren’t currently, while YOU work through the barriers that currently suppress your progress. Self-reflection and introspection are necessary to transcend whatever obstacles are showing up for you. THIS IS AN AWESOME PROMISE! What other format promises to help you with *WHATEVER* you are going through?

Working in fellowship, you feel supported, seen, and heard. You can start to envision what’s really possible for you and the steps to get there. The process, is, frankly, our life’s work. Everyone benefits from your evolution.

Who makes a good “fellow”? 
While we aren’t looking for you to be anything but “real,” it behooves everyone if you walk in fellowship with emotional honesty and a willingness to work toward your authentic goals. You must have the strength to receive genuine feedback from other group members. But this means you’ll truly be seen and you can receive the focused attention you deserve.

You’ll learn things about yourself, and not always pretty things! But if you don’t know your own blind spots, you will continue to fight them over and over again. This is your chance to get some agenda-free reality checks.

Isn’t it time we take radical responsibility for our experiences at work, in groups, in our lives? To create a culture of therapeutic transformation?

Fellowship allows you the opportunity to invest in yourself, rather than investing in a program. It’s therapy-informed coaching, workshopping, peer-support and community all rolled into one.

I believe we could all use more true fellowship in our lives. We can join together in friendly association, especially with people who share our deepest interests. We can grow, together and with love, applause, care and support. Your fellow travelers await.

Warmly,
 
Alexandra Davis 
 

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