Awareness, support, community. Sometimes it just helps to connect with others in a similar position feeling the same way. Ashoka places an importance on personal development and community/peer support for our Fellows so they can thrive in their lives and in their work.
Social entrepreneurs are special people with the drive and the courage to change the world. This mindset can be accompanied by the inaccurate conviction that in order to do that, one must never stop working because the work will never be done and that launching and operating an organization rests on their shoulders alone.
Working with leading social entrepreneurs over the last several decades, Ashoka knows that the ability to lead transformational change is directly proportional to the ability to enable more individuals and institutions to contribute to and lead change. A closer look at the mindsets, skills and qualities of social entrepreneurs who have achieved systemic impact—in a sustainable way personally and professionally—shows common patterns. Such leaders continuously step back to reflect and reframe the inner space from which they root their leadership. They reevaluate the way they see others and their roles and work with their community and partners. They undertake inner work to overcome personal and organizational egos to listen, trust and share leadership. They shift their roles from being heroic decision makers to enablers who create an environment for changemakers to emerge. In a fast-changing world, we believe this mindset and approach to leadership and wellbeing is crucial for success.
Ashoka focuses on wellbeing for our community by creating opportunities for Ashoka Fellows and young changemakers to practice self-awareness and empathy and build communities of trust and support around them. Some examples include:
" . . . personal awareness became an integral part of my day-to-day work…I now show up as well as I can, turn toward all of this with curiosity, pause, and give it all time and space, and allow the process to unfold. In moving into this stream of all creativity, all energy, all goodwill, I am fed and strengthened. I find myself inviting others to also pause, to also breathe, and find they unleash more of their being as well.”
“Our organization works to stop violence against children. There is a lot of stress, pressure, working long hours, we don’t know how to stop, but we are interested in trying to find a way to take better care of ourselves in a sustainable way.”