After three years as a Fellowship Councillor for the South West, I thought I might share my reflections in the hope of encouraging Fellows to consider the opportunity too.
As a Fellow, your yearly subscription supports the impact of the RSA's wide-ranging social mission. Your financial contributions make sustainable social change possible. Standing for election as a Fellowship Councillor means you are ready and willing to take the next step in activating social change, not just with your cash but by developing yourself!
Successful candidates will experience a unique role: one that requires their skill, talent and energy to bridge the gap between ideas and action. It may appear on the surface that you are simply attending meetings and getting briefings on critical projects and activities, but over time it becomes apparent that what’s also going on is a complete overhaul and review of who you think you are. New situations and group interactions offer the chance to free yourself from your outdated self. Opportunities to face your real purpose and true potential will keep presenting themselves through ordinary tasks and interactions.
As I prepare to step down from this hugely fulfilling and rewarding councillor experience, I notice that I leave transformed. My social intelligence, voice and energy have been altered, and my personal and professional horizons have opened up. In light of my own experiences, my advice is simple: it’s okay to take up the role of Fellowship Councillor with all the accomplishments and skills you have honed to date, but remember to keep an open mind as your personal agenda may well fade into insignificance during your 2-year tenure. Being a Fellowship Councillor is a big picture strategic position. Many new perspectives and challenges to your cherished beliefs and views will encourage you to grow, develop and flourish in ways that have not occurred to you yet.
Being open to who you were, are now, and who you need to become in changing our social base means you can do far more than you ever thought possible. This volunteer role can be the key to gaining the most benefit for you and your area if you act ‘in service’ to the RSA. Developing your inner growth through being in service means you can actively engage in challenging your perceptions and change your behaviours in real-time. After all, the RSA is all about facilitating the emergence of 21st-century social change. This change must start with you, by freeing yourself from unconscious, persistent cultural habits that are programmed by customs and traditions still taught in schools and espoused in the workplace today.
For me, becoming a Fellowship Councillor meant getting involved in a total transformation of the self. To embody this transformation, you have to experience it. Along the transformation journey, I often reminded myself that 'I was never going to die of uncomfortable': feeling uncomfortable and being faced with yourself are the signs of learning. Becoming part of the RSA Fellowship Council provides many perception challenges to overcome – especially your self-limitations. Becoming a Councillor means you’re going to improve your skills in embracing differing others, in service to all in co-creating an emerging humane society.
I wish all Fellows well as a volunteer Fellowship Councillor and encourage them to seize the opportunity for transformation. As Carlos Castaneda said in The Art of Dreaming, “I am convinced that for man [the human race] to survive now, his [our] perception must change at its social base.”