Choosing your co-sojourners

This blog is about the life being like the highway, with quite a bit of parallels and lessons to learn from.

One of my favourites subjects is on co-sojourners.

In the context of a highway, your co-sojourners can be other cars right there and then on that same highway with you.

But it could also be the person sitting in the same vehicle with you as you cruise down the highway of life.

Some of these co-sojourners come and go. Your paths cross for a fleeting moment in eternity, and then you continue on your separate journeys.
For example, the bus ride I took in China where I had a prostitute for a fellow passenger for 3 hours.

This can be likened to two different roads intersecting only at that one point.

Many times, you don’t choose your co-sojourners. But sometimes, you get the luxury of consciously choosing co-sojourners to ride with you on your highway of life.
Today I want to muse about this conscious choice, about choosing your co-sojourner.

Sometime back, I wanted to embark on a new business venture and I was seriously contemplating entering into a partnership with some people whom I guess I did not know very well.

I was about to choose these people to be my co-sojourners for a significant part of my journey on my highway of life.

As I went about doing my business and talking to potential partners and customers about supporting me in this new venture, some of the comments I received were like these :

“Huh? Sounds like a great business but why partner with them?”

“Be very careful of these people”

“I’d support you anytime Nic, but are you sure you wanna partner with them?”

“I know you Nic, and these people do not hold the same values with you”

These comments obviously made me reconsider and reflect on my new business partnership and eventually I decided not to go ahead with the business.

The last comment about values really struck me about business partnerships and choosing your co-sojourners.

If say you are a person of integrity, would you consciously choose someone who is sorely lacking in integrity to be your passenger in a 20-hours car journey?

Or to put it simpler, if you do not appreciate heavy metal music, would you sit in the same car with someone who insists on blasting heavy metal music for 20 hours?

If you think about it, we do choose our co-sojourners based on our perception of their values, that their values should be at least acceptable to us if not close to or same as our own.

Similarly, when you choose a life or business partner, this becomes even all the more important.

For these people will end up as very significant co-sojourners who will ride with you for a good part of your journey down the highway of life.

Come to think of it, I have ended my business partnerships prematurely before, just because of this.

I guess I have to learn to be even wiser by not starting business partnerships when values are obviously not the same?

What about you?



Filed under Co-sojourners, Friends, Life, Must read!, Notes to You, Personal, Stories, Technology, Thoughts, Work

7 responses to “Choosing your co-sojourners

  1. Ed

    I guess a lot of entrepreneurs jump at every chance to team up with someone, and I was one of them like you. But as events unfold over the years, the life events surrounding someone tell me a little about their lifestyle and possibly, their mentality and focus. I was a little better off than you, such that the potential partners on my end are always eradicated before the papers are signed.

    Especially when starting a business with people we know, good friends need not necessarily be the best working partners. For me personally, I find it a tendency for one party to take another for granted. Given a choice anytime, I definitely prefer to work with someone along the same frequency.

    Hi Ed, Thanks for the comment! Actually my business portfolio is usually quite full and I rarely ‘jump at every chance to team up with someone’. But yes, I tend to see the better side of everyone and you can’t always just work with your friends right? (as you’ve also pointed out) :p

    But yes, I’ve been ‘burnt’ in business partnerships before, notwithstanding. 😦

  2. I can’t say that i’ve been through anywhere close to what you’ve gone through but I’d have to agree that personal values have to somewhat be on the same page. I think initially value differences seem to be small stuff…until it becomes a factor in major decision making…

    I’ve only once almost gone into a partnership of sorts with a friend who soon enough showed his true colours. Everything on the negotiating table made business sense but somehow the difference in our value systems made it really difficult for me to stomach a long-term working relationship. Needless to say, I had to end it before it even really began. I don’t regret it though.

    Hi Ridz, nice to meet you yesterday 🙂 And thanks for sharing your experience here!

  3. Ozy

    I think it’s really hard ot find people with the same values as you.

    The best you can do is work with people who have something that you can work with to the table.

    Yeah, in a way I agree coz I’ve more or less operated on that principle when I evaluate business partnerships.
    But I’m learning. I think certain fundamental values should be seriously considered like in the case I highlighted where say integrity’s important to you but not to your partner(s), it’d definitely mess up the partnership!

  4. Your observation is acute.

    Even with partners who hold similar values as you, there are bound to be disagreements. What more when you work with partners whose values are completely different.

    If the partner is the obsessive type, I can not imagine how bitter and raging the arguments may get. If the partner is the submissive type, I can not imagine how crushed and disappointed he must feel on the inside.

    Be blessed in your business and in life!

    Thanks 🙂

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