Happy Independence Day!
Today the US proudly celebrates the anniversary of national independence.
The word independence got me thinking about claiming back independence in our own life and how this can ultimately lead to interdependence.
As we achieve things in life and master independence this often brings status. There is nothing wrong with being recognised for your achievements.
I have also noticed that some people stop growing at this point because they develop an attachment to status. Their goal becomes all about achieving or preserving this level of status and they can become isolated.
I have recently experienced this with a client I’ve been working with.
John, is a now senior executive, he strived for promotion and achieved it. In his new leadership role John felt that he had to play bigger and step up into his power. He wasn’t sure how to do this and at senior level, there was no one to ask. Over the first few months of his appointment he reactively became focused on his status and power and exerted this in a ‘command and control’ way to get things done. Because things weren’t going well, he tried to protect his status by making himself indispensible. He worked alone and became more independent and isolated from his team. This cut him off from others. This reduced his credibility with his team and created an environment of compliance rather than commitment.
John was exhausted and felt lonely because there was no one to ask for help. He realised that his Ego was beginning to run the show and this wasn’t what he’d signed up for.
If you allow Ego and self preservation to drive your power people around you become compliant rather than committed to your cause. This cuts you off from others and creates an environment of low trust.
Here are some of the main symptoms:
- I’m always right – don’t challenge me
- I’m not listening to ideas from others
- Others are of lesser value to me
- I am superior to them
- I always take the credit
- I keep a distance between ‘them’ and me
- I Work longer hours than those below me to achieve more and to maintain my status
- I let my superiors know that I’m doing a great job and that I’m putting extra time in!
- I perceive that those who work collaboratively are a threat
- I have no one to support me – I’m all alone
John believed that he had to defend his status by exerting power through authority to get things done. John realised that he couldn’t do it all alone but was frightened to ask for the support of others because he mistakenly assumed that others would think less of him and it would diminish his value.
Cooperation is essential for interdependence. The power of one is much less than the power of many. When Ego turns up to run the show you create obstacles to success. It also takes so much effort to maintain!
This is also true for any success you are trying to create in life.
The foundations of good relationships with others are self-mastery and self-discipline. Success involves learning how to become Interdependent.
Being Interdependent involves:
- Knowing you’re WHY? Why are you really doing what you are doing? Consider your motive.
- Understanding what you are committed to.
- Stepping back from your Ego – This just gets in the way of creating the best solutions.
- Appreciating the contributions of others – It’s hard to do anything alone. Engage other people and value their support. Value their contribution and share the success.
- Stopping defending yourself – This takes so much effort and energy.
- Looking for a more cooperative approach. The more cooperation the greater the solution will be.
- Taking time to build rich and productive relationships and associations with others.
- Surround yourself with support structures. Creating a support network around you to help you grow and learn. Like-minded people who can support you. Invest in a personal coach.
“Interdependence is a choice only independent people can make.”
Stephen R Covey, Author, 7 Habits of Highly Successful People
Being independent means that you get to live your life on purpose – proactively with integrity. Choosing to live interdependently allows you to build synergy through open communication and positive interaction with others. Cooperation is the key to highly productive and enduring relationships. This takes success to a higher level because it opens up new worlds of possibility for meaningful associations, learning and growth, serving others, contributing to our environment and for increased productivity.