Dependent, Independent and Interdependent
By Sue Ellson
A few years ago, as a consultant, I was recognised as ‘Sue Everything.’ As ‘Sue Everything,’ I didn’t get many business referrals or opportunities because it was difficult for people to remember exactly what I did.
So I changed my introduction to ‘Independent LinkedIn Specialist.’ The work came flooding in.
People could remember that and I started receiving business referrals. Interestingly, the diversity of my work did not change.
You would think that by creating a label that suggested I specialised in one area, that I would only get this type of work.
However, once a client came on board and realised I could do other things quite well, my consulting hours increased.
So then I had the next challenge. How could I manage more work from different areas?
By stating that I was an Independent Specialist, I became task independent.
I also wanted to be time independent – so I chose not to commit to a regular gig on a regular basis.
I also wanted to be device independent. We have all suffered those moments when our phone, laptop or desktop computer has died and left us in the lurch – so I chose to put my files on the Cloud.
I also wanted to be location independent – so I chose to encourage my clients to use Skype so that I didn’t have to spend hours in transit.
I am also education independent – as I am willing to learn from any source (but I have become a bit fussier about making travel arrangements as time has become a very precious commodity).
So now that I am so ‘independent,’ can I really say that I am?
I have actually become quite interdependent at the same time – and I like it!
I view interdependence as being able to do something independently, but being able to do it even better thanks to an interdependent association. It relies on someone or something else to help achieve a great result.
I am task interdependent thanks to the drive generated by the relationship with my accountability partner.
Whilst I don’t have a consistent gig every week, I am time interdependent thanks to the range of regular clients that provide me with ongoing gigs (we both need each other but we are flexible with our timing).
I am device interdependent as I rely on my remaining devices when one fails (like my phone did recently, without warning or mishap).
I am location interdependent as I choose locations that align with my preferred method of working – with lots of fresh air, natural daylight, quiet, comfort and stimulation. In this interdependent environment, I thrive.
As a learning junkie, I am education interdependent because in most cases, I can access the online snippets I need at any time of the day or night.
Does this make me dependent?
At some level, all of these efforts have created an amazing sense of well-being and joy with my work. I use the word ‘work’ lightly though.
Yes, the work I do sustains me, but not just financially, it gives me an opportunity to grow and contribute.
To learn and to share. To laugh and to lament. To inspire and be inspired.
To wake up each day thinking that there is a reason for me to be here. Now. In this moment.
I realise that I am task dependent – now that I have found these joyous tasks.
I enjoy being time dependent – because it is aligned with my values.
I am device dependent – so that I can function at the highest level in a modern world.
I am location dependent – because I love the life I have created in this place.
I am education dependent – because I want to keep learning, forever.
What do you want to be – Dependent, Independent or Interdependent?
At the moment, this is how I see myself.
Independent. Double Tick.
Interdependent. Triple Tick.
And loving it.
It gives me freedom. It gives me familiarity. It gives me faith.
Unlike what we read in self-help books and listen to in podcasts and videos, I believe that being dependent can actually be a good thing. If we understand what dependent is and if our dependence is aligned with our values and purpose. It has even more value if it is generated after our independence and interdependence. Then we can revere it. We realise how grateful we are for what we have and it is nice to keep a hold of it.
However, I still believe that our ultimate goal is to strive for interdependence. That is how nature survives.
With interdependence, we have the opportunity to help and be helped. To love and be loved. To inspire and be inspired.
So don’t be seduced by the cosy comfort of dependence…get out there and strive for interdependence! Start now!