Clear Confident Leader Weekly Observer, Issue #45
From the Greenbelt of Boise, Idaho, Hot summer night
Self-reliance: reliance on one's own powers and resources rather than those of others.
Interdependence: mutual reliance between two or more people or things.
I shared a situation with an executive coach. She responded, you’ve been dealing with this for a long time, and you haven’t asked for help before. What’s up with that?
That powerful question led to a realization of my over-focus on self-reliance.
I grew up in a culture of self-reliance. My Dad was a construction engineer and we moved frequently, leading me to engage with a new school and people each year. For many summers I worked on my grandparents avocado and lemon ranch. Often my grandfather left for meetings leaving me things to do, encouraging me to get them done on my own.
I developed strengths in getting things done. I also developed reactive tendencies to double-down and persist in working harder when things weren’t working out. (My parents will tell you I was born persistent.)
My reactive tendencies were showing up, and getting in the way of asking for help. Not only was I missing an opportunity to learn and grow, my over-use of self-reliance was creating risk for relationships important to me.
I was over focusing on self-reliance and neglecting the reality of my interdependence. By making requests for help to learn and grow, I discover new ways to create better outcomes. My relationships are stronger and the outcomes better by managing the balance of self-reliance and interdependence.
From its earliest beginnings, the U.S. developed a culture of self-reliance that can lead us to overlook the reality of interdependence. The rate of specialization, growth of complexity and speed of change today, requires us to continually adapt our balance of self-reliance and interdependence. Our families, organizations and communities depend upon us managing it well.
I encourage us to ask:
- When we over focus on self-reliance, how do we create risk in our relationships?
- What is the impact of neglecting the reality of our interdependence?
- How do better manage the balance between self-reliance and interdependence?
Let’s create stronger relationships and better outcomes by managing the balance. Let’s create a better future today!