Have you ever been really frustrated at work and had a thought like, “I can’t wait to retire and be in charge of my schedule!”
Or better, “If I started my own company, I’d never need to lean on anyone – it would be me in charge!”
I remember in my employee days what kinds of things would trigger these thoughts. My boss telling me to do something I fundamentally disagreed with. Being asked to do things outside of normal work hours. Getting reprimanded for going outside the boundary to do the right thing.
The struggle was real!
So you can imagine that with the lustful lens of entrepreneurship, I thought that it was total freedom and independence.
I didn’t owe anything to anyone. I was my own.
So maybe you think this too.
Many people think these are pairs –
In reality, they are opposites!
Independence is enough self-trust to take on risk, challenge and fear to create our own opportunities, and to do so despite what others think is best for us.
Notice, this definition, one I had to sit on for a while, isn’t about freedom and attachment to others or demand, it’s all about our choices to operate of our self-interest.
So if we think about what we need to be independent, we also need sustainability. By Sustainability I mean that our own needs can be met because of our strength and skills and mindset – all four things stemming from financial, physical, mental and emotional health.
When I look at how the world portrays independence, it’s only considerate of us….
One. Not others. Ours only.
It’s all about what we have, are, and can be. It’s all us and our ability to take and extract value.
And the way most people would describe entrepreneurship is similar….
“It’s my ability to build a business that makes me money and takes care of my needs for success, significance, etc.”
Selfish language…notice it?
It’s an absolute opportunity to increase our earnings, happiness, work-life balance and several other things. But growth is the key. It’s an ability to satisfy our need to lead, or our need to be significant. It feeds our ego. It can feed our connection and growth too.
But to me, these are opposite. They exist in contradiction.
Being an entrepreneur you actually INCREASE your dependency. Let me explain.
To be a great entrepreneur, you must be DEPENDANT, or better stated, INTERDEPENDENT
To solve problems, you need others, you need to listen, to hear, and to understand. For who will pay for your solutions? Where will this money you want to earn come from?
To solve problems you need to take action with, be a part of and immersed in a culture or community. How will your business be sustainable if you cannot stay a part of an economic ecosystem?
You need others – and without others, you cannot be an entrepreneur. From the macro, no one can be an entrepreneur alone.
Expectations of being more independant is normal and simple to new entrepreneurs, but they in fact should relish the moments that create interdependance. These can exist in a lot of ways.
If you hire employees or teammates, or bring on partners, you are now INTERDEPENDANT – the success of one is the success of all. As is failure.
If you have a client that’s now a part of your business, you are dependent on them for revenue, and they on you for service.
To misunderstand this is to devalue and shortside your growth as a business and leader.
So, as you go about considering your next phase of independence, it seems logical to review what you believe independence to be and how it works.
Neighborhoods, communities, companies are all interdependent. Just like I rely on the mailman, UPS and FedEx to bring packages to me when I order them, trusting they will leave them in the mail area, I also trust that the residents where I live will not take what I’ve ordered for themselves.
Without this trust, there is no such things as freedom, but our freedom stems from Interdependence.
What’s something you depend on now that you are grateful for? Is it a person? A thing (car, train etc) or a place (gym, etc)?
Share your thoughts below!