Interdependence – The Key To Success

One of the main challenges freelance translators have to face is isolation. Working alone for hours on end, day after day, can have a negative impact on our mood, while in the absence of a boss looking over our shoulder focusing and staying productive can soon become quite tricky. But there’s an even greater danger, as Stephen Covey explains in his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: isolation prevents us from being truly successful.

Covey’s Maturity Continuum shows how, to be able to realise our full potential and reap the rewards, we need others. We need to connect and move from Independence (something many freelancers value) to Interdependence (the highest level of maturity): “Dependent people need others to get what they want. Independent people can get what they want through their own effort. Interdependent people combine their own efforts with the efforts of others to achieve their greatest success.”

We start life in a state of Dependence. We are fed, looked after and shown the way. Without this level of support, we wouldn’t last very long. As the years go by, we become more and more independent — physically, intellectually, emotionally and financially — until we are totally in charge of ourselves. For many, this state of Independence, or Self-Mastery, is the ultimate goal. It is often seen in our society as the epitome of success. Few consider the next stage.

As a higher level of maturity, reaching Independence is a major accomplishment, but it isn’t the ultimate ideal in effective living. “Life is, by nature, highly interdependent. To try to achieve maximum effectiveness through independence is like trying to play tennis with a golf club.” Yet the concept of Interdependence is often misunderstood and many see it as regressive, as a step back towards Dependence. As a result, many relationships come to an end when partners, for fear of losing their hard-earned Independence, seek to re-affirm themselves.

Moving from Independence to Interdependence is not moving back to Dependence. Interdependence is a much deeper concept which implies a higher level of maturity. People who enter interdependent relationships (in business and in life) are self-assured, confident and self-reliant. They know that what they can achieve through Synergy with others is much bigger than the sum of what they would achieve independently.

“Interdependence is a far more mature, more advanced concept. If I am (…) interdependent, I am self-reliant and capable, but I also realize that you and I working together can accomplish far more than, even at my best, I could accomplish alone (…) As an interdependent person, I have the opportunity to share myself deeply, meaningfully, with others, and I have access to the vast resources and potential of other human beings. Interdependence is a choice only independent people can make. Dependent people cannot choose to become interdependent. They don’t have the character to do it; they don’t own enough of themselves.” (Stephen Covey)

What level of maturity have you achieved at work, and in your life? What could you do to move to the next stage? What could you do to connect more and increase your chances of success and fulfillment?

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1 Comments on “Interdependence – The Key To Success”

  1. The path to interdependence is a journey filled with self-confidence, trials and errors, learning moments and willingness to share. Great point.


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