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Interdependence Day

by David DeFord

As parents we teach our children to become independent. We help them to walk, to feed themselves, to ride bikes and then to drive. We help them to face the world armed with all of the abilities they need to find success and happiness.

Independence can bring wonderful feelings of personal control and autonomy.

Yet, the view that complete independence must be captured and maintained can hurt our effectiveness.

Even those who have launched their own companies in the quest for independence have found that their greatest successes have come from interdependence. They have found greater success in combining the talents of many to bring about a stronger product.

Books have extensive acknowledgement sections. Editors, proofreaders, cover designers, and family members receive thanks in these sections.

I just picked a book randomly off of my shelf and counted the number of people listed in the acknowledgement section: ninety nine. Even authors, engaged in the most solitary of professions, solicit the help of experts and benefit from interdependence.

The combining of talents through interdependence accomplishes greater and more sound end-products than the solitary work of one who tries to do it all.

The synergy of talents and strengths improves the quality of the product or service.

No one, even the kids with perfect SAT scores have strengths in all areas. Some excel in math and science, while others favor reading and writing. Some pick up languages easily, while others understand statistics. What seems easy to one can prove extremely challenging to another.

A great baseball team doesn’t depend on the pitcher to strike out every batter—they back him up with skilled fielders who can field the balls put into play.

Seek the help of others. Move from mere independence and blossom into interdependence.

Seek second opinions. Find a mentor. Identify new contacts that will complement your work and help you refine it.

Don’t worry so much about who gets the credit. If you share the credit, and acknowledge the help of others, you will enjoy greater successes, and you will enjoy them more abundantly.

Make today your Interdependence Day.

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