Leading the Charge: What’s Your Independence Level?
The ability to be self directed and free from emotional dependency on others is something most people strive to achieve. However, much like self expression, there is a spectrum of independence levels that ranges from low to high.
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Do you know which side of the fence you sit on? Here’s how to find out:
A person with low levels of independence…
Finds it difficult to make decisions.
- Avoids doing things by themselves.
- Seeks constant approval or guidance.
- Feels like standing on their own is risky.
A person with high level of independence…
- Avoids collaboration.
- Tends to try to do it all by themselves.
- Won’t ask for help when needed.
So, which end of the spectrum do you find yourself? Knowing this information is important to your EQ (emotional intelligence), as it can help you take charge of your decisions and lead the type of life you’ll enjoy.
How to gain independence
Sometimes independence is as basic as being able to go to a movie or out to dinner by yourself. It can be scary putting yourself out there, but if you don’t at least try, you could miss out on valuable experiences.
For example, you’ve always wanted to learn how to quilt, but not one of your friends are interested in taking a class with you. Instead of taking the class alone, you would give up a valuable experience.
Sometimes it can spill over into work life, too. If you want to get a certification at work, but no one has nominated you for the coursework, then you need to be able to speak up and ask your boss to participate.
If you’re looking to improve in this area of your life, try the following:
- Imagine the worst case scenario. What is the absolutely worst thing that could happen when you ask your boss about the certification class? Your boss will say no, you are not capable. And then what? The world will keep spinning, but most importantly, you can use this opportunity to make some changes in your life. Maybe it’s time to look for a new job or work with your boss to develop a professional development plan.
- Do something by yourself every day. Try taking a walk or signing up for a photo class by yourself. You don’t even have to share it with someone else—take personal ownership of this task from start to finish. This is very hard work, but worth it. One of my clients decided to do one new thing on her own every week. It was extraordinarily difficult at first, but now that she’s comfortable doing things by herself; she is taking on more solo work in her position.
How to depend on others
For those of you who are a bit too independent, you can run the risk of burning out. If you feel as if you’re constantly trying to conquer the world all by yourself, chances are you have a high level of independence. While being independent is an excellent quality to aspire to, being part of a team is also important.
- Learning to let go can be difficult for those with high levels of independence—it can also be very rewarding. Instead of trying to do everything on your own, take a look at what you have on your plate. Are there things you don’t like that you can train or pay someone else to take care of? Offloading these responsibilities can help save your sanity and free up your time to do the things you truly enjoy.
- Ask a friend to join in. Being a lone wolf 24/7 can become exhausting. Try finding an activity you normally do alone—like studying or reading—and make it a group activity. Things like study groups or book clubs are great for independent people because it forces them to look at things from the perspective of other group members. You’ll be amazed at the things you might not have noticed if you insisted on going solo.
Overall, it’s important to have the right balance. You need to be independent enough to put yourself out there and accomplish new things. At the same time, it’s important to let others in when you need support and help. How would it benefit your career and personal life if you worked on improving your Independence EQ?
This is what we specialize in at Winning Ways. Contact us if we can be of help. If you’d like more strategies, we’ll be more than happy to share a few.
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