In his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, the Late Stephen Covey had a nice analogy for growth, he said we moved from dependence [the baby phase] to independence [the teenage phase] to interdependence [the adult phase].

As babies, we are dependent on others to take care of us.

As we grow to be teenagers, we then get into a phase where we want our independence. We think we can do life alone, without the help of others. We have the superhero, lone ranger syndrome.

As we become matured adults, we realise that actually life is about interdependence. Anything worth doing, is worth doing with others.

In the book Stephen Covey talks about the Maturity Continuum in which he say, independence is not the pinnacle of human existence.

He says:

“As we continue to grow and mature, we become increasingly aware that all of nature is interdependent, that there is an ecological system that governs nature, including society. We further discover that the higher reaches of our nature have to do with our relationships with others, that human life also is interdependent.”

Accepting that you cannot do everything by yourself means you move from being teenager to being a matured adult. It means you are a matured person.

Maturing means accepting building together and foregoing individual glory.

It is about being a team-player, working with others, building together and winning together.

As a leader in your organisation, it is about servant leadership, serving your team, so that your team can serve your customers.

Interdependence means appreciating that:

  • I can identify my own strengths and talents but realise that I can combine these with the strengths and talents of others to accomplish something greater and/or quicker than what I could accomplish alone [“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” mentality (shoutout to uncle Aristotle)]
  • I can identify my own weaknesses, realising these can sometimes be offset by the strengths of others
  • I realise that while I can think independently that ascertaining the thoughts and views of others can broaden my perspectives in life
  • I derive a sense of self worth and emotional strength within myself but recognise the need for providing mutual love and support to others

In any relationship, you don’t find the ‘perfect’ relationship, you build it… together.

Successful teams, at work or in life, are about interdependence, no individual glory.

I appreciate this lesson every day, when I look at the team of people I work with, I count myself blessed. I would not have achieve half of what I manage to do without a team of amazing people.

We can’t do this life thing alone.

As the Italians would say:

“Life is tough, you need a father and a godfather.”

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