FranklinCovey has recently partnered with OpenSesame to offer some of our online learning courses to their catalog. In addition the company is reading The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Below is a post from Micaela Deitch, an intern at OpenSesame about her experience reading the book.
As an intern at OpenSesame, my peers and I recently started reading the The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People as a group. Book in hand, I started the path to becoming a compassionate, efficient and – most of all – effective career woman.
The beginning of my journey was not as smooth as I’d hoped. Dr. Stephen R. Covey explains that many individuals live in a state of dependence, where they feel and take no responsibility for the events of their lives. As a young professional, this resonated with me. Since I was born I’ve been dependent on my family financially and emotionally. Every personal success I achieved felt like it partly came from my family supporting me: paying for my school, consoling me when I didn’t get the part, or praising me when I got a good grade.
Being in a state of dependence had its perks, but I know it is not a sustainable option. All of my role models, including my parents, had a time in their life when they made the change from dependence to independence. It may not have been seamless or pretty, but at some point they moved out of their parents’ house, got a job, and started taking care of themselves. When Covey explained that the state beyond dependence is independence, I had an “aha” moment.
From Independence to Interdependence
However, in the next passage of the book, Covey explains that after achieving independence, enlightened individuals move into a state of interdependence. This gave me pause. Moving from dependence to independence to interdependence seems regressive. Isn’t the independent individual, who takes no help from anyone, the epitome of success?
I found my misunderstanding lay in the distinction between dependence and interdependence. While dependence refers to relying on others to take care of us, interdependence refers to the cooperation for a greater goal. And because there are limits on how productive we can be as individuals, but virtually no limit on how productive we can be when we strategically collaborate with others, being “highly effective” requires interdependence.
It took me awhile to understand this difference, but I soon realized many of my biggest successes in life came from collaborative efforts. Take, for example, my last year of rowing as a senior in high school. I had spent all winter training, hoping to be the fastest and fittest. I spent a lot of time that season thinking about how I could be faster as a rower, but all that individual energy wasn’t helping my boat win races. A crew, like any group endeavor, relies on teammates working together, not for personal success. When I stopped focusing on how I could be stronger or faster, and started thinking about how I could row better to complement my teammates, we started going faster. Eventually, we were rowing fast enough to win 2nd in the region.
The Next Step for Young Leaders
As college students make the transition from high school to college to adult life, there’s inevitable urge to rebel, to make a point of becoming independent and throwing off the limitations of childhood. But it is important to remember that paying our own rent, buying our own food, and working diligently at a chosen career path is not the apex of being effective. In order to become truly effective we must use our independence and the stability it grants us as a platform on upon which to build interdependent, highly effective relationships. Only when we work in collaboration with others can we achieve our full potential.
FranklinCovey recently added some InSights On Demand online learning courses to OpenSesame, global elearning marketplace, where guest blogger Micaela Deitch works as a Business Development intern. She is a rising sophomore at Georgetown University and interested in learning about online education.
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