Coaching Blog – How to Be Independently Interdependent

The concept of being “independently interdependent” may sound like a tongue twister, but it’s worth the effort in learning how to say it, because it’s the best way to live as a leader and a nation. We’ll discover the leadership benefits, but first, let’s celebrate our national independence!

On our July 4th holiday, typically our minds are focused on having a day off, heading to the pool, and participating in a family or neighborhood barbecue. But let’s pause for a moment and remember what the Declaration of Independence meant.


Our History of Independence

The fighting to resist the exploitation of the American colonies by the British began in 1775, and ultimately it led to the passing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. The war lasted six years ending when the British surrendered at Yorktown in 1781. The peace agreement was finally signed in Paris in 1783.

Independence enabled us to break free from the exploitation of England and become a new nation focused on freedom. Soon the colonies became connected in a Confederation and before long the Constitution was signed, thus making us the United States of America. If you go back and read the Articles of the Constitution, it’s interesting to see how the thirteen colonies were given guaranteed independence as thirteen states while also having a strong interdependence on each other as a nation. The central government had power, but so did the states. This idea is the personal leadership concept I want to briefly explore further.


“You must believe in yourself and have a degree of independence. At the same time, you must operate with a mindset of interdependence with others.” [Tweet This]


Personal Leadership Independence

As a leader (or just as a person), you must believe in yourself and have a degree of independence. Others cannot manage your life. You must take ownership of the good, the bad, and the ugly and focus on growing the good while minimizing the bad and the ugly.

At the same time, you must operate with a mindset of interdependence. Without the work and support of others, you will not be successful. Pause for a moment and ask yourself, “How aware am I of this concept of independence and interdependence?” The analogy that I’ve often used is the feature that we have on our TVs and other electronic devices called “picture in picture”. You can make one channel large and the other small so that you can watch both at the same time and switch them with the push of a button.

It’s a convenient feature to have on your TV, but it’s even more important in your role as a leader at work and at home.


My brief coaching clip this month goes deeper on this topic. Please watch, and then continue reading the blog below –


An Independently Interdependent Couple

In our new bestselling book, Captured by Love: Inspiring True Romance Stories from Vietnam POWs, one of the twenty couples’ stories is entitled “Independently Interdependent”. Air Force Maj. Elmo “Mo” Baker was one of the most decorated fighter pilots of the Vietnam War. When he came home after more than five years in the prison camps of Hanoi, he learned that his wife wanted a divorce. Mo had a hint this was coming, so he handled it well and two months later he met a lovely fighter pilot widow. They have now been happily married for 49 years.

Pictured: Mo and Honey Baker

As they shared their story with my co-author Greg Godek and me, it was clear that they were both very independent. We mentioned that and they agreed, but responded, “Yes, but we are both interdependent.” Then they shared some examples of how this mindset had enabled them to have a great marriage and family.

As Greg and I reviewed and edited the stories in the book, it became clear that this relationship perspective was evident in most of our twenty stories. We know that to be successful in life (at home and at work), you must work toward balancing mission and people (results and relationships) by engaging in strength and love. The more that you can show your relationships how valuable they are, how much you appreciate them, (how much you love them), the healthier your relationship will be and the more they will work to help you and them succeed.

Focusing on a results and relationships mindset is the perfect way to value being independently interdependent.


Believe in Yourself and Others

You must believe in yourself, be independent, and act responsibly as a person and leader. But you are also dependent on others for success. Great leaders value and celebrate the talents and styles of their people, and they also give them responsibility and freedom to do things independently.

And if you reflect on this concept, you will see that respect and trust are essential for a healthy independent and interdependent relationship.

LE [Tweet this Article]


Amazon Bestseller! 20 Top Gun Romance Stories

Captured by Love shares the real love stories of 20 Vietnam War POWs. Some had wives who started a movement that changed American foreign policy. Others came home and had to start over, while five single men met the loves of their lives.

Former POW Lee Ellis and love expert Greg Godek take you on a dramatic journey of faithfulness, passion, excitement, resilience, and practical love lessons from these couples.

New Amazon Bestseller in the Military Families and Survival Biographies & Memoirs

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Read some sample stories










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