Time Management #2 – Are you Independent or Dependent?


An old colleague of mine used to say “When we come into this world we don’t come equipped with an instruction manual”. Too true…

We have to be trained, coached, managed and motivated in almost everything we do. So are you now independent and, if so, since when exactly?

It appears to me that within the animal kingdom humans come into this world distinctly lacking in the self-sufficiency department. In my younger days I spent time on my uncle’s farm and witnessed calves and lambs and piglets being born. Within a few hours they would be walking independently, playing, exploring and feeding themselves. A human child is not quite so quick off-the-mark.

For our first few years we are totally dependent on our parents to be fed, cleaned and changed. We are put to bed and called in the morning. We are fed with food that has been prepared for us. We are totally dependent.

However we grow up and our parents eventually pass us over to our first school. Perhaps this is independence? I don’t think so… We are called to class by the school bell, we wear a uniform, we are told when our studies start and when they stop. We are given homework. We are still dependent.

But we do get to play sports, I hear you say. True. But the practice is supervised, the game is controlled by a referee and we are told where to play and how to play by our coaches. We are still dependent.

But when you eventually start your first job and earn your first pay-cheque, you will tell me that this is independence – at last. Well, not so fast… You will be expected to ‘clock-in’ and clock-out’; you will have a manager to tell you what to do, how to do it and when to do it. They will even decide when you can take your holidays and for how long. This is not true independence.

The fact is that we quite expect – and are used to – our time being managed for us. Even though the majority of people will aspire to being independent – and even though many believe that they already are independent – we are not actually familiar with true independence and, frankly, most people cannot handle the reality of independence very well.

When a salesperson comes into a commission-only role for the first time they are often faced with the greatest amount of freedom they have ever experienced. The freedom to succeed and the freedom to fail…

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