Education / Kids

Happy 4th of July - How Independent Are You?

Dr. Mark Goulston is a #1 best selling author of seven books, former hostage negotiation trainer, speaker, trainer, coach and renowned psychiatrist. He is regarded as an internationally renowned expert in the field of empathy and listening. As a result of his rich and diverse background and experiences, Dr. Goulston increases people’s ability to get through to anyone.


Fourth of July is a great time of year to ask yourself, how independent are you? Are you Dependent, Pseudo-independent or Independent?

Dependent: You’re needy. You lean on and on top of people. You try to get other people to take on your problems as their responsibility to fix. You’ve got the kiss of death with regard to personal and professional relationships. You need to stand up and grow up.

Pseudo-independent: You act un-needy, but you’re really prideful, don’t believe anyone else will do it right and don’t want to be beholding to anyone. You can’t really do life without other people. Your “empire” is no more than a glass menagerie, but as long as you don’t see it that way, it doesn’t seem to matter to you that everyone else does.

Independent: You are needful. You lean into people. You get input from others, but keep your problems as your responsibility. You are mature enough to realize that until you can be effectively interdependent, you can’t be independent.

How to Become Independent

The measure of true independence is how self-reliant, resourceful and coachable you are.
I work with many successful CEO’s, executives, senior managers to become even more successful. Something they have in common and in spades are self-reliance, resourcefulness and coachability.

Self-reliance means that their default mode is to be responsible and take on increasing responsibility to further their companies, their teams and their missions. They don’t pass the buck, make excuses or stay submerged in indecisiveness.

Resourcefulness means that they are clear about the resources they need to accomplish their goals and are not hesitant in accessing those resources. They are also reciprocators by nature, meaning they don’t take others’ effort for granted and give back to those who help them out.

Coachability means they seek, listen to and act upon solid, relevant input from others (even the greatest athletes have coaches their entire careers). In realizing the value of such coaching they have learned to also be great coaches to their people. They are NOT “know-it-alls,” but are constantly seeking to know all of it so they can make the best decisions.

The more self-reliant, resourceful and coachable you and your children are, the better your and their lives. The less you and they are of each of those (and the more you are overly dependent or act like “know-it-alls”), the worse your and their lives and more miserable you and they will be.

Have a conversation with your kids about what being independent means to them. After they answer it, ask them what they think about about the notions of being self-reliant (translate it to being able to depend on yourself), resourceful (translate it to being able to come up with solutions and the best help for problems they may face) and coachable (translate it to being able to find the best people to give them the best advice to help them do whatever they want to do).