While it’s true that no man is an island, you must not become dependent on others such that you are a burden. The more independent you are, the less you have to rely on others. This gives you the freedom to live. The following tips can help move towards a more independent life.
1. Have emergency money on hand
As simple as this sounds, if you find yourself in an emergency that requires a good chunk of money, what will you do if you don’t have it? You will likely call up friends or family members. This puts you in a position of owing them. They will grow tired of you continually doing this. You may only get away with this once or twice.
2. Always learn new skills
If you don’t keep up with your skills, you will have to rely on others who are up-to-date with theirs. Most people don’t know everything there is to know. However, if you are on a constant learning path you will have a leg up on others. If you constantly ask people to help with skills you don’t have, they will view it as a weakness.
3. If you truly want to become independent, consider starting a business
Many people feel they can do better than the companies they work for. If you can make it happen for yourself, you will have the freedom to be your own boss.
4. For those who don’t want to start a new business, you can still take steps to increase your independence at work
For instance, you should try to delegate several of your tasks. If you are not at a manager’s level, you may need to negotiate your position. For instance, you could teach someone a skill in exchange for him or her taking on some of your responsibilities.
5. Increase your network
From an independence perspective, this may seem counterintuitive as you involve others. But, when you help others they will be willing to return the favour. Calling on these favours will give you an advantage that others won’t have. It’s important to keep active with your network. If you treat this in a casual manner people may not remember who you are.
6. Stay out of trouble
This seems obvious, but if you get arrested and have to spend time in jail, you lose your independence. Being incarcerated is difficult to shake even after you are released. People don’t believe this could ever happen to them. However, they start with small infractions, and as they get away with them, they increase the level. Sometimes, they find themselves in situations that are difficult to reverse until it’s too late.
7. Encourage your college-aged children to go away to college
It’s true they save money going to a local school. However, the trade-off is they don’t get the experience of learning to be independent. They can still learn this later but going away to college gives them a head start.
Action Steps to Take:
1. Set aside ten percent of your salary into a bank account every pay period. This can be used to build up your emergency fund. It may require you giving up something else, but it can help you during times of emergencies. If nothing else, you will save some money, which is never a bad idea.
2. Attend a networking event at least once per quarter. You can arrange one yourself using Meetup.com or something similar, or you can attend one that is scheduled by someone else. When you develop your network, reach out to the network at least once per month, even if it’s just a quick hello email.
3. Work with your manager to incorporate outsourcing certain aspects of your job. This can supplement or replace the need to delegate. You will need to present a cost-benefit analysis.