Are you just another cog? Can we bring in someone else to do what you do but cheaper? Is the business market you’re in becoming too saturated? How long will you last?
These are all legitimate concerns, but the question of are you replaceable seems all encompassing and forever daunting. Do you find yourself asking yourself that? Do you find yourself worried of being replaced? Do you think you are replaceable?
To worry about being being replaced is to be worried about the wrong things. Your focus is self-centered and external rather than progress oriented. Instead, how might you—yes, you—change the perception of your field? How might you become a leader in your field? How might you challenge the conventions and standards of your industry? How might you speak up and reveal the secrets and insights of your own work? How might you help the people that could potentially replace you become better at what they do?
To become replaceable is to think your only business asset is your work itself. To become replaceable is to never have a voice. To become replaceable is to never make friends. To become replaceable is to assume that’s what this is all about—avoiding being replaced. To become replaceable is to stop being human.
The moment you start worrying that you’ll be replaced, you’re making yourself vulnerable to replacement. Because it’s less about whether or not you are replaceable, and more about if you allow yourself to be.
When you start worrying about being replaced, you begin to compromise. You’ll compromise your values, your ideas, your process, etc. The more you compromise, the more you fall into their hands. The more you compromise, the quicker you’ll be replaced. Here’s the thing, anyone can compromise what they do. Anyone can race to the bottom.
You know what’s really hard to replace? A relentless commitment to values. An absolute dedication to your craft. The things that make you an individual human: your voice, your perspective, your leadership, your friendships, and your story.
It does not matter how saturated your niche is. The easiest way to not be replaced is to stop thinking about it, and to unapologetically explore your individuality. Be human in how you work and conduct business and you’ll never have to worry about being replaced.