You are replaceable. In your professional career, no matter how important you think you are, if you were to leave tomorrow, they would have someone in your place before the end of day.
This information isn’t meant to terrify you. It should be freeing. It’s a little like facing your own mortality. Once you know, deep down, that there’s no escaping that end, you make the best use of your time while you have it. The same is true for our work. The more we know that we can be immediately replaced, the more free we are to take risks. We are free to grow and to try new things.
What we have had a hand in building won’t collapse without us. It will grow, change, and improve. That frees us to walk away and try new things. You are not pivotal in the role of other people’s successes, so you are free to chase your own potential.
Being replaceable doesn’t mean that you are not important. You are. In the moment that you are doing the work you are absolutely necessary. You may have even helped your company and your peers to succeed. Or started winning processes that helped everyone to be more efficient. It is not sad to think that they will live on without you. It is inspiring. Part of that work will always be yours.
We can hope that the work that we do and the relationships that we build will far outlast our immediate usefulness. But we can’t let a false sense of importance lull us into comfort. We have to break out of those niches or all we are doing is languishing.
Yes, you are replaceable, but that’s a good thing.
Go take a chance.