It was the end of a long business trip. I was exhausted. I got on the plane and the first thing I did was put on my headphones and began holosyncing. Great place to do it because first of all, the person next to me didn’t engage in conversation and secondly it’s time to unwind. I also knew the drink cart would not get to me anytime soon because I was in seat 43D. By that time, we are "begining our initial descent into Atlanta"- no drink for Jan. So I was sitting back and looked sideways at the guy next to me. His arms were covered in tattoos, yet he was really clean cut and well dressed. He had a book in his hands titled “The SPEED of trust” by Stephen M. Covey. What? I never heard of this book and I am all about the lessons of trust. So he started reading and I literally was straining my eyes as I tried to read with him to no avail. When we landed I asked him if he liked the book? He said “Well, in concept it’s excellent-but can you ever really trust people?” He continued “I need to read more of it.” It got me thinking. Are people really that untrustworthy?
I have been traveling so much I threw my Atlas out. We all know how much it matters to me if my Atlas is in. The busy travel kind of wears me out. I am not quite 100% yet. More like 85%. I am trying to say I am tired. After this last trip my colleague Don said to me when yet another “opportunity” was upon us, that “we need to divide and conquer.” Yeah well-I would have to trust you to do that and it’s then that I get concerned. That would mean I have to relinquish control, something I am not good at. I am a little gun shy on trust. However, Don is right. I can’t be everywhere at once, nor can I afford to be everywhere at once. He told me he has my back; we are a team-now it’s up to me to believe him. In his case, I do. Trust is a choice- the question always seems to linger with me though, am I making the right choice?
Let’s do a deep dive. Why is it so hard to trust? Is it because I don’t trust myself? Is it because I have been burned and am cautious? When I say burned I refer to situations where regardless of my sales agreement with a vendor, I wasn’t paid for some reason. Or, I had to chase down the money because they were “tight” that month. My vendors are smaller and work with independent reps like me. We start to blend and work together and I get concerned whether or not I will be used for my contacts or we will prosper together. It’s a healthy pause. There is no guarantee of success, but it is my choice. Freedom to make these choices is high on my priority list. We have all been hurt personally in some way by colleagues, family, friends and partners. Things you never imagined could happen, do happen. Did I trust appropriately? Did I make good choices? Am I credible myself?
The Quotes below are taken from Stephen M. Covey’s book “The SPEED of Trust”
“Credibility essentially boils down to two questions everyone needs to be able to answer.
-Do I trust myself?
-Am I someone others can trust implicitly?”
Struggling with these questions is goodness. Think about it, Do I trust myself? Am I strong enough, grounded enough and stable enough to know myself. Can I do the right thing even when no one is watching me? Can I be alone and be okay, in fact can I thrive? Can I come from a place of consistency inside of myself? Do I extend myself to others appropriately? Does doing the right thing come naturally to me? Can I even answer these questions honestly?
Moving on, “Am I someone others can trust implicitly?” Would I trust me if I were someone else? Run the movie of your life scenes in your head and ask did I respond to that situation well? Did I have integrity or was I a schmuck. Did I treat someone else the way I want to be treated? Was I respectful? When I help someone did I really want to help or did I do it to look good. Which is it? Who do you want to be? How do you build credibility if you aren’t trustworthy? How do you go about changing how people perceive you if you are a schmuck? Can you prosper without trust? I agree with Covey, I think not.
“Self-Trust is derived from your abilities and your capacity to set and achieve goals and keep your commitments. If you walk your talk, then you’ll feel good about your actions. That Inner sense of contentment and consistency then makes it possible for you to be worthy of the trust of others. Credibility.”
So I am thinking about the book The Speed of Trust- in business. And I am thinking you can’t separate business trust with colleagues/clients and trust in your personal life. They go hand in hand, you can’t be one way at home and another way in business. It is incongruent.
“One man cannot do right in one department of life while he is occupied in doing wrong in another department. Life is one indivisible whole.”
What is our personal role regarding living around trust? How responsible are we for how things progress in our lives? We certainly are responsible for how we respond to situations even though we can’t control them. I like what this guy says:
“Almost all conflict is a result of violated expectations.”
-Blaine Lee Author of the Power Principal
More questions to ask ourselves. Do we appropriately set expectations? Are we afraid to say what we really mean for fear of the consequences? Which is worse- setting expectations or living in resentment? Being truthful or keeping the peace because not keeping the peace feels worse at the time. Which one creates trust, being truthful or saying nothing? Hmmm, don’t have to be rock star to figure that out.
Yet it is so difficult. We don’t want to hurt someone’s feeling. We don’t want to appear disagreeable. We don’t or can’t embrace change. We don’t want to own our own crap. We want someone else to make it better, we want our colleagues, families and friends to “just know—what and how to be”.
Seriously, is anybody buying that? How is anyone supposed to know internally what you expect if you don’t tell them? That’s crazy. Know your limits, create your boundaries, don’t be afraid, find your voice and state your expectations. I am learning these things as I go. I haven’t always been good at this, perhaps really bad at times, but I am working on it now. I want to get better at it, I choose to make it a priority and I am trying. I don’t want to be afraid to voice my truths.
For example, one of my pet peeves is when people are chronically late. Do I tell people this is a pet peeve? Do I set the bar in a way that someone understands this is my expectation? Not always and many times not doing so, is to my own detriment. I am one of those people that will be early or on time. If I am late it is because I am 911 in an ambulance on the way to the hospital or there is unavoidable traffic/wreck or something! I respect people’s time my clients, friends, family—anyone really with whom I have commitments.
An example. My colleague Elaine, is very much on-time. Unless there is a traffic situation. She plans appropriately to get somewhere and she is respectful of other people’s time. She is cognizant of a client’s time and states it upfront. What some folks think is a small thing, being on time, builds credibility with someone like me- it creates trust. It’s the little things that build trust.
Do what you say. Because at the end of the day It matters how you show up in the world. How you keep your commitments.
“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”
Interesting things to think about; especially when considering trust and prosperity in today’s political climate. Can we in fact as a country prosper when very few people seem to trust each other? We have to start somewhere, and that would be creating credibility. What is your intent? What is your motivation, your agenda and does your behavior back it up?
I’ll end with this quote from- Stephen M Covey
“There is no getting around the fact that in today’s flat, global economy, Trust is essential to prosperity. In our personal and family relationships, Trust is essential to satisfaction and joy. And the truth is we can establish it. We can grow it. We can extend it. We can restore it. We can become personally and organizationally credible. We can behave in way that inspires trust. We can increase the speed and lower the cost in every dimension of our lives.”
Not being trustworthy “costs” us. Make no mistake about it.
Until next time.