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  • Writer's pictureGladys Agwai

How to Trust

The lack of trust in one’s leaders, government, and media are global problems. People do not trust their spouses, clients, family members, or friends. What you hear and see is not trusted which makes it extremely difficult to solve business, community, and personal problems. Government and business corruption continues. Businesses are about their bottom line thinking too little about employee impact. Conspiracy theories are abundant and believed about any and everything. And when you do not trust, you work too hard to control everything even though you are only absorbing information within your bubble. All of this has created stubbornly closed minds, fear, anxiety, too little inner peace and happiness, and an increasing inability to solve problems.

But what is trust? Trust and faith are beliefs in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. It is a firm, hard, solid, and unyielding belief! To trust, people look for others who exhibit integrity, consistency, authenticity, discipline, and competence. You cannot only look to others to have these qualities. You must also have them! Trust is like having change in your purse. Each time you make good decisions, you earn more change. Each time you make poor decisions, you pay out some of your change to others. You only have a certain amount of change when you start out in a new relationship, business, or career. When you are “out” of change; you are “out” as someone who can be trusted.

According to Roderick Kramer, Stanford’s professor, and social psychologist, to trust is human. It is

embedded in our DNA from birth. Babies come into this world completely dependent, wanting to belong, and be accepted. But also, to err is human. Most people decide to readily trust based on physical similarities and other surface signals. You see what you want to see which psychologists call confirmation bias. If you expect untrustworthy or trustworthy behavior, that is what you will pinpoint. This is a problem because of inaccurate social stereotypes. People trust too readily, too much and for too long. But why do people trust so poorly? Too often they feel personally immune and will not fall victim to negative situations. They are overly optimistic ignoring the signals and excusing deceptive behavior.

The discussion so far has been about trusting others. However, do you trust yourself? Do you trust

that you are deserving, worthy, and enough? Do you trust your capability to do what needs to be done to have better relationships, wealth, and health? Do you trust yourself to say no when ill-gotten opportunities come your way to wait for better? Do you trust when saying yes to something new it will yield better? Do you trust that what you are doing in this moment is the right thing to do? Do you trust yourself to make right choices and decisions? Trust is not a technique, made from tricks or tools, based on fake perfection, or smart communications. Trust is built from character and maintained through many small and committed actions over time. It must be your way of being. It is an illusion to think you can control others or external situations. It is no illusion that you can control your own beliefs, behavior, and reactions.

You can never know another person’s motivation, intention, character, or actions. You have a choice to trust and potentially open yourself up to abuse from someone who will exploit you. Or you can choose not to trust and miss out on potential opportunity. The uncertainty is within every decision to trust. You can reduce the uncertainty if you adjust your mindset and behaviors around trust. But how?

• Know Yourself: Are you too trustworthy or not trustworthy enough? Adjust!

• Start Small: Build trust in small and shared doses like the size of a mustard seed.

• Nurture the Seed: Leverage various resources, question, build

• Practice: Trust and adjust.

• Communicate Clearly: Set the expectation for what you want.

• Have Empathy: Everyone has trust issues.

• Verify: Trust actions not words. Regularly evaluate the trust even when uncomfortable.

• Have an Exit Plan: You can get burned!

Trust is the most valuable commodity in this world. It can take years to earn and only a matter of seconds to lose. However, understand that when trust is broken, trust still exists. You must do the work to bring back the trust lost. I did not say the other person or organization. Whoever broke the trust must work to get it back. Do not allow negative experiences and situations to live a life of “never”. Never say never of you will shortchange your life. Keep trust at the forefront of everything you do. It can make such a big difference. Do not wait to begin building trust. Commit to cultivate, earn, and build trust. You must also work to build self-trust. It will make a difference not only in your life but the lives of others. Trust in the workplace will result in employee and client advocacy, loyalty, commitment, and engagement. When you are trustworthy it will give others, a reason to make a concerted effort to cultivate, earn, and build trust.

"He who does not trust enough will not be trusted.” Lao Tzu

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