I’m putting the finishing touches on a new program I’m going to present for the first time next week. I’m pretty sure I’ll title it “Building a Trusted Relationship.” It has been fascinating to research the subject of trust.
I’ve learned a lot.
Perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned is that trust rarely just happens; it must be earned. More than that, it must be intentionally and repeatedly earned. Pretty much everything you say and do, everyday, either adds to or subtracts from, the level of trust that somebody has in you.
Once earned it must be protected like it’s your prized possession. Actually if trust isn’t one of your prized possessions then your likely not doing enough to earn it intentionally and repeatedly.
Trust is amazingly fragile; while it is usually a long slow process to build and maintain trust, it can be destroyed in an instant. It doesn’t have to be something big that destroys it either, it can be something that seems almost trivial…. except to the person whose trust has been lost.
Lots of honest people aren’t trusted. It’s not because they have done something to lose the trust of those around them, it’s because they have done nothing to earn it. You see, there seems to be two distinct types of people in the world. Those who trust you until you do something to destroy that trust and those who won’t trust you until you do something to earn it.
Sadly, it appears the later group is growing.
The class I’m preparing is 3 hours long so the “how to” build trust part of this post could go on a very long time. It won’t, but let me sum it up for you like this:
If you want to earn the trust of the people you interact with then just be you. Whatever you are, you’re better off as you then you are trying to be somebody you’re not. When you try to “fake it” there is so much to remember; who you told what and when you told them. How you should dress when you’re with this person or that one. How you speak and which words do you use.
When you mess around like that you WILL be found out. You just can’t fool anyone forever. Life is so much easier, earning the trust of others is so much easier, when you’re just you. Research shows that the average person lies 7 times a day. My own little very unscientific research says the vast majority of those lies are people trying to project an image that isn’t really them. And yes, those little white lies are still lies, no matter how much you want to believe them.
I don’t suppose this has always been true for me but at this point in my life it certainly is – I’d rather be thought of as an honest idiot than a dishonest genius.
It really makes no difference whether you’re trying to build trust as a leader, as a sales professional or just a person living life; if you can’t maintain trust in a relationship then you can’t maintain the relationship.
Do not take the trust of others for granted. Building trust isn’t something that happens, it is something you do. You may be the most trustworthy person on the planet but if you’re not proactively building trust then trust most certainly will not be built.
Build yourself a bit of trust today….. and everyday!