“Trust in self, trust in others, trust in all that will be” this might be as close to a lifelong mantra as I’ve ever claimed. I remember working many years ago with an amazingly wise guide who had an almost magical technique for inspiring individuals to find their essence. It was, he described, like putting on your seat-belt when driving. There would be a ‘clunk-click’ and you would know it was your essence. Turns out my essence was — and continues to be — that very element of trust found in this mantra that I’d often heard myself say. I’d say it when I was worried about something, I used it when faced with a tough choice, I used it to reassure my team when things were getting stressful, I’d use it to encourage my clients to reach for new dreams and desires and to trust they could be more than they thought possible. I’d come back to it when making big life decisions for which I didn’t have a clear outcome.
More recently, I chose Trust as the theme for my TEDx talk where I explored the connection between truth and trust in a playful skit which exposed the challenges and unspoken fears that hold people back from trusting that they can speak their truth to their managers — and how contradictory it is that those very same managers will often secretly wish that their people would do exactly that. For after all, one of the main sources of truth that a leader can hear is how people experience them. It’s the ultimate, perhaps the only, feedback that a leader can truly trust and respond to.
In a recent conversation with a leadership team I asked the question ‘where does trust start’ and we came to the awareness that it starts inside oneself. We often think that trust is something we look for in others — and yet it is founded inside our own sense of self and how we choose to see the world around us. Trust in others is something you choose for yourself, rather than something you wait for others to prove to yourself. I will often ask a leader which stance they start out from:
“Do you build your relationships from a place of distrust and expect people to prove they can be trusted?”
“Do you start from a place of trusting others and encourage an environment of truth and transparency from which that trust can only strengthen?”
I continue to believe and to enjoy the experience of trusting in my own truth and trusting in the truth of others. That sense of trust has to date always served me well.