Thursday, May 3, 2012

What's trust?

A facilitator faced the crowd, read the highlights of her resume, and concluded "So that's why you should trust me."

Now, perhaps if she had been reading a list of successful investments and then been urging us to invest with her, that could have made sense. Or if she had listed any well-executed tasks and then told us to trust her with another similar task, that too would have been ok. But she was talking about us - a room full of strangers - trusting her totally and implicitly with our fears, secrets and psyches.

All of which raised some interesting questions - what is trust? how is it earned?

There are varying degrees - just like "love" - and I doubt many of us have really thought hard about it. We trust or we don't. We use our 'gut' as a reference and we forge ahead. There are probably a few givens to explore:
  • you can't demand trust with folks you've just met, no matter how great your resume is
  • you can't assume trust with folks you've known, unless you've actually discussed the issue
  • you can earn trust either quickly or by degree but it should be a conscious effort
  • the only way to test trust is to be vulnerable with the other person and see what happens (again vulnerability can be by degrees)
Trust is not a pedigree - it's a relationship.

I'm going to ask my new mentor what he thinks...

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