How Much You Trust is Up To You (Not Them)

It is true, your ability to trust others depends less on what they do than on how well you can respond to what they do. Other people’s behavior teaches us how much we want to extend trust to them, but it has nothing to do with how much we can trust in general.

How much we can trust has everything to do with our ability to respond to what others do. Your ability to trust others is up to you, in terms of you increasing your ability to respond.

Here is an example: someone who is afraid to speak in front of an audience is probably concerned that the audience can or will do something to which he doesn’t know how to respond.

Someone who can speak in front of an audience trusts and knows that he can handle what an audience throws at him.

What is the difference? Is the audience the difference? No. The person’s ability to respond is the difference.

Some people have trust emanating from their being — and they don’t get taken advantage of because they also do a great job of managing their boundaries. They know when to extend more confidence to somebody and when not to, but they are exhibiting trust and trustworthiness.

Your ability to trust and you extending trust isn’t the same thing. It has to do with being able to handle a situation. There are likely situations you can handle today that you couldn’t handle a few years ago. A few years ago you would have avoided those or had a lot of trepidation.

But the context or situation hasn’t changed. What’s coming at you hasn’t changed. What’s changed is your power to deal with it effectively, to face and confront it.

Your ability to trust has more to do with your ability to develop your responsibility than with what other people do.

It doesn’t mean that you’re going to extend trust when you know that it’s going to be abused, but you can’t grow and expand in your responsibility practice without growing and expanding in your ability to trust.

Get Started With This 5-Minute Practice Tip

Do you find yourself waiting for others to prove their trustworthiness to you? Maybe it is time you work on your ability to trust instead.

Identify one relationship where you have been reluctant to extend trust and analyze what it is about that relationship that scares you. Consider how you could expand your ability to respond in order to trust the other person.

Once you are able to increase your ability to trust yourself, you can extend trust more easily to others and unchartered situations.

Attention business executives and supporting partners — Do you seek proven exceptional solutions for leadership development and culture-shaping? See Partnerwerks approach to sustainable change with measurable results enterprise-wide.

Christopher Avery, PhD, is a recognized authority on how individual and shared responsibility works in the mind and an advisor to leaders worldwide.

Posted in Collaboration on 06/02/2014 07:08 am
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