I've written before about trust in business relationships and selling, and I've written about models of trust (see Trust: the Core Concepts.
But what about the guts of trust-of trusting, and of being trusted?
I mean what does it feel like in your gut? What is the gut-level stuff that makes it work-or not work? How do you know it in your gut when you're being trusted-or trusting?
I don't mean models, and abstractions, and data. I mean being real.
Here's the guts of what I've learned about trust-from the gut.
1. I can't tell you what works for you; I can only tell you what works for me.
2. You can tell me what you think I should do; but I won't do it. Unless I feel like it anyway, or unless I really trust you.
3. I can learn this stuff. It helps to be born with it, but I can learn.
4. Rarely, I learn trust by observing someone who does it well. I once saw a newspaper publisher run a 15-person all-day meeting just by listening, by nodding at someone and saying, "I can tell you've got something to add to that, Joe, right?" That time, I got it.
5. Generally, though, I learn trust lessons better through failure than through success. Those are "learning opportunities"-though I rarely see them as such at the moment.
6. Whenever I fail to trust, or to be trusted, it is nearly always my fault, and nearly always due to fear. Fear is the mother lode. I am learning to remember to ask myself, "what am I afraid of?" I hate the answers-they are always the same-shame and guilt. What a waste of time!
7. I don't trust you until I think you understand me. Why should I expect the reverse to be different?
8. I'd rather you go first. But then things rarely happen. So I guess I have to.
9. You can't hurt me without my permission. Which I don't have to give. You're not annoying-I'm annoyed. And I can stop being annoyed anytime I choose to.
10. You'll trust me most if I don't ask, beg, or try to force you to trust me. You'll trust me the most if I'm of service to you-no strings attached.
11. I'm OK, You're OK. True enough, but a hard place to get trust started. I'm an Idiot, You're an Idiot-now there's a place that offers traction.
12. Trust never comes without risk. Having the courage to be vulnerable, and to take small emotional risks now is what creates trust-and mitigates larger business risk later.
13. If I'm transacting, I'm alone. If I'm relating, transactions come along like ripe fruit.
14. After some point, I realized I could trust my gut more than my brain. Later, I realized that had always been true.
15. I get what I want when I stop wanting it. People trust me when I stop demanding trust.
16. Alone on a desert island, I don't have to trust or be trusted. And I can always create my own trust-free island. It's safe, but it's awfully solitary.
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