I can't remember what it was that I did as a teenager, but I do remember the anguish that followed after breaking my dad’s trust in me. Like a surgical incision, I had cut him deeply, and the look on his face said so. Like a deep chasm, it had torn open a gash between us, casting a long shadow of disappointment and brokenness over a bridge we had built together. And there was no way to get it back but to earn it back over time. And why is that? Trust cuts to the core of our character and competence.
Stephen M.R. Covey, author of “The Speed of Trust” says trust is the one thing that changes everything. He says it’s “the one thing that is common to every individual, relationship, team, family, organization, nation, economy, and civilization throughout the world.” It’s the “one thing which, if removed, will destroy the most powerful government, the most successful business, the most thriving economy, the most influential leadership, the greatest friendship, the strongest character, the deepest love.
Think about it. Consider how trust, or the lack of it, impacts our days and the moments that fill up our days. Think about how it affects our communication and relationships and the things we do. Covey says “It changes the quality of every present moment and alters the trajectory and outcome of every future moment of our lives—both personally and professionally.”
Trust is not a small thing, it’s huge. It’s a huge thing when my grandson takes me by the hand to help him get up and down stairs. He has confidence in me. That’s what trust is, it means having confidence in someone’s integrity and abilities. Not to trust is to distrust which means to be suspicious of someone’s integrity or capabilities. Jack Welch, former CEO of General Electric once said about trust, “You know it when you feel it”—it is palpable.
So this week I’m going to spend some time considering how trust, or the lack of it, impacts my life and the world around me. I’m going to consider who I trust and don’t trust and why. I’m going to consider the transactions I make with people, measure the trust level and, in the words of Covey, “begin to imagine the difference it would make if you were able to increase the amount of trust in the important personal and professional relationships in your life.”
Seems working on trust—building it, extending it, restoring it—might just be the thing that works when life isn’t working.