Weekly Gems from Ronda Gates.
The TRANSFORMATIONS residential lifestyle and weight management program I developed and currently coordinate includes a goal setting process where our guests must identify the prospective supporters and saboteurs to their newfound lifestyle. Pinpointing these folks sets the stage for meeting and resolving the inevitable challenges faced when they enter environments where the best laid plans for a healthy lifestyle can be compromised.
In a recent session, the conversation about these potential allies or adversaries evolved into a discussion of trust including how it is built, how it can be damaged, criteria for evaluating whether it can be restored and, if it can, how to muster the willingness to make the effort. Although trust building (and breaking) is a complex process, there are four criteria I believe are the foundation for creating and maintaining personal or professional trustworthiness.
Webster's dictionary defines integrity as "uprightness of character." People have integrity when their behavior matches their words. They do what they say they are going to do. In short, "hear the words but watch the actions."
Because we're human we make mistakes. Sometimes they are discovered and we're asked to be accountable. People who can be trusted don't shift blame. They admit it when they mess up then, to the best of their ability, do what is necessary to repair the damage.
When we are willing to accept that another person's different perspective or style is as valid (for them) as our own, we have an opportunity to move through the storming process that accompanies developing important personal and/or professional relationships. Successful negotiation of this difficult time in a relationship engenders higher levels of trust.
We tend to trust the people with whom we feel safe (secure). When we can say what we think and feel without repercussions our trust builds. A requirement to "walk on eggs" to maintain a relationship means our security is as fragile as the eggshell itself.
Like interest in a bank account, trust builds slowly as we share a series of trust building experiences. An abundant account will tolerate an occasional breech of trust. On the other hand, a series of failures to be trust-worthy can rapidly deplete an account until trust is gone. Rebuilding trust in a betrayed relationship is much like reacquiring lost credit--it takes time and demonstration, over and over and over again, that you (or others) WILL act with integrity, responsibility, understanding and safety -- that your effort to "be a better person" is sincere.
This week, take a few minutes to think about who you do or don't trust and who, because of your actions, may or may not trust you. What experiences support those beliefs for you? If you wanted someone to trust you what steps would you be willing to take to make that happen?
And remember, "Hear the words but watch the actions!"
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