(Guest Author Richard Fagerlin for Real. Simple. Leadership)
Let’s address this difficult situation of people that will likely take advantage of you if you are willing to give trust. So let’s play the odds.
Even though trust is not safe it can still be a wise investment. The question is, do the rewards outweigh the risks?
Everyone will eventually disappoint you in small ways. (And guess what? You’ll disappoint them, too.) A few people may betray you outright. But consider for a moment how many people we’re really talking about. How many people, of all those in your life, are really going to take advantage of you if you offer trust before it is earned? Twenty percent? Ten? Two? I guess that, on average, the number is closer to two percent than it is to twenty. Yes, a few people may abuse your trust. But do you want to live and act for the two percent, or the ninety-eight percent?
Imagine a weights and measures scale. Put the risk of the two percent on one side, and the
benefit of a trusting, generous relationship with the ninety-eight percent on the other.
Which is heavier?
I know many of you are sitting there thinking of all the situations where giving unearned trust doesn’t make sense. Keep two things in mind:
First, I’m assuming the relationships in question are ones where you actually want to win, where you have a vested interest in the relationship being the best it can be, and where collaboration is critical. If that’s the case, let’s apply these ideas. If not, you don’t need to invest time or energy into building trust.
Second, I am not speaking to the extremes. If you have experienced a betrayal of trust amounting to psychological or physical abuse, address it appropriately. Ask a friend for help, get a counselor, talk to a mentor, or read one of the many great books out there that address healing and boundaries on a personal level.
But most of life should not be a crisis. I want to speak to the rest of the time, to normal person-to-person interactions.
If you are struggling with the idea of giving trust – consider the following 5 strategies: Continue reading