One of the hardest things I have experienced in business since starting up is judging if I can or indeed should trust people. It is a question that has quite surprised me to be honest and something I hadn’t really expected to ask when I entered self-employment.
My journey over the last 18 months has been great – the progression from employee to my own boss has been much smoother than expected, even with some difficulties structuring my time and managing my mind. I feel I have been able to develop my skillset, flex my offering, make great connections and deliver on projects. Moreover I now have a significant understanding of my strengths, boundaries and have even developed the ability to say no. Shocking!
The truth is, I choose to trust others. It was common feedback on 360 activities and management reviews in employment. I am a “wear-your-heart-on-your-sleeve” kinda girl and there is no changing that. In every colour profiling, discovery tool activity, I am also shown to be the exact same person in the workplace as out. I am basically consistently the same person. I am congruent. How peace and love right?! This is probably why personal branding sits well with me, and I feel able to empower others to seek their own harmony and own who they truly are.
Where the trust issue doesn’t sit well with me is when I find myself operating in a small business community made up of some people who don’t trust one another, sometimes openly and sometimes even publicly. Adding weight to this are the horror stories you hear in which people have blatantly broken others trust for small business wins of their own. Why exactly are so many people copying each other at the moment?
Whilst I have had experiences where I have become distrusting others, it is often as a reaction of their behaviour towards me. Like a little feedback loop of distrust…
- I trust you
- You seem to trust me
- You don’t trust me
- I wonder why and I don’t trust you
I have had a couple of people who have opened a door of connection with me but snapped it shut again, and I have assumed this is because they feel they can’t trust me. It makes me sad and it makes me question my own openness in trusting others so easily. That said, I do totally understand why, in this microcosm small business world, people feel worried about others. I have seen others get totally sucked into paranoia and a negative mindset because of this environment. It can be really difficult environment to hack. Likewise, I have come across many people in the business community who distrust others as a rule. This is probably the saddest situation.
But what do we do about it? Humans need to trust; it is a fundamental state we need to achieve to feel fulfilled and safe; it feeds into our confidence. If we are surrounded by people we feel we can’t trust or people who don’t trust us it creates a very insecure and lonely place. I am not sure I have the answer to overcome this issue, particularly as it plays out in small business, but I can lead by example. If you find it hard to trust I would recommend you:
- Consider why you find I difficult to trust. Is it the current situation or part of a larger significance in your life?
- Consider what could be the worst that could happen? We do have a penchant to catastrophise and imagine futures that aren’t necessarily accurate.
- Consider if the issues around the situation or the person is real or imagined? Has some misinterpretation happened? Is this all a simple misunderstanding? People often aren’t acting out of the negative, we can imagine this.
- Consider all the things that make you great and individual in life and business. Having a strong identity and sense of self-worth and self-confidence makes it easier to overlook issues of copying or feeling threatened by others.
Whatever the cause of distrust and the impact, it is important in business to remember that we are all flawed, people make mistakes, people misinterpret things, people are stressed. Let’s all be the best version of ourselves and be as open as we can, because I believe it leads to better connection and fundamentally more happiness!