Why we need to learn to trust ourselves
In his book The Speed of Trust, Stephen MR Covey provides a really interesting and simple formula that business leaders, owners or managers can use to measure the effect of trust in their environments.
Why is the focus on trust? He, along with contemporaries such as Patrick Lencioni (The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team and The Advantage), believe trust is the foundation of effective and high-performing teams as well as a demonstration of truly functional leadership, where a key role is to gel the various strengths and differences of individuals in a team towards achieving a common purpose, delivering on clear goals and creating a culture that sustains success.
The equation highlights trust impacts on two measures: speed and cost. If trust in the team or leader is low then speed of work is slow and costs are high. If trust is high then speed of work is fast and conversely costs are low. It is simple.
While that small formula is provided in the context of "work”, my view is that there is definitely a cross-over into our personal world with this as well.
As a coach, people come to me for a range of reasons. It may be that they are dissatisfied with their life, their work or their relationships. It could be that they are stuck and seeking an objective outsider to help them challenge their thinking. Potentially they are wanting to take the next step in their career and want to sound out their aspirations.
As we get into conversation, one of the questions I ask my clients as we explore their reality and I listen to their story is "Do you trust yourself and do you trust others?”.
Up to this point in my nearly 20 years as a coach, I have yet to meet anyone who answers convincingly in the affirmative.
That answer no longer surprises me given that - by evolution - we are designed to be sceptical or doubtful. Our brains look at the new or unfamiliar as a threat or as a foe first.
So it's no surprise then that when the question of trust of self comes up, we generally view ourselves through the lens of our experiences and link the poorer decisions or choices made to our current situation, creating doubt or anxiety about future decisions or direction.
How do we come to trust ourselves so we can move into a future relatively unencumbered by our past? Again a question comes to mind that is simple to ask: if you were to trust yourself, what would be the first step you'd take and what would be the result you'd want?
The challenge then is to accept yourself for who you are and to have the courage to take action on what you want as an outcome.
You can measure trust of self too, when you think about it.
Nick Bennett is a facilitator and coach at mindsaligned.com.au