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From the monthly archives:

May 2011

Leadership Traits to Transform Your Life – Trust

by Gary Bamberger on May 24, 2011

The 2nd installment in my leadership traits series is on the topic of trust. Let’s start our with a couple of definitions:

  • Miriam-Websters Dictionary
    • assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something
    • one in which confidence is placed
  • Dictionary.com
    • reliance on the integrity, strength, ability, surety, etc., of a person or thing; confidence.

Nothing surprising there.

For me, trust is that base or foundation for all relationships. The level of trust I have built with other people in my life is bolstered, maintained or torn down every day based on my actions along with an understanding of my motivation. This, in turn, influences the depth of the relationships I have with other people.

So, how does trust relate to personal leadership? Well, can you honestly lead your own life if you lack a deep seated trust of yourself? I doubt it. You must be able to rely on your own integrity, strength, ability and truth. As the level of trust with other people is shaped based on your actions, so to is your trust in yourself.

How do you build trust in yourself? One thing is that you must quiet those voices in your head that rip you down and steal your power. These voices do not serve you in any way even though they often want you to believe that they are there to protect you. Replace these with positive affirmations of your integrity, strength and ability. Start looking for examples in your life where you’ve exhibited these characteristics and use them as anchors that help you build your personal power. And, in situations where you lack trust in yourself, take time to examine why this occurred. Did you lack confidence in your ability? Did you lack the strength in some way? Did you compromise your integrity in some way? Are you reluctant to face your personal truths? Is this a pattern in your life?

Once you begin trusting yourself, you can begin building your transformation. If you have taken time to understand what you want in life and are really aligned with it, you must trust that you would know better than anyone else what you must do to achieve it. Even if you claim to not know, deep down, you do. When I catch myself in a moment of being unsure of what to do next, I ask myself what I would do if I did know what to do. This is trusting yourself enough to move forward.

You must also trust your intuition, your gut, your instincts because they often know things well before you mind has unlocked the logic. In the book Blink, Malcolm Gladwell writes about a firefighter on a call who knew that the fire they were fighting was not responding as expected. Realizing that something wasn’t kosher, he ordered his men out of the building moments before the floor collapsed where they were standing. Trusting your instincts is invaluable.

There’s really no need to be an expert or seek perfection in every aspect of your life. This is trusting that you have the ability to figure things out as you go. A friend once asked me, “Do you I wait for every light to turn green before you start driving your car somewhere?” “Of course not,” I said. He then asked, “why would you wait to have all of the answers before you start pursuing something in your life?” Having a dream or a goal as a destination is sometimes enough. The bigger the goal and the further out in the future it is, the fuzzier the intermediate steps and objectives will be. And, by starting the process of moving towards it, you will be able to validate assumptions and your plans as they unfold. Just as importantly, trust that you’ll have the ability to adapt, to learn as you go, to adjust your plans and to improvise as you move forward. If you encounter some failures along the way, trust that you will learn from the experience and keep moving forward.

In the end, the trust you have with yourself is the foundation upon which you build your relationship with yourself. Developing a high level of trust with yourself is a key dependency in any transformation you want to undertake.

How will you choose to develop trust with yourself? How do you envision building trust with yourself will impact your life?

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