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Many faulty beliefs go unquestioned and the notion of earning trust before it is given is one of those. Others do not need to earn your trust. Rather, the trust you need earn is that which you must find within yourself. Trusting yourself requires self-confidence such that you have surrendered the need for love, approval, and acceptance from others and you no longer fear being left or being alone. You are at peace with your own company and trust that you can face any situation. Trust is when you listen to your thoughts and feelings and know and follow what’s best for you. You pay attention, take responsibility for what you experience, and what you create. When you deeply trust yourself, you don’t feel entitled to, nor demand anything from others, including the need for them to earn your trust. In fact, you know that even some breaches in trust don’t mean that a person can never be trusted again. You don’t quit easily or throw babies out with the bathwater. Yet the world often widely promotes this:

“Trust has to be earned, and should come only after the passage of time.” (Arthur Ashe, tennis pro)

Trust from strength in you is offered freely and immediately, because you trust the voice inside you that not only feels things emotionally and intuitively, but also, learns from experiences as they unfold. You know that trusting yourself and being trustworthy is the influence you own and expand. Many people have been so wounded that their coping mechanism is to protect themselves by putting the responsibility for one’s safety into the hands of others. In fact, to some degree, most of us do this without realizing it. Think about it, do you walk into an elevator of people and smile and say, “Good morning, everyone!” This simple gesture requires trust in yourself to handle whatever response is returned. Yet most of us are afraid.


Years ago, a man travelled to St. Louis from another state to lead a deep-dive personal growth weekend. There were about 50 people gathered the night before at a planning session for those assisting in the program. The instructor was warm and friendly and shook hands with everyone, introducing himself to each of us. Then, he went up to the front of the room and called on people for the next hour, not forgetting one person’s name! As the meeting was wrapping up, I went to him and asked, “Do you use some kind of memory trick to remember everyone’s name?” He said, “No, but here IS what I do: As I prepare to come into any group, if I sense tension in my body, I check in, and ask myself, ‘What am I afraid I might be judged for?’ Because this man was a new instructor, from another part of the country, and gay, he told me those were a few things that had come to his mind before coming into our group. He told me, “Whenever I discover a fear of being judged, I reassure myself by saying to me about each, ‘I will not abandon you even if that happens.’”


He then told me something else I’ll never forget, “You know when you shake someone’s hand and then you shake the hand of the next person, and almost immediately you think, ‘What was that last person’s name? They just told it to me!’ That’s because if we are not tuned in, we are not aware that we have a guard up; a protection, and we can’t actually hear what’s being said. We are in fear and the reasoning part of our brain is impaired enough that it makes it difficult to fully hear and remember basics, like a name we just heard.” I thought this was amazing. So, now I try to remember this myself and when I do, I find I am peaceful, warmly connected, get close to people and remember their names. What if the only trust you need to earn is within yourself? I choose to believe Golda Meir, Israeli politician and teacher who said,

“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life.”

To trust yourself and to foster this in others, you need to create the kinds of conditions and conversations in which people grow in, and feel self-worth, confidence, and resilience. Want to join me in my mission to create a world in which all people love their lives? I can help you do that in your organization, so you grow in trust yourself and help all of your people do the same. Then you’ll have a trustworthy, caring community of people who believe in the good within all.


Why People Hire Judy Ryan and LifeWork Systems

Business owners, community leaders, and educators hire Lifework Systems because they want the advantages of an extraordinary workplace and recognize a systems approach ensures consistency and sustainability in the transformation process. They know that conscientious employees grow your business and improve your reputation, giving you competitive advantages. We help organizations instill into every person a common language and toolset for how to participate in a responsibility-based Teal workplace. Visit our website at www.lifeworksystems.com, and click the link at the bottom to complete a culture assessment and schedule your first consult to review a report on your feedback, all at no cost.  You can also contact Judy Ryan at 314.239.4727 or at judy@lifeworksystems.com.

This article is published in Judy’s column The Extraordinary Workplace produced by the St. Louis Small Business Monthly, in May 2023.