"It is impossible to go through life without trust: That is to be imprisoned in the worst cell of all, oneself."
--- Graham Greene
Those of us who have been burned on a business deal, used by a trusted friend, or betrayed by a business associate have a difficult time trusting people. It takes a lot longer now to warm up to presented ideas and potential business partners. I imagine it to be the same feeling when a person goes through a divorce and is set up on a blind date ---- all the defenses are up and ready for battle.
"Trust is the easiest thing in the world to loose, and the hardest thing in the world to get back."
--- R. Williams
No business would ever profit without trust. We put trust in our customers, employees, and vendors on a daily basis. We have to. There is no getting around it. Without trust, our relationships with banks, salespeople, prospects, and clients would end. Obviously, there has to be a balance and a level of discernment in order to avoid getting ripped off, but just how much trust is too much?
"Few things help an individual more than to place responsibility upon him, and to let him know that you trust him."
--- Booker T. Washington
Andrew Carnegie, the great industrial steel magnate, placed his trust in Charles M. Schwab in the late 1800s. Schwab's salary was $75 thousand per year. However, Carnegie paid Schwab a bonus of $1 million at the end of each year. Carnegie was quoted as saying that he "paid Schwab $75 thousand for what Schwab could do and $1 million for what Schwab could get others to do." Carnegie's trust in Schwab was transferred to Schwab's trust in others.
The trust that works in giving employees freedom to excel also works when applied to any business associate. Sure, you will have those that will take advantage of your trust, but they usually wear themselves out, as well as their reputation, and don't stay on the scene long.
"A man who doesn't trust himself can never really trust anyone else."
--- Cardinal De Retz
Business folks that have been burned before find it difficult to trust again and it takes some time to fully recover. Unfortunately, this lack of trust carries over to doubt in one's abilities in business. Time is a cure-all, but the best way to get back into the trusting game is to begin with trusting you.
One of surest ways to develop the trusting muscle again is to exercise it on a regular basis. Begin by making decisions quickly. Don't sit on a decision for very long. Force yourself to make quick decisions and allow yourself to fail or make wrong choices. Getting back into the "trusting self" gives you confidence to trust others again.
"To be trusted is a greater compliment than to be loved."
--- George MacDonald
Finally, let others find you trustworthy. Begin with simple opportunities to be trusted. If you say you will meet someone at 1:00pm, be there at 12:45pm. Return all of your phone calls, regardless of how much time it takes. If you give a price to a customer, stick with that price even if it costs you. The more that others can trust you, the more they want to be trusted by you.
Fallen politicians and business leaders in the news is not the norm. There are still plenty of trustworthy people around. Shine your light so that others know you are out there too.
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In a local courthouse in the Passport renewal office:
"If you look exactly like your passport picture you are too ill to travel"
On a portable stroller:
"Caution: Remove infant before folding for storage"
On a church sign in Galveston:
"Staying in Bed and Shouting, 'Oh God!" Does Not Constitute Going to Church"
We know those funny signs are out there. Take a moment and send them in to us and we'll share them with the world. Send all hysterical observations to: firstname.lastname@example.org.