This is the hardest of my values to write about for me. Success and the conversation around it just sounds so much cooler, doesn’t it. Success is when “it” worked out (by whatever definition). Trust is when you hope it will but also know it just might not. And you might not able to do anything about it. The vulnerability.
Amongst my values, trust probably sits the closest to the core and is the most fragile. Trust is the acted-upon assumption things are going to be OK. That you are going to be OK. That this other person or group of people is going to be OK, in themselves and in relation to you. And that when they trust you, you are able to live up to it. Trust needs to be given, needs to be earned.
Sometimes when I hear the news in the morning, I find it hard, the last few weeks in London really got to me, piled upon Boston April 15th 2013. Aware that there are people out there far less fortunate. And then I go out and interact with other people, and it gets better. And they might well feel similar, but people don’t normally talk about these things so everyone is somewhat alone in their aloneness — trust, anyone? And it takes me time to think and feel this through enough to write about it, because trust really matters.
Is trust what we do when we can’t have the certainty we really want but can’t get? I recently came across something like this “trust lowers transaction costs”, which is a business-ese way of saying there is no feasible way to achieve 100% certainty and if you did, modern day city life would slow to a crawl or be very cumbersome and expensive. And no more innovation, creativity, positive kinds of risk taking. No proposals. No “yes”. Nobody would ask each other out anymore on a balmy evening either. So, we are yearning for trust. Lots of it. We can’t make this whole “humans being with other humans” thing work otherwise.
A lot of this is more about the being than the doing (a whole post for another day), and that is often harder. Showing up, as a leader and first and foremost as a human matters, as in actually being there, in direct resonance with the other people.
In a time where it might all of a sudden feel unsafe to cross a bridge, to worship or to go to a theatre or a market, trust is a hard one to hold on to. And that’s when we need it the most.