Do You Trust First, or Trust Last?

A few weeks ago I talked about being trustworthy. The other side of being trustworthy is being able to trust. Trust is critical to our success in our professional and personalDo You Trust First or Trust Last, Brad W. Smith photographer, LifeIsHOTBlog, statue of heads of woman and man facing away from each other, heads are joined at the back of the head.

lives. Some of us seem to be hardwired to trust others. Others find it harder to trust. To know what type of person you are, ask yourself this simple question: do you trust others until you have reason to believe they are not trustworthy? Or, do you expect others to prove to you they are trustworthy before you trust them?

I count myself in the former group. I hope you are there too, if only because it seems to me that people who trust first have an easier time of it. And so do the people around them.

Those who trust first are more likely to see positive outcomes in others. When we start from a positive place, we have a positive influence on our co-workers and those we manage, and on every business project and every business relationship. Starting from a positive place also bears on our relationships with our children, our spouse, even our friends and casual acquaintances.

Those who trust last are likely to see fewer positive outcomes. When we trust last, we have a greater need to control others’ actions – to micro-manage, and to insist on verification of actions and statements of fact. We expect others to follow our every direction rather than engage in independent thought. We fail to give those we manage, including our children, the opportunity to develop their own leadership abilities. Our actions stifle others, chip away at their morale, and erode trust within all of our relationships.

Trust first people are on the whole happier in life than those who trust last. Trust means that we can depend on others to do certain things. Trust does not mean we can depend on them to do what we want. When we trust, we are recognizing their nature or condition and we adapt our behavior in accordance with these facts. For instance, we can trust the addict to abuse and be under the influence much of the time. We can trust the cheater to cheat and the liar to tell us lies. We can trust those who have shown us to reliably do their best to continue to do so, their mistakes and missteps notwithstanding.

Learning to trust is every bit as important as being trustworthy because it enhances our relationships. Trust is one of the finest gifts we can give to others.

Life Is Honest, Open and True:  Are you a trust first, or a trust last, person? We can choose to trust others because we believe in who they are, or for what they do. The choice is ours.  What choice have you made?

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