Who do you trust?

This past weekend I was working with some students on the challenge course here at camp. They had worked hard to accomplish a task that required cooperation, communication and teamwork. When we were done, I asked them what they had learned, and one student said, “I learned that I needed to trust others in order to accomplish the goal.” Pretty common lesson.

But it was the next student that really caught my attention. She said, “I learned that, really, I don’t rust anybody!” We spent some time talking about that, and slowly, several members of the group agreed — most of them have a tough time putting their fails and successes in the hands of others.

What about you? Who do you trust?

All of us exercise trust all the time. I’m guessing few of you actually inspected the chair you are presently sitting in, yet you sat in it believing — subconsciously — that it would hold you up. You trusted in the designers and builders of the chair. Yet, when we’re asked to put that same kind of trust in others, we are hesitant and only do so with a great deal of reservation.

My wife wrote a great piece about trust in her blog last week. After reading her post and seeing these student this weekend, I’m really asking the question, “Who do I trust?” In fact, here are a few other questions that you would profit from answering:

* Who do you trust?

* Who do you not trust? Why not?

* What success could you experience sooner, if you would take a risk and trust in someone else?

* Who could you help succeed, by offering them your trust?

* What obstacle in your life could you remove or overcome, if you would trust someone else’s help?

As I watched these students this weekend, I realized three pretty profound truths about trust. So as you try to answer the above questions, think about how these three facets of trust come in to play:

  1. You can only experience the full benefit of trust when you’re willing to commit. You can’t half-trust something. When these students jumped into the arms of their peers, it had to be all or nothing. A half jump would have meant failing the goal, and no jump would have sent the team home defeated. It was only when they made the commitment to trust that they jumped into success.
  2. Trust and planning are not mutually exclusive concepts. Some people err on the side of organization, planning and structure, believing they can eliminate their need to rely on others. It’s almost as though they believe trust is the absence of thought. However, trust and intellect strengthen each other. On our ropes course, for example, full trust came after a well thought out plan was laid out. It was easier to commit with preparation.
  3. Today I realized how much trust is a two-way street. It was funny how many of the students said, “I didn’t do that because I didn’t trust that person.” I would follow up with, “Could they trust you?” Usually there was an uncomfortable pause before they would answer honestly: “I guess not, because I had never given them reason to trust me.” If you want to learn how to build trust in others, make sure you’re given people a reason to trust you!

Who are you trusting?

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