I’m finding that a theme for the second half of this year is centering around Building Trusting Relationships. Like how Compassion was a theme in the first half of this year (didn’t actually write about it, but it’s true), I’m finding learning about Trust is coming at me from all angles.
It just struck me just now when I was starting to read The Speed of Trust, by Stephen MR Covey (Covey’s son). Yes, that makes it more blatant of a theme, but last month I attended an amazing workshop called “Crucial Conversations” and then just this week I heard two podcast episodes from “The Synced Life” about communication (Attune, Limit, and Problem Solve) and “frientimacy.” I am also reading another book (yes, two physical books at one time) called the “Four Tendencies” and it’s really about learning how people manage obligations to others and themselves. All of this is building onto each other to give me a pretty well-rounded view (I think) of what it takes to trust and build trust in others.
One of the biggest learnings I’ve had around Trust and Compassion is that you have to listen to the other person. But not just listen, understand what they’re actually saying. I have learned about myself that I’m just a big problem-solver and so I rush the listening and try to get right to fixing things. While it gets the job done (ESTJ), that doesn’t help really understand what is truly going on. And maybe the person doesn’t really want me to fix anything, they just want someone to listen to them and truly “see” them.
Through Crucial Conversations (and now that I think about it, I’m learning this in the Leadership IQ class I’m also taking), I learned that it is more beneficial to state what I see (the facts) and make sure with the other person that I have all of the facts (shared pool of knowledge) before I then create a story of the situation at hand. This builds trust with the other party that my intention is to trust what really happened and not the story I may have made up in my head.
And sometimes the other person doesn’t want to share the facts right away, for some reason or another. And I’ve learned that I need more practice at confirming feelings, asking more questions, and paraphrasing what I’ve heard back to them to make sure I truly understood it.
Another way to build trust is to build consistency and openness. In the “frientimacy” (or Friend + Intimacy) episode they talk about how people could be consistently hanging out with people but never sharing anything about themselves or that they may only see someone really irregularly and then try to overshare. But the result of either is a lack of trust in the relationship.
I feel like I actually discovered this more than a year ago when I started my new business where I had a lot of contacts but only a good handful were considered “friends.” I had been in advertising for more than a decade and spent a lot of time with a lot of people in the associations I was in, but once I left those organizations, there was nothing more to tie me to those people. And I still really liked everyone very much, but because there was no consistency anymore, and there wasn’t much intimacy to begin with, we didn’t have much of a trusting relationship afterward.
This is why I cultivated a group of women friends that meet regularly over a meal where I hope to increase some consistency and intimacy in order to have more fulfilling, trusting relationships. With everyone still having such busy lives, I still may only see someone once a quarter, but it was better than not seeing them at all! And since I got rid of my Facebook Feed (NewsFeed Eradicator), I really wasn’t seeing some of the smart women I had wanted to see anymore.
So still working on compassion, still working on building better trusting relationships, still trying to impress my boss, still trying to build a business, still helping build a better community, still practicing at being a great wife and good friend, most importantly, still learning.