Do you know someone who tends to distort the truth, perhaps exaggerate a bit, or lead others to believe whatever serves her best interest?
It can be pretty hard to trust someone like that… or at least I think so. Years ago, I remember reading a book called: How To Win Friends & Influence People.
It was recommended by several other business owners I know, and I found the lessons to be super valuable. The book was written with a spin for marketing and how to get people to take action on your recommendations, but I learned a heck of a lot more on a ‘human’ level and reasons why we act, in general.
For example, the concept of ‘commitment and consistency’ is today’s topic. We tend to have a hard time trusting someone who says one thing and does another. In fact, we have a hard time going against our ‘own’ words, so it’s no wonder we don’t trust another person who regularly does this on his own.
The opposite is also true:
We easily trust and bond with people who consistently say and do.
When you think about building trust for the most important relationships in life, think about all the small actions you take throughout the day. These are called “mini-agreements”, and the more mini-agreements you make — and keep — the stronger your bond will grow. Often times, the most involved and intimate conversations only emerge because of the smaller agreements being kept along the way.
When you make a promise, keep it. If it no longer makes sense to keep it, approach your concern, call it out yourself, and explain ‘why’ to the other party, so s/he can see your view. No one expects you to do something that will hurt you or someone you care about; on the other hand, each of us expects you to keep a promise if you haven’t told us why you wouldn’t.
Your word is one of the best investments you can make in life.
By honoring your word, your ‘asset’ grows with time. More and more people will learn to trust you, work with you, bond with you, and allow their guards down around you. Over time — independent of past mistakes — your word will be seen as truth. It takes practice, time, and the intention of keeping agreements; or, calling them out when you can’t.
Before you know it, life will get a lot easier. You might find others offering to help you with a favor, people there for you in life’s weak moments, bonuses and raises arriving effortlessly, old friends looking you up, and relationships becoming ‘easy’.
Remember, we all know ‘that’ person who is hard to trust and distorts the truth. On some level, many of us make this same mistake inside of our most important relationships.
Here are some examples:
- We might say we’re going to be home in 15 minutes and take 30…
- We might volunteer to take out the trash and ‘forget’…
- Or maybe it’s our turn to do this dishes and we pretend we didn’t remember…
- It’s possible you’ve promised your son or daughter to attend a school or sporting event and missed without explanation before it happened…
- Or you may find yourself in a position where you’re making excuses at work for a project that was really your fault it wasn’t complete…
No matter the situation, remember distorting the truth breaks trust; honoring your word — or explaining ‘when’ and ‘why’ you can’t — builds trust. You have the choice.
Today’s lesson: re-examine your integrity. If there’s an area for improvement, make the choice, take a bit of action, and improve your relationships by doing so.
It’s not always comfortable in the short-term, but as with many things in life, long-term comfort comes from short-term discomfort plus perseverance.
I’m so grateful for you,
Originally published at drkareem.com on February 22, 2017.