“I’m scared!” my young daughter exclaimed with a small tear appearing in the corner of her left eye as she approached the back of the boat. “What if I slip and fall?” she questioned. “You won’t,” I assured her. “I don’t want my head to go under the water.” She retorted. “Don’t worry, my love, I’m right here to catch you!” I exclaimed with the confidence of a loving father as I waited anxiously in cool lake water. “OK.” She replied sheepishly. “I guess I’ll do it.”
I knew she wanted to jump from the boat deck for the first time without her life-jacket because she had been talking about it all day. Plus, you could see the look of desire, or more, envy, on her face each time her older sister jumped in without hesitation.
Still, I had to figure out a way to get her past her fear. I figured the best way was to inject the three most powerful words in the English language into our conversation.
I smiled at her, sincerely and asked, “Do you trust me?” “Yes, daddy, I trust you,” she answered with certainness. “Great! Then you have nothing to worry about. If you trust me, then you know I will make sure your head doesn’t go under the water.” With that, she gave an accepting shrug of her tiny sun-tanned shoulders and jumped in.
It worked. She said three of the most powerful words in the English language, and they gave her the answer she was looking for. Those three little words were enough to give her the confidence she needed in me to act and so much more. They didn’t just tell her that I would keep her head above water; they said to her that she could count on me, that I would be strong for her, and that I would always be there.
This is only a fraction of the power of telling someone you trust them. Trust is the key component in all relationships of any type, the cornerstone. When you share your trust with another, you tell them you believe in them and that you have faith in them. It also means you can rely on them when needed and are comfortable confiding in them because they make you feel safe. All of these reasons provide a solid foundation necessary to build a strong bond.
To be trusted is a greater compliment than being loved.
– George MacDonald
Without trust, or any portion thereof, the foundation is weakened, and it is difficult for a relationship to thrive. In fact, a relationship without trust is not the type that anyone enjoys or wants to be a part of. It is one that is doomed to fail.
So how can you build trust? Here are 3 simple tips to set you up for success from Dr. Karen Molano, Psy.D. of LumiTot.
- Be true to your word and match your actions to your words- The point of building trust is for others to believe what you say. Keep in mind that building trust requires not only doing what you say you will but also not making promises you’re unable to keep. When you keep your word, it shows others what you expect from them, and in turn, they’ll be more likely to treat you with respect, developing further trust in the process.
- Give trust- When you give what you are hoping to gain, you are far more likely to get it back in return. Remember, you don’t have to give full trust all at once, as building trust can take time. First, take small steps, and then, as trust grows, you will be more at ease with the commitments that are a part of sharing trust. Honor every feeling you receive from others, no matter what you may think or how you perceive it within yourself. When you unconditionally honor those feelings, then a connection forms and trust begins to form.
- Be sincere about your reactions and don’t judge- When you take the time to be in the moment and really listen to someone with intent and without judgment, you show them that they can trust you. This also makes you vulnerable, which allows them a peek inside of you. The more authentic you are about your thoughts and feelings, the more they learn about you. This primes them to be vulnerable in return, where they can be whomever they need to be, allowing you to grow your understanding of them.
It all simply comes down to having integrity and being completely honest with those you seek to build trust with. This nourishes relationships and fosters growth, which leads to greater trust. Once the foundation is built, every other beautiful layer can be placed on top to adorn the relationship. Beautiful things like communication, kindness, gratitude, happiness, courage, generosity, love, and even forgiveness. Now isn’t that a relationship worth growing?
You probably guessed that I caught my daughter as she jumped in and made sure to keep her head above water. I clearly remember her beautiful green eyes being wide open as they sparkled with her smile as big as the sun. The same smile that I would see countless more times as she jumped in again, and again, and again.
That was nearly eighteen years ago, but it feels like yesterday. Probably due in large part to the strong bond we have today. A bond that was no doubt formed with trust.
Rick Ornelas is a “Positive Change Expert”, author of 12 Hours of Heaven; Lessons for a Better World and founder of I Spark Change. He helps those who feel they have greatness trapped inside unlock their amazing potential. Schedule your free coaching consultation at isparkchange.com.
Previously Published on Medium