Trust is a remarkable and amazing thing; it comes from a sense of common values and beliefs. Trust is not something that you can simply ask someone to do. You cannot just go up to a stranger and say “hey, trust me” and expect them to do so. They have to get to know you as a person or at the very least “feel” comfortable being with you. Trust is a feeling; it is not just a checklist. Even if you do everything you say you’re going to do, it does not mean people will inherently trust you; it simply means you are a reliable person.
From the beginning of human existence, people have learned how to form a community. We have always been social animals as our very survival depends on our ability to form communities and form cultures. One man, no matter how strong he is, will not be able to fight and hunt down a woolly mammoth. However, if a tribe banded together and thought up a tactic and trusted that each man had each other’s backs, there will be a much better chance they can bring home food for the rest of the village that day.
Every single decision we make in our lives is a piece of communication…a symbol of who we are and a way of telling the people around us what we believe. Say you are a hockey fan visiting another city which your home team is playing against. You are on a subway heading to the stadium and suddenly you make eye contact with another group of strangers that happen to wear the jersey of your home team. Well, chances are you guys will strike up a conversation and maybe even have drinks together after the game. That logo on their jersey is a symbol of what you share with those strangers; you don’t really know them but for some strange reason, this feeling of “trust” emerges and you “feel” comfortable around them than anyone else on that same train.
Let’s play out another scenario. Say you are married and have an 8-year old son. You and your significant other had marked down on the calendar a charity event for this night which means you two require a babysitter. You have two options: The first one is a 16-year old teen from your cul-de-sac; you and their family have known each other for a little more than three years. However, she has barely, if any, babysitting experience. The second option is finding a very experienced sitter on craigslist. She says she studied children behavioural psychology in university and has a first-aid babysitting certificate. Who do you choose? Probably the 16-year-old. Why? Because she is a trusted member of your community and you feel comfortable with her looking after one of the most important person in your life. Yes, you may go through an extensive interview process and get to know the “stranger” a little better than what is stated on a website but that is too much of a hassle anyways. If you had the option of the 16-year-old already, I think the decision is pretty easy.
We all need trust. Without trust, we are less willing to take risks which mean no exploration, no experiment and no advancement in society as a whole. I believe this is one of the most important keys of any successful team, whether it is in sports, business or a group of scientists working together for a scientific breakthrough, you name it. When they surround themselves with people who believe what they believe, trust emerges. Whether it is making new friends, dating or networking, it all comes down to trust, either you have a good feeling about them or not. Trust is mutual. Again as mentioned above, you cannot simply “make” people trust you. You have to say and do the things you actually believe and the things you say and do defines what your values and beliefs, and are symbols of who you are. The people who share them will naturally feel trusted towards you.
Trust is also what makes the difference between repeat business and loyalty. As Simon Sinek had mentioned in his book START WITH WHY, “repeat business is when people do business with you multiple times. Loyalty is when people are willing to turn down a better product or a better price to continue doing business with you. When you are a loyal customer, you won’t bother to do any rational decision and research to compare the different services and products. You simply go with your gut feeling because it just “feels right,” and you trust that it will be satisfying once you get it. The sacrifice of time or money is simply worth it.
That is why authenticity and trust matters so much. Be authentic; and that means only say and only do the things you actually believe and the people that believe what you believe will trust you. When you only want to get some short term behaviour changes and get people to like you simply by doing and saying things you think others like to hear, that is not authenticity and that does not create trust. We always hear these two words put together, “Be Yourself” so be yourself. You will be surprised that when you do so and being authentic is your long term interest, people will support you through the ups and downs and stand by you when you mess up because they trust you that you would do the same thing for them.