Tag Archives: Trust

10 rules for better relationships

“How would your life be different if…You decided to give freely, love fully, and play feverously? Let today be the day…You free yourself from the conditioned rules that limit your happiness and dilute the beautiful life experience. Have fun. Give – Love – Play!”
― Steve Maraboli

SONY DSC

A lot of people would like to be happier, to have better relationships with others and wonder why they don’t.   How are your relationships?  How are your relationships with those you work with and share time with?   What is missing in your relationships?

It seems that a lot of people I work with struggle with some of their relationships, many of them are with the managers they work for.   Some people aren’t being challenged enough and are afraid to ask for more.  Others don’t believe their superiors listen to them and feel taken advantage of.   Almost everything we do is based on relationships and we can take a few steps to make them better.

Here are 10  rules for improving relationships.

Rule #1 – Serve the other person.  Make their lives better.

Rule #2 – Practice random acts of kindness.  How can you make the day better for someone else?

Rule #3 – Release your anger.  Give up being angry about things that have happened in the past.  Anger is about fear, so identify what you fear and watch the anger melt away.

Rule #4 – Grow.  Invest in learning and growing.  Becoming a better person will enrich your relationships.

Rule #5 – Listen.  It’s simple, it’s hard to do.   What are people really saying?  Listen to what they say and let them know you heard what they said.

Rule #6 – Appreciate.  Say “Thank-you”.  Some people who you would like to have a better relationship with have never heard you say “Thank-you”.   Show them that you appreciate who they are and what they do.

Rule #7 – Honor Commitments.  Build trust with others by honoring your commitments and if you can’t meet a commitment let the other person know when you will meet your commitment.  Trust is essential in a relationship and honoring commitments builds trust.

Rule #8 – Be honest.   It is easy not to be honest when it is easier to blame someone else or to change the truth so you feel better.  Honesty requires that you take responsibility for your actions and your words.

Rule #9 – Don’t wait.  If something feels wrong or is wrong then don’t wait for it to go away.   Solve the problem right away.

Rule #10 – Love more.  Love has power.  Love is the opposite of fear and those who love more have better relationships.  Love heals.  Love forgives.

Pick a rule and adopt it for yourself and use it daily.   Add a new rule to your life and see what it does for you.  Don’t wait for someone else to change or make the relationship better, go out and make it better yourself.

What rules would you add?

What would help make your relationship with others better?

trust

“We’re never so vulnerable than when we trust someone – but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy.”
Frank Crane

Trust sits at the foundation of relationships.   Relationships are the core of all that we do in life.   All of life is based on relationships and at the base of those relationships is trust.   Without trust there isn’t really a relationship.

Without trust a relationship is just a group of people interacting.   With trust a relationship is about a team and teamwork and receiving the best of what the team has to offer.

Without trust people hold back, they don’t put in their full selves into their work, their relationships, their marriage, their friends or anything for that matter.   It is a well known fact that people don’t put their full effort into the work they do, they hold back for many reasons and one of the big reasons is trust.    Why say what you really believe if that belief is going to be ridiculed or worse.   Why become vulnerable if you know that the other person, the other side has no interest in what you have to say.

It takes strength of character to trust and to trust authentically.   Being vulnerable and sharing something that exposes a weakness can be used as a weapon if there isn’t trust, trust that information shared is not used in a negative way.   In other words when people judge others trust is eroded.   People want to feel safe in a relationship and if they share their deepest fears or secrets they want those fears to be kept private and not to be judged by their fears.

If organizations cultivated trust and allowed people to express themselves freely those organizations could experience greater participation, greater productivity, and better results.    Cultures that use retribution or intimidation to manage people would have to radically change.   Leaders would have to start leading and express their fears and vulnerabilities before trust could trickle down through all levels of the organization.   High performing cultures have recognized that trust is an essential ingredient for success.

What is the level of trust in the organization you work for?

What is the level of trust in your closest relationship?

What would need to change?

The real deal

What is the real deal?

What is authentic about anything?

When something is authentic we say that it is the fully trustworthy article.   When we say a person is authentic we are saying that they truthfully represent themselves in all facets of their life with honesty and truthfulness.

In leadership the requirements for a leader are to be authentic.  A leader that is trustworthy, a leader that is genuine, a leader that is honest, a leader that is interested in the follower is a true or authentic leader.

Why is authenticity important?   Would you trust a person who represented themselves in one way and acted in another?   We search for congruence in action and word in most people but especially in a leader.

This above all:
To thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

~ Hamlet, Shakespeare

inspired with confidence

How often are you encouraged?

In your work or even in your relationship with others when was the last time you heard a word of encouragement?

In your work or even in your relationship with others when was the last time you heard word of a critical nature?

What happens more often, words that are critical or words that are encouraging?

Encouragement is a moment of inspiration given to another that is both genuine and authentic.

What does encouragement say to you?

You matter

You are important

You have talent, capabilities and strengths

You have gifts

You have value, in self and in ideas

Encouragement is a source of hope.

For every criticism you receive you should get five words of encouragement.

So, what does encouragement do? Do you feel more secure when you are encouraged? Do you feel more confident when you are encouraged? Do you feel like you can take a risk when you are encouraged?

Today do something new – something that makes you feel alive – something that strengthens the core of who you are – something that will generate internal energy – what can you do, when will you start?

Being Transparent

Like a looking glass into our soul. Often it is something that isn’t done. It is a way to keep our true self from being seen by others. Being transparent and showing your inner light to others is not something everyone does.

Hiding self from others for fear of rejection, or because of a lack of self-confidence, or because there are deep scars, or because there is a smoldering wound, or because there is a broken heart, or because there is an unfilled void is not the path towards greater happiness. Living a transparent life is a choice that must be made. Living behind a veil will in many cases diminish the fullness of life.

How does being transparent help bring about a better life? When there are no secrets, no deep voids, no fear then power that was coming from others comes from within. Power from within is continuous, it is free, it is brighter and of better quality.

Transparency gives power away. Initially it takes power, courage and confidence to release the darkness that prevents being transparent. It takes time to test it … does it really release power or does it consume power?

Think about it from the perspective of a leader. Which leader has more power, the one that shows what is inside or the one who shrouds things in mystery? The transparent leader will acknowledge the faults, the foibles, the failures they have experienced. They will admit their shortcomings. What happens when a person reveals their inner-self to others? Do they become genuine and authentic? Do they become real people just like everyone else? Do they have the ability to relate to others?

If you want to find out what a big obstacle the ego really is, try to come together with other people in genuine transparency. Transparency means radical authenticity, free from ego defenses and impure motives. It’s the ultimate challenge to the ego. You could sit on a meditation cushion until you dropped dead and never have your capacity for radical transparency tested. The real test, for all of us, is in relationship. Come together. When there’s radical transparency and the ego steps aside, each single individual in that extraordinary collective context has access to the power and depth and clarity of the enlightened mind. And that’s when enlightenment really starts to take on new meaning and significance for us all.”

Andrew Cohen
London, March 2004

Transparency is sliding aside the curtains of the soul revealing its character. It is not easy or quick to do if there have been many years, many scars, many fears that stand in the way. The opaque window will neither let in light nor let light out.

Dostoyevsky wrote, “Every man has reminiscences which he would not tell to everyone but only to his friends. He has other matters in his mind which he would not reveal even to his friends, but only to himself in secret. But there are other things which man is afraid to tell even to himself, and every decent man has a number of such things stored away in his mind.”

Transparency reveals the character of a person. Transparency informs others of the integrity of a person. Information that threatens the self threatens self-esteem. Threats create anxiety and the anxiety transforms our character. The reason it damages the character is due to the nature of the internal self-talk that takes place – generally negative. Transparency will remove the need to hide from the issues which generate anxiety. The lack of anxiety will naturally result in self-talk that is positive – the self will not be talking down the self but rather acknowledging the self in a positive form.

The idea that the truth will set us free is an outcome of transparency. Working towards transparency might be better done with someone that can be trusted. Exposing the darkness will require a trusted relationship so that the surfacing of the negatives can be done safely and without repercussions.

Transparency allows one to shift from hiding behind pretense to genuine living.

In a journal write down those things that prevent you from living transparently?

What can you do to become more transparent?

What risks are you willing to take?

What benefits do you think you would obtain by living transparently?

Trust

What about trust? Trust is something we all need to have exist but how do we earn it, display it and keep it? It seems as if trust is very fragile on one side and very difficult to construct on the other. We give everyone some basic amount of trust and if we desire more than we have to earn that trust. To earn more trust we have to be engaged in doing something, perhaps it is honoring a commitment, delivering on a promise or being reliable. Each time we do those things it is like earning interest on a bank account. We only earn a little and it takes a long time to accumulate a high level of trust.

It also seems that in one instant that trust can be wiped away. What we save can be lost or we can lose far more quickly than we can save it up.

Building a trust framework

The Pygmalion principle: “While we do well not to trust too little and not to trust too much, it seems better to trust a little too much than a little too little.” From King Arthur’s Round Table by David Perkins

How do we ever get to a point where we trust anything? Don’t we start off with the premise that things in this world deserve some amount of trust? We trust others as we walk by them not to invade our so called space. We trust people to drive on the right side of the road. We trust systems, governments, buildings, and others even if we have no reason to do so.

We begin to lose trust when something in a system violates the principles we believe the system was based on. Trust can be broken/reduced because of the “fundamental attribution error”, unreasonable expectations, unexpected expectations, overgeneralizations or selective processing of information.

The fundamental attribution error comes from the idea that others have character flaws while our own view of the world is based on the situation.

Unreasonable expectations about others can lead to a feeling that others are less trustworthy. Let’s say that we hold that someone else will do something and that thing doesn’t happen. Our disappointment with our expectation will erode the trust even though there is no real basis for it.

Unexpected expectations occur when we think don’t establish real commitments in dealing with other people. We think they might do something with urgency (the urgency exists in our mind) and they don’t. Unclear expectations can lead to trust erosion.

Overgeneralizing trust happens when we trust people in some areas and not in others.

Finally, the selective processing of information is when there is a view that as an individual you can do no wrong or you can do no right. If an instance proves that you are trustworthy you may be trusted in all situations or if one instance proves that you are less trustworthy in the eyes of some you will always be untrustworthy.

Trust is an important element in a relationship. Both sides should work to establish honest expectations at the beginning of the relationship building process. Being authentic and genuine admitting flaws as well as strengths will help establish a framework of honesty on which trust can be built.

What areas of trust are problematic for you? Why?