The Best Way to Earn Trust? Stand Under Your Own Arches.Tweet
I had a cherished colleague many years ago who was a real maverick. A pioneer. Go-getter. His thinking was ahead of his time. His actions bold. His heart and spirit? Bigger than most of us put together.
Like most innovators, he also had a certain knack for alienating some people. You know the type? He demanded excellence. Pulled no punches. He had strong ideals and he shared them -- sometimes whether you were ready to hear them or not! Some people found his honesty 'too blunt' and his unwillingness to play politics, naive.
I admired him greatly.
Although sometimes rough around the edges, he was absolutely trustworthy. The kind of guy, as another colleague used to say: "I know if I fall, he'll be there to catch me before I hit the ground."
You knew without hesitation, he'd be there to catch you. An ever-present safety net. Ready, willing and able to go to the mat for you if needed.
I remember one time that we got into a discussion -- actually a debate -- about trust. "Trust", my friend said, "is not something you give until it's earned." I argued, "Yes, but how can it be earned if you don't give it first?" It was a chicken-and-egg kind of discussion.
I've come to realize that trust is much more complex. There's no tit for tat. No give or take. Rather, it transcends any transactional aspect of relationship. It runs much deeper than that.
It's integral to who we are, what we do, what we stand for and the legacy we create. Legacy, as in what we leave behind. Legacy also as in the ripple effect we cause and pay forward, with our every action.
The best way to earn trust? Stand under your own arches.
What do I mean by that?
The arch is a stunning architectural and engineering feat.
"The Roman arch was the foundation of Rome's architectural mastery and massive expanse of building projects across the ancient world.
It allowed the Romans to make bigger buildings, longer roads, and better aqueducts.
The Roman arch is the ancestor of modern architecture."
Some of the oldest arches still standing today are over 2000 years old! "How did they do that?" we wonder.
Folklore reveals the reason for this amazing endurance. Roman law dictated that the engineer who designed the arch had to stand under it when the scaffolding was removed!
Myth or fact, it makes one think about quality, commitment, integrity. The best way to earn trust? Stand under your own arches.
Day to day, it means this:
- Be proud of what you build.click to tweet Whether tangible or intangible, be willing to stand by and "under" the weight of your own legacy. Doing so serves us in moments of truth, when we're tested (as when the scaffolding is removed). In other words, ensure that what you create is worthy and will withstand the test of time.
- Think about the time value of what you do.click to tweet Don't just go for what is quick, easy or expedient. Go for what is best, in the long run, too. Then, proceed accordingly.
- Do what you do 'as if your life depended on it'.click to tweet The truth is... it does! Actions, words, what you do, what you've done -- you traded that moment of life for it. The past cannot be reclaimed. That doesn't negate your power to choose each next moment as a chance to begin anew and live most richly. But, it does mean that what you do is life. Put another way, "how you do anything is how you do everything."
So, the question is, "What do your actions say about your life?" What happens if you removed the scaffolding (i.e., fully accepted 100% responsibility)? Would you be pleased, eager, willing to be 'at effect' of your own actions? To reap the rewards and/or suffer the consequences?
It's such a great way to do some meaningful soul-searching. To be and to lead our best. To lead in service and as stewards. To fall in love with your life and with your work. Live and lead 'on purpose'. And to realize: the best way to earn trust? Stand under your own arches.
Work. Life. Trust. Leadership. Let's give it our best.
Start with you: Great leaders cultivate trustworthiness and commitment. Read & explore: 5 Qualities to Awaken the Leader in You
Trust in the workplace: A value-added perspective from fellow difference-maker, Mike Vacanti: Who Do You Trust?
Life is busy and demanding. It can be easy to let months, even years, slip away without setting -- and following -- our own clear direction. Feeling unfulfilled, we lose trust in ourselves; sometimes in the 'meaning' of life and work.
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