I am going to tell you how to inspire trust and rise in the rare level of friendship that only trust can confer. It's a simple lesson, but not an easy one.
Here it is, fully revealed, in all its simplicity. First: Be eminently worthy of trust. Second: Prove you are.
Could anything be harder than that?
The first part is hard, and the second is even harder.
How many people in your life — and even in history — do you consider worthy of absolute trust?
Who would you trust with your life? The lives of your family? Your life savings? Your deepest secrets? Your reputation?
Woud you trust your best friend? Would you place your full trust in our current president, a past president, or any current office holder? What about your doctor or attorney? Your boss? Your business partner? Your brother or sister? Your spouse?
Would you follow that person's lead implicitly and do whatever you possibly could do for them, with minimal questioning?
You probably would do that for some of these people. That's common — especially if they're family — it's healthy.
Some of that trust me rest upon universal social agreements.
"You're my mother so I trust you." Even more commonly though your trust may stem in part of contractual agreements that imply a minor degree of uncertainity: a business contract, a confidential agreement, a prenuptial agreement, a living that governs the treatment of your loved ones, or your citizen's right to remove untrustworthy people from power.
There's no shame in that degree of uncertainity. It's not easy to grant someone your trust, especially when it concerns things you can't afford to lose, such as your marriage, the well-being of your children, your job, your assets, your professional reputation, or your personal honor.
Often, it's even harder to trust people than it is to love them.
That said: It's just as hard for people to trust you.
I'm going to tell you how to make it easier for them.
When you learn how — and you will — you'll have the central quality of character that defines all great leaders. People are happy to follow those they trust, and rarely follow those who they don't trust. That's a wise and deeply embedded element of human nature.
Of course, from time to time, people that you don't trust may temporarily have power over you. They might be bullies, or people who gamble, lied, or manipulated their way into power.
That kind of power doesn't last, and the influence of those people fades fast. Bullies are overthrown, liars are exposed, gamblers lose, maniplulators make mistakes - trustworthy people inevitably take their place. The world isn't perfect, but it does reward and empower those who have earned the honor of being trusted.
Those who inspire trust are the only people who can retain the power of personal influence for a lifetime, and wield it without revolt or resentment. they are the great people in history, and the great people in your own life: strong, humble, and dedicted to your own interests.
Some people are natural born leaders who can inspire trust without even trying. But people who inspire trustneed to be taught, and they often learn the lessons through pain, failure and humbling moments.
If you're lucky and smart, though, you can learn it from a good teacher.
I'm in a good position to teach you how to inspire trust, because I had to learn it myself. I'm not a born leader. I thought I was, until I finally looked at myself with unblinking honesty. Like most people who long to be great leaders but have to learn the art, I paid dearly for the lessons.
The only way for me to become the man that people now trust was to analyze every hard lesson I learned from the fine leaders around me, charcterize it, categorize it, prioritize it, test it, tweak it, and integrate it into my system.
I'll teach you that system, and make the lessons easier for you than they were for me.
As I said, it won't be easy, but I have to assume you are intelligent enough to grasp hard lessons, or you wouldn't even be looking at a serious book like this. You're probably someone who sincerely yearns to inspire genuine, well-placed trust - or you'd be looking at books with quick fix, full of tricks: Trust for Dummies. There definitely are books about how to manipulate people into trusting you, but this isn't one of them. Manipulation is about pushing people. Trust is about leading them.
How do you achieve that lofty goal? Again, I can give you a simple answer that's hard to do.
To inspire trust, put others first.
That single, central action empowers all legendary leaders.
It is so grounded in common sense that — like other's self-evident truths — it is often overlooked.
It's easy to lead people when you put their needs first — but it's almost impossible when you're only serving youself.
If you adopt anoher person's goal as part of your goal, why shouldn't they follow your lead? If you don't why should they?
This philosophy, to some extent, goes against the grain of popular business and social culture, in which creating trust is often reduced to various forms of manipulation, and is typically referred to as "winning" trust, as if that sacred goal were a game.
This is an extract from Robin Dreeke's The Code Of Trust published by St. Martin's Press